I was lucky enough this weekend to be able to go sailing aboard Pudge, one of two sailing barges (and one lighter) owned, maintained and chartered by the Thames Sailing Barge Trust. (Also see the TSBT’s Facebook page.)
I must say we had a fabulous day – I thoroughly recommend a trip on one of these boats. I’m also mightily impressed by the gear, which is effective and often ingenious in its working and in its simplicity, and by the barge sailors of the past, who managed these boats with a crew of just two.
Those folks were clearly very tough, and more than a bit clever with it.
The event was the Blackwater Match – an annual race for barges and smacks, so I’ll post a further collection of boats and the Blackwater itself tomorrow.
The organisers of Sail Caledonia the annual sail & oar raid through the Great Glen of Scotland are inviting applications for a sponsored boat entry for next year’s race.
The race runs from the 24th to the 31st May 2014.
The successful applicants could be from a school or college, part of a community-based scheme or looking to raise money for a charitable cause.
Applicants must provide their own boat, safety gear and camping equipment, but the only other cost will be for meals. Sail Caledonia will waive the sponsored boat’s entry fees, and will pay for launching, camping and canal licence fees.
Applications should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than 31st January 2014. The race committee will decide the winning application shortly afterwards.
The application should include:
- type of boat
- likely number and age of crew
- experience of skipper
- why the crew feel that they should get the sponsored place
For more details on the raid, including what to expect and pictures from past events, see the Sail Caledonia website. But be warned – the scenery is magnificent, and you’ll want to go there…
The annual race is renamed for its 150th anniversary year in honour of Mark Boyle, who revived the event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day in 1995.
Mark went on to be the match’s driving force and his sudden death just before Christmas at the age of 55 was a blow to the sailing barge community.
Read more at the Barge Blog.