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.’