Update on Restoration 

Due to space constraints, items  from May 2020 have been deletd but can be found on the Thames sailing Barge Trust website by clicking on the link below

Sailing Barge Pudge Project ~ Thames Sailing Barge Trust

Pudge Project Update - February  2021.

At the end of the last report back in December the shipwrights had shaped up the two main hold hatch coamings.
 

Soon after, the main hold head ledges were made, followed by the fore hold coamings, and head ledges. The corners between the coamings and the head ledges are jointed together by half dovetail joints, such that the ends of the head ledges clamp down on the ends of the coamings. This together with the through bolts, holds them down to the deck and beams below, to make a stiff box around the hold. The coamings and head ledges have also had their Batten hooks put in place.
 

Pudge had a makeshift tie beam of steel half way along the hold  to support the fore and aft hatch support beams when the Trust purchased her. At this point the deck carlings on either side are of larger section than the others. It is possible that originally it may have been a continuous wood beam right across, as some other barges. After discussion with Kevin Finch our shipwright, we have decided to fit an oak beam/head ledge between the main coamings to tie them together. This beam will be supported down to the keelson with a steel stanchion, as before.  This job will be done after the coamings have been completely fixed down.
 

The saddle chock has been fashioned to fit the deck, and the rails,  and a trial fitting has been completed. We have decided to reinstate 2 hawse pipes through the saddle chock, as originally fitted. Holes have been cut ready for these. Also, we have asked Kevin to carve in her PLA no. on the starboard side of the saddle chock.
 

Whilst waiting for new bolts and other sundries, Kevin decided to start removing the ceiling, so it can be replaced. It had degenerated into a mixture of odd short planks, and there is rot from rainwater leaks in various places.
 

The majority of the floors below were found to be in reasonable condition, except for the first three aft of the raised fo’c’sle ceiling. The first of these was rotten in the centre, which had been below the old saloon stove’s chimney. The second was rotten between the keelson and port chine keelson.. The third had a sheared diagonal split right through on the same side. It was decided that we would replace all three with new oak floors. To remove them the keelson had to be cut just aft of the three floors, and removed along with its fixing bolts. The fo’c’sle ceiling had to be dismantled to facilitate this, as well as two short lengths of the lining. Three new floors have now been fitted, and the keelson welded and bolted back in place.
 

When there was a few dry days Kevin and the boys fitted the new stem and stem band back in place, together with a new knee abaft the stem, bracing it to the deck and beams below. Two new knees to brace the bitts have been partially fashioned, and trial fitted in position.  The final shaping will be done when the windlass is being refitted.
 

Another job completed was re-hanging the rudder with a new slightly reduced diameter pivot pin, as the old one was too tight.
 

The next job was to remove the old inwales. This has been done, and a few frame heads on the starboard side that had split or were soft have had new wood grafted on. New planks have been cut and put aboard the barge. Now Kevin has started the tricky job of fitting the new inwales.
 

There are many other small jobs being done in parallel. One that has been started is making new pads to bed down the mooring bollards. These will be needed soon as we are hoping Pudge will leave the dry dock in March. More of that in the next report.

Pudge Project Update - March  2021.

At the end of the last report, Kevin and the boys had started fashioning the wood for the new inwales ready for fitting. It is a difficult job  as the planks have to bend in both directions at the ends to suit the shape of the barge However, the job went well, and Kevin was well pleased with the good fit achieved.

It was decided that the 17th of March was the day Pudge would leave the dry dock.

Before this could happen all the coamings and head ledges needed to fastened down. The saddlechock, new tie beam, and the ceiling fitted. The structure would then be robust for continuing work without the need for the dry dock.

The new saddlechock was bedded down and fastened to the deck complete with its new hawse pipes, and refitting of the rope fairleads.  The new tie beam was fashioned, and a trial fitting done. Then the tricky and laborious job of drilling the long holes through the coamings and head ledges down through the decks, deck carlings and beams commenced. A great deal of care and concentration is required to ensure the holes stay central to the width of all of those components.  Once the holes were finished the coamings and head ledges were bolted and sealed down to the deck.

