Another £200,000 required first


The last Thames sailing barge to be built the steel-hulled Blue Mermaid was blown up after hitting a German mine off the Spitway channel Essex during World War II. Now plans are afoot to build a complete new barge based on her blueprint (pictured). This barge will be used to train seamen and will actually carry cargo again.

The charity building her: Sea-Change Sailing Trust say the new vessel will comprise a steel hull and all the traditional rigging and decking of a sea-going Thames barge. She will have twelve berths and basic facilities below.

‘With our own barge so many more youngsters will have the opportunity for their own personal reassessment and development. As well as our existing portfolio of programmes it will enable us to offer extended residential programmes through our Youth Sailing Scheme, engaging trainees with the genuine vocational objective of carrying cargo. In addition to defraying costs it will demonstrate purpose over that of sailing for its own sake,’ said Richard Titchener, trust director.

Phase 1, £400,000 to build the hull has been raised and tenders to build are currently out. Phase 2, £190,000 to fit out and rig is the new fundraising target.

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