West Mersea Sea Scouts Come Racing

West Mersea Sea Scouts on SallieHere are four Sea Scouts from West Mersea with their leader on sailing smack Sallie. They had been competing in the East Coast Old Gaffers Race supported by the Old Gaffers Association Youth Fund.

It was a day of little wind and boats struggled to get around the shortened course. Sallie was second smack home and on handicap was awarded the Sheave Trophy for coming third in her class.

She was owned by West Mersea Sea Scouts in the 1960s and early 70s before being sold away so it was very fitting to be sailing with a newer generation aboard.

Colchester Institute Work Prep Celebrate Success Afloat

Workprep Collage Cover May16

Colchester Institute offers full and part-time courses for 14 – 19 year-olds who have a range of learning or behavioural issues.

Work Preparation aims to support students into employment through development of their skills both in numeracy and literacy and a range of vocational options. All courses have a wide range of enrichment activities to make learning enjoyable and meaningful.

Their 5 day residential with Sea-Change is a regular event in our calendar and we have subsequently received this new collage, which pupils went to great effort assembling – please enjoy!

Plus, these photos are a snapshot of their time aboard.


Reception For Blue Mermaid

M&BS imageThursday 7th July dawned calm, sunny and warm. Perfect for a reception welcoming our newly built Thames sailing barge, Blue Mermaid, to her new home.

Joining her on Maldon’s Hythe Quay was a large and happy gathering of friends and supporters who listened to speeches from Chair Hilary Halajko, EO Richard Titchener, Chairman of Appeal Patrons, Rear Admiral David Snelson, Maldon Town Mayor, Councillor Richard Miller and to hear Canon Bill Broad bless the vessel and wish her a long and successful life. We were also afforded a guard of honour by Maldon Sea Cadet Corps.

Thanks to Den Phillips Photos we have a splendid record of the day, which can be viewed here.

Thanks also to the Maldon and Burnham Standard for their coverage.

Blue Mermaid is now moving just a little further upriver to TS Rigging where she is to be fitted out and rigged, entering service with the charity next season.

Thames Match 2016 With The PLA

Photo Nick Jordan

Photo Nick Jordan

We have been delighted to sail with a crew from the Port of London Authority at the Thames Match for several years, which is considered a team-building exercise as well as supporting a long-standing event, second only to the America’s Cup in longevity. Over the years we have had a good or steady performance in the Match aboard Wyvenhoe, Cambria and Reminder. This year Reminder had an early booking elsewhere and we are very grateful to Tim Kent, owner of Xylonite, for the opportunity to take her in the Match. It was a walk down memory lane because the first time we sailed with the Authority was with her over ten years back. This year the Match was on Saturday 25th June and the barge returned to Maldon three days before from filming at Dunkirk for a film of the same name. Apparently actors in uniform had been swarming aboard from the beach just as they had in 1940. We await the film with interest. Read the rest of this entry »

The UK’s Newest Thames Sailing Barge Arrives In Maldon

IMG_7977 cropped

Blue Mermaid arriving in Maldon. Click to enlarge


The UK’s newest Thames sailing barge arrives in Maldon
The first Thames sailing barge built for trade since 1930

27 June 2016: This week, Maldon saw the arrival of Blue Mermaid, the first full size Thames Sailing Barge to be built since 1930.

The 87ft. steel barge, which will be based in Essex, has been built by local charity, Sea-Change Sailing Trust and will be used for their work with young people as well as carrying cargo. Sea-Change Sailing Trust works with disabled and disadvantaged young people as well as those challenged by traditional educational settings, experiencing social exclusion or at risk of offending.

The barge, which was built at the boatyard of C Toms and Son in Cornwall and later towed to her new home in Maldon, will now be fitted out and rigged by TS Rigging at Downs Road Boatyard. Blue Mermaid is a replica of a barge of the same name, which was sunk by a mine during World War ll with the loss of her crew. As a traditional Thames Sailing Barge, she will not have an engine and will be able to transport the equivalent of up to six articulated lorry loads in a low carbon environment.

Sea-Change Sailing Trust’s Chair of Trustees, Hilary Halajko commented, ‘This marks a landmark moment in our ambitions to get a new Thames Sailing Barge into operation. Having already raised £450,000, we now have £150,000 left to raise to get the barge finished in the hope that ‘Blue Mermaid’ will enter service during 2017’.

Blue Mermaid can be viewed alongside at Hythe Quay in Maldon between Wednesday 6th and Friday 8th July.


Notes to Editors:

Sea-Change Sailing Trust provides residential opportunities for young people and vulnerable adults to learn and develop in a unique environment. By living and working together aboard a large traditional sailing vessel they participate in a wide range of life skills and are encouraged to take increasing responsibility for their contribution and group decisions.


For over 20 years TS Rigging has rigged a wide range of craft from the complete deck up restoration of the Cutty Sark down to classic day boats, racing cutters, fishing smacks, traditional sailing barges and classic yachts. Using both traditional and modern techniques they meet individual requirements, whether for a restoration, replica or a brand new vessel.


Latest Newsletter Published

HHilary launches Blue Mermaidot off the press, our latest newsletter for you to read online, download or print to enjoy at your leisure. Happy reading!