2017 Sailing programme

can be viewed on the Come Sailing/Bookings tab.

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Learn How To Sail A Thames Sailing Barge For Free

Are you looking for the adventure of a lifetime?

The Thames Sailing Barge Trust is seeking passionate, highly-motivated individuals who want to become mate or skipper of a traditional Thames Sailing Barge.

Centaur Thames Barge Pin Mill Match (1)

No previous sailing experience required

Following the success of the first year (2016) of our sail training scheme, the Trust are looking to recruit a further ten trainees to help secure the future of the Thames Sailing Barge fleet.

This is possibly the most comprehensive, free sail training opportunity in the world.

We will guide you through 700 enabling objectives, which will help you reach the required standard to qualify as a bargemaster. These include full knowledge of all barge sailing, navigation and maintenance tasks.

It usually takes around 7 to 10 years to train to be a fully qualified barge skipper. This is a serious commitment that will require you to dedicate at least one weekend a month to the scheme, possibly for the next decade.

This is an amazing opportunity to get afloat and discover a lifetime of adventure under sail.

What we are offering:

    • Centaur Thames Sailing BargeAround 20 sailing days free of charge per year
    • A personal development plan, customised to your availability, previous sailing experience, if any, and ambitions
    • A personal mentor to assist in your development
    • Training in a complete range of traditional seafaring skills, including ropework, gear and rigging, sail setting and trim, rules of the road, navigation, meteorology, small boat work, maintenance, leadership skills and much more
    • Access to over 20 Thames Sailing Barges in Essex, Kent, Suffolk, London and beyond

In volunteering, you will not only be helping to preserve Thames Sailing Barges themselves but also the skills and knowledge required to sail and maintain them. Hopefully you will in turn be able to pass these skills on to future generations. 

You will get the chance to meet lots of interesting people from different backgrounds along the way as you enjoy the wonders of Thames Barge sailing.

You will need to be:DSC01346.JPG compressed

    • Reliable and flexible (hours depend on tide and weather etc)
    • Reasonably fit and strong
    • Passionate about learning how to sail a Thames Sailing Barge
    • Sociable, with good communication skills
    • Willing to learn and apply yourself

Find Out More:

If you’re interested in finding out more, send an email to training@bargetrust.org with your name, contact details and a few words explaining why you would like to be considered for this opportunity.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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An Evening of Archive Thames Sailing Barge Films

An evening of Archive Thames Sailing Barge Films

In association with Society of Sailing Barge Research


Saturday 11th March 2017
Maldon Town Hall
Market Hill, Maldon, Essex

Doors open at 7:00 pm for 7:30 pm
Tickets £7.00 in advance or £8.00 on the night

Teas, coffees and a real ale bar


All funds raised to be shared between Thames Sailing Barge Trust and Society for Sailing Barge Research

Tickets available from Maldon District Tourist Information Office, Wenlock Way, High Street, Maldon of by post from
John Rayment 12 Wisdoms Green, Coggeshall, Colchester, Essex CO6 1SG by sending a cheque payable to Thames Sailing Barge Trust and a self addressed and stamped envelope.

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Fifteen cups dating from 1904 to 1963 in sale at The Canterbury Auction Galleries

It is already too late to save many of the iconic Medway barges but thanks to a sale at The Canterbury Auction Galleries later this month, it will be possible to rescue a collection of barge racing trophies from at best being sold abroad or at worst, being melted down by their purchasers for their silver content.

The 15 imposing prize cups were won by barges Scotia, Cambria, Sara and Veronica owned by F.T.Everard and Sons Ltd., who during the inter war years maintained one of the largest fleets of sailing barges, coasters and ships on the East Coast and Thames Estuary.

The trophies will be sold in The Canterbury Auction Galleries’ two-day sale on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 29-30.

They cover the period from the first Thames Coasting Class Sailing Barge Match in June 1905, in which the Everard vessel Scotia came third, to 1963, the centenary year of the Thames Sailing Barge Match, when Veronica came in first.

In the same year, with the demise of sailing barges deemed to be inevitable, Everards and their great rivals, Maurice Gillʼs, London & Rochester Trading Company, decided to cease racing. Having fought so hard to win at any expense, the two companies sadly dispersed the vessels in which they had taken such pride.

Sara was broken up at Greenhithe, while Veronica was sold off as a houseboat, never to race or sail again. A few years later she was hulked at Bedlams Bottom on the Medway together with her main rival, Gill’s, Sirdar, the remains of both of which are now all but gone.

Fortunately, enthusiast bargemen have since kept the traditions alive and in 1965, barge racing started again on the Medway and continues today.

