To Gillingham

Thanks to funding from Trinity House and Whirlwind Charitable Trust we are able to provide training for prospective barge skippers. This arises from work done before covid with Mick Nolan’s trainees and aims to give hands on practical experience in a variety of situations.

After attending Newham Heritage Month Blue Mermaid beat down the Thames, having beat up it a few days before. Despite a slow start she made anchorage in the Muckings with time to spare before low water. Only there did the crew find and retrieve a tyre that had graced the port bow all the way down the river. Fortunately, at least one other river user had captured an image and posted it online as a reminder. All future courses will include a detailed module in fender operations. Each fender will be numbered with a similarly numbered pocket on the main hatch and a token system as used on branch railways to ensure the rail is clear after use. The procedure will be written up and added to the operation manual and the training manual. Should this prove inadequate then a permit to fender scheme will be adopted requiring signature in and out. This is all consistent with the Trust’s philosophy of taking as much pride in the small things as we do in the big ones. Hence, you earn the right to enjoy a thrash down Swin with two jibs set and spray flying in the sun, only by tying a knot with consideration of how it can be released under load or making fast to a cleat in a similar manner. (more…)

By |2021-06-17T13:46:14+01:00June 17th, 2021|

Visit To Newham Heritage Month Day Two

Oli puts sculling skills to use

Day two proved much busier than day one and as the Allen keys of fate secured the quayside barriers of Excel shortly after 1900 the 121st visitor of the day alighted the gangway. The brickmaking clay from Collier’s of Marks Tey in Essex was handed over to the Newham Brickmaking Project, an amazing partnership between the University of East London, the Victoria and Albert Museum and a fantastic group of female artisan brickmakers from St Austell near where Blue Mermaid was built at Polruan in 2016. Collier’s dug the clay from their own quarry. When Oli visited he learnt how the firm has produced handmade bricks since 1863. They had a brief episode with machinery to supply demand after the war but reverted to manual processes where nowadays three makers produce 2500 bricks each per week and have clay for a good number of years yet.



By |2021-05-28T08:03:10+01:00May 28th, 2021|

At Newham Heritage Month

Blue Mermaid alongside Excel

This week saw Blue Mermaid attend Excel as part of Newham Heritage Month in partnership with the Maritime Heritage Trust. The barge was commissioned in 2019 following a fund-raising appeal supported by the PLA, Trinity House, Chris Livett and many more. Built to cargo ship rules in the UK, she is a welded replica of an original lost to a mine in the Swin in 1941 the loss of both crew who are commemorated on the Merchant Navy memorial on Tower Hill.
Leaving her mooring in the Blackwater at high water Saturday morning with a reducing breeze after Friday’s gale, she made the next high water anchoring in the Lower Hope in steady rain and an encouraging amount of river traffic. This was her first trip above Gravesend and an early start at low water Sunday saw her at Erith for a late breakfast. The harbourmaster allowed her to anchor overnight in good shelter as the next bout of bad weather pushed through, clearing for a breezy and boisterous but short trip to the KGV lock for Monday’s day tide.
By |2021-05-28T08:02:09+01:00May 26th, 2021|

‘Wind, Tide And Oar’

We took independent film maker Huw Wahl sailing on Wednesday to give him a taste of barging in preparation for his making of a film about engineless sailing to be titled ‘Wind, Tide and Oar.’
We are looking forward to working more with Huw throughout the season and watching this interesting project develop.
More photos here.
By |2021-05-07T09:48:00+01:00May 7th, 2021|

The Way Forward Is Bright

Nick Ardley pictured presenting the lamp from sailing barge May Flower, on which he grew up, to Richard Titchener.
The citation on the double burner oil light reads “Presented to Blue Mermaid and the Sea-Change Sailing Trust by Mrs Gwendoline D Ardley.”
Read Nick’s own blog here.


By |2021-04-23T09:28:57+01:00April 23rd, 2021|

Carbon Offset Certificate

Click to enlarge

Sea-Change Sailing Trust has just completed its carbon offset with Yacht Carbon Offset, making us the first to support their blue carbon project, Mikoko Pamoja, which helps us to achieve our high environmental operating standard.

By |2021-05-07T09:53:48+01:00March 31st, 2021|