Dressing the Sails

Now that our sailing season has ended Blue Mermaid has come home to Maldon Quay for the winter  months and we are making a start on essential maintenance jobs whilst the weather is fine. Our sails are very important to us as Blue Mermaid doesn’t have an engine. All our voyages are very low carbon, using just wind and tide. The sails have to be dressed to keep them soft and waterproof. Traditionally this was done with a mix of red ochre, cod oil, urine and seawater. Nowadays fence paint does the job very well and smells a lot nicer too!

We are taking bookings for the 2022 sailing season which we anticipate will be ‘back to normal’ – so please get in touch with us if you are interested in  bringing a group on a low carbon residential sailing voyage on Blue Mermaid, or if you are interested in our sail-cargo work. We can take a few lorries off the A12 by delivering a cargo entirely under sail whilst our trainees learn work related skills at the same time. Join us on a low carbon adventure – contact us now for more details.

By |2021-11-10T12:09:52+01:00November 10th, 2021|

Carrying Cargo under Sail

Blue Mermaid has had her first taste of cargo handling this month, with a small delivery of exotic goods being picked up in Ramsgate, Kent,  and delivered to St Katharine Dock in London. We teamed up with Raybel Charters to deliver a shipment of goods that had arrived in Ramsgate onboard the Blue Schooner Company’s schooner ‘De Gallant’ which was making her return journey from the Caribbean via Portugal, Spain and France. Blue Mermaid entered Ramsgate Harbour under sail and berthed on the Commercial Quay where the cargo of coffee, panela sugar, almonds, olive oil, wine, figs, honey and salt was brought from a nearby warehouse using an electric milk-float. After an overnight passage up the Thames, and a tow through the Thames Barrier by the tug Devout, the traditional method of warping through the lock at St Katharine using manpower was employed to bring the barge into the dock. Once alongside, the small cargo was unloaded and divided into three sections: A bicycle with a trailer arrived to collect the first lot. The second lot was sold on a stall on the quayside, and the third lot went by bicycle to Limehouse Basin where it was loaded onto the narrowboat Capella for a journey further up the Thames.

This successful delivery was a pilot for our forthcoming training scheme using trainees to help us deliver low carbon cargoes under sail, whilst learning skills that will  help them access marine careers. We are seeking cargoes and trainees for this exciting project!  Contact us for more information.


By |2021-08-25T15:35:51+01:00August 25th, 2021|

The Winning Crew

Blue Mermaid managed to pull off another win at the Blackwater Barge Match on July 17th. After a day of racing in light airs the wind filled in at the end, giving a spectacular finish for the spectators ashore with all the barges close together near to the finishing line. Blue Mermaid finished half a bowsprit ahead and claimed the trophy for first in her class. Well done to all on board!

We take a small number of paying guests on barge match day-sails. The income from these voyages helps us to subsidise our youth voyages. The next match with availability is the Medway Match on Saturday 28th August 2021. If you are interested in sailing on board Blue Mermaid during a barge-match please contact Judy on 07708 656854.

By |2021-08-25T13:15:17+01:00July 28th, 2021|

Blue Mermaid Looking Spruce

Blue Mermaid is currently on the barge blocks at Pin Mill where we have scraped and painted her bottom and had a hull inspection from the MCA.

After two matches, our second youth group of the year and some maintenance, we are ready to sail home on tomorrow afternoon’s tide

By |2021-08-25T12:30:24+01:00July 11th, 2021|

Remembering The Original Blue Mermaid

Today marks 80 years since the original Blue Mermaid sank after hitting a magnetic mine on the North slope of the Middle Sand.

This morning we travelled to Manningtree to witness a ceremony of remembrance for the mate George Lucas, whose name is to be added to the memorial on Manningtree high street later this year by request of his family. We felt very honoured to be included in the event and we are glad to see his family’s loss recognised.

We will remember them.

By |2021-08-26T18:56:38+01:00July 11th, 2021|

Passage Match Success

Part One

Red light in the moonlight: Oli fits the port navigation light as we prepare to leave Stangate Creek and race Edith May to Harwich at 0130 on Saturday 26th June 2021. This informal event replaces the longstanding and popular Gravesend to Harwich Passage Match of 56 miles which used to bring barges based on the Thames down to the Orwell the week prior to the Pin Mill Match. Though popular it was no doubt an immense amount of work to organise and as entries dropped it was unsurprising the attraction of waiting all night on a cold Suffolk seawall for barges to rear over a dank horizon lost its appeal. Now Ed Gransden offers people the chance to sail in company from the Medway to Harwich and this year we took him up on the offer.

After getting the anchor on the last of the flood we came level with Edith May as she too got under way and both barges set their gear while crew peered to find the moored barge at Blackstakes against the bright lights of the Grain jetties behind. Couldn’t a massive amount of power be saved if all these flood lights up and down the country were arranged to switch on when needed? Maybe there are too many foxes and owls to allow the use of proximity lighting, but it would sure make night sailing easier. (more…)

By |2021-08-26T18:57:20+01:00June 27th, 2021|