As promised, the first “Cambria Watch” of the new mission just started, provided for us by First Mate Hilary Halajko of Sea Change Sailing Trust. “Today, she says, “we start the month long second extended cruise with our Youth Sailing Scheme, again aboard Cambria. During the first week we are re enacting her final passage in trade. This week in 1971 she carried cargo between Tilbury and Ipswich docks. Tomorrow we depart from the same berth in Tilbury carrying samples of product kindly supplied by Brett Aggregates Ltd, whose assistance is much appreciated, bound for Ipswich. During her final commercial passage the mate was a lad named Dick Durham. Now news editor at Yachting Monthly he is joining us at the start of the exercise”. Thanks for that Hilary. Please, just for the ‘craic’, while you have Dick Durham pinned down, see if you can get him to write something for us. It would be an honour to include it.
Meanwhile for all those who have dragged themselves away from the ‘Lympics to read this, a rather fun article came my way via a comment on this site from David Rye which says that a firm called Bob Ellis Design designed the jumps for the Equestrian event on Sunday which was nominated “London Day” (see also http://bobellisdesign.co.uk/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/jumpingsunday.pdf )
The write up in the design pamphlet says “Fence 1 – Light House and Thames Barge
The entrance to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich is dominated by this
lighthouse lamp which hangs down from the glass roof of Neptune Court, completed
in 1999. The National Maritime Museum is formed from the Queen’s House and two
separate wings, joined by colonnades, and was first opened in 1937.
Ships rely on lighthouses to warn them of danger and to guide them safely to land or a
harbour. A traditional lighthouse is a tall, rounded tower on land near a coast. Modern
lighthouses may be on land or they may be on a platform in the sea.
The main feature of all lighthouses is a bright light. It was the lighthouse keeper’s
responsibility to keep this light burning in a lamp such as this. Most lighthouses
nowadays have automatic lamps that need little tending.
The Thames sailing barge was a type of commercial sailing boat common on the River
Thames in London in the 19th century. It had a flat bottom, perfectly adapted to the
Thames Estuary with its shallow waters and narrow rivers.
These barges also traded much further afield, to the North of England, the south coast
and even to continental European ports. Cargoes varied enormously: bricks, mud,
hay, rubbish, sand, coal and grain, for example. Due to the efficiency of a Thames
barge’s gear, a crew of only two was enough for most voyages.
Most Thames barges were wooden-hulled, between 80 and 90 feet (25 – 30 metres)
long with a beam of around 20 feet (6 metres). The hull was mainly a hold with two
small living areas in the bow and stern; access was through two large hatchways.
They were usually spritsail rigged on two masts. The main mast could be lowered to
clear bridges. Most had a topsail above a huge mainsail and a large foresail. The
mizzen was a much smaller mast on which was set a single sail whose main purpose
was to aid steering when tacking.
The typical rusty-red colour of the flax sails was due to the dressing used to waterproof
them, traditionally made from red ochre, cod oil and seawater. In good conditions a
sailing barge could attain a speed of over 12 knots.
At the turn of the 20th century over 2,000 Thames sailing barges were registered.
Today only a small handful remain, converted to pleasure craft and commonly sailed in
annual races which take place in the Thames Estuary.”
Ahhh, We barges get in everywhere. Top table! Thank you David Rye and Thank You Bob Ellis.