Some more excellent pics of our poly tunnel cover as seen from inside, taken by Mick Nolan and used, naturally, with his full permission. It looks like a good job to my untutored eye and will work well this winter and for future winters. I am not sure how or where we will store it but I presume the guys will have something up their sleeves. Incidentally, one of the shots includes a Birthday Boy, namely our own Boss of Volunteers, Basil Brambleby. Many Happy Returns for today, Basil. I hope they spoil you rotten and you don’t have to work too hard, at least not on the barge. Still look just as young, handsome and fit as when I first met you. 🙂 Happy Birthday.
A busy weekend for the Volunteer team. They have wound the gear down for maintenance, painting and ‘bending on’ the sails (fixing them to the spars). Dave Brooks on Facebook tells me, “Here are some pictures of Cambria yesterday morning and yesterday afternoon. Gear is down ready for painting the mast and sprit and then for the epic fun that is re-rigging. Lots of very hard work ahead of us plus a visit to Oare Creek. At least the sailing season is a another step closer”. They will miss Nozz, I am thinking. He was an expert on de-rigging and re-rigging.
Meanwhile in an email I get a nice programme of events, which I will add to the calendar when I get a chance. There is also a progress report as follows, from DB.
“It was a busy weekend on the Cambria. Yesterday Skipper Ian Ruffles and Mate Denis Johnson came down and got the masts lowered ready for painting. Today Boss of Volunteers, Basil has cleaned and sanded the topmast in readiness for oiling and varnishing. Mark Chapman and I have washed and sanded the sprit, and thanks to the weather we managed to get it painted as well. Julie Brooks has been busy getting the galley ready for the new season. She was duly dispatched off to Tesco’s for Mr Muscle oven cleaner and the cooker is now looking like new again. Word for all our prospective charterer’s (And Skipper’s cooking Pizza) the Mr Muscle oven cleaner will be in the kitchen cupboard”. I think we’ll take that as a ‘pointed’ comment, Dave!
First a couple of drawings of those main mast winch drums showing how they will be installed. On either side of the mast you can either winch direct from the upper drum for lighter hauling, or you can use the geared down ‘mechanical advantage’ version for heavier hauling. Thanks for those, Boss of Volunteers, Basil.
Next a nice progress report on our winter re-fit from Dave Brooks via the Facebook Group. Dave writes, “The sailing season fast approaches and next weekend the mast is lowered in readiness for re-rigging. This year we will be re-rigging at Oare Creek whilst Tim Goldsack and his team undertake work on the heating system, the windlass, anti fouling and a new cabin amongst other things. During the close season all the blocks have been serviced and painted (all the same colour and looking very smart) also a major overhaul of the waste plumbing system has been keeping the air fragrant. Most of the deck furniture has received a fresh coat of paint, but there is still a lot to do. Any volunteers welcome. We will have two clear weekends in order to touch in paint on the mainmast and sprit, coat the topmast and finish serving the standing rigging that hasn’t already been done. Once again the weather has held up painting but investigations are ongoing for a poly tunnel next winter. Will keep you all informed of the progress”.
Thank you for that, Dave.
Thank you very much, Boss of Volunteers, Basil who posts me a copy of the ‘Order of Service’ for the recent Celebration of Life for Catherine De Bont. This contains some lovely pictures of Catherine and looks like it was a fine and dignified, appropriate service. It featured my favourite hymn, “Eternal Father, strong to save”. I am a Hastings lad, and we grew up knowing the sounds of the lifeboat launch maroons. If ever they had been heard and the lifeboat launched we would sing this hymn in School Assembly. Ah well. Well done to all those involved in the service and the Celebration of Life. She was a wonderful lady and will be much missed.
Readers may not be so aware that Catherine was a good Friend of Cambria going back years; certainly to well before I became involved in 2007. She was an expert journalist and wrote regularly for the magazine “Traditional Boats and Tall Ships” and it was in one of these pieces, also posted to me by Basil, that she covered the forced move of Cambria, in her lighter, from the Dolphin Yard in Sittingbourne, to the Sheerness Docks (“Cambria on the Move” by Catherine De Bont, Trad Boats and Tall Ships, March 2006).
