My tourism event won the Essex award in 2010 and was a finalist in the Eastern Region, so I know what Topsail will have gone through to get as far as the national final.
Anyone interested in Thames sailing barges will be well acquainted with Hythe Quay at Maldon where they will always see Topsail’s charter barges.
Having got through to the national competition, Topsail Charters is one of five companies in the best small attraction category, and the only business from Essex out of the 75 finalists in all categories.
Stephanie Valentine, Managing Director of Topsail Charters, has said she is thrilled for the recognition of all the hard work of her fantastic team and the effort they make to give their customers the best possible experience.
Well done to Topsail Charters on a great achievement so far, and the very best of luck for the finals at an awards ceremony on 11th May.
You can read the whole story here.
Our Archive will be open and one of our committee will be there to show you the vast collection of photographs, books, documents and other artifacts about Thames sailing barges. Sterling work has been done over the years by our Archivist, Don Wright, ably assisted by Society Secretary, John White, in getting all this treasury of information catalogued and properly stored. (Picture shows John and Don outside the Archive.)
Then down by the river, we shall have a gazebo with display panels and literature about the Society of Sailing Barge Research, and our committee will be very
happy to talk to visitors about barges and the Society. Our books and magazines will be on sale and we shall, of course, also have membership forms there. At £20 a year it is great value and you will receive our two excellent publications, Topsail annually and Mainsheet twice a year. And members receive occasional books published by the Society for Sailing Barge Research free of charge; last year there were two excellent such freebies, Still in the Samphire, the Society’s 50th anniversary history, and The Prowess of Charlie Fielder.
The festival will coincide with the Old Gaffers Association 30th Anniversary Crouch Rally visit to the North Fambridge Yacht Club. There will be gig racing on the river, and stands including those taken by the Coastguard, the RNLI, a sail-maker, and many more. sb Ironsides will be present.
More details nearer the date.
There’s a nice piece on the In the Boatshed website about sb Ethel Everard at Dunkirk – very relevant as the 75th anniversary of Dunkirk approaches. Here’s a link to the site, which itself has a link to a site with the Everard history.
First Peter Phillips sent us this picture, which shows Thistle with some visitors stranded on board. Apparently the children enjoyed it, but the adults were not too keen.
Then The Barge Tearooms posted some pictures showing that it can be difficult sometimes to get a cup of tea on a barge!
We’ve already posted about the Film Premiere on Saturday 7th March at Maldon Town Hall. What film? The premiere of Simon North’s film of the Restoration of Centaur. Scroll down the page to see the poster for the performance giving all details of the Premiere which is in aid of the Thames Sailing Barge Trust.
Now Simon has produced three trailers for the film show, and, having seen them, each of them is a beautiful piece of art in its own right. Here are the three trailers, the first introducing the film:
the second when the Lottery grant was awarded:
and the third showing Tim Goldsack, the Master Shipwright, at work with tar and horse manure:
Now go along to Maldon Town Hall on 7th March and see the whole thing – Enjoy!
Off on the Ferry to Gravesend today for the Cambria Trust Annual General Meeting, held at the Port of London Authority headquarters at London River House. The Cambria Trust, of course, owns and maintains the sailing barge Cambria, renowned as the last UK registered vessel to trade under sail alone. A wooden Thames sailing barge, she still has no engine and is completely dependent on the wind.
The AGM was well attended, and it was good to see a number of people who had not met since last year’s meeting. Chairman, Bruce Richardson, reported on a busy year with charters by Rotary International District 1120 and the Sea-Change Sailing Trust, both using the barge for sail training. Cambria had taken part in several of the annual barge matches, doing well, and had been at the Classic Boat Festival in St Katharine’s Dock in September, where on several days she had welcomed 1,000 visitors.
A highlight of the day was the presentation to the Trust of a splendid framed picture of Cambria taking part in the Thames Match of 1936. The picture was a gift to the Trust from Tony and Sandy Farnham, and in handing it over Tony said that he hoped the picture would be installed on board the barge. Our picture shows Tony Farnham, right, presenting the picture to Bruce Richardson.
Picture courtesy of Dave Brooks
We were very sorry indeed to learn of the death of SSBR Committee Member, David Wood.
As well as being a long-term member of the Committee himself, David has been an enormous help to his wife, Elizabeth, in her office as our Chairman.
David has written a number of publications over the years, and members will recall that within the last few months they have received a copy of “Still in the Samphire”, the 50th anniversary history of the Society, and of “The Prowess of Charlie Fielder”. Both of these were written by David Wood, and he has put some considerable years of work into them. Elizabeth tells us that he was still researching and writing other material.
David died very suddenly on Friday 30th January 2015. He was alone at their Twickenham house while Elizabeth was at her family’s home in Sussex. She was talking to David on the telephone, when suddenly she heard a noise, he stopped speaking and she could not raise him. She called a neighbour who went to the house, and discovered that David had suffered a heart attack which he did not survive. It has taken a long time for the post mortem to be held, and the death certificate has only just been issued.
The funeral is to be held next week. In accordance with David’s own wishes it is to be a small low-key occasion for close friends and family. Donations in David’s memory if desired may be sent to the Thames Sailing Barge Trust, c/o Roger Newlyn. Please contact us by e-mail if you need Roger’s address. SocSailingBargeResearch@gmail.com
On behalf of the Committee and members of the Society, we send our most sincere sympathy to Elizabeth and her family.