Classic Boat Awards 2020

Some great news in these difficult times

It has been announced today that two of the fleet are winners in classes of the Classic Boat Awards 2020.

sb Blue Mermaid has been named as Traditional New Build of the Year, and sb Greta has been named as Centenarian of the Year.

Congratulations to them both.

Here’s the link to the story.


Film Show Cancelled

Because of the current issues around Coronavirus, the Thames Sailing Barge Trust and the Society for Sailing Barge Research have decided to CANCEL this Saturday’s Film Show.
Please accept our apologies.   We will try to rearrange at a later date.

Film show cancellation 2020

Roll on Springtime with Team Raybel

The project for the restoration of sb Raybel has an interesting blog on its website.   The spring newsletter has been posted this week and is full of information about progress, equipment and helpers, as well, of course, as asking for volunteers.   Well worth a read.

Here’s the link

Raybel and Museum March 2020

New Barge of the Month published today

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

Another great barge film show coming up

SSBR and TSBT are pleased to announce there will be another barge film show in Maldon on Saturday 21st March.

Archive Sailing Barge Film Show

In aid of Thames Sailing Barge Trust and Society for Sailing Barge Research

Tickets £8.00 on the door or in advance from TSBT, 25 Repertor Drive, Maldon, CM9 6FQ. Send cheque payable to Thames Sailing Barge Trust and stamped addressed envelope.

Bar will be open and there will be a raffle.    All profits will be shared between TSBT & SSBR

Doors open 7:00 for 7:30pm;  evening finishes around 10:30pm.

Film show 2020

Training for tomorrow’s shipwrights, masters and mates

Excellent video about the Shipshape Heritage Training Partnership showing interviews with several of the trainees and highlighting their time spent with Sea-Change Sailing Trust.   Richard Titchener talks about the scheme and Hilary’s there in the background.

Barge of the Month – February – sb Niagara

Today we start a new series with a page called Barge of the Month.

Thanks to the agreement of Richard Walsh, who designed our source, we shall be using the splendid pictures and information from the SSBR Calendar which was published in 2017.   We shall start with February’s barge, sb Niagara.

Niagara of London, Official Number 108373, built 1898 at Wivenhoe, Essex, for Augustus J Hughes.


Better news for Maldon’s barge operators

The previous post was about the proposal from Maldon Council to increase mooring fees on Hythe Quay by 94%.

Good news today that last night’s meeting of the Council changed its view after so many people expressed their opinion that it would mean the end for Thames sailing barges at Maldon.   The following message from Topsail Charters outlines what happened at that meeting and at a gathering this morning of barge operators.

“Mooring fee hike proposal could lead to ‘catastrophe’ for Hythe Quay’s iconic barges”

“The barge operators had a meeting this morning to discuss last night’s decision, and in general we are pleased with the outcome.

“This was that fees would increase by 10% from the beginning of April and that several meetings would take place this year before any future increases.

“We are particularly pleased that the Council has agreed to discuss a longer term plan for Hythe Quay, together with any potential fee increases, and are pleased that it recognizes us as a ‘heritage asset’.   We look forward to working closely with the Council in the future to promote Maldon, its barges and the Quay.

“There was great local support at the meeting from the local waterfront, especially Maldon Yacht Club, and I am sure that impressed Councillors.    We wish the Club well with its dealings with the Council.

“We greatly appreciate all the support we have been shown especially from the newly-formed Maldon and Heybridge Heritage Harbour Group who are working hard to gain greater recognition for Maldon’s important Maritime Heritage.    You will no doubt hear more from the Group in the future.

“The Group instigated an e-petition which had 300 signatures in the first two days.    We would urge people still to sign the petition, which can be found on the Maldon District Council website under ‘petitions’ heading.    By signing the Heritage Harbour Group’s petition members of the public will give the Council an indication of how much support there is for our Maritime Heritage.

“Obviously there is still work to be done for the future.    We recognize that these are challenging financial times for all local authorities, and while the proposed increases would have been crippling for the barges we feel certain we can continue to make a contribution in other ways to the town.    We look forward to working with the Council to build a sustainable future for Maldon’s Past.

Topsail Charters Team”

This is excellent news, but also something which will need close watching for the future.

Threat to Maldon’s barges

Maldon District Council – E Petition – Increase in charges for mooring barges and parking cars on Hythe Quay

The Thames Sailing Barge Trust and other barge Operators on Hythe Quay at Maldon are facing a huge increase in mooring and parking charges from Maldon District Council which all are fighting.   However the council is not looking at the wider issues relating to what it proposes.

The Thames Sailing Barge Trust is unable to afford a 94% rise in charges and neither can the other operators.

The Maldon & Heybridge Heritage Harbour Working Group, on which the barge operators have a voice, has set up an e-petition on the Maldon District Council website. The link is below.    Could we ask you to click on the link and register and then support the statement that has been issued.

Once you have done this, please copy the link to other friends/parties/associates you may know who may live and/or work in the wider area around Maldon for them to do the same.

This is very important.   The future of the barges staying at Maldon is at stake.

Many thanks in advance,  your support is appreciated.

Jim Lawrence’s Book goes into Reprint

When Jim’s book, “London Light  –  A Sailorman’s Story” was published in May 2018 copies flew off the shelves, and before Christmas the “Sold Out” sign went up!   But requests continued to come in, and publisher Richard of Chaffcutter Books was under great pressure to provide a reprint.

“Due to popular demand” is a phrase often used when a London Light J Lawrencebook is being reprinted or an out-of-stock article has been brought to the market again.   It is absolutely true, however, about Jim’s long-awaited book.

Now we are very pleased to be able to announce that the book is back in print again, so those who missed out last time can now buy their own copy of  “London Light – A Sailorman’s Story”.

Copies can be purchased on line through

or send a cheque for £16, including UK postage & packing to:

Chaffcutter Books
39 Friars Road
SG11 2NN



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