TSBT’s Sea Songs & Shanty Evening – Not to be missed

3rd Shanty Night 2 (2)

Kitty stars in winning photo

sb Kitty is the star of one of the winning photographs in an Essex competition.Kitty in winning photo

Essex County Council set up #InstaEssex, and then asked people to submit photographs which showed what Essex meant to them.   The aim was to capture Essex culture. 

The project has been a great success with 97 photographers, both amateurs and professionals, submitting a total of 131 images.   From that number 15 finalists were selected, and all their work will be on display at Liverpool Street Station and at branch line stations.   The three overall winners have been announced, and Kitty’s picture is one of them.

The photograph is titled “Regatta Day – Mersea Island” and is by the professional award-winning photographer Chrissie Westgate.   It shows the Thames sailing barge Kitty at the West Mersea Town Regatta

The West Mersea Town Regatta dates back to 1838 and includes races, music and a funfair, plus fireworks at the end of the day.   In the photograph Essex fishing boats and the Thames Sailing Barge Kitty form a line to welcome in Regatta Saturday.

Chrissie is from Mersea Island and likes to capture local events like Mersea Week, believing that “photography is not just about seeing, it is about feeling”.

Members of the judging panel said they really appreciated the balanced composition of the photograph and also the balance of the old Thames Sailing Barge, once common on the Essex coast, and the more modern fishing vessels.

The competition entries were very varied, including photos of buildings, street art, the countryside and the coast.   The panels will be on display at Liverpool Street Station from Thursday 24th March until the end of May / beginning of June and at branch line stations from Saturday 9th April.

 

The Sailing Barge Show

Not to be missed is the event coming soon organized by the Blackwater Sailing Barge Match Association.

Called the Sailing Barge Show, it features a new talk by Jim Lawrence, one of the last surviving sailing barge skippers from the days of trade.   There will also be a short film of the 2015 match, films from the Association’s archive and a model boat exhibition.

What promises to be a very interesting evening will take place on Saturday 6th February, at 7.30 pm, at Maldon Town Hall.   Tickets are £3 each, and there will be refreshments and a quiz in the interval.                                   

Here’s a link to the poster about the event.  BSBMA Poster              

 

Ena being re-decked on TV today

A bit of a treat this afternoon, Saturday 2 January.

On the Quest TV channel the programme “Salvage Squad” is on for most of the day.Ena_24_1
And at 4 pm it will be showing an episode about Lee Hurst and his team working on a Thames Sailing Barge.   This is a repeat, previously shown in 2002.

At almost 90 feet long, the 1906 wooden sb Ena is the largest challenge the squad has tackled, and the barge has to be re-decked in a month.

This will give real-life barge restorers the chance to watch, laugh, and perhaps criticize  –  what a treat!

QUEST TV CHANNEL  –  SATURDAY 2 JANUARY

4 pm to 5 pm    SALVAGE SQUAD

If you have Freeview, then Quest is Channel Number 37.

Christmas at The Barge Tearooms

We visited The Barge Tearooms at Maldon on Sunday as part of our family Christmas.  

Vicky and Rickard, on board sb Hydrogen, Christmas 2015

We hadn’t realized a charity rowing race would be taking place on the river in aid of RNLI, which meant there were large crowds both on Hythe Quay and all along the Promenade.   It was a pretty miserable windy, wet day, and we were glad to get on board sb Hydrogen and into the tearooms.   There were six of us; four scurried below into the warm, but two hardy souls stayed on deck.   The cream tea was excellent, and so, apparently, was the cake.  They even provide blankets and umbrellas for those who stay outside!   Well worth a visit.

Because of the repairs which are taking place to the Quay there were only the three Topsail Charters barges present:  sb Hydrogen, sb Thistle and sb Reminder.   At Cooks Yard, sb George Smeed is now looking very smart;  

Chris on board sb Hydrogen at Maldon, Christmas 2015

still without leeboards, but two freshly painted specimens were lying nearby in the yard so could be destined for her.   And sb Dawn was also there, wrapped up in her winter cover.

While we were there sb Kitty came back from a sausage-and-mash cruise and passed us on her way to Fullbridge where she is based at present.  

