Category Archives: Barge Matches
In a statement today Jim Dines, on behalf of the Committee of the Blackwater Smack and Barge Match Association, has announced that this year’s Blackwater Smack and Barge Match has been cancelled. Although we shall all be disappointed, it is not unexpected and was clearly the best thing to do. Here is the text of the announcement:-
“It is with great reluctance that the Committee of the Blackwater Smack and Barge Match Association have decided to cancel this years Smack and Barge Match that was to be held on the 13th of June, We felt in light of the current situation that this was the best decision and we will concentrate on 2021.
“We wish you all well in these strange times and hope to see you out sailing when the restrictions are reduced.
“Please pass this on to all those in the Smack and Barge community and share please.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.