Cambria, built and launched from Everard’s yard at Greenhithe, was restored with Heritage Lottery funding by the Cambria Trust and powered by wind and tide alone, she has competed in most matches on the East Coast in every year since her relaunch, adding to her success of cups awarded in 1928, 1936 and 1938 on the River Medway,

Similarly the trophies they battled so hard to win live on. A two-handled cup engraved “Medway Barge Sailing Match – 16th June 1936 – Second Prize – Coasting Sailing Barges – Won by Cambria” is estimated at £400-600, while another engraved “Medway Barge Sailing Match, 23rd June 1938 – Coasting Class – First Prize – Won by Cambria, (owners F.T Everard & Sons – Captain Finch)” is estimated at £500-700.

Most valuable trophy in the collection is a George V silver three-handled tyg engraved “Medway Barge Sailing Match – 5th June 1937 – Coasting Class – First Prize – Won by Veronica“. It was made by silversmith Henry Atkin, and assayed (tested for silver quality) in Sheffield in 1935. At 68 ounces, the trophy is the heaviest in the collection and consequently estimated at £700-900 (auction estimates are based on weight of silver). The other 14 are lighter, each weighing an average of around 40 ozs, but it is the historical importance of the trophies where their true value really lies. Quantifying that is difficult, if not impossible.

The collection includes four other trophies awarded to Veronica respectively in 1934, 1935, 1957 and 1963, with estimates ranging from £275 to £700.

The collection’s earliest trophy is a three-handled cup engraved “First Thames Coasting Class Sailing Barge Match, June 1905 – Third Prize – Won by Scotia F.T Everard Owner & Builder – F.W. Fuller, Captain”, assayed in Birmingham in 1904. The only one won by the barge in the collection, it is estimated at £450-600.

Victories by Sara are recalled by a two-handled cup engraved “Medway Barge Sailing Match – 21st June 1930 – River (Bowsprit) Class – First Prize – Won by Sara” (estimate £450-600); a cup with cover engraved “Medway Barge Sailing Match – 5th June 1937 – Champion Bowsprit Class – First prize – Won by Sara” (£650-800); a late Victorian  cup and cover engraved “Grand Coronation Thames & Medway Barge Sailing Match, 1953 – A Champion Bowsprit Class – First Prize – Presented by The Joint Committee –  Won by Sara” (£500-700) and from the following year, a two-handled cup engraved “Medway Barge Sailing Match – 26th June 1954 – Champion Bowsprit Class – 1st Prize – Won by Sara” (£450-600).

Auctioneer Tony Pratt said he hoped the various trophies would be saved. “The Medway was once thick with barges, delivering bricks and cement to London and returning laden with the capital’s waste that was used to fire the brick kilns,” he said.

“Captains soon began challenging each other to see who had the fastest barges and official racing started on the Thames in 1863. The first official race on the Medway was in 1880 with Everard and Gill becoming fierce competitors to the point where barges like Veronica were refitted to make them faster.

“It would be a tragedy if these trophies go the same way as the barges that won them.”

The trophies will be sold on the first of the two-day sale.

Free public viewing is as follows: Saturday November 26, from 10am-4pm, Sunday November 27, 12 noon-4pm, Monday November 28, 10am-7pm and on the morning of the sales from 8:30. For further information, please contact the auctioneer, telephone 01227 763337 or general@tcag.co.uk.

Picture shows the most valuable trophy, engraved “Medway Barge Sailing Match – 5th June 1937 – Coasting Class – First Prize – Won by Veronica“.

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Winter working party dates published

Winter Working Party dates

Our barges are un-rigged for the winter period maintenance. A working party meets on Maldon Hythe Quay on the following weekends. Working volunteers are welcome to stay aboard the barge if they wish to work on both days.   If you are new to these working weekends, please contact David on 07849 862685.

October  15/16  ( Un-rig );   29/30

November  12/13;    26/27

December 10/11;  17/18

January 7/8;  21/22

February  4/5; 18/19

March  4/5 ;     18/19

April  1/2 ;  14/15/16  (Easter);  29/30

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Centaur will not be going to London

Due to operational difficulties, Centaur will not be joining the Parade of Barges in London this weekend 17th/18th September.

The Trust are sorry that this is the case but wish the event all the best and hope it is a great success.

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Press Release – Thames Sailing Barge Trust wins Heritage Lottery Fund support to secure the future of Dunkirk Little Ship, s.b. “Pudge”

Please click on pdf link below to read about the Thames Sailing Barge Trust winning Heritage Lottery Fund support to secure the future of Pudge

Pudge Press release Aug 24



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Southend Barge Match

It’s the Southend Barge Match

on Sunday 28 August 2016

Southend Barge Match 2016

The start is from the Pier Head at 10am and the barges will make their way down the Thames to Shoeburyness, across to Kent and then down to Leigh on Sea, subject to conditions.

