Thames Match 2016 With The PLA

Photo Nick Jordan

Photo Nick Jordan

We have been delighted to sail with a crew from the Port of London Authority at the Thames Match for several years, which is considered a team-building exercise as well as supporting a long-standing event, second only to the America’s Cup in longevity. Over the years we have had a good or steady performance in the Match aboard Wyvenhoe, Cambria and Reminder. This year Reminder had an early booking elsewhere and we are very grateful to Tim Kent, owner of Xylonite, for the opportunity to take her in the Match. It was a walk down memory lane because the first time we sailed with the Authority was with her over ten years back. This year the Match was on Saturday 25th June and the barge returned to Maldon three days before from filming at Dunkirk for a film of the same name. Apparently actors in uniform had been swarming aboard from the beach just as they had in 1940. We await the film with interest. Read the rest of this entry »

The UK’s Newest Thames Sailing Barge Arrives In Maldon

IMG_7977 cropped

Blue Mermaid arriving in Maldon. Click to enlarge


The UK’s newest Thames sailing barge arrives in Maldon
The first Thames sailing barge built for trade since 1930

27 June 2016: This week, Maldon saw the arrival of Blue Mermaid, the first full size Thames Sailing Barge to be built since 1930.

The 87ft. steel barge, which will be based in Essex, has been built by local charity, Sea-Change Sailing Trust and will be used for their work with young people as well as carrying cargo. Sea-Change Sailing Trust works with disabled and disadvantaged young people as well as those challenged by traditional educational settings, experiencing social exclusion or at risk of offending.

The barge, which was built at the boatyard of C Toms and Son in Cornwall and later towed to her new home in Maldon, will now be fitted out and rigged by TS Rigging at Downs Road Boatyard. Blue Mermaid is a replica of a barge of the same name, which was sunk by a mine during World War ll with the loss of her crew. As a traditional Thames Sailing Barge, she will not have an engine and will be able to transport the equivalent of up to six articulated lorry loads in a low carbon environment.

Sea-Change Sailing Trust’s Chair of Trustees, Hilary Halajko commented, ‘This marks a landmark moment in our ambitions to get a new Thames Sailing Barge into operation. Having already raised £450,000, we now have £150,000 left to raise to get the barge finished in the hope that ‘Blue Mermaid’ will enter service during 2017’.

Blue Mermaid can be viewed alongside at Hythe Quay in Maldon between Wednesday 6th and Friday 8th July.


Notes to Editors:

Sea-Change Sailing Trust provides residential opportunities for young people and vulnerable adults to learn and develop in a unique environment. By living and working together aboard a large traditional sailing vessel they participate in a wide range of life skills and are encouraged to take increasing responsibility for their contribution and group decisions.

For over 20 years TS Rigging has rigged a wide range of craft from the complete deck up restoration of the Cutty Sark down to classic day boats, racing cutters, fishing smacks, traditional sailing barges and classic yachts. Using both traditional and modern techniques they meet individual requirements, whether for a restoration, replica or a brand new vessel.

Latest Newsletter Published

HHilary launches Blue Mermaidot off the press, our latest newsletter for you to read online, download or print to enjoy at your leisure. Happy reading!


Sailing Season Continues Apace

Enjoying every moment aboardThis year’s sailing season is as busy and active as ever. Here are links to photos and info about three recent groups, all regular clients, who have embarked on sailing residentials with us during the past few weeks:

Inclusion Ventures from Jaywick and West Clacton.

St Joseph’s College Lower School from Ipswich.

Workprep Group from Colchester Institute.

Blue Mermaid Launched

Blue Mermaid launchedOn Sunday 29th May our new Thames sailing barge, Blue Mermaid, was launched at the yard of C Toms and Son Ltd in Polruan, Cornwall. A large number of photos celebrating the event are available via our Facebook page.

Executive Officer Richard Titchener writes:

“The End of the Beginning.”

Hilary chose the words Churchill used after El Alamein to describe the launch of the hull of Blue Mermaid at Polruan on Sunday 29th May 2016, a glorious sunny day on the beautiful Fowey estuary. Before smashing a bottle of bubbly on the stem, she paid tribute to all who had made the day possible, and welcomed members of the Bird family descended from skipper Percy Bird of the original vessel. Alan Toms introduced the occasion saying how pleased he and his son Paul were to be able to build the barge; Deputy Lieutenant of Cornwall Mike Woods replied how important maritime trades are to the county before Rev Canon John Halkes (late of the parish) blessed the vessel, succeeding in obtaining a resounding “Amen” from all those present. Read the rest of this entry »

London Nautical School Pupils Widen Experience

James Bullar MBETwo groups from LNS Year 9 recently returned for sailing residentials with us. This time they brought just about every imaginable weather with them. They fitted into shipboard life well and took many new experiences of traditional big boat seamanship home with them.

James Bullar, the school’s Head of Nautical Studies took a number of video clips and published them on his Twitter feed here, they are well worth watching. Look for a number of posts from the end of April.

Also, a selection of photos by both James (pictured) and Sea-Change’s Richard are available here.