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Three great trailers for Simon North’s premiere of the Centaur film

We’ve already posted about the Film Premiere on Saturday 7th March at Maldon Town Hall.   What film?   The premiere of Simon North’s film of the Restoration of Centaur.   Scroll down the page to see the poster for the performance giving all details of the Premiere which is in aid of the Thames Sailing Barge Trust.

Now Simon has produced three trailers for the film show, and, having seen them, each of them is a beautiful piece of art in its own right.   Here are the three trailers, the first introducing the film:

the second when the Lottery grant was awarded:

and the third showing Tim Goldsack, the Master Shipwright, at work with tar and horse manure:

Now go along to Maldon Town Hall on 7th March and see the whole thing  –  Enjoy!

Centaur Restoration Film Show (3)

 

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A new chapter for Decima?

News today that sb Decima is up for sale.   The Apollo Duck website has an advertisement from MJLewis Boatsales of Maldon offering the 1899-built Thames sailing barge for sale at £160,000.

Decima off Southend Pier, Southend Match 2013.

Decima off Southend Pier, Southend Match 2013.

Decima was built by FG Fay & Co of Southampton, being one of twenty identical steel barges built by the company for EJ Goldsmith’s of Grays, who traded her until the late 1940s.   The 67 ton, 85 foot barge’s history includes ownership by Rayfields of Gravesend, and then Greenhithe Lighterage as a motor barge.

She was sold out of trade to Dennis Wildish in 1977 and he re-rigged her as a charter barge. In 1999 she was sold to Jeremy Taunton as a houseboat.

Master shipwright and well-known sailing barge restorer Tim Goldsack, her present owner, bought Decima in 2003 and started a major restoration.   She was gutted and a substantial number of the hull and deck plates were replaced. She was given a new set of rigging and good second-hand sails.   A new Gardner 6LXB engine was fitted.   Decima has three cabins, with six berths, and central heating was installed when her owner lived aboard her for two years.

In July 2004 Decima set her sails for the first time in over 15 years, and has since been seen regularly around the East coast.   She has recently been based at Heybridge Basin, and in 2010 Wilkin and Son Ltd of Tiptree, Essex, (the famous makers of jams, marmalades, and conserves), became her sponsors.   Consequently the Tiptree logo has been displayed in her topsail.

According to the advertisement Decima is now at Faversham.   Here’s the link to the advertisement on the Apollo Duck website.

Thanks to the Decima website for the following interesting titbits from her history:-

“Things have not always run smoothly for Decima.   She has had many mishaps in her long history.   Most notably in 1938, during a severe gale, her crew abandoned her off Great Yarmouth, and she sailed herself across the North Sea to Holland!   She was relatively unscathed, and was returned to England where she was repaired and returned to work.   On November 17th 1940 she was swamped and sank whilst at anchor off Southend pier with a deck cargo of timber.   She was re-floated, refitted, and once again was put back to work!”  

New bottom for Centaur

Thames Sailing Barge Trust has been succCentaur (TSBT photoessful in obtaining funding of £100,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for sb Centaur to have a new outer bottom.   The work will be done at Oare led by Tim Goldsack, and we are pleased to learn that it is intended to involve apprentice shipwrights once again.

Here’s the link to a video from Shipping TV telling the story.

(Photo courtesy of Thames Sailing Barge Trust)

UPDATE  –  There’s a nice report about this in the Chelmsford Weekly News, including a photograph of the Trust’s President, Chairman and Vice Chairman with local dignitaries. 

Here’s the link to the report.

Martin Phillips calls for positive recognition that barge building skills are still thriving

Martin Phillips has today posted a comment to our piece about the film of “The Quay”.   It appears of course on that post, but it is necessary to click on “Comment” in order to see it.    It deserves more prominence, so we repeat it in full here:-

“It is very sad that the landowner’s wish to develop the site has destroyed what had been developed at Standard Quay; however I feel that the coverage of this to date rather ignores reality of what has been achieved by the Thames barge and trad boat community in East Anglia.