The Thames Sailing Barge Trust will have a stand in the Sailing Barge Exhibition at the Royal Pavilion, Southend Pier for three days, 27th – 29th August, from 10am – 6pm, so do pop in and see us.

It’s free entry.Southend Barge Match 2014

Please note the Pier train is currently out of action but the Pier is open and you can walk the Pier on foot.

Click this link for details of barges entered for the match.

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Spectacular Thames Barge Sailing Opportunity – Tower Bridge

Experience a spectacular sail

on the Thames Barge Centaur 

along the River Thames

for the Tower Bridge Event

Tower Bridge and Thames Barges

Next month, the Thames Sailing Barge “Centaur” will be embarking on a very special 6-day voyage to and from Maldon.

A procession of Thames sailing barges

passing under Tower Bridge

– and you could be part of it all!

We will sail around the South Essex coast and then up the River Thames to take part in the Tower Bridge Event, where a spectacular procession of sailing barges will go under Tower Bridge before heading to West India Dock.  

There she will take part in an Open Day on the Sunday, before returning to Maldon. 

This voyage will provide plenty of opportunities to explore the Essex coast and everything the historic river Thames has to offer.  


There are several booking options available:

  • Outward trip: Maldon to West India Dock (includes the passage under Tower Bridge and an overnight mooring in West India Dock for the Open Day)  – eve Wed 14 September to Sun 18 September – 4 nights and 3 days’ sailing for only £187.50 per person
  • Return trip: West India Dock to Maldon – pm Sun 18 September to pm Tues 20 September – 2 nights and 2 days’ sailing for only £125.00 per person
  • Whole trip: eve Wed 14 September to pm Tues 20 September – 6 nights and 5 days’ sailing all for the special discounted price of £300.00 per person – excellent value for money!

All meals and non-alcoholic drinks whilst on board are included in all of the options shown above.  But hurry if you’re interested, because there is limited availability.

If you wish to book or find out more, please contact David Gibson on 07840 862685 or email him at charters@bargetrust.org as soon as possible.

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Great River Race 2016 – Bus Pass Specials need your Donations

A group of four rowers are taking part in this years Great River Race to raise funds for the Thames Sailing Barge Trust. They need your support in terms of raising funds to help the Trust preserve and maintain two historic Thames sailing barges.

The Great River Race is London’s River Marathon. A spectacular boat race up the River Thames, it attracts over 330 crews from all over the globe. The Great River Race appeals to every level of competitor! From serious athletes who like winning, to those who enjoy laughter, fancy dress and charity stunts, it’s a great fun day out for both competitors and spectators. The course is 21.6 miles from London Docklands to Ham in Surrey.

A quote from one of the team about the team and race.

“We are a team of four “mature” rowers who have got together to take part in The Great River Race this year. Brian Kennell is well known for his restoration of many sailing smacks, most particularly the large ketch smack Pioneer. Brian has recently completed work on a new 15ft rowing boat, the new Whitehaven Skiff, a very stylish & fast craft. Upon seeing a picture of the boat, fellow boatbuilder Jimmy Byam-Shaw, with a lifetime of experience in competative rowing, most notably as a single skuller, suggested entering the race. Jimmy is also well know for making the most beautifully balanced wooden oars

Brian’s wife Sally has joined the team, & in spite of not having rowed for several years, and having suffered a broken foot recently which kept her out of the boat for two weeks, has remained unquenchably enthusiastic about the task ahead.

As for me, for the past 25 years I’ve been a member of our village (Heybridge Basin) ladies rowing team, The Basin Oars, who in our vibrantly pink and purple dingy compete in local rowing races, usually in questionably “tasteful” fancy dress, raising money for various charities, mostly the RNLI.

We are all looking forward to the race, and have stockpiled supplies of Sanatogen and Deep Heat, and are quietly confident that we will survive the experience!

Through Virgin Money Giving, you can sponsor us and donations will be quickly processed and passed to charities. Virgin Money Giving is a not for profit organisation and will claim gift aid on a charity’s behalf where the donor is eligible for this. We really appreciate all your support and thank you for any donations.”

A link to the Virgin Money Page can be found below. If you would like to get others to support the event we also have a sponsorship form which can be found if you click below.

Sponsorship Form Great River Race

Virgin Money Giving Donations

Thank you for your support.

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