As we know, Cambria is currently making a small tour of waterfront pubs in Essex and Suffolk delivering the Mighty Oak beer “Captain Bob”. She was last reported parked up on Brightlingsea “Hard” (this being a bit of flat, hard beach where you can safely ground a barge as the tide drops to enable loading and unloading over the sides, and a bit of hull scraping too). Here John White of the Society for Sailing Barge Research (SSBR) managed to get these striking photo’s which he has given us permission to use. Thank you John. In days gone by the loading and unloading would have been by horse and cart, driven down onto the hard alongside the barge, so the Sea Change team have had a bit of fun recreating this using the small pony and trap pictured and the Youth Trainees have been learning to use the rigging and winches to lower the beer barrels down. Brilliant!
This is rather fun. Cambria is currently off on Charter with the Sea Change Sailing Trust (see also our link from the ‘Useful Links’ tab on this website) which would normally mean that we volunteers would stop hearing about her for a while. But this time, First Mate Hilary Halajko has agreed with Dave B that she will text progress reports when she gets a few minutes in what are generally very long busy days training and keeping safe all those enthusiastic young trainees. It’s good that this has happened ‘this time’ because this is to be quite an exciting and varied trip what with trying to do beer deliveries and to re-enact Cambria’s final cargo shipment.
So, we have already had a text from Hilary saying “Cambria underweigh at just after 4am…ugh!. (Gillingham Pier). 8 gybes to get out of the Medway, gave us a taste for bacon rolls! A fetch all the way to the knoll, 4 tack to bring up in Pyefleet at 12.15pm. Skipper won the sweepstake for nearest time to arrival. Up to Maldon tomorrow afternoon tide. Crew damp and tired but happy.” Dave B adds, “Cambria left Gillingham this morning at 4 am and arrived in Pyefleet at 12.15. She is off up to Maldon on tomorrow afternoon’s tide”. Thanks for the update, Hilary.
We have also had a nice email from Friend of Cambria and Barge and Sailing book author, Nick Ardley who sent us this nice picture of a 1963 Thames Match Pewter tankard. Nick, who grew up as a boy on May Flower says “I was helping my mother to sort through ‘stuff’. She gave me this little pewter tankard. It is from the last commercial era sailing match on the Thames, dated 17th June – that would have been a Tuesday: the Medway was on the Thursday. Those matches took place during the normal working week meaning us kids on May Flower had to have time off school.
I am away from the laptop today but have just time to post this lovely shot supplied by Chairman Bruce Richardson. This is Patron David Suchet and his good lady, Shiela on board on the occasion of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
Cambria is this weekend on her way back to Gravesend skippered by Ian Ruffles and Denis Johnson with trainee 3rd hand Mark C. From Gravesend she will be collected by Richard Tichener, Hilary Halajko and possibly “Stretch” for 4 weeks more work by the Sea Change Sailing Trust and their youth scheme. She’s going to be a busy lady!