Category Archives: sb Repertor

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. “

 

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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Spitalfields Life features Repertor

Charles Traill has drawn my attention to the Spitalfields Life blog which has a post, David Pollock on board Repertor from Spitalfields Life websitedated 24th June, entitled “On the Thames Sailing Barge Repertor”.

There are lots of pictures, and we learn about the history of Repertor and how she came to be bought by her present owner, David Pollock, seen here on board.  His daughter, Amy, also recalls how she and her brothers spent much of their childhood on Repertor.

This is the link to the story.

Floating Films on Repertor

Interesting new idea from sb Repertor.   At her base in St Katherine’s Dock, London, she will be offering a Cinema Club.  

This  is something new, so the website doesn’t have a lot of content at the moment  –  no programme or gallery yet  –  but it does explain what it is all about.   Called Floating Films and run by volunteers, it will show a wide selection of films, including features and documentaries, as well as special screenings with live music accompaniment and talks with key industry guests.

As a not-for-profit film club there will be a suggested donation of £5, and up to 40 people can be accommodated.   So with limited space it will be necessary to book in advance.   The bar will be open, and guests are invited to stay on after the screening for discussion or just to enjoy the atmosphere.  

The club hopes to raise the profile of the survival of the barge fleet and this forgotten part of London history, whilst providing a unique arts venue for independent film events.

Here’s a screen capture of the website, and this is the link to it.

SB Repertor  Floating Films - screen capture full

Swale Match – closely fought and exciting

The general opinion seems to be that this year’s Swale Match,

Swale Barge Match fleet 2012

held last Saturday, was the best race of the season.   And it had a “newcomer” in that Niagara took part, less than a week after she returned to the active barge fleet.

Hugh Perks sent us this very welcome Match report:-

“The Match started in light airs east, soon getting up SE and just up to Force 6 for the run home.

Cabby made the fastest start, 20 seconds after the gun.  There were some thrilling finishes. 

Mirosa and Marjorie taking it right down to the wire

In the bowsprit class Mirosa beat Marjorie by the tip of her bowsprit, (half a second between them).  3rd was Lady of the Lea, (the only other bowsprit barge), which incurred a 5 hour penalty for starting 15 minutes early with the staysail barges, and was banned from entering public houses for the next two years. 

In the Staysail Class Niagara and Repertor were neck and neck at the finish, with Repertor one second ahead.  After a protest on the matter of something earlier in the match, Repertor was given a 5 minute time penalty, giving Niagara the victory.   Decima was 3rd, getting the Percy Wildish Cup which was fittingly presented by “Beefy” Wildish’s son.

Repertor and Niagara fighting for the line

Restricted Staysails went to Cabby, (in spite of also incurring a time penalty).  There was a close finish for 2nd place between Phoenician and Orinoco, (27 seconds), but it was given to Orinoco as Phoenician had failed to go round one of the marks.   3rd was Greta and 4th Pudge.

The fastest smack was Alberta, but on handicap went to Emeline.

Around 70 vessels took part in the match.”

(Photos by Dave Brooks)

 

Edith May makes a good Passage

The summer barge matches are under way and Ed Gransden tells me a bit about the Passage Match, as viewed from Edith May.

Edith May was officially first over the start line as Lady of the Lea and Ardwina went over seconds before the gun.   Edith May took the lead down the Thames and held it, going well throughout the day to be first barge into Harwich Harbour.   Even though she had to do a dog leg as she passed a buoy the wrong side, she still managed to win by a comfortable margin.    Repertor and Ardwina followed with Lady of the Lea bringing up the rear.

My picture depicts the barges trying to gauge the start.

(Words and picture by Dave Brooks)

 

News of Cambria, Repertor and Kitty

Busy weekend in the barge world.

Cambria left dry dock at Faversham yesterday, and here’s Repertor already onRepertor arrives at Faversham today to go into dry dock vacated by Cambria yesterday the way to take her place in the dry dock.

Meanwhile today more work is done on Cambria, and here’s Tim Goldsack working on her new bowsprit.

Tim Goldsack shaping Cambria's new bowsprit

At the other great home of barges, Maldon, the Quay saw Kitty getting attention.   JP Lodge says “…lowering down, sanding and painting the topmast truck, preparing to rig out and heave up maybe next weekend.”

Photographs by Dave Brooks