SHTP2 trainee Ben puts the stopper on Blue Mermaid’s stayfall after heaving up.
After servicing the windlass and lowering down, the opportunity was taken to varnish the topmast and touch up the paint on mast and sprit. After the stopper went the two bulldog grips and then the stayfall flew easily off the beautifully free-running windlass.
At the end of last season it still looked like the mainsail needed the sprit to be peaked up more. So while the gear was down one of the five inch links in the standing lift was replaced by a three inch shackle. The geometry means that two inches here will result in five or six inches at the peak. This will be more than the sheet angle of the topsail can cope with to keep that right. To help here, the 5/8 chain at the throat collar has been replaced with a piece one link longer to have the effect of dropping the peak an inch or two. If more is required there is scope in easing the deadwire. It is quite exciting looking forward to putting this to the test in crew training when conditions permit.
The citation reads, ‘Steel-hulled Thames sailing barge Blue Mermaid is the first of her type to be built for 90 years. This one is a replica of the eponymous original, built by Mistley Shipping Company in 1930 and lost in the war.
She was commissioned b the Sea-Change Sailing Trust, which is using her for sail-training and cargo duties – all without an engine – and to improve the lives of the young and vulnerable who sail upon her.
These range from age 7 to typical dementia age, according to Sea-Change’s Richard Titchener.
To quote Patron Tom Cunliffe, ‘The cost in money is minimal by today’s standards. The pay-off in turning lives around will be incalculable.’
As of today Sea-Change will cancel all charters until further notice.
We will continue to fit out the barge and will resume operations as soon as possible, and hope this will enable us to reschedule.
Deposits will be repaid where requested.
This decision has not been taken lightly but in the interests of everyone’s safety there is no other choice.
We wish you all the best during this difficult time and hope to see you all again as soon as is possible.
Hilary Halajko, Chair of Trustees