Hugh’s photo of Tollesbury at Standard Quay

I’m very sorry there have been no posts on The Barge Blog since August.   September, October and most of November are my busiest months in “real life” and I just don’t have the time to deal with it, although I do manage the occasional post to the Society’s Facebook page.

Members of the Society should now have received the autumn edition of our excellent magazine Mainsheet  –  and if you aren’t a member and don’t have Mainsheet then you’re really missing something.   Mainsheet contained the news that Hugh Perks has stood down from the Committee of SSBR.   Tollesbury October 2015We are all very sad that he has come to this decision, although we understand his reasons.   Hugh is a founder member of the Society, has held office and has brought his vast knowledge of maritime subjects to our deliberations and indeed to our publications.  

Thankfully, Hugh has said that he intends to continue to bombard us with letters, notes, corrections, etc, to keep the Committee on its toes.   And as good as his word, he has sent us this splendid photograph of sb Tollesbury.   He says:- “Tollesbury is now based at Standard Quay, Faversham, as her former berth at Barking is no longer available. She is looking very smart and well painted up.   Her mast and topmast need attention, but the sprit is newly painted.   The foliage in pots on the decks and hatches surely qualifies her for the “Valdora Trophy”.   Old timers may remember Valdora the ‘flowerpot’ barge at Great Yarmouth in the early 1950s.

“Also at Standard Quay is sb Decima, sporting somewhat virulent green paint in places, and sb Repertor is berthed opposite. “

 

SSBR at Southend Barge Match

If you’re coming to the Southend Barge Match on Sunday and watching from the Pier, do come and see us in the Royal Pavilion. SSBR has an exhibition there, and Graham, Tricia and Don would love to see you.

Pudge to be at Ipswich Maritime Festival

There’s a chance this weekend to have a look on board a Dunkirk Little Ship, sb Pudge.IpsMaritFest

Pudge is going to the Ipswich Maritime Festival and you can visit her there on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th August.   She will be moored at Orwell Quay, Ipswich, and will be open to the public from 10.30 to 18.00 each day.   Entry on board is free, although donations to the Thames Sailing Barge Trust, which owns and maintains Pudge, will be very welcome and will go towards her upkeep.

If you’re in the Ipswich area this weekend, do pay Pudge a visit and find out about the story of her involvement at Dunkirk.

Here’s the link to the Maritime Festival’s website, which has all the details.

the gentle author sails on Repertor in the Swale Match

My Google alert today told me about a really nice article on the Spitalfields Life

sb Repertor, Swale Match 2015

sb Repertor, Swale Match 2015

website entitled “Barge Racing on the Thames Estuary”.   It is written by the gentle author and is about his day last Saturday on board sb Repertor for the Swale Match.

First our author outlines the history of the barge matches, and then goes on to write about his own experience of the day.   I was struck by this paragraph which sums up his reaction:-

“For an inexperienced sailor like myself, this was an overwhelming experience – deafened by the roar and crash of the waves and the relentless slap that the wind makes upon the sail, dazzled by the reflected sunlight and buffeted by the wind which became the decisive factor of the day. The immense force of the air propelled the vast iron hull, skimming forward through the swell at an exhilarating speed, yet required immense dexterity from the crew to keep the sail trimmed and manage the switch of the mainsail from one side to the other, accompanied by the raising and lifting of the great iron  ’leeboards’ – which serve as keels to prevent the flat bottomed barge capsizing while sailing upwind.”

Like many before him, our author’s conclusion at the end of the day was:-

“Observing these historic vessels in action, and witnessing the combination of skill and physical exertion of a crew of more than eight, left me wondering at those men who once worked upon them, sailing with just a skipper, a mate and a boy.”

And as we know, many barge skippers sailed without a third hand.   Here’s the link to the full article.   All photographs courtesy of the gentle author.

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Doggett’s Coat & Badge is 300

Tomorrow sees the Doggett’s Coat & Badge Race rowed on the Thames in London.   The Race starts at 11.30am at London Bridge and finishes at Cadogan Pier, Chelsea.   The prize-giving will be at Fishmongers’ Hall at approximately 1.15pm.  And this year, it’s an important one  –  the 300th Race.

Here’s a report on the 100th which took place in 1815.

doggetts 1815

And here’s a report in 1915, which says that as “one of the minor hardships of the war” the Race will not take place.

doggetts 1915

 

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