Email Competition Winner

The winner in the 2018 Email Competition was Matt Hudson, of Hutton, Brentwood.

Matt has received his prize which was a print of sailing barges painted by John Harrisson of Birch, Colchester.

The Trust would like to pass on its congratulations to Matt and thank John Harrisson for donating the prize.

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PRESS RELEASE – Heritage Lottery Grant

Thames Sailing Barge Trust wins National Lottery support for conservation of Thames sailing barge PUDGE.

The Thames Sailing Barge Trust based in Maldon, Essex has received a confirmed National Lottery grant of £328,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) enabling work to be completed on the conservation of their Thames sailing barge PUDGE, it was announced today. The project, which starts in August, will restore the wooden decks and hatches and improve the passenger accommodation. The project is planned for completion by summer 2020.

s.b.PUDGE a Thames spritsail barge, built in 1922 in Rochester, Kent was one of the last wooden barges built. PUDGE is also a Dunkirk Little Ship being involved with the evacuation of troops in 1940. This project will allow the Barge Trust to continue to operate PUDGE for the use of local groups and members of the general public, giving those that sail with us some experience of the way these iconic early 20th  century cargo vessels were worked in the East Coast’s rivers and estuaries. The work will allow some trainee shipbuilders to extend their skills to larger wooden vessels. The project will also provide opportunities for volunteers, youth organisations and schools to research the early history of Pudge and to use modern media and displays to share their output with the wider public.
Gareth Jones Trustee and Secretary of the Thames Sailing Barge Trust said:
“We are delighted that the National Lottery has given us this grant. s.b.PUDGE carried bulk cargoes on the Thames Estuary and the rivers of Essex, Suffolk and Kent for over forty years and these days she is central to the Trust’s aims of passing on to the next generation the traditions of sailing and maintaining these iconic east coast vessels.”

John Whittingdale, the MP for Maldon, said
“I am delighted to learn that the Thames Sailing Barge Trust has been awarded a further grant from the National Lottery to replace the decks of Pudge. For many people, the Thames barge is a symbol of Maldon and the Trust does great work in maintaining the two it owns and at the same time helping to keep alive traditional shipbuilding skills”

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England, said:
“With its distinctive red sails and decades of history from war to cargo, Pudge is an important part of our history. Thanks to National Lottery players an exciting new chapter can now begin for the vessel – restoration will keep it seaworthy, trainee shipbuilders will gain vital skills needed for their careers and for the sector and many more people will be able to share in Pudge’s story.”

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GDPR Thames Sailing Barge Trust Privacy Policy

The Thames Sailing Barge Trust have now issued their Privacy Policy and this can be seen by clicking the link below or by looking on the Membership Tab.

TSBT Privacy Policy

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Come sailing in a Thames Sailing Barge Match

Would you like to come sailing with us in a traditional Thames Barge Match?

We have spaces available on our Thames Sailing Barge Match trips – always a highlight of the barging calendar.

Prices include accommodation and all meals, including the prize giving supper.

To book a place for you and your friends, or for more information, email or call David on 07597 600860

8/9/10 June
Passage to Medway And Match
Maldon/Queenborough/ Maldon
3 days

23/24 June
Pin Mill Match
Ipswich/Pin Mill
2 days

Blackwater Match
Centaur & Pudge
1 day £92.50
with 2 day option (8th July)
2 day £160

20/21/22 July
Thames Match
3 days

15/16 September
Colne Match
3 days

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Learn to sail a Thames Sailing Barge for free – 2018

Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime?

(Please note the Thames Barge Sailing Training Scheme is now closed to new applicants for 2018. We have had a fantastic response again this year. Shortlisted applicants will be notified before the end of February. Thank you to all those who have applied and helped us spread the word.)

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

No previous sailing experience required

Following the success of the first two years 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 over 700 enabling objectives, which will help you reach the required standard to qualify as a sailing bargemaster. These include full knowledge of all barge sailing, navigation and maintenance tasks.

It usually takes around 10 years to become a fully qualified sailing barge skipper. So this is a serious commitment that will require you to dedicate at least one weekend a month to the scheme, for at least the next decade.

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

What we are offering:

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

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:

    • Passionate about learning how to sail a Thames Sailing Barge
    • Not afraid of heights
    • Reliable and flexible (hours depend on tide and weather etc)
    • Reasonably fit and strong
    • 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 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 Afternoon of Archive Thames Sailing Barge Films

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Britain Afloat: Thames Sailing Barge

Don’t miss the first episode of Britain Afloat on BBC2 at 8:00pm on Saturday 30 September 2017.

Thames Barges GravesendIts subject is the Thames Sailing Barge.

See exciting footage of this year’s Thames Match, read Pudge‘s old logbook in Maldon and meet Jimmy Lawrence, one of the last men to skipper a Thames Sailing Barge in trade.

The programme is also available on i-Player for 30 days afterwards: Britain Afloat: The Thames Barge

Here’s a short clip from the programme to give you a taster.

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Centaur will be at the Thames Parade and open to public in West India Dock

Centaur will be taking part in the Thames Parade on Saturday 16th September and will be open to the public as part of the pop up museum in West India Dock on Sunday 17th September.

If you are in London why not take the opportunity to see Centaur and many other Thames sailing barges.

More details follow the link below.

Nearest station for West India Dock is South Quay DLR


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Thames Barge Parade Adventure

Last few places available on a 4 day hands-on adventure aboard Thames Sailing Barge Centaur in September – including the Thames Barge Parade

Tower Bridge Lift

Join our crew for this action-packed 4-day trip.

You don’t need any previous sailing experience, as our experienced skipper and mate will show you the ropes.

Thames Barge Parade

The cruise will begin by boarding Thames Sailing Barge Centaur in West India Dock, London on the morning of Saturday 16 September.

You will then join other barges for the Thames Sailing Barge Parade, passing under Tower Bridge at 12:00.

History Of Thames Sailing Barges – Pop Up Museum

West India Dock

This will be followed by a public event at West India Dock on Saturday afternoon and Sunday, where there will be a Pop Up museum on the history of Thames Barges.

A number of barges will be open to the public to visit.

Cruise to Maldon

On Monday morning we will begin the sail to Maldon in Essex, mooring overnight at Gravesend.

Expect to arrive in Maldon by about lunchtime on Tuesday 19 September.

Book Your Place

Cost is just £220 per person including accommodation and food provisions, to be cooked by the crew.

To book your place or find out more, email or call David on 07840 862685.

Visit the Thames Barge Parade website for more information about the event.

Photos: Thames Barge Parade 2016 photos from the Thames Barge Parade website (credited to Ian Smith and Renee Waite) 


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Photographic Competition

The Thames Sailing Barge Trust are holding a photographic competition. It is a few years since we have done this and it will be open to members and non-members. If you would like to take part, the rules and guidelines are listed below:

Prizes are to be awarded at the end of the competition and your photographs will be used by the Trust to publicise its activities.

There are two categories under which you can enter

1  A Barge Themed photograph
2 A photograph specifically of Sailing Barges Pudge or Centaur which are owned by the Trust.

The deadline for entries is 31st October 2017. Winners will be announced in the 1st 2018 Edition of the TSBT newsletter Golden Chaffcutter and on Facebook

All Images submitted should have been taken during 2017

The winners will each receive a voucher for a weekend sail for 2 during a non Barge Match Weekend. Winners are able to upgrade their voucher to a barge match for an additional fee.

Please make sure you read the full terms and conditions before submitting your photographs

Photographic Competition Rules

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