It is depressing to read such statements as:  ‘A centre for ancient maritime crafts, the quay is a haven for the few dozen surviving Thames sailing barges.   But Standard Quay’s latest owner, a property developer, plans to turn it into a tourist trap with shops, restaurants and luxury houses….’

This publicity would give the impression that this was the last home of sailing barges and that the preservation skills of barge shipwrights and the home of barges has been destroyed for good by a property developer’s greed.

However this is simply a false picture. What had been achieved at Faversham in the comparatively recent past particularly around the rebuild of Cambria was great, and of course Tim Goldsack is still operating his business (albeit not at Standard Quay). The Iron Wharf is still thriving as are the regular Faversham barges Mirosa and Repertor and Lady of the Lea.

Why can’t someone make an optimistic film publicising the achievements of the TSBT (formerly the barge club) in keeping its barges sailing over the last 64 years, rebuilding two (Pudge and Centaur) WITHOUT Lottery support and taking thousands of people sailing? The Trust’s third hand/mate  training  has produced  about 8 of the current Sailing Barge masters (including myself). It has done so much good to preserve barges and helped to bring people into the  barge scene who go on to work on barges. Let’s celebrate this success please!

Maldon and the Blackwater are  home to a very active fleet of barges and two barge yard (Cooks and Blackwater Marina) with blocks and  2 drydocks operating. Then there is Andy Harman’s yard at St Osyth not to forget the Pioneer rebuild and all the smacks. TS rigging has a thriving trad boat business (rerigging the Cutty Sark for example) and there is a host of evidence that the area is a hot bed of traditional skills and specialist shipwrights, riggers, metal workers, a blacksmith and much much more all based around the rich maritime heritage of the area. Topsail Charters have built a successful business over a quarter of a century preserving a fleet of active barges carrying thousands of passengers a year and employing a group of skippers and mates.

Then there are the barges themselves and the unseen efforts and huge financial commitments of private owners that has produced the wonderful sight of beautifully restored and maintained barges like Marjorie, Adieu, Edith May, Lady Daphne, Repertor, Wyvenhoe,  Lady of the Lea and Phoenician and many others . Private owners are rebuilding barges like Melissa and Niagara, Ethel Maud etc, with more on the way and two new builds completed and more on the way.

I deplore the problems that have ruined all Brian Pain’s efforts to achieve a laudable goal but the picture is far from gloomy! Traditional skills are actually thriving in East Anglia and the fleet of barges and smacks is an often unpublicised gem. Where else in the UK  has a fleet of traditional craft in their home waters been preserved and transformed from cargo carriers and fishing boats to working and pleasure vessels?

Yes what happened at Standard Quay was bad for one person’s dream and destroyed his hopes for the future. I dare say it was undoubtedly bad for Faversham – but that is quite a big issue and no doubt many will debate what is best for the town and the use of its creek for many years to come. 

Let’s celebrate what we are really  achieving guys! Please can someone make a film to show what has been achieved and what a wonderful tradition we have kept going. Tell the public and above all encourage them to join in and come sailing on our wonderful craft.”

Martin has set out a view with which I certainly agree.   It does often seem that Maldon and the other places on the Essex and Suffolk coast are somewhat ignored by some leaders of the barge world.   As he says, there is a thriving barge community in East Anglia, with barge yards, wonderful craftsmen, and a fleet of magnificent vessels who call it their home. 

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

Cambria starred in John Sergeant programme

Excellent programme tonight.  John Sergeant was very interested in all going on.   Strange that his second visit was to Faversham, but no mention of boats of any sort, or that Cambria was restored there.   The section on Cambria was lovely, and both Richard Titchener and Tim Goldsack came over well in their interviews.   JS was very complimentary about the Cambria Trust and the quality of the restoration.

New skipper for the Cambria? John Sergeant

All in all, a good night for Cambria and a good night for barges. 

(Pictures courtesy of Dave Brooks)

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