The new tie beam was then fastened mid-position to the main coamings and supported by a new stanchion fastened down to the main keelson. This beam and stanchion gives lateral and vertical support to the main coamings and decks. It’s a very neat structure compared to the old jumble of steel parts it has replaced.

Prior to Pudge coming out of the dock, a few of the Thursday Group spent two Sundays adding two coats of antifoul primer and black tar varnish to the hull.

On the 17th March Pudge was removed from the dry dock. Kevin was able to report that she made very little water considering the time she had been in the dry dock. He was well pleased, and it was a great testament to his work on the barges bottom planks, and fitting of the new floor frames with some new keelson bolts.

Work now continues alongside the quay at Kevin’s yard. The new ceiling has been fitted. New wedges were made which sit on the floors alongside the chine keelsons.
 
The ceiling planks that lay on these are being left loose for the time being, together with the planks that lie immediately alongside the main keelson. All the other planks have been spiked down to the floor frames. Those planks that are being left loose, will be fastened down when we know exactly where we will need access for bilge pumps, to inspect bilges, etc. Those areas will require removable boards.

The ceiling planks have been treated and tarred underneath and are being sealed on the topside prior to final finishing. Kevin is going to cover the ceiling with plywood sheets to protect it from work boots etc. and so we can mark it out with the proposed internal layout and see what alterations might be needed if any.

Inside Kevin’s workshop the new wooden forehorse has been made and a start has been made on the new mainhorse in oak.

There is still a lot of work to be done. The windlass has still to be reassembled, the steering gear to be assembled with the mizzen mast case, and associated ironwork. The main mast case to be reinstated. A new leeboard preventer plate fixed to the deck. The brail and crab winches to be remounted. The davits bases to be remounted, and a number of small deck fittings fitted. The forehatch skylight base has to be mounted, and will require some reworking to allow for the new curved hatch beams which still need making, with a number of hatch beams for the main hatch.

We still have to plan out the final position of main hatch skylights, and any additional ventilators and tank filler positions.


Plenty more for us to do, as well as Kevin’s team. We need to be at our best to match his high standards

 

 

Pudge Project Update - April  2021.

At the end of the last report, our shipwright Kevin Finch and his boys had started fashioning the wood for the new inwales ready for fitting. It is a difficult job  as the planks have to bend in both directions at the ends to suit the shape of the barge However, the job went well, and Kevin was well pleased with the good fit achieved.

 

It was decided that the 17th of March was the day Pudge would leave the dry dock.

Before this could happen all the coamings and head ledges needed to fastened down. The saddlechock, new tie beam, and the ceiling fitted. The structure would then be robust for continuing work without the need for the dry dock.
 

The new saddlechock was bedded down and fastened to the deck complete with its new hawse pipes, and refitting of the rope fairleads.  The new tie beam was fashioned, and a trial fitting done. Then the tricky and laborious job of drilling the long holes through the coamings and head ledges down through the decks, deck carlings and beams commenced. A great deal of care and concentration is required to ensure the holes stay central to the width of all of those components.  Once the holes were finished the coamings and head ledges were bolted and sealed down to the deck.

 

The new tie beam was then fastened mid-position to the main coamings and supported by a new stanchion fastened down to the main keelson. This beam and stanchion gives lateral and vertical support to the main coamings and decks. It’s a very neat structure compared to the old jumble of steel parts it has replaced.

 

Prior to Pudge coming out of the dock, a few of the Thursday Group Volunteers spent two Sundays adding two coats of antifoul primer and black tar varnish to the hull.
 

On the 17th March Pudge was removed from the dry dock. Kevin was able to report that she made very little water considering the time she had been in the dry dock. He was well pleased, and it was a great testament to his work on the barges bottom planks, and fitting of the new floor frames with some new keelson bolts.
 

