Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Thames Sailing Barge Parade Supported by Specialist Vessel Insurers

A Chance to See Historic Boats in Their Traditional Stamping Grounds
Shipping News Feature
UK – As well as the popular calendar of Thames barge races organised by the Sailing Barge Association which sees a regular sail off of the surviving vessels of this unique class of work boats and whose website offers full information for each venue, this year will see a special ‘Thames Sailing Barge Parade’ as part of the annual ‘Totally Thames’ festival and this is being supported by The Shipowners’ Club, a leading mutual P&I insurer in the smaller and specialist vessel sector, and the aim is to raise funds for the remaining barges’ maintenance and restoration.

Totally Thames takes place over the month of September and brings the river to life via an exciting season of arts, cultural and river events throughout the 42-mile stretch of the Thames in London. It is organised and delivered by Thames Festival Trust and the charitable trust has a 17-year track record in delivering high quality river and riverfront events including the Thames Festival and The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

The Shipowners’ Club has a long association with these barges. After the Club’s formation in 1855, some of the earliest entered vessels were Thames sailing barges. The Club insured Cabby which was launched in 1928 and was the very last wooden Thames sailing barge to be built. Cabby holds the longest continuous entry at the Club of 73 years, from 1930 to 2003.

The Thames Sailing Barge Parade is set to be a spectacular event which will see historic Thames sailing barges set off along the Thames to eventually moor at West India Dock on the afternoon of 17 September. On Sunday 18 September they will form a pop-up museum where the barges will be open to the public to explore and learn more about their rich history and the role they once performed on the Thames.

Over the weekend the Shipowners’ Club will be present at a shore-side area in West India Docks where the public will have the opportunity to meet the barge owners, crew members and historians who will bring the event to life. Simon Swallow, Chief Executive of The Shipowners’ Club, commented:

“Having recently celebrated the Club’s 160th anniversary, we are proud to support the historic sailing barges in what will be a spectacular parade to raise funds for their ongoing maintenance and repair. We started life as a Club in 1855 with 221 ships and have since grown to insure 6,500 general barges and in total over 32,000 small and specialist vessels across the globe.

”It is our heritage, our expertise and our mutual ethos that makes us passionate supporters of the maritime industry. We hope to use our voice to build greater awareness of these wonderful vessels, while also educating people about the importance of our role in protecting Members and providing support through times of difficulty.”

Photo: Cabby under way.