It’s a lovely piece again with plenty of nice pictures which I am guessing are also by Catherine – she was certainly handy with a camera. One of my few person to person memories of Catherine actually involves a camera – we were at a lecture in Rochester by Jim Lawrence and she spotted that I was nipping about with my reasonably priced Canon EOS digital camera. She passed me her own top-of-the-range camera and asked me to take a few for her from the back while I was moving about. She was already a ‘celeb’ to me – beginner barge-fan that I was, so I was a bit star-struck, but I hope I got some nice pics for her. I never did find out.
Ah well. Rest in Peace, Catherine. Fiddler’s Green?
As promised, a report from Boss of Volunteers, Basil on our involvement in the Faversham Nautical Festival last weekend.
Says Basil, “This weekend just gone, we were at the Faversham Basin Festival of Sail, where Faversham
Creek Trust were the main fundraisers – There were a couple of visitors to Cambria
corner who were remembering (Mr Volunteer Views) fondly, and regretting your move to Ireland,
but very delighted when they knew that you sort out the website from afar (didn’t know them, and too slow to get names). The musical accompaniment to
proceedings was fantastic and much enjoyed by all comers. SB Lady of the Lea
was visited by a constant stream of people in all age groups, the Creek
Trust appeared to collect many new members which must have made their
efforts all worthwhile. Bangers and burgers were available along with a flow
of beers. We were there to sort of join up the Apprenticeship scheme since
it started via Cambria, and should continue in the Purifier Building,
hopefully. We were very cordially treated. Dave Walsh and
Catherine de Bont were around. She had brought her boat up to join many
others in the Creek.
It was mentioned to me by several people how Medway Ports has become
involved with the Lock Gate, and I pointed out to them that it was project
manager William Collard who initiated this action.”
Basil reminds us that “next week we’re on the pontoon at Gravesend.”
Thanks for that, Basil and thanks to the people who remembered me. The picture is by Dave Brooks. The Cambria stand is the green gazebo behind the bowsprit.
While we are still “on the blocks” at Pinmill I thought it would be nice to share another photo with you taken by Dave Brooks. This really just to show you how nice, clean and grey she looks in her new paint. This bow area, particularly has been a problem to keep looking neat due to the bleeding of tar (bitumen?) through between planks outwards, leaving us with a horizontal version of zebra striping. This is not a problem in ‘soundness terms’ (better tar leaking out than water leaking in!) and is seen as a good thing and common in brand new barges, especially where the bow and sides are double skin, like ours, overlapping but stepped like brick-work, with a layer of bitumen-soaked tar felt between the 1 and a half inch (I think?) planks. The spiking down of the outer skin puts such pressure on the tar felt layer that it bleeds out between planks (inwards and outwards).
Even when we were first painting the hull, before she was launched we would faithfully roller on a layer of the silver-grey only to find it ‘spoiled’ (in the eyes of we volunteer, beginner-ish painters) by the next morning, especially in warm weather. We’d let it ‘dry’ (of course it never really did), try to clean it off and then repaint, only for the bleeds to come back again. Eventually she was launched like this and we just had to explain to everyone that this was OK and she might do it for 5 years or so before she eventually settled down.
Well, now the Sea Change Sailing Trust have had a go at painting her again. We’ll see whether they get the same issue as the “Summer” progresses.
Tomorrow, a nice report by Boss of Volunteers, Basil Brambleby from the Faversham Nautical Festival which took place last weekend and at which the Cambria Trust had a stand.
Ha. The website has just received a nice comment about a recent post which gives details of where you can go to “your best Sexy Lingerie private Online Store”. Should I approve it? Um… That’ll be a ‘No’ then.
In “Cambria Watch”, Hilary says “Cambria Left Maldon 6.30 am bound Brightlinsea, nice sunny sail though wet now. Cambria now on Brightlingsea Hard and first beer delivery 1.00pm tomorrow (That’s today, Friday July 13) hopefully with horse and cart”. Love to know how they got on!
Meanwhile Boss of Volunteers, Basil tells me that immediately after the Thames Match this year Cambria will be moored at Gravesend Town Pier and will be used for a series of lectures on barges, the RNLI and The Thames and Medway Canal, by the renowned expert and author Richard Hugh Perks and Friend, expert and Power Station afficionado, Tricia Gurnett.
Basil takes up the story.
“Earlier this year Sailing Barge Cambria strengthened her link with the Town of Gravesend by being the first vessel to berth on the new town pier. This followed a successful spell on the wall at St Andrews last year where she was opened to the public.