After a break of over a year the Cambria blog is now back alive and well. Pop back for updates and news on this magnificent and historic Thames sailing barge.
Note that the May Newsletter, which slipped between the cracks when we were first creating this website, is now available to download from the News tab / Newsletter Archive
Tonight, I bring you more on that new lamp, this time in the words of Project Manager, William Collard.
William writes, “The Cambria cabin lamp was returned to the Trust in 2009 having been in the care of one of Bob Robert’s family for a number of years. At some time the lamp had been roughly converted to electrics and the burner, chimney and globe removed. Unfortunately the paraffin reservoir had been punctured to take the electric cable.
Once the original skipper’s cabin was completed the challenge was set to turn the lamp back to paraffin and to position it back in its rightful place on the main beam. But could I find the missing parts?
A quick bid on eBay produced an old style burner with duel wick slots. While shopping for our new compass at the Nautical Antique Centre in Weymouth I spied a selection of shaped chimneys and took a gamble on the size. I had occasionally been looking at a suitable globe in the Period House Shop in Shrewsbury and an opportunity to return to Shropshire took me back to the shop and the globe was still there! This time I was carrying dimensions and a deal was quickly sealed. Seems the globe had been there for many years! I also spied correct size wicks and a bottle of clean burning lamp oil.
Our wizzo engineer Dennis Honey repaired the reservoir and Basil fixed a suitable support hook on the deck beam.
So, on Monday 19th March a small party of Mr & Mrs Dave B and Project Manager William Collard lit the blue touch paper and the lamp burst into light for the first time in many, many years. Fantastic!”
Thanks for that, William. Well done. Gotta love E-Bay!
It was good to see our friend Peter Phillips pop up on the Facebook pages with some lovely photos of the Sailing Barge Thalatta now restored and out sailing again. I hope Peter doesn’t mind me sharing this one with you. Google Thalatta and all roads lead to parent organisation, the East Coast Sail Trust as on…
The ECST has it that “Thalatta celebrated her 100th birthday in 2006 and has an exemplary safety record built up by the late John Kemp and Jane Benham MBE who were amongst the originators of the Trust, and continued by the present body of six Directors who are also Trustees. The Trustees are supported by a Technical Adviser, a Booking Secretary, a Lottery Fund coordinator, a crew of three responsible for safe operation of the barge, and an Accountant.
Thalatta has undergone a major 5-year refurbishment and resumes her work in
2012 in first class condition.
All staff, whether working in a voluntary or paid capacity, are committed to maintaining the high reputation of the Trust for the benefit of young people from all sectors of the community. “
Meanwhile, back at Cambria, Dave B issues the following call to arms to the volunteers this weekend. “Cambria is now out of dry dock. We have a lot of cleaning up to do as the lighter was full of mud and you couldn’t avoid bringing it aboard. We had hoped to have another weekend in the dock but Repertor is due down from London and is going in today. Hopefully we can get a little more paint on the sides and wale. Also a general tidy up below is in order before her first charter in April. The mizzen also needs sorting out. All volunteers will be welcome”
I have to admit to this one sneaking by me, maybe in all the confusion of moving houses and possibly because, unusually, I was not involved in writing any of it, but the other day I spotted that the latest newsletter (Jan 2012) is up on the website. It makes quite a good read, especially the bit by former Mate and good friend of the Trust, Phil (“Ginger”) Latham. I love his style!
He is describing a sail on which he was guest. He refers to it as the “Old F…..s Cruise”. He describes finding his ”old bunk” (I’ve slept in that one, Phil – I loved the fact you are surrounded by bargey bits – hanks of rope hanging up between bow frames, life jackets and safety gear, crates of tools and rigging bits) and then his amusement at discovering all the modern stuff like electric flush toilets. He laughs too at being really impressed by the speed that Stretch could raise the topsail – only slightly tarnished when he worked out that our new synthetic sails are much lighter than Cambria’s real canvas in his day (2 tonnes for the mainsail even when dry alone).
He describes way how they “make their way slowly out of Gravesend Reach into the Lower Hope and so into Sea Reach, long and short boards always in light airs but making decent progress under the conditions. This was my first barge passage since 1968, the barge was familiar in her form but different in that everything was new, and not battered in places after a hard life in trade.” Soon he can’t stand the doing nothing, and starts moving about the deck tending backstays etc. Till Tim G has a rush of blood to the head and lets him steer. Excellent stuff, Phil, and thanks for that.
It’s available as a down-load from the Cambria website as
If you’re even less efficient than me and you’ve still not read it at the end of March, then o youself a favour.