“The End of the Beginning”: Famous words of Winston Churchill were used to launch the hull of charitable organisation, Sea-Change Sailing Trust’s custom-built Thames sailing barge in sunny Polruan, Cornwall, on Sunday.
Named ‘Blue Mermaid’, after the last boat of its kind, the vessel has been commissioned largely thanks to fundraising efforts over the past 4 years, including receiving quarterly donations from our parent company, Plain English, throughout 2013.
Until now, the charity has been using an existing Thames sailing barge from where they are based in Maldon, Essex, to offer disadvantaged and disabled people the opportunity to live and work aboard an operational cargo vessel as part of a residential ‘life-learning’ programme. The new barge has no engine and will rely entirely upon manpower to sail her, providing the best conditions to encourage and develop important team building skills of those on-board.
Sea-Change hopes to use the programme and new boat to reignite the old tradition of shipping real cargo to real destinations. Katie Fontana, Creative Director of British Standard and Plain English, who attended the event, is now excited at the thought of working together with Sea-Change again in the near future with a similar aim in mind:
“I’ve always loved the idea of delivering a British Standard kitchen to at least one customer using Sea-Change’s barge and crew. The projects would have to be located near a port of course, but I can’t think of a better way to receive an order than by boat, or a more fitting way of continuing to support the charity!”