Work now continues alongside the quay at Kevin’s yard. The new ceiling has been fitted. New wedges were made which sit on the floors alongside the chine keelsons.
 
The ceiling planks that lay on these are being left loose for the time being, together with the planks that lie immediately alongside the main keelson. All the other planks have been spiked down to the floor frames. Those planks that are being left loose, will be fastened down when we know exactly where we will need access for bilge pumps, to inspect bilges, etc. Those areas will require removable boards.

 

The ceiling planks have been treated and tarred underneath and are being sealed on the topside prior to final finishing. Kevin is going to cover the ceiling with plywood

sheets to protect it from work boots etc. and so we can mark it out with the proposed internal layout and see what alterations might be needed if any.
 

Inside Kevin’s workshop the new wooden forehorse has been made and a start has been made on the new mainhorse in oak.
 

There is still a lot of work to be done. The windlass has still to be reassembled, the steering gear to be assembled with the mizzen mast case, and associated ironwork. The main mast case to be reinstated. A new leeboard preventer plate fixed to the deck. The brail and crab winches to be remounted. The davits bases to be remounted, and a number of small deck fittings fitted. The forehatch skylight base has to be mounted, and will require some reworking to allow for the new curved hatch beams which still need making, with a number of hatch beams for the main hatch.
 

We still have to plan out the final position of main hatch skylights, and any additional ventilators and tank filler positions.
 

Plenty more for us to do, as well as Kevin’s team. We need to be at our best to match his high standards.

 

 

 

 

 



Pudge Project Update - June  2021.

Following our last progress report on Pudge, the new forehorse and main horse have been completed and are now on Pudge awaiting to be fitted once other work is completed. They have had two coats of oil and will still require at least three further coats in due course.
 

Work has also been completed on the forehatch boards and a picture of these is included to show how they have been made. The supporting beams for the main hatch boards have also been cut and shaped and put in place, but will not be fixed until we have completed more of the project. Pudge’s original fore and afters have also been stripped of paint and retained.
 

The bracing knees for the windlass bitts are still to be put in place and the windlass fitted. This has been delayed pending some repair work needed for some rotten wood on the rail, which will be hard to repair once the knee is fitted.
 

An important milestone took place in May, when we signed off on the first part of the project after having the Trust’s surveyor review the work completed by Kevin Finch and his team and as was expected the surveyor was very pleased with the high standard of work that Kevin and his team had carried out. This important step then meant that we could start using volunteers to undertake tasks in readiness for phase two of the project, the re-fit’ which should start in September.
 

We had hoped that Pudge would move back to the Quay at the Hythe for the summer, but because the main hatch is still open, and to avoid the wet weather getting in below deck, we have kept in place her winter cover and this means that we cannot move her from her berth at Fullbridge. If we had moved her and then re-erected her cover, this would have hindered the mooring up of other barges on the Quay so the decision was made to keep Pudge at Fullbridge. Unfortunately, there is no public access. Volunteers are only allowed on site with the permission of the Trust and under supervision as access to Pudge is difficult. One issue which we were able to overcome was that of parking. With thanks to Tesco, volunteers have been allowed to use their carpark during the days we are working without the risk of obtaining a parking ticket. This has been a great help and we thank Tesco’s for their support. Please be aware that this facility is only available to  cars which we have registered with Tesco’s.
 

The volunteer group working on Pudge is made up of members of the Thursday Group who have maintained Pudge for many years. They are now meeting on Mondays,  and Thursdays and another group made up of trainee mates has been put together by Mick Nolan and they meet on a Tuesday evening. There is a lot of work to be undertaken and we need people to get involved. If anyone would like to help on any of the days mentioned, please contact John Rayment on 07587 141054 and he will be happy to sign you up.
 

After we had put some basic items on Pudge for the volunteers, like tea, coffee and a kettle, we started work on the 3rd June. The work involved cleaning the linings and sanding the carlings. The linings were filthy after all the work that had taken place over the last 12 months. Once other jobs are done the linings will be painted with Sadolin. The carlings  have already had one coat of primer, but we aim, under the advice of Kevin Finch,  to add another and then two coats of undercoat and two coats of top coat. We are proposing that all new timber including the inwales coamings and underdeck will be either oiled or stained so as to bring out the natural wood.
 

