Still sailing after all these years


Last Saturday was the centenary of the Medway Barge Race and though the wind was very light it was a thrilling sight watching the timeless tan sails turning.

It was good to see one old timer back out sailing under full rig again. Orinoco was built at Greenwich in 1895 – at a time when square-riggers like Cutty Sark were still trading.

Sailing barges traded for another 80 years – long after the windjammers’ demise. The reason was that their efficient spritsail rig enabled 180 tons to be carried anywhere from the Humber to Cornwall and all the continental ports in between, by just a man and a boy.