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Reminder named Historic Ships Regional Flagship of the Year 2017 for East Anglia

We are delighted that sb Reminder has been named by National Historic Ships as its Regional Flagship of the Year 2017 for East Anglia.   Reminder can usually be seen at Maldon Hythe Quay.   She carries OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAout an extensive programme each year, and again this year is acting as “home” for the Sea-Change Sailing Trust’s charters with young people.

The press release from National Historic Ships is given below.

Your Editor is particularly pleased to see that the Regional Flagship for the South West is Our Daddy  –  not a sailing barge but a Looe fishing boat, claiming to be the last of her type built.   I had the pleasure of seeing her at her home base of Brixham not long after she changed hands and of talking to her new owners.   She is a beautiful vessel being very well looked after.

PRESS RELEASE

National Historic Ships UK announces FLAGSHIP OF THE YEAR AWARD

Following eight successful years of very different kinds of vessels from around the UK winning this award, National Historic Ships UK has again extended the scheme for 2017.

This year, National Historic Ships UK decided the applications more strongly represented Regional rather than National event programmes and it was decided to award four Regional Flagships to recognise the commitment that many vessels give to their home cruising grounds.   In announcing this further extension of the scheme Hannah Cunliffe, Director of National Historic Ships UK, said: “I am delighted that we are able to offer these Awards once more and publicise the range of cruising programmes which these vessels are planning for the coming season.   Our four 2017 Regional Flagships have all shown their enthusiasm for raising the profile of UK maritime heritage at the events they are attending and we look forward to working closely with them in the months ahead.”

The Award criteria requires vessel owners to come forward with seasonal programmes to engage the public through festivals, demonstrations, on-board cruises, quayside visits, educational programmes, participation in races and similar activities. Flagships are expected to promote actively the role of National Historic Ships UK by distributing associated PR material and flying the flag as our ambassadors. The four Regional Flagships will each receive a grant of £250 to be spent on the vessel, along with a special Regional Flagship Broad Pennant denoting the year in which the award was made.

The 2017 Regional Flagship Awards have been given to: Caronia (Regional Flagship of the Year 2017 for the Solent) – for her commitment to education and engagement with maritime heritage involving an intensive series of visits from her current home port in Chichester to her historic home port of St Ives, via Yarmouth, Falmouth, Penzance, Plymouth and Dartmouth.

Daniel Adamson (Regional Flagship of the Year 2017 for the North-West) – for her commitment to education and engagement with the North-West’s maritime heritage involving an intensive series of visits extending to Ellesmere Port, Liverpool, and Lymm. http://www.thedanny.co.uk/

Our Daddy (Regional Flagship of the Year 2017 for the South West) – for her commitment to education and engagement with the South West’s maritime heritage involving an intensive series of visits extending to Brixham, Looe, Falmouth, Dartmouth and the Isles of Scilly.

Reminder (Regional Flagship of the Year 2017 for East Anglia) – for her commitment to education and engagement with East Anglia’s maritime heritage involving an intensive series of visits extending to Maldon, the Medway, and London. http://www.top-sail.co.uk/

Each Flagship will be presented with its broad pennant by a member of the NHS-UK team.  

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.  

Barges stuck in fog

Today’s message from Topsail Charters tells us that thick fog is hampering barges returning to Maldon.   Thistle is in a “pea souper” off Harwich, and Reminder is out at Brightlingsea.

And an update on Reminder

Sea Change Sailing Trust posted today that they will be back alongside at Maldon, aboard Reminder, on this afternoon’s tide for meetings and a few days ashore.   Then they will be away again for the final month of the season afloat.

 

Niagara Rejoins the Fleet

If you had been in the vicinity of Berry Wiggins Jetty on the river Medway today, 6 August 2012, you could have been forgiven for thinking that you were watching Reminder sailing.   How wrong you would have been, for today Niagara made her welcome return to the active barge fleet.   She slipped her mooring at Hoo and made her way out into the river in the late afternoon.  All around thunder rattled and lightning flashed, but unperturbed the crew of the Niagara was determined to set sail.

Niagara was built of steel in 1898 by Forrestt of Wivenhoe, who also built Atrato and Wyvenhoe.  Niagara was the biggest of the three barges by some 30 tons.  Originally built for Augustus George Hughes of East Greenwich, she was sold to the Tilbury Contracting and Dredging Co Ltd of London in 1906, and by 1916 she was sold to John George Hammond of London. 

Niagara as a motor barge, India & Milwall Docks, June 24 1973

By 1924 her owners were the London and Rochester Trading Co Ltd, and, after being requisitioned by the Ministry for War Transport, she was fitted with a 3 Cyl. Kelvin engine in 1940.   After another spell requisitioned, she was sold in 1970 to William Mulcuck of Chatham who was her skipper at the time, and then in 1975 to Richard Twining of Battersea.

Niagara spent many years trading as a motor barge and her end was destined to be at a scrap yard, but her present owner, Peter Sands, acquired her in 2001 and set about returning her to sail.  Almost unnoticed down at Hoo in Kent, Niagara slowly started to take shape. And today Peter finally saw his hard work pay off as the Niagara set sails for the first time in over 70 years.

For just over an hour the crew put her through her paces, even boldly sailing her into the creek for a triumphant sail by at Whitton Marine where her rebuild took place.

It was a pleasure to witness, and to my untrained eye she looked to be going quite well.  It is hoped that she will sail in the Swale Barge Match on Saturday 11th August.

Well done to Peter and we wish you and Niagara well for the future.

An exclusive for The Barge Blog  –  words and pictures by Dave Brooks