The decks have also been given a primer coat, but this also needs to be repeated and  further top coats added in due course. There is a lot to be done and if as said above you can help let us know.

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

Pudge Project Update - July  2021.

Please click the link below to view a time lapse of the initial work on Pudge

 

 

Pudge Project Update -August  2021.

June and July have been busy times for the  volunteers who help with Pudge as we were given access at the beginning of June and work began on cleaning up and preparing the existing timber ready for painting.

This is the middle phase of the project and requires the Trust to get all the major painting and wood preparation work undertaken before September when Pudge will be taken back by Kevin Finch and work started on her re-fit.
 

To make life easy for the team of volunteers, all timber that Kevin had painted with one coat or primer will end up being painted and all wood in its natural state will be oiled.
 

Mick Nolan who is managing this phase of the project has produced a specification for what needs to be done and John Rayment who is managing the volunteers makes sure that the work is carried out.
 

There are three groups working at present. One group on a Monday morning and another on a Thursday led by John Rayment and another led by Mick Nolan on a Tuesday evening. The policy being adopted is that everything which has to be painted needs two coats of primer, two undercoats and two top coats.

We started with the coamings and wooden beams. These have now reached the stage of just needing the final top coats. These have not been added as we plan to oil the under deck with Danish Oil and do not want to get splashes of oil on the top coat. This work took a few weeks in view of the number of coamings and beams.
 

It had been decided that we would remove all paint from the rails as we had identified a large area of rot on the port side near the bitts. The task of removing the paint is a long one and three of the Thursday volunteers are making steady progress. Thankfully, and we are now over two thirds along, we have not identified any other big problems, but have decided to continue anyway.
 

Below deck we started on painting the exposed floors and preparing the existing linings for painting. The keelson was also taken back to metal and has had all its coats of paint added and now looks a bright red so as to be seen by all when below deck. The linings are now receiving a couple of coats of sadolin.

In order that we can start to replace some of the fittings on deck, we need to remove the cover. So that we can achieve this we have now painted the decks following the principle of two coats of primer, two of undercoat and two of top. We will add a further top coat in due course. The coamings and head ledges have also received a couple of undercoats and will be painted in Beech Brown in due course. This work has just been finished and will allow the cover to be removed in due course.

There is still a lot to do, but the progress is good.
 

The next big task will be to oil the new timber that has been fitted.

 

Pudge Project Update -September  2021.

At the time of our last update on the progress with Pudge we advised that the volunteers had started to paint the various items of new timber that had been replaced by Kevin Finch. This had to initially be cleaned and then at least six coats of paint or other finish added to the timber.


We have now finished the painting and wood preparation work, which was scheduled to be completed before September and Pudge has now been taken back by Kevin and work started on her re-fit, which includes completing the main hatch boards and replacing the deck fittings before we move onto the below deck accommodation.
 

In terms of the painting, all carlings, beams, bitts (below deck) have received  two coats of primer, two coats of undercoat and have been finished in off white. The head ledges and coamings have also had the similar type and number of coats but have been finished in beech brown as they were before.
 

All the bare wood, i.e., fore hatch boards, under deck, inside of the head ledges and coamings have had six coats of Danish oil. We still have the main hatch to do once this is completed by Kevin and his team. The decks as previously reported have had  two primers, two undercoats and two top coats, once the work is fully completed the deck will get a further non slip top coat added.

The longest job has been the rails. As mentioned in the last report we had decided to burn off all the paint die to a patch of rot appearing in the port side close to the bitt knee. Having removed  all the paint, we noticed that the rails were in generally good condition although areas around the dumps in the quarter boards do need some filling. The major repair to the area near the bitt knee, has been repaired by our trainee mate Lawrie Watkins, who is also training as a ship wright. The remaining rails have been painted with the usual six coats being finished in Indian Stone.
 

