SSBR at Leigh Maritime Festival

This Sunday, 21st August, we shall be in the Old Town at Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, for the Leigh Maritime Festival.

We shall be in the Scott & Stapleton Maritime Marquee in the car park opposite Leigh Sailing Club.   Barges will be an important theme of the festival this year, with not just SSBR but the Thames Sailing Barge Trust and the Southend Barge Match all taking part.   The three of us will be placed together in a row so you should be able to find us.Leigh Maritime Festival

There will  be lots going on at various venues across the Old Town, including children’s activities.

The Old Town will be closed to traffic from 10am, but there will be plenty of parking available at Leigh station.   So drop the car off, stroll along past the cockle sheds to get in the mood and join us along the High Street and wharves from 11am.

For the seafaring among you the Lower Thames Rowing Club’s Annual Pier Race is setting off from Bell Wharf at 2pm.   There will be a variety of boats racing to Southend pier and back – a route of over 8 miles – with a sprint finish to arrive back at approximately 3.30pm.

Everyone is invited to Marko Sparko’s Pirate show at 3pm for magic and balloon fun.   Once the tide comes in it’s crabbing lines at the ready with Leigh Round Table – see how many you can catch!

Victoria Wharf will be transformed with deckchairs to host a ‘Seaside Concert Party’ with performances from Leigh and Southend Operatic and Dramatic Societies, Ami Hawthorne, the Yardarm Folk Orchestra and the Hoy Shanty Crew.   Bobs Barbershop and Inspire Theatre Collective will be strolling and performing around the Old Town.   Take a seat, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the show.

Father Clive Hillman from St Clements Church will be blessing the catch as it comes in and a chance to buy the freshest fish of the day!

Then there is TS Implacable and the Sea Cadet Corps on Bell Wharf; exhibitions from the Port of London Authority; artefacts from the “London”, which was wrecked in the estuary in 1665; a 5ft replica sailing barge; the Police launch; Endeavour; live music at the Peterboat; Scott & Stapleton stocks; the … oh just come on down and have a great day!

Feel free to come along in nautical themed dress to add to the occasion.

The event ends at 4 pm.



Southend Barge Match on Sunday 28 August


All about Rebekka and the everts of Denmark

Bent Overgaard has written to tell us about Rebekka of Fano, an historic evert of Denmark.

“The evert Rebekka of Fanø, is an historic vessel, originally built in 1921, on the Rebekka of Fano, evert of Denmarknorthern Wadden Sea island ‘Fanø’.   In 1996 she was thoroughly renovated by the present owner, the association: “Foreningen Everten Rebekka af Fanø”.   Her basic characteristics are: LOA 14.92 meters, B 4.75 meters, maximum draft fully loaded 1.48 meters and BT 16.1.

“The ship type ‘evert’ is one of the types of vessel which have been in use during the longest period of time, probably for close to 1000 years, until the 1940s.   It is a small vessel and is closely related to the Thames sailing barge, with a low draft, a flat bottom and leeboards, designed to carry relatively heavy loads in low depth tidal areas.   During low tide the evert, like the Thames sailing barge, is constructed to stand on its flat bottom on the beach without heeling over, making it approachable for cargo handling directly from shore.   This enables virtual door-to-door transport throughout the Wadden Sea and connected rivers, deltas and inland waterways.   As late as 1900 thousands of Thames sailing barges would perform similar services in the UK.

“The capabilities of the evert were crucial to the population and development of the south-eastern shores of the North Sea, along the Wadden Sea coast of Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.    Thus, a city like Hamburg could not have thrived and grown had it not been for the evert’s unique ability to deliver food, building materials and other necessities to the growing city from the fertile tidal areas of the vast Elbe delta, and bringing manure back from the city.

“After having been one of the most numerous and important types of vessel along the entire Wadden Sea, only a few have been spared.   Rebekka is one of only three everts left in Denmark, and she is the only one still sailing.

“The purpose of the association Everten Rebekka af Fanø is to preserve the Rebekka as a sailing and fully functioning vessel, in order to convey this part of our cultural and maritime heritage, by making it possible to experience the vessel in its original environment.   At the same time, we provide a unique access to the Wadden Sea National Park.   Since June 2014 the park has constituted the Danish part of the UNESCO’s Wadden Sea World Heritage Site. “

For further information and membership:

or e-mail:


Simon North’s video of Owen Emerson

Simon North has put a nice video up on YouTube where he is in conversation with sb Whippet in MedwayOwen Emerson on board sb Whippet.

Here’s the link to it:  


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!


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. “


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