About Don Ramsay

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So far Don Ramsay has created 432 blog entries.

July Update By Hilary Halajko Chair Of Trustees

Blue Mermaid is on her mooring at around a week’s readiness to sail, in the expectation that it may be possible to do some sailing this year and with the intention of keeping costs down. The crew are furloughed where possible and Mate Oli is working as ship’s husband part-time as he could not be furloughed and this enables our Shipshape Heritage Training Partnership trainee Ben to keep involved in worthwhile activity. They are also spending time on other work like maintenance on SHTP partner Cutty Sark with TS Rigging.

We have applied where possible for emergency funding and have been successful with grants from ASTO, our umbrella trade body (the Association of Sail Training Organisations) and recently with the discretionary grant scheme from the government via local authorities. We are immensely grateful for this and the furlough scheme which together have meant we are still able to plan to restart sailing with groups when the restrictions allow for residential work. Having said that, although there is a small sum available to support this restart with bursaries, there is very little money available for core costs, which will increase as the furlough scheme winds down. We continue to seek emergency funding on this basis and to welcome any suggestions we may not have thought of. (more…)

By |2020-07-17T09:41:19+01:00July 17th, 2020|

News Update Via Maritime Heritage Trust

Richard recently penned a piece for the Maritime Heritage Trust about the effect the Covid-19 closedown has had on us:

The virus started to make an impression as we commenced fitting out in February and were joined by our new Shipshape Heritage Training Partnership trainee Ben and as the crew returned from the winter break. Initially it looked like we would be able to continue. Indeed, at a meeting of Trustees on 11th March we discussed plans for a full season and only discussed the virus in terms of ensuring our T&Cs were up to date.

Eight days later we were writing to clients telling them the season was suspended until further notice as … Read the whole piece here.

By |2020-07-17T09:23:08+01:00May 4th, 2020|

Heaving Up The Rig

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.

By |2020-04-19T11:23:50+01:00April 19th, 2020|

Blue Mermaid Wins Classic Boat Award

Blue Mermaid. Photo by Den PhillipsBlue Mermaid has won the Traditional New  Build Award in the Classic Boat 2020 Awards. This award is sponsored by Simon Winter Marine.

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.

Blue Mermaid was built by C Toms and Son and Heritage Marine. She is 86ft (26m) LOD, with sprit yawl rig.’

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.’

By |2020-05-03T12:43:18+01:00April 4th, 2020|