As part of a community project, Tesco have been helping the Trust with the provision of paint brushes and white spirit whilst we have been painting. A group of nine staff joined us for a day at the beginning of September to help with some painting and we hope to have their help again later in the project.
 

The last job to be completed were the ceilings. These had been covered up since being replaced with hard board so as to protect them. These had to be removed, one side at a time and then the boards cleaned with a brush and white spirit and then a varnish rolled on. This took a couple of weeks whilst we had to have room to move around and store our materials, including tea making facilities and also to leave time between each coat for it to dry.
 

The whole three months of the painting project has seen a great effort by all the volunteers and everyone has worked with a great spirit. The Monday Group  worked hard on the rails, the Tuesday evening group and Thursday Group got on with the majority of painting and varnishing. The Trust would like to than everyone who gave their time for this part of the project. The value of hours worked over this period by the volunteers for the painting amounted to over £17,000 in terms of the project.

Now we have left Pudge, below deck she looks fantastic as you will see form the images in the newsletter.
 

The Monday, Tuesday Groups have ceased for the time being until we can get back on board Pudge. When Pudge is finished we still have the outside to repaint fully amongst many other things. The Thursday Group have moved back to the Hythe and will work on some of Pudge’s rigging and other items getting them ready for refitting when required.

 

Pudge Project Update - December 2021

 

Following the work by volunteers in May, June, July and early September, Pudge was handed back to Kevin Finch in Mid-September and he started work on constructing the main hatch boards and reassembling all the deck fixtures and fittings.

The new hatch boards look really good and include kidney hand grabs. The two aft sections of boards are removable, so we can easily lift bulky engine room equipment in and out of Pudge in the future. The old lift-off skylights are being replaced with Houdini hatches and once the cover is fitted over the main hatch these will be fixed in place. The completion of the hatch boards then meant that they had to all be oiled three times both above and below deck and the Pudge volunteers did this over a couple of weeks, outside of the yards main working hours.
 

We had been thinking of purchasing a new diesel tank as the existing tank had been in place for a long while, however as you will read elsewhere in the newsletter, funds for the project are tight at present, so we decided we would inspect the existing tank and see if it could be re-used. One of our members was a diesel engineer with Volvo and he took on the dirty project of cleaning the tank out and then preparing it for painting. The tank is now back aboard Pudge in the engine room, although awaits final painting and installation.
 

In September, Kevin had begun ordering materials to start refitting the accommodation below deck. This included tongue and groove cladding and studding along with insulation materials. In late October work commenced on the bulkheads being built and during November the corridor has been installed and cladded on one side. The reason for this is that we do not want lots of wiring being visible, as was the case with Pudge before the re-fit. The electrical contractors will place all the wiring in conduit hidden inside insulated walls and then the remaining side will be cladded. The dividing cabin walls have been carefully designed, to allow them to be removed to accommodate future works without the need to destroy the new cabins

Mick Nolan, who is managing the re-fit has been spending many hours sourcing items that are needed, including doors. We have now found doors that will fit and will be suitable for the conditions on Pudge. The fo’c’s’le has a new ceiling (floor) and is looking very smart. As this report is being written, the chain locker is now being constructed.

 

Lots seems to have happened in a short space of time. With the deck fitting also now back in place, we expect Pudge to return to Hythe Quay around Christmas. as her berth is required at Fullbridge. Pudge is far from complete but Kevin will continue work at the Hythe before it is time for the volunteers to start work again in the New Year.
 

As I am sure you can imagine, at present we are facing a real challenge in terms of the cost of materials and other items to see Pudge completed. With Covid and the current inflation pressures due to Brexit, items are costing us a substantial amount more than we ever budgeted for at the beginning of the project, back in 2017.
 

