|Sailing Barge Lady Daphne|
in full racing trim.
|Course of the Thames Sailing Barge Match 2015.|
|The sailing barges at Gravesend |
on Friday night.
So I duly turned up at Gravesend on Friday night and met the crew and other guests at a very convivial dinner provided by Elisabeth.
I wasn't too sure about clambering up the side of the barge in the dark, having been ferried there in a sort of plastic bath tub, but I gritted my teeth and thought brave thoughts.
|Steam Tug Portwey at Gravesend |
on Friday night.
I was interested to see the ST Portwey moored just upstream from our buoy. This tug is a very rare creature: a twin screw, coal-fired steam tug built in 1927 to supply coal to coastal steamers.
The Portwey was going to accompany the sailing barges on the morrow.
To learn more about this fascinating remnant of our maritime history, click here.
|View from Lady Daphne as |
we lead the field.
|Neck and neck around the buoy and we are all |
trying madly to get more sail up.
Within a very short time I had come to the realisation that I had been press-ganged into crewing a racing barge. The rest of the day passed in glorious frenzy of ignorance as I rushed about, tripping over things and generally getting in the way of everybody important while trying to carry out the skipper's suggestions (I can hardly call such kindly beseechings, 'commands') to 'loosen off that wang' or 'drop the port board'.
|After turning, we catch the wind and start to fly.|
|They are still trying to catch us up.|
And you know, some of the blighters we managed to overtake, would not give up, they kept chasing us. It was almost as if they thought they were in a race or something.
I looked around the hull of Lady Daphne for those holes through which they stick the muzzles of the canons but could not find any. Bit of an oversight that, on the part of the shipbuilder. They could have come in useful.
|If you can keep your head while all |
around you are losing theirs...
But I had to admire the sang froid of Elisabeth. With mayhem around her, crew running down the deck and climbing up poles, she managed to get in a bit of serious reading.
But that is what I thought I had signed up for. Where did I go wrong?
Elisabeth and Michael, I had a brilliant time. Thank you so much. Skipper James, I apologise for being a bit of a nuisance and under your feet. And you didn't even use any 'nautical' language on me. What self control!
To know more about Sailing Barge Lady Daphne, click here.