On Thames Match day 2022 – here’s how it all started

Thanks to Peter Carter for making us aware of this excellent historic document – the report of the meeting in August 1863 which started the barge matches.

Meeting to found Thames Match 1863

Important notice re membership subscription renewals

If you are an SSBR member you have probably just received the new edition of Mainsheet, or if, like me, you live in an area where the post comes once a week if you are lucky, you may still be waiting for it.

I’m reliably informed that the current Mainsheet has some first class articles, and also included in the package is the membership renewal form for the year 2022.

Many members are now using electronic payments so the form includes the SSBR bank account details, but unfortunately there are errors in the numbers shown.,

The form has a seven digit account number but it should be eight numbers.   The correct SSBR account number is: –


And the sort code is wrong too – that should be


Our Membership Secretary, Mark Allinson, sends his apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.

2021 Awards feature Barges and those who maintain them once again

Just been watching the National Historic Ships annual awards.

Many congratulations to Tim Jepson of Thames Sailing Barge Trust who won the Individual Marsh Charitable Trust Award for Volunteers.   Tim’s award marks his wonderful commitment to the two barges owned by the Trust, training volunteer helpers with their maintenance, and all the work he has done himself on sb Centaur.

Congratulations also to Fraser Gray for winning the Photographer of the Year award for his picture of Thames Sailing Barges at Dawn at Gravesend Town Pier – fantastic picture shown below.

And good too to see that the mighty Edme features as one of the pages of the 2022 National Historic Ships calendar.

Fraser Gray - Thames Sailing Barges at Dawn at Gravesend Town Pier

Thames Sailing Barges Racing – The Passage Match 2021

This year’s match was a bit different.  Just two barges took part, Edith May and Blue Mermaid, and what a match it was.  Closely fought along the way, with changes of leader, and a neck-and-neck finish.  Congratulations to both skippers and crews.

Here’s the link to the video of the match, compiled by Tiller & Wheel (Ed Gransden)

Passage Match 2021 Blue Mermaid & Edith May

Picture courtesy of Jake Robshaw

Well deserved praise for Don

sb Raybel has posted a really nice story today all about a visit to Essex by Matt Houston, a former owner of the barge. He went to Maldon where he met three well-known people of the Thames sailing barge world, Barry Pearce, David Patient and Carol Greenhaugh.

Here’s the link that will tell you all about the visit.

But before that Matt went to North Fambridge to visit the Society for Sailing Barge Research’s Archive, giving him a chance to see the items about Raybel that are held there. And he was shown round by our Archivist, Don Wright. We are delighted that Raybel’s post praises Don so generously. He does an amazing amount of work for the Society. He often opens the door at his house to find boxes and boxes of photographs, books and papers that one of us has collected from a kind donor. (Former barge crew skippers and mates, and those who just like to watch and take photos, are good enough to hand over their collections to the Society when downsizing, or leave them to us in their wills.)

Don then spends many hours at his computer carefully cataloguing the contents of all those boxes. We are now at well over 40,000 items in the Archive. He then stores them in the appropriate way and is able to locate a specific item when asked for it by authors, film companies and individual members. Not just that, though, he cuts the grass outside the Archive and does all the necessary maintenance. What would we do without him?

Below is a picture of Matt Houston with Don, which gives a sneaky look inside the Archive. Don is the one on the left. Do wish you had smiled though Don.

Don Wright & Matt Houston at Archive July 2021 re Raybel former owner

Picture courtesy of sb Raybel

Advance Notice about AGM

SSBR usually has its Annual General Meeting in May, but, having considered the Coronavirus road map published last week, the Committee has decided to postpone the meeting until the autumn.

The Committee held a virtual meeting on Saturday at which it was agreed that we would aim to have the AGM in early October in order to avoid clashing with any Barge Matches which might be moved to August or September. It was also agreed to hold the meeting in Gravesend.

We can now confirm that the SSBR Annual General Meeting will be held on the afternoon of Saturday 9th October at The Three Daws, West Street, Gravesend, starting at 3.00 pm.

This is, of course, subject to there being no Coronavirus restrictions at the time which would make it impossible. The meeting will be in the Function Room on the lower floor, which is large and airy.

We are looking forward to seeing our members again, having missed them during 2020 with no AGM and no events.

New Barge of the Month published today

The Barge of the Month for January is published today.   Click on the Barge of the Month page to see it.

New Barge of the Month published today

The Barge of the Month for December is published today.   Click on the Barge of the Month page to see it.

New Barge of the Month published today

The Barge of the Month for November is published today.   Click on the Barge of the Month page to see it.

Berthing fees at Hythe Quay Maldon could reduce

Maldon District Council has this week been discussing charges for its services, and one of the items on the Agenda was berthing fees at Hythe Quay. Talks are continuing but could result in fees for Maldon’s historic barges being reduced because of covid 19.

Councillors were told that some of the barge owners and organizations have lost over 70% of their expected income because of the pandemic.

The Council’s Commercial Manager said that officers frequently communicate with the barge owners.

The members decided to meet the barge owners and council officers with a view to discussing the fees in the current situation of the pandemic.

Here’s the link    to the story in Maldon Nub News.

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