A Pudge 100 Appeal to raise £40,000 to help us complete the project to the standard we initially planned has been set up. The Trustees hope that members and the public will be able to give generously towards this appeal. The Trust will be providing extra funds from its reserves and we are also approaching other funders. We are not that far away from getting Pudge sailing again before her 100th Birthday, so please support this appeal in whatever way you can.
 

If you would like to donate to the Pudge fund, please email membership@bargetrust.org and we will arrange to provide you with details. Every pound counts. Thank you.

 

 

Pudge Update - February 2022

During the Christmas period, Pudge returned to Hythe Quay and berthed alongside Centaur. Kevin Finch was expecting Thames barge Will at his yard at Fullbridge and so Pudge had to move to make way for her.
 

Throughout January, Kevin and his team carried on fastening the fixtures on the aft deck. They also completed the remaining bulkheads in the accommodation area, and put the finishing touches to the two new iroko companionways, which are looking really smart. All the bulkheads are 115mm thick, with 18mm cladding both sides and 75mm insulation sheets sandwich in between. This is our attempt to reduce snoring complaints!
 

Attention has now shifted to the electrical installation, with the cables being run inside the fore and aft bulkheads. These bulkheads will contain all the electrics. All the cabin dividing bulkheads are services free and have been built so that they can be removed, without causing damage, when the time comes to replace timbers in the side of the barge. Hopefully, this won’t be any time soon, and this kind of foresight should make life easier for future shipwrights and volunteers, when the time comes.
 

The cabins are already looking inviting. They will be very spacious, without the necessity for any bunk beds.  Each berth will have a reading lamp and USB phone charging port, and the beds are a whopping 206cm, (nearly 6’8”) long.

The four enormous water tanks have also turned up and will soon be placed in position under some of the bunks, before being boxed in. The pressurised plumbing design has been finalised, and includes some redundancy should we wish to return to sinks in cabins at some point in the future. The gas system will also be installed over the next few weeks. We have been very fortunate in obtaining two brand new Hotpoint ovens, including grills, at almost cost price from Hughes in Colchester.    
 

The electrical contractor has agreed not to work on Thursdays, which allows the Thursday gang to get back on board, mob-handed, and start chipping away at the ever-increasing job list. 
 

After a good clean of all Pudge’s nooks and crannies, the gang have now turned their attention to filling the thousands of nail heads in the cladding, ready for Danish oiling. Another team are starting to recommission the engine, and one of our residential chippies has begun re-welting the anchor windlass.

Although we have a great group of volunteers, it is likely that we will need to carry out more carpentry work adding some finishing touches below deck. If anyone has (or knows anyone with) carpentry skills and could spare a Thursday or Friday, could they please let the Trust know. There is also plenty of painting, oiling and varnishing to be done if you would like to join the army of volunteers working hard to make Pudge look great for her centenary.
 

By May, we hope to have moved Pudge back to Fullbridge to complete her dry dock works. Her hull and transom will need to receive a good deal of TLC, to help her look like new, and this will all be done with our volunteer labour force. Pudge will also have her mast and sprit lifted back aboard at Fullbridge, ready to be rigged, and she will also be fitted with two new leeboards.
 

Activities outside of work on Pudge, but required as part of our Lottery Grant, continue and we have been out doing talks to groups, now that Covid restrictions have been relaxed. If you know of any group who may like to know more about the barges and Pudge, then we would be happy to give a talk.

Finally, we have also started to run a series of courses with the Workers Education Association. Our first four courses are taking place in February/March and we have plans to run a series of these courses over the next two years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Pudge Update - April 2022

Work has continued on Pudge with much of the time having been spent working below deck with electrical and gas facilities being fitted. The electrics and gas will meet all current safety requirements and to make things nice and tidy all the wiring will be hidden within the walls once the cladding in the main companionway has been fitted. We have fitted both 240 and 24 volt systems and an impressive bank of batteries installed in the engine room to maintain power while we are sailing.

 

The wiring should be completed by the time of publication although switches, lights and sockets will be installed once the cladding has been fitted..

