Blue Mermaid, said to be the first Thames Sailing Barge built for trade since 1930, has arrived at Maldon and will be at Maldon Hythe Quay for viewing on the 6th-8th July.
The 87ft steel barge, which will be based in Essex, was commissioned by a local charity, the Sea-Change Sailing Trust and will be used for their work with young people as well as carrying cargo. The charity works with disabled and disadvantaged young people as well as those challenged by traditional educational settings, experiencing social exclusion or at risk of offending.
The barge was built at the boatyard of C Toms and Son in Cornwall, and will now be fitted out and rigged by TS Rigging of Maldon.
Blue Mermaid is a replica of a barge of the same name, which was sunk by a mine during World War ll with the loss of her crew. As a traditional Thames sailing barge, she will not have an engine and will be able to transport the equivalent of up to six articulated lorry loads in a low carbon environment.
Sea-Change Sailing Trust’s Chair of Trustees, Hilary Halajko said the that bringing the barge to Maldon marked a landmark in the charity’s ambition to get a new sailing barge into operation. Having raised £450,000, it now has to raise £150,000, but it is hoped that Blue Mermaid will enter service during 2017.