Pudge Project 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.

Source: Thames Sailing Barge Trust on Facebook

Read more about the Thames Sailing Barge Trust, one of our Shipshape Network East projects. 

Pudge Feb 2022 Region East