Category Archives: Barge Matches

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.

 

Advertisements

Southend Barge Match on Sunday 28 August

img147

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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)

Anniversary Thames Match attracts 16 Barges

It was a great achievement to gather 16 barges for the Thames Match on Saturday.   ThamesMatch2013 (DBrooks)It would always have been a special occasion as the 150th anniversary of the first match, but was made more special  –  and more poignant  –  by the sudden death at the end of last year of Mark Boyle who had re-started the matches in the 1990s and done so much to drive them forward.   All credit then to the Committee who picked up the reins, (oh dear, we are into horse metaphors now!), and provided such a special 2013 match.    Not least, mention must be made of Richard Walsh, our own SSBR Vice Chairman, who stepped in as Match Secretary.

The weather was lovely for spectators and those taking part, but the lack of wind at the start caused big problems.   This year the match finished at Erith rather than Gravesend and the winners of the three classes were:-

Coasting Class  –  Cambria

Champion Staysail Class  –  Niagara

Champion Bowsprit Class  –  Edme

SSBR Committee member and Cambria Trust Secretary, Dave Brooks, has published an excellent report of the match on the Cambria website.   As he says, he had defected for the weekend to Lady Daphne, but he can’t resist watching out for Cambria!   Here’s the link to the report on the Cambria Blog.   The splendid picture was taken by Dave Brooks.

Simon turns Xylonite red in the Pin Mill Match

Simon North has made another superb barging film, this time of the 2013 Xylonite in Blackwater Match 2013 (Dave Brooks)Pin Mill Sailing Barge Match.

He was aboard Tim Kent’s Xylonite and has concentrated on the crew and their actions.   Shot at times in sepia, and at times in a very fetching red, Simon has truly captured the magic of the sailing barge.   There’s interesting background music, and some funky timing.

Congratulations Simon  –  another great film!

Click here for the link to the film.

Photo on right by Dave Brooks.

Good field for the Blackwater Match

Plenty of wind for the Blackwater Match on Saturday, and it attracted a good ???????????????????????????????????????????field in all classes.

The Match was well advertised on the Quay and Promenade at Maldon, but it was disappointing that so few people were at either place for when the barges returned.   Probably the time, the last one arrived at about 5.30pm, and the very cold wind by then put them off.   Certainly, apart from The Barge Blog, there were only two people at the far end of the Promenade by the statue who knew what was happening.

???????????????????????????????????????????Here’s Hythe Quay as the barges returned afterwards, and some adjustment as Pudge is put away for the night.

Click here for the Results, courtesy of the Sailing Barge Association.

%d bloggers like this: