Of Barges New And Old

Tales of yoreWhilst visiting Maldon to bring us some brand new photos of Blue Mermaid in build, retired bargeman Phil Latham spent an evening catching up with the members’ bar of the Queen’s Head in Maldon.

Here he is on the right of this picture recounting the tale of a hardy passenger with him on sailing barge Cambria in 1964 who he remembered as Dines, a naval helicopter pilot from Culdrose. He had spent a winter passage aboard from Tilbury to Yarmouth and had arranged entertainments while wind bound in Harwich through his contacts with the training establishment at HMS Ganges.

It turned out that the Dines in question was John, seen here on the left of the picture. Between them are Mike Lewis who used to sail on engineless SB Kitty with John Fairbrother and Stephanie, previously of the engineless SB Ardwina. Later Phil recalled winding Cambria along the bell mouth of the Royal Albert Dock Basin with John’s help on the dolly line against an easterly wind before getting the bow into the ebb and sailing away.

Blue Mermaid In Build

Blue Mermaid run aft

Last week we received these exciting photos from C Toms and Son, which show how construction of our new barge’s hull and deck has progressed so far.

We anticipate her arriving in Maldon under tow next spring to start fitting out and rigging.

Youth Sailing Scheme & DofE Share Season’s Last Residential

Time at the wheelAboard last week were Connor and Jodie from Jaywick and members of Inclusion Ventures, Lucien from Maldon, Quinn from Colchester, who was also on our extended YSS trip in August and Ben from Basingstoke doing his DoE Gold Residential.

In addition to skipper Richard and mate Hilary was Shipshape trainee Dan, completing his final youth charter of the season. Next weekend he will be part of the group sail for all five Shipshape trainees sailing together for the only time in their year long traineeship.

On Monday we sailed to the Colne. Coaster Bert Prior passed us on Tuesday morning, a sight that will not be around for much longer as JJ Prior wind down their work from Fingringhoe after a century. This is because of a lack of ballast due to planning restrictions.

Tuesday took us to Creeksea Cliff. The Crossrail work has finished and the berth at Wallasea is now devoid of cranes. It looks as though the Thames Tunnel spoil will go somewhere else. At Creeksea we rowed ashore and had a barbecue in the dusk before returning aboard as the rain started, it continued all night and into the morning. Hence Wednesday it was decided to work aboard before visiting Burnham for stores.

Thursday to Bradwell with time to prepare for a halloween party that evening complete with pumpkins. This was followed with a triumphant return to Maldon on Friday lunchtime to end the 2015 season. Photos

Season’s End Draws Nigh

Clacton College 2015Our last two accompanied groups of the year have sailed with us residentially, leaving independent sailors from our Youth Sailing and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award schemes to finish the season off in style.

Last week regular clients The College at Clacton‘s Pathways group joined us (photos) and before that Harlow based Mark Hall Academy came sailing (photos).

Before you know it we’ll be under way again in the spring, so whether you are an individual sailor or a group organiser please be sure to let us know soon if you are thinking about joining us.

The Most Rewarding Thing I’ve Ever Put My Hand To

SHTP piece in OGA newsletter“The most rewarding thing I’ve ever put my hand to” comments Dan in the OGA‘s Newsletter.

An apprentice with the Shipshape Heritage Training Partnership, part of the Shipshape Network, he has been living and working with Sea-Change this season.

Read the article by our liaison officer, Judy Harrison

Ben Enters Into The Spirit In New Zealand

Spirit of New ZealandOne of our Youth Sailing Scheme members, Ben Riccini, has recently returned from the trip of a lifetime.

Last summer a skipper from New Zealand based Spirit of Adventure Trust sailed with us and offered to facilitate an exchange between our two organisations.

As a consequence Ben flew out at the beginning of July for a ten day stint as volunteer Watch Assistant aboard their three-masted barquentine Spirit of New Zealand. Not only did he have a wonderful experience but, on returning home, learned he had passed his A Levels and been accepted into the Warsash Maritime Academy. Well done Ben!

He would like to share his adventures with you:

New Zealand Day 1   I arrived at the Spirit of New Zealand in the early morning with Karl who I had shared a hotel room with the night before.  Whilst we were waiting for the previous voyage to leave I was introduced to some of the crew. This is where I met the 4 Watch Leaders, 1st Mate and leading hands.  The Watch leaders are …. read the whole log here