 

The Thursday Group have been busy oiling the walls to the cabins along with completing work on deck fittings. This has been hampered a little by the loss of our Winter cover during the storms. Unfortunately, the cover split down one side and exposed the barge to the weather. After some phoning around on the evening of the storm we had a large group of local volunteers turn up and remove the cover and then transfer all our spare timber and insulation materials onto Sailorman and then cover it up to keep it dry. Because we still had the Winter cover we had also delayed putting the hatch covers over the hatch boards on Pudge. As it was expected to rain later in the day, the new covers were unfolded and put in place in a temporary fashion as they will need to be removed later when the new Houdini skylights are fitted. The frame for the cover has now been taken down and stored and the cover has been sent away to a sailmaker in Suffolk to be repaired.

One of the outcomes from the Pudge Project is to try and replace the skipper’s cabin to the way it was when Pudge came out of trade. When Pudge’s Bedford engine was installed a lot of the old skipper’s cabin was removed and a few years ago when repairs were carried out to her transom and stern the floor to the cabin was raised. This has meant that head height has always been low and many a volunteer has wacked their head on the beams when moving around. Led by David Gibson a group of Thursday volunteers have been working on lowering the floor and at the same time turning through 180 degrees the diesel tank to make sure we meet the requirements of our surveyor and to make room for a boiler to be installed. In a very tight space, the moving and turning of the tank has taken lots of brute force and required a redesign of the supporting ironwork.

 

The engine is being serviced and where required new parts fitted. We have managed to get some gaskets from a specialist dealer in old Bedford engine parts.

 

During a recent good spell of weather a few of the Thursday Group worked extra days to get more of the on-deck fixtures painted ready for Pudge to move back to Fullbridge at the beginning of April where further work will be carried out by Kevin Finch and his team, this will include cladding the walls below deck in the companionway, fitting the crab winches and Houdini skylights amongst other things.

 

The Davits have been heaved back in place and the barge boat hung between them, this has been done so we can work out the correct height for the bases of the winches so that the wires do not hit  the new main horse which is slightly higher than the one it replaced.

Whilst back at Fullbridge the volunteers will be working on preparing the sprit, top and main mast ready for them to be craned back in place.

 

There is still plenty to do so if anyone would like to give a hand, please contact John Rayment or Mick Nolan.

 

We are also still short of funds in order to complete the work we had planned for Pudge. Inflation is now eating into our remaining funds and although the Trustees are thankful to everyone who has donated to the Pudge Centenary Appeal, if you have not done so and can spare some funds these would be much appreciated. We continue to fundraise elsewhere but the success rate is quite small, hence your support is appreciated. Please contact John Rayment for details on how to contribute at membership@bargetrust.org

Pudge Update - June 2022

Pudge moved back to Fullbridge just before Easter, to go back under Kevin Finch & his team of shipwrights. She will remain at Fullbridge until early July, when she will return to the Hythe Quay for her Centenary celebrations. 
 

If you are in Maldon over the weekend of 16/17 of July, Pudge will be open to our members and supporters to come aboard and have a look round at all the amazing work that has been done to date. 
 

One of the team, will be on hand to show you around and discuss possible charter dates and sailing opportunities.

We would like to give our members and supporters the first opportunity to book Pudge for charters in 2023. 
 

Since the last update, the gas installation is complete, and we have been issued the gas safety certificate. The electrical installation is well underway. The cabling, chargers and control panel have all been installed. The lighting in the cabin, heads and gangway has been installed too. Each bunk has its own brass light fitting, which can be switched on and off from in bed. The bulbs are a warm hue, which makes the two-berth cabins look lovely and cosy. In addition to the bulkhead lighting in the gangway, we have installed night lights, at a low-level, to help guide people to the heads without having to use the main lighting. All the lighting is LED and low wattage, which will help to reduce our battery consumption. 
 

All the new bilge pumps have been installed to the latest standards. 
 

