When we were sourcing lights for Blue Mermaid we found a sternlight without a reflector so Paul Macdonald made one but did not have time to get it polished. So we looked around for someone to do this and found TT Moto at High Easter in the beautiful Essex countryside the other side of Chelmsford. They specialise in making machinery, particularly motorbikes, shiny and dazzling. It turned out Paul’s daughter sailed as a young person on Thalatta with St Cedd’s school, as had Richard a very long time ago. She had had such a good time on a trip from Woodbridge to Maldon, she had asked to go the next year and it sounded like it had a big impact. It gave heart to be able to talk about such normal things in a very wet Essex countryside deep in covid territory. A few days later Paul rang to say the work was ready and when asked for the price made it pro bono, which made a lovely job even better. Please contact email@example.com for your polishing needs. The second picture shows the reflector in the lamp, which now also benefits from a new chimney from Moncrief’s of Perth; yes, such things are still available amazingly. #ShipshapeNetwork
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Writing a year ago we were looking forward to the first full year of operation for Blue Mermaid and it promised to be busy and exciting, including a second dive to the wreck of the original barge.
Then Covid struck and the rest is history. If you have been following you will know we did not rig out in the spring and the barge was put on her mooring in April once as much maintenance as possible had been done. Later in the year as the first relaxation of restrictions and flexible furlough arrived, day sailing became possible, so we rigged and spent August to October doing some worthwhile training for our selves and other barge crews as well as saying thank you to some supporters. There was some limited work with young people, but it was not possible to have people stay overnight. At the time of writing, this continues to be the case, with the latest guidance saying this will be reviewed in February. (more…)
Half term at the end of October has typically been the end of our sailing season. With the restrictions on residentials we offered day trips from Brightlingsea to Inclusion Ventures, a fantastic charity working with families in Jaywick and West Clacton. Two days were planned, one for female and one for male teenagers. The first coincided with a gale but was postponed as an accompanying staff member was isolating because of covid symptoms in her family and the test results were slow and then inconclusive. So it was with vim and vigour that we met the male group on the Hard with waterproofs and lifejackets, having prepared them for a wet and windy day. The previous evening leader Tai had spoken with the group and explained the torrential rain in the forecast. To their credit, all wished to come. (more…)
Our connection with the Blue Mermaid and the Sea-Change Sailing Trust began many years ago now.
I had just had my book ‘May Flower A Barging Childhood‘ published and in chapter one, I wrote about my thoughts about barge reconstructions and building a ‘replica’ in steel. Uncannily, during 2008/9 I learnt of the Blue Mermaid appeal…