Tag Archives: sailing barges

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More photos from the 2014 Blackwater Match

More shots from the Blackwater, as promised yesterday. I hope you like them! (The previous set are here.)

The splendid elderly gentleman is legendary Brightlingsea barge skipper Jimmy Lawrence who is captured here giving out the prizes. The gent pictured in the white tee-shirt and also holding a plaque and playing a melodeon is Thames Sailing Barge Trust mate Mick Nolan.

The barge we were aboard, Pudge, got awarded the plaque for turning up and not sinking I think, as we didn’t exactly do well in the race. A ‘wag’ pointed out that plaques are what they make from the material that gets cut out from the centre of a toilet seat during manufacturing. Thanks, wag.

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Sailing barge equipment on board Pudge, summer 2014

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 1963 Thames Barge Match

A Movietone newsreel showing the 1963 Thames barge match. The barges include Dreadnought, Sara, Sirdar and Veronica.

My thanks to the  Thames Sailing Barge Trust via its Facebook Facebook page.

Business plan for boat moorings and maintenance at Faversham Creek would be in surplus after four years

Standard Quay, Faversham

A business plan examining the financial feasibility of developing repair and maintenance of traditional vessels in Faversham Creek has concluded that a net present value of £560k could be achieved over 15 years after including all costs.

The project would lead to 10 new full-time jobs and would be be in substantial surplus in its fourth year, says the report, which was written by a group of business-minded individuals follows a request by Faversham Town Council for an assessment of this kind in support of the local neighbourhood plan.

Achieving these benefits would be dependent on public support and funding, including providing a new opening bridge however.

The authors conclude that the Thames from London to its full outer estuary includes some 51 Thames sailing barges, 170 Dutch/motor barges and approximately 533 smacks and other traditional vessels, and that in business terms restoring, refitting and maintaining these vessels amounts to a turnover of £6m a year, with a significant secondary revenue from moorings.

They concluded that Faversham should be able to attract 18 per cent of the available Thames barge work, 10 per cent of Dutch barges and 7 per cent of smacks, which would require three extra dry docks to be available for mainstream repair, and maintenance along the tidal Creek and light maintenance and general moorings elsewhere.

The predicted annual income including from mooring fees is £700k gross, or £200k net of operating costs – which it is thought would lead to 10 additional full time jobs in the town.

Some £1.3m of capital expenditure would be required, including £860k for an opening bridge and sluices £280k for quay structures, £50k for initial dredging and £140k for dry docks and other equipment – and if the Council were to invest in an opening bridge, the report argues it would be feasible to raise the remainder from bank loans and private investment.

Read the report here.

How sailing barge Edith May won her class in the Swale Barge Match

Edith May Swale barge match


‘With both staysail classes starting together, it was quite congested but Edith May found herself at the front of the pack charging to the line at the Sand End buoy. With official stop watch operator Clare Curling counting down the seconds to the start gun and the barge doing about 8kts, it was difficult to judge if the barge was going to be a few seconds early or late and mainsheetman and mate encouraged skipper Geoff to check the barge a little to be sure.

‘Just as she was seconds from crossing the line, the smoke from the starters gun billowed out from the committee boat – a perfect start!’

A romping description of how SB Edith May won in the staysail barge class. Click here.

The Kentish Sail Association’s Swale Match 2013 – part 2

The Kentish Sail Association’s Swale Match 2013 – part 1

There’s a link to a nice article and with some excellent photos on board Repertor at the Spitalfields Life weblog. Lucky man getting invited to sail in the race I say!

Sharp eyed readers may notice that one of the competing boats ended up on a sandbank…

The racing event for barges, smacks and traditionally built and rigged boats is organised by the Kentish Sail Association.