Blackwater Barge Match Raced With Skill In Light Airs

Richard Writes: A crew from Maldon Little Ship Club spent their Friday practising and their Saturday coaxing Cambria into third place overall and second in the bowsprit class.

The day started almost calm with many craft exhibiting complex and innovative methods of keeping above the start line with anchors over the stern. Others used seamanlike techniques as with Reminder which dropped her main anchor to avoid going between the limit mark and the committee boat. (more…)

By | 2018-07-11T09:29:53+00:00 July 11th, 2018|

Trials And Tribulations

Richard Writes: I had called into the yard to collect a toilet part for Cambria – yes, this last of the sailormen has complex electric toilets and the paint store now resides in the wheel box where her loo once was – and was delighted to see Tom Cook aloft on Blue Mermaid having just fitted high tensile steel crosstrees. Meanwhile apprentice Jasmine Klimcke was aft measuring the mizzen shrouds. Nearby and barely visible was the superb sliding scuttle hatch made by Shaun White who reportedly said he would have taken more trouble if he had realised Jim Dines was going to varnish it. We were intent on a low maintenance high-build semi-gloss finish on the woodwork but Jim has insisted on making up the difference and using two-pack epoxy varnish. 

Jim caught me and we looked at positions for chainplates for runners. Every attempt is being made to copy the positions on Resourceful, sister ship to the original Blue Mermaid subject only to the position of the webs strengthening the rails. Most barges have backstays further aft now to support the rig generally and for racing whereas they look to have been further forward in the past. The originals had an extra chainplate ahead of the vang for topmast backstays to go when carrying big headsails. You can still find the old rivet holes for these in Reminder and they are still there on Resourceful. It is not clear if they had a second pair of stays for these or a means of extending the one set. More thought is needed but if anyone knows how the geometry worked to extend topmast backstays aft in this way please let us know.

By | 2018-07-11T09:23:06+00:00 July 6th, 2018|

London Nautical School Back Again For More

Nine Year Nine Nautical Studies Students from the London Nautical School at the end of their three days with Sea-Change aboard SB Cambria, with their teacher James Bullar MBE and crew Dave Cooper, Capt Richard Gavin and Hilary Halajko.

Monday and Tuesday were sunny but windy and quite a challenge beating down the Blackwater against an easterly force 6, though shelter was found inside Colne Point for a visit to the beach and a swim.

Wednesday produced more normal conditions and by the time we picked up the mooring, the students were working well as a team and appreciated the kind of attention to detail and sticking at their jobs required by engineless sailing.

Thanks to Chris Livett who has supported this and another LNS trip this year. More photos here.

By | 2018-07-06T11:43:28+00:00 July 5th, 2018|

Sea-Change Mates and Skippers Training Course 1

Click Photo For Album

Richard Writes: As part of their commitment to the future of sailing barges, the trustees of Sea-Change supported offering structured training for aspiring mates and skippers during their bareboat charter of Cambria from owners the Cambria Trust.  This has been made possible by help from the Whirlwind Trust which has supported the charity for several years.

Cambria was on Pin Mill hard as a picturesque backdrop to the Barge Match weekend after some maintenance a week earlier and while Sea-Change delivered a long-booked charter on Reminder. During the match weekend trustee Jonathan Simper painted much of the wale and the red line on the transom and the crew from Sea-Change returned on Sunday 24th to a smart looking ship.

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By | 2018-07-11T09:24:31+00:00 July 3rd, 2018|

A Great Week With Lexden Springs

Richard Writes: This amazing special school for young people with severe learning difficulties sailed first with us last year, when their headteacher wanted to try out the idea as it had worked well for him at another. On Monday a keen group of eight students and four staff arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed at Maldon Hythe Quay to join Richard, Hilary and Stretch on Reminder. The students included three who came last year, which is always good to see as they help new people settle in and reinforce their own learning and confidence. Food and gear was left on the quay to let the bus get away while everyone looked over the barge, before making a human chain to bring it aboard. After lunch there was the usual safety brief and deck brief before the tide served and we left the quay, turning on the anchor, which gave the students a first taste of winding winch handles. A fair but fresh to strong wind meant the engines could be dispensed with off the Bath Wall and foresail and gradually more mainsail could be set by the students for the run down river. We were careful to set enough sail to keep control but little enough to allow the new crew to slowly come to terms with their new home as it gybed at Herring and Hillypool Points. Down by Stone the wind eased and the gaskets came off the topsail to speed us to the Colne.

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By | 2018-07-11T09:25:32+00:00 June 23rd, 2018|