Ticketed

Essential Information

Type Experiences
Location
Other
Date and Times Friday 19 – Sunday 21 July 2024
Prices £225.00 per person

Member exclusive. Not a member? Join now

See page for booking details Become a Member

Enjoy a unique sailing experience with Royal Museums Greenwich Members this summer on an historic Thames sailing barge.

This is a fantastic opportunity to sail with an experienced skipper on the River Blackwater in Essex.

Find out more about the experience below, and get in touch to secure your booking!

About the barge 

The Thames Sailing Barge Trust’s Pudge was built of wood at Rochester in 1922.

She celebrated her centenary last year and is a Dunkirk Little Ship. She completed a major restoration in 2023, with new decks, coamings and hatches, while below deck her 1960’s accommodation was completely removed.

She now has six separate twin-berth cabins with full-length wide berths, three wash rooms with running hot and cold water plus WCs. There is also a shower. You bring your own sleeping bag and pillows.

Everyone takes it in turn to cook (in teams of four), wash up, clean the cabin and swab the decks. The new galley has two four-burner gas ovens and two electric ’fridges. There is running hot water at the two sinks.  Should the weather turn chilly there is warm air central heating to all living areas.

Below decks the cabins are in the part of the barge that was once the main hold; the galley and saloon are located in the fore hold. The skipper’s cabin is in the stern; the mate’s is in the fo’c’sle. The Trust runs a training programme with up to ten new trainee mates, or “third hands” each year, so a third hand may be sailing with us in addition to the mate, also berthing in the fo’c’sle.

About the experience

Members at the helm of Pudge. Image (c) Sean Brient
Members at the helm of Pudge. Image (c) Sean Brient

Pudge comes with an experienced skipper and mate who can sail the barge on their own, as was the custom in days of sail, but Members are always welcome to assist with all the tasks required to take a barge to sea and to helm and sail her wherever wind and tide allow (see photo above). She does have an auxiliary diesel engine to get us home should the wind drop altogether.

Pudge was chartered by a group of Royal Museums Greenwich Members last July, starting and finishing at the Hythe in Maldon on Essex’s River Blackwater. All agreed the whole weekend was enormous fun.

Voyage timetable

Where we sail is determined by the strength and direction of the wind on the day. Necessarily, our destination is always the skipper’s decision.

The timetable is for everyone to board on Friday evening at the Hythe in Maldon between 5.30pm and 6.30pm to meet the skipper, mate and shipmates over dinner in Pudge’s saloon. Barges sail on the tide, so after a safety briefing from the mate Pudge will leave around 11pm on Friday evening, an hour and a half before high water. 

It’s not compulsory to be on deck for our departure, but it’s a full moon weekend and it’s quite romantic cruising down the Blackwater by moonlight. Skippers usually anchor once the barge is in water deep enough to remain afloat at all stages of the tide, and set off again down river at dawn, around 5am.

The return to Maldon is on the tide around 2pm on Sunday, in time for those who arrive by public transport to catch the 3.30pm bus to Chelmsford Station for trains to Liverpool Street.

Your hosts will be Members Don and Penny Baines who are experienced barge sailors, and who have run four previous Royal Museums Greenwich Members’ charters. The barge will be provisioned for Friday evening dinner; Saturday breakfast, lunch and dinner; and Sunday breakfast and lunch. Tea, coffee and biscuits are served at regular intervals.

How to book

The total price is £225 each (£195.00 charter and £30.00 food, based on double occupancy). Single occupancy is available for £420.

For further details and to book your place, please contact Don Baines: donbaines@keme.co.uk.

What’s On

Members' tours of Cutty Sark
Talks and tours | Member events

Members' tours of Cutty Sark

Discover the history of the iconic vessel with an exclusive tour for Members.
Friday 26 April (SOLD OUT), Friday 3 May and Friday 10 May 2024 | 11.30am-12.30pm
Free for Members – booking required
Cutty Sark
Members' lecture: First Rate Tragedy
Talks and tours | Member events

Members' lecture: First Rate Tragedy

Was Robert Falcon Scott's expedition to the South Pole doomed to fail? Find out with historian and author Diana Preston
Tuesday 7 May 2024 | 6.30pm-7.30pm
Free for Members – booking required
Queen's House
New Members' Tour
Talks and tours | Member events

New Members' Tour

Embark on a voyage of discovery around the Museum in the company of one of our volunteer guides
Various dates | 11am - 12pm
Free for Members | Booking essential
In Greenwich
The Half Bird with Susan Smillie
Talks and tours | Member events

The Half Bird with Susan Smillie

Discover the incredible story of one woman's solo journey from Land's End to the shores of Greece, exploring the unexpected joy of solitude, self-discovery and resilience
Tuesday 14 May 2024 | 6.30pm-7.30pm
Free for Members | £5 for non-Members
Cutty Sark
Cutty Sark figurehead storytelling
Family fun | Member events

Cutty Sark figurehead storytelling

Discover the fascinating history behind some of our resident figureheads before inventing your own
Saturday 18 May | 1.30pm-2.30pm, 2.45pm-3.45pm and 4pm-5pm
Free for Members – booking required
Cutty Sark
Objects in Focus
Talks and tours | Member events

Objects in Focus

Visit our collection center to get up close with an iconic object from our collection
Wednesday 22 May, Tuesday 6 August, Tuesday 12 November 2024 | 10.30am-11.30am
Free for Members – booking required
Prince Philip Maritime Collections Centre
Members' crafting
Family fun | Member events

Members' crafting

Join us for exclusive craft workshops, just for Members.
Every other month | 11am-11.45am, 12.15pm-1pm, 1.30pm-2.15pm, 2.45pm-3.30pm
Free for Members – booking required
Other
Inside the Stargazer's Palace with Violet Moller
Talks and tours | Member events

Inside the Stargazer's Palace with Violet Moller

Award-winning historian Violet Moller welcomes you into the mysterious world of sixteenth-century science, where astronomers and alchemists shared laboratories
Wednesday 19 June 2024 | 6.30pm-7.30pm
Free for Members – booking required
Royal Observatory
Members' Thames Sailing Barge Weekend
Experiences | Member events

Members' Thames Sailing Barge Weekend

Join us for an amazing trip in an authentic Thames barge
Friday 19 – Sunday 21 July 2024
£225.00 per person
Other