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Saturday, March 23, 2019
Edme

Apart from the Whitstable Harbour Barge Race, all the other barge races have a yearly points system that counts up towards a champion barge.

This year there were six races where these points were given, as the Southend Barge Race was not held this summer. At the end of the season there was only one point between the Edme and the Niagara before the Colne Race, but as the Edme managed to start first and win the race presumably she became the champion barge.

The Colne Race had ten barges and was sailed in a perfect SW wind with hot sunshine. After Edme came Niagara, Repertor and Dawn. The Dawn then moved into her new berth at the end of the commercial quay at Brightlingsea. As this barge is back based on the River Colne, she now flies the house flag of Francis and Gilders, the Colchester barge company that once owned her. Francis and Gilders merged with Crescent Shipping in 1951.

The following day, the mulie rigged coasting barges, Cambria and Thalatta sailed back along the coast and entered Harwich Harbour together. The Cambria has logged 15 knots in fresh winds in the Thames off Thurrock, but when coming up the Wallet in fresh gusts she got up to 9 knots off Clacton and averaged above 6 knots. The Thalatta went up the River Orwell to Ipswich while the Cambria picked up the Barge Buoy off The Clamp. The next day, she was towed up river, going inside the yachts, to the Hard at Pin Mill, where she is to be berthed for the winter.

The 95ft Martinet, the last of the boomie barges sank in Hollesley Bay in 1941, loaded with cement. Skipper Bob Roberts of Pin Mill, and his crew of two, were lucky to be rescued by the Aldeburgh lifeboat. This summer, when trawling, the fishing boat Lulabelle caught on the wreck. Next day, my grandson Harry in Lulabelle and Cyril Varley, in Jubilee Joy picked up the wreckage, a pin rail and part of a side of the barge. The hull was ‘treenail’ fastened and covered in cement. The deck photographs appear to confirm that this was part of the boomie Martinet. When the wood came out of the water, it looked as good as when the barge was launched at Rye in 1912, but it soon started to crack.

More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - November 2018 Issue
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