Category Archives: Barge Matches

John Lewington’s Barge Match picture in The Times

I’m beginning to think that someone on The Times’s editorial or photographic staff is a Thames barge fan.

Again today there is a superb barge picture, this time by John Lewington of barges in “a Thames barge race in Southend”.   Difficult to work out from the description whether it is a Thames Match at Southend, or a Southend Match.

The photograph has been entered  for the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s photography competition, now in its 179th year.   img20180801_20163131

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Thames Match is next Saturday

Poster for Thames Match 2018

The Times does us proud today

I often think that The Times doesn’t know this part of the world exists.   But today they have done us proud.   There’s a picture of The Maldon Mud Race last Sunday and a picture of sb Marjorie in the Medway Match last Saturday.   Rob Powell’s picture I think, (please confirm).   I like the caption too.   It says “…. the Medway Barge Match, the first of seven races this summer which celebrate the historic role of barges.”

Maldon Mud Racde 2018 from TimesMedway Match 2018 Marjorie from Times

Hugh’s pictures of the Medway Match

We were delighted that Hugh Perks was able to come along to the SSBR Annual General Meeting this year, and even more delighted that he managed to get to the Medway Barge Match on 3rd June 2017.

As usual, he has taken some excellent pictures and was kind enough to let me have three of them for The Barge Blog.   So here are Mirosa; Niagara and Edith May; and Edme.

 

Southend Barge Match on Sunday 28 August

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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.

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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Nice story about Thames barges in Telegraph article

There’s a good article in The Daily Telegraph about Thames barges.   Written by Adam Lusher, it describes his joining the crew of Centaur for the 2013 Pin Mill Match.

Adam was clearly smitten by the barges:-

“As the red ochre sails clustered around the mouth of the Orwell, it was as if the river had returned to the days when the Thames sailing barge was the East Coast’s cargo vessel of choice, not the giant container vessels that now unload at Felixstowe, more maritime tower blocks than ships.   It felt all the more dreamlike because it had seemed so improbable.”

He joined Mate, Chris Martin, on a winch but not for long:-

“…….paying crew members can choose their own activity level.   Those who wish can take a turn at the winch.   The seriously enthusiastic can train to be mates and skippers.   Others, however, prefer to help cook lunch or simply to admire the view.

“I strongly recommend the latter.   When your smiling crewmate offers you a winch handle, remember that the leeboards both weigh 1.5 muscle-sapping tons.   I lasted precisely one tack, before I gasped my excuses and abandoned my station.”

Here’s Adam taking a turn on the winch with mate, Chris Martin.

Adam Lusher has a turn at the winch with mate Chris Martin, Telegraph piece on Centaur in 2013 Pinmill Match

We would just point out to Adam, though, that tremendous as TSBT’s work with Centaur and Pudge is, there are other Trusts working hard to preserve individual barges, several of them now proudly sailing as members of the active fleet.  

Here’s the link to the full story.   Well worth a read.

A round-up of the Swale Match

We’ve seen some really great photos of Saturday’s Swale Match.   So, to start with, here’s one that Hugh Perks sent us together with his reflections on the Match.   He was lucky enough to be on board Cambria so was able to observe his fellow SSBR Committee member, Dave Brooks, at work.

 

Swale Match 2013 (RHP)

 

Hugh writes, “Yesterday’s Swale Match  –  Plenty of wind, Force 6, got up to 33mph at one time and on Cambria we had chine out of the water frequently, lying over nicely as photo shows.    Dave Brooks was on the port bowlin’ all day;  he must have lost two stones with all his hard work.”

More pictures to come.

Pictures of 2013 Pin Mill Barge Match

Hugh Perks has kindly sent us these pictures of this year’s Pin Mill Match.   It’s been a great year for Barge Matches.

First in Class A was Edme, below.

Pin Mill Match Class A 1st EDME (2)

Here’s Mirosa (below) second in Class A.

Pin Mill Match Class A 2nd Mirosa (3)

And this is Xylonite, third in Class A (below).

Pin Mill Match Class A 3rd XYLONITE (3)

First in Class B was Niagara (below).

 

And First in Class C was Ardwina (below).

Pin Mill Match Class C  1st Ardwina (3)

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