We have a ‘celeb’ aboard Cambria for the first part of her current historic trip to reproduce the barge’s final cargo-carrying run, Tilbury to Ipswich. None other than Dick Durham, her last Mate and now writer for Sailing mag “Yachting Monthly”. Dave Brooks reports, “Today the Cambria and her Sea Change crew left Gravesend with a certain Mr Dick Durham aboard bound for Tilbury Dock to load token cargo. Tomorrow she will leave Tilbury around 7.00am bound for Ipswich in a rerun of her last ever cargo passage in 1970 under Bob Roberts with Dick Durham as mate. I am pleased to say he looked quite at home on the old girl as he helped throw off the mooring lines. Unfortunately Dick can’t make the full trip due to other commitments but will sail down river with them for a while.”
Tricia Gurnett posts that she has “Spent 3 great days this week helping on Cambria, moored at Town Pier, Gravesend. Had some lovely people come to see us who were all very interested in what we were showing them about the barge and its restoration. And in wonderful sunshine, what could be better than sitting on the deck of a Thames sailing barge watching the ships go by.” The picture is by Dave Brooks and shows Julie Brooks holding out our Thames 2012 pennant. Nice one you guys and thanks Tricia for your help manning the barge!
With the Thames Match over, Cambria is back on the pier at Gravesend for her short series of lectures and to be open to the public. Here, Boss of Volunteers, Basil, prepares to hoist the Class Winner’s pennant from that rather windless day. Anyone who knows Basil will know how much he loves a bit of bunting and a few flags, so he’ll be happy that we’ve now started to accumulate pennants. I wonder who gets the job of polishing all the silver. The lectures are listed in the ‘News’ / ‘Future Events’ section of this site.
Well, we had our race yesterday in the Thames match and we duly beat the suggested “main rival”, SB Thalatta, to a class win but you can see from the attached Dave Brooks photo that it was not a very exciting event. It took place in very light airs and was eventually abandoned due to lack of wind. You can see from the picture, the sails hanging slack from the rigging and the almost millpond smooth sea which give the picture the look almost of a model boat on a park pond. I was joking with Dave that we had brailed up the bottom edge of the mains’l so that the Skipper could see for’d and avoid any high speed collisions. Dave thinks it was done in case “they woke up suddenly and found something exciting happening”. Ah well, that’s barge racing, I guess. We do have a couple of pictures where the merest suggestion of a breeze gave some movement and Cambria can be seen ‘ahead’ of Thalatta, so we won the class and picked up a shed load of trophies at the celebration afterwards in the excellent Three Daws pub in Gravesend. I will ask one of those who attended and/or raced, to provide some kind of report when they have recovered from all that muscle-wrenching battling with the elements and save the old girl from dire peril broaching or getting swamped…..
It’s become something of a standing joke on the Facebook barge-orientated pages that our friend Tricia Gurnett of the Society for Sailing Barge Research gets wound up by the fact that power stations spoil the view from the river(s) and so often get into the background of barge photographs. This started last year when Cambria was alongside St Andrew’s Wharf in Gravesend and then later moored just off shore on the trot moorings. She was in such a position that it was hard to avoid the big Tilbury power station on the north bank of the river. We published a few pictures with Tilbury in unawares and Tricia started gently ribbing us. Soon, naturally, we were doing it deliberately to tease her, with captions along the lines “and another shot especially for Tricia Gurnett” or even, in some cases deliberately framing Tilbury in bits of rigging, through ratlines or life belts etc. All good clean fun.
Today’s picture is a lovely one by Mark C and has something in the background which may strike you as familiar. Sorry, Tricia G!