Barges on the telly: Jimmy Lawrence and Nick Ardley on BBC2 TV 29th and 30th September

Jimmy Lawrence talking about life on the barges

I gather that the first programme of the new BBC2 series Floating History of Britain goes out on the 30th September, and that it is to be about Thames sailing barges. I’m told it will include material from this year’s Thames Match.

I told also that the BBC Breakfast show on the 29th September will include an interview with legendary barge skipper, sailmaker and wonderful raconteur Jim Lawrence together with cruising sailor, long-time barge hand and author Nick Ardley, whose young life was spent on the barge May Flower.

Phil Rhodes 45-foot centreboard yacht Undina cruising and racing on British TV

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It’s difficult to believe, but there has been even more good boating telly on our screens this week.

Although it featured three comedians well known in the UK, the star of Three Men in Another Boat is Undina, a 45ft centreboard sloop designed by Phil Rhodes, built in Germany in 1953 and owned by British comedian and TV presenter Griff Rhys Jones.

Somehow, when I recently read Jones’ story of a summer’s sailing with friends and family To the Baltic with Bob, I sadly missed the point that his boat Undina was so special. Perhaps I was put off the scent by Jones’ account of being suddenly smitten with lust for another boat he came across in some Baltic port – but having seen Undina on TV I find it difficult to imagine how he could feel that way.

The two-part reality TV show following a voyage from London to Cowes and a race against a very similar yacht, Josephine, is available from the BBC’s new iPlayer, though I’ve heard it doesn’t work if you’re outside the UK.

Here’s some further info on Undina from the British Classic Yacht Club and from Philip Rhodes Classic Sailboat Designs.

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