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The season is getting underway – here’s Victor’s programme

The barges are coming out of hibernation, although they will S B Victor 1895have had little sleep as much winter maintenance work will have been done.   One by one we are seeing them start their programme for the summer season.   And here’s news of what sb Victor will be doing this year as published on the Ipswich Borough Council website.

Click here for the story.


End of Summer round-up on some of the barges

A round-up from some of the barges as the season draws nearer to its close.

Peter Phillips records that Thalatta’s last day sail of the season was on 3rd September.    She then went to St Osyth, and then on to Heybridge.   He says:  “thanks for everything Cyril and Roger, and let’s look forward to next season.”   Meanwhile he tells us:  “Thalatta has a new book, Thalatta, Spirit of the Sea;  I suppose you could call it her biography.”

Thistle had a Public Open Day in Ipswich Dock last Sunday.   As well as free entry, she was offering a competition for two free places on a barge cruise.

Edith May was wondering how it could be that the last week of her summer season was approaching.   She reports that the Tea Room will be re-opening on Thursday 25th October, 1030 to 1600.

Cambria finished her extended charter to the Sea Change Sailing Trust, and is now doing several short charters for young carers, who are sponsored by the Rotary Club, which pays for replacement carers while the young people are away.   The professional crew members at the moment are Ian Ruffles (Skipper) and Denis Johnson and Ryan Dale (Mates).   On Sunday Ryan posted this photograph, which shows Cambria’s GPS recording a speed of 14.2 knots.   He goes on to say they “Maxed out at 15.9 knots not long after.   I know the tide accounted for a lot of it, but still find this incredible!!”

Kitty has been working really hard.   Annie Meadows tells us: “Lovely two hour sail on the Blackwater this evening;  back as the sun was about to set  –  pair of egrets by our mooring and four cormorants diving for their dinner.”   The next day she says: “Third day out in a row;  we had Topsail, Mainsail, Staysail and Mizzen set and engine off for over an hour.   The barge was full to capacity with lots of smiling faces.”   And there was more the next day: “Out on the Blackwater with a full barge again today.   Sunshine for most of the day, with Lyndon March doing a great job as Acting Skipper.”   And Annie’s latest report is: “Another lovely but slightly chilly sail on sb Kitty, this time with JP Lodge as Acting Skipper, and Kevin Burtonshaw and Lyndon March wandering about, dazed and unsure what to do once control had been handed over to someone else.   It was funny to watch.”   Not to be outdone, JP Lodge joins in: “I had a good day yesterday on sb Kitty.   It was my turn as Acting Skipper!   Learnt a lot, didn’t break anything.   I still reckon my approach alongside Hydrogen was smooth.   Thanks to Kevin, Lyndon and Annie.   Refreshments afterwards in the Queens, then later that evening to Curry Nights for a really good meal.” 

And finally to Greta, where Steve Norris has posted two pictures of Greta’s van in its splendid new livery.   He’s very proud of the signs.



The story of this summer’s Cambria charter – beer from Maldon and aggregate to Ipswich

Those with access to Facebook may well have read the reports sent regularly from Cambria about the current charter by Sea Change Sailing Trust.   Matt Care has reposted many of them on the Cambria’s own website, and occasional articles have appeared in newspapers.    What makes this charter so special then?   Well because of what the Sea Change trainees and the crew have been doing:  they’ve delivered Captain Bob ale from the brewery in Maldon to various riverside pubs in the first half;  and then re-enacted Cambria’s last voyage in trade by loading a cargo at Tilbury Docks and taking it up to Ipswich.

Now the skipper for the charter, Richard Titchener, has written an article for the Ipswich Maritime Trust in which he tells us all about the charter.   It’s well worth a read, click here.

Victor and her young crew will be at the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant

We now know that a number of barges will be at the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant on 3 June.

News today, story here and here, that Ipswich-based sb Victor will be moored near HMS Belfast, and will be crewed by young people from the Royal Hospital School at Holbrook, Suffolk.  

Originally the Royal Hospital School was an “asylum”, or orphanage and

Victor sails past Royal Hospital School

school, for children of deceased or disabled Royal Naval seamen, founded in 1712, and was housed at Greenwich.   In 1933 it moved to Suffolk to find a larger site, and is now a leading independent boarding and day school.  The school is very proud of its links with the Royal Navy, and keeps a number of naval traditions, including all pupils being issued with naval uniforms for ceremonial occasions.  

Pupils are encouraged to sail, and the crew for the Victor was chosen by a selection process from the many who wanted to take part.   Being part of the River Pageant is something they will remember for the rest of their life.

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