Slow dating bristol grain barge
By the time Centaur was derigged and her sails were burnt in 1955, just 20 sail-only barges were still trading. The barges found a new life carrying paying passengers – like us. With every tack through the wind, winches clanked as we pulled the staysail across and raised or lowered the leeboards on either side of Centaur (they act like centre boards on a dinghy, stopping her from being pushed sideways by the wind).
I say “we”, but in fact paying crew members can choose their own activity level. The seriously enthusiastic can train to be mates and skippers.
“Barges helped build London,” says Centaur’s volunteer skipper Terry O’Sullivan, 66, a retired aerospace engineer, who saw his first Thames barge as a boy in Hammersmith. “Barges carried Medway mud to the Kent brickyards, and the finished bricks to London.
If you see a yellow-bricked building in London, chances are that its bricks were carried in a Thames sailing barge.” But now, with the wind dropping, you could see why the romance of sail gave way to the reliability of engines. Victor, built in 1895, became a floating strip club. New matches began, like the Pin Mill race, started in 1962.
Today, though, the sea was like a gently swaying millpond.
The Kathmandu is a family run business specialising in authentic Nepalese cuisine from their homeland of Kathmandu which nestles below the mighty Mount Everest.(£1.00 for each shoe from the local charity shop) Let’s bop.We began at Butterman’s Bay, where the old square-riggers used to offload grain from Australia on to the waiting Thames sailing barges.The Mali family have been treating Bristolians to their exotic cuisine for over thirty years.The whole spices are roasted, ground and mixed on site giving a unique flavour.
Gratifyingly astern was Pudge of Rochester, a 91-year-old Dunkirk veteran.