The engine room bulkheads have now been installed. These are the same 115mm insulated design as the rest of the bulkheads, with the addition of fireproofing cement boards lining the inside of the engine room. The bulkheads have been built in such a way that they can all be dismantled, when the time comes to carry out the next round of major restoration, or if we need to replace the diesel tank or engine. 

The shipwright team have completed the panelling of all the bulkheads. Our volunteers have been working hard filling the thousands of tiny nail heads, ready for Danish oiling. 
 

The cabin door linings are in. The cabin doors are on board, and we’re currently waiting for the door furniture to arrive, so the doors can be fitted. The doors will be lockable for privacy and security. 
 

One of the most exciting progression is the installation of the galley. It really has the wow factor when you walk in. The counters have been oiled. The lighting will soon follow and this will include a red light option to help preserve night vision whilst making those late night cups of tea underway.
 

The next major stage below deck, will be installing washrooms, ready for the plumbing to go in. 
 

On deck, Pudge is almost ready to rig. All her deck gear has been installed. The skylights and hatch cloths are on-site, and will be installed over the next couple of weeks. Once this has been completed, we can lift the mast and sprit back on board. 
 

Our volunteers have already overhauled all the sailing gear. The sails are dressed. The sprit is painted, and the mainmast just needs a few more coats of varnish. The topmast hasn’t weathered well out of service. There are some soft areas that will need some attention to prolong the life of the spar, and this work will be carried out in the coming weeks. Just another bump in the road to overcome. 
 

Once the hatch is completed and the spars are ready, we can rig Pudge again for the first time in four years. We are hoping we can have all her gear standing in time for her birthday on the 13th July. 
 

Our volunteers have been brilliant, chipping away at the jobs on the job list. We will be calling on all hands over the next few weeks as we try to make Pudge as smart as possible for her birthday in just a few week’s time. If you want to get involved, we have weekday, evenings, and weekend working parties. We can find jobs for all skill levels, so don’t be shy and please contact either Mick Nolan or John Rayment to find out what’s going on. 
 

You would have read elsewhere about our crowdfunding page. The short film made by third hand, Patrick Schulenburg, is a real work of art, and captures the essence of what being a member of the TSBT is all about. Do have a look by searching online for “Pudge crowdfunding”, and if you donate a few extra pounds, and share the link with friends and family, that will help us enormously on our journey to make Pudge fit for the the future. 
 

A huge thank you, of course, to all the many people that have already very kindly donated time and money to help get Pudge to where we are today. We can’t do it without you. Thanks everyone, we’re on the home straight…

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/thames-sailing-barge-trust-1102840

August 2022

It’s been an incredibly busy time aboard Pudge over the last couple of months.
 

We wanted to have her rigged in time for her Centenary on Wednesday 13 July, so this meant that a big push was needed. We discovered that Pudge's topmast had developed some soft spots. These needed attention before rigging could begin. Spar maker & stalwart Trust member, James Byam Shaw, came to the rescue, spending countless hours making the spar good in time for the rig out, for which we are extremely grateful.
 

Kevin Finch, shipwright, and his team also went above and beyond to ensure we were on track for the big day.
 

We were very pleased to track down the location of every single piece of the rigging, despite it being in storage for four years.
 

The week before the Centenary Mick NOlan the lead on the current part of the project unfortunately came down with COVID and was laid up, losing a crucial week. Terry O’Sullivan kindly took up the baton and oversaw the rigging out in time for the big day.  Pudge is now back on the quay with all her gear standing. She looks magnificent. Thanks Terry.
 

Our army of regular volunteers deserve a special thank you too.  They have put in countless hours, and Pudge is a real tribute to this. Thanks in particular to David Orchard, who has been down most days building up the various layers of paint and making a huge difference to Pudge's very long job list.

Below decks, the galley has been fitted, as have the cabin doors, and the bunks are in. Electrics and lighting have been installed in the accommodation area, leaving just the skipper's cabin and fo’c’s’le to follow.
 

Work has started on the plumbing, which is a big chunk of the project  and a very important step on our journey to completion.

We are well on our way now, but, as ever, there is still much to do…