Sailing Holidays and Short Breaks On Board Traditional Thames Sailing Barges

Private chartersOur cruises

Sailing UPdate

The Trust’s programme of sailing trips are now available on our website for 2024 and more will be added throughout the year. All sailing trips can be booked online but for charters please call 07840 862685

All profits on our cruises and charters is used to fund the upkeep of our two sailing barges Centaur and Pudge. We have no paid staff and the Trust is managed and run by volunteers.

If you have any queries or would like to discuss any sailing opportunities/charters for 2024 please email: or contact David Gibson on 07840 862685

Sample Cruises

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Introduction to the Thames Sailing Barge Trust (TSBT)

The Trust celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 2023 having been formed in 1948

The TSBT is a registered charity that exists to preserve two Thames barges in sailing condition for the benefit of the public and to pass on the skills required to sail them. Although the TSBT owns the barges they are operated by a wholly owned trading subsidiary TSBT Sailing and Charters Limited. This is a non-profit company and all sailing fees and membership subscriptions are used to maintain and restore the barges and meet their operating expenses.

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Feedback From Our Visitors

September 2023

Brilliant trip - relaxing and enjoyable

Crew provided an excellent introduction to barge sailing, full of fun and recommend to all.

Thank you to the crew of Pudge, we had the best experience on board, made even better by the professionalism, enthusiasm and knowledge from Capt. Mick and rest of crew. We had the best time.

Crew were fantastic. This charter exceeded expectations. Highly recommend for other sailors who want to experience and learn something different.

The crew were very hard working and great fun to be around. The skipper is a very talented man with a fine voice.

Overall experience with a very humorous and talented crew was excellent.

A very enjoyable trip - Thank you.

This was a wonderful few days, thank you to all concerned. Amazing, dedicated and committed crew.

What a spectacular barge (Pudge). The crew were incredible. Knowledgeable, helpful and above all loads of fun.

One of the best sailing experiences I have ever had. Great weekend, would love to come out again.

Wonderful time on Pudge, enjoying a wholly different pace of life surrounded by friendly people.

August 2023

Since 1989 I have sailed on Barques, brigs, ketches and Thames barges covering over 46,000 miles in some 650 days. Every voyage has had its highlights but this one on Pudge was especially memorable for its accommodation, the camaraderie and its music. The crew encourages us to take part in the sailing. I shall go again.

The experience on the newly refitted Pudge was excellent. It is perfectly understandable some tweaking is preferable and when carried out should enhance the experience. The shower was an unmitigated success.

Pudge is very comfortable and has excellent facilities including a shower. The traditional sailing is a high quality experience.

July 2023

Pudge has been amazing! This was an experience looked on as a whim but it has been revolutionary. What an incredible thing and amazing people.

As a person with some mobility challenges the crew were very kind and helpful. I have sailed with the Trust previously and will continue sailing  at any opportunity.

It was an absolute pleasure getting involved in sailing with the Pudge crew. An excellent opportunity for learning and training. The Thames Barge Match experience was a great opportunity to cement relationships with fellow barging community if you are a novice.

To be allowed to help sail the barge and steer a 90 ton sailing vessel was a life memory. Thanks

The sailing weekend was a fantastic experience, I've learnt a lot about the Thames barges and how to sail them. I'll definitely be coming back.


We had a great time. It was wonderful sailing an historic sailing barge. The crew and our fellow passengers were a lot of fun.

Had an amazing time. Felt like a piece of me finally put in place. Going to volunteer as soon as I possible can.

The while experience was great, I learn't loads, played a part in sailing and had a blast singing shanties.

Great sailing experience on the Estuary. The crew very experienced and knowledgeable and explained everything.

This trip exceeded all our expectations. We felt relaxed and safe at all times whilst also feeling like an adventure. This was an absolute privilege. The crew were calm and professional and fun to share the experience with.


June 2023

Amazing weekend spent on Pudge with excellent skipper and crew. Particularly enjoyed the chance to get involved.

A unique chance to experience life afloat on a working boat of over a century ago - and take part in sailing her

Relaxed comfortable sailing on a historic vessel with very good company! What's not to like

Brilliant experience

Very friendly and informative crew

Authentic barge adventure, the best way to see the river Blackwater, with entertaining, helpful & informative crew - Excellent

Excellent weekend sailing trip. Totally exceeded expectations. Crew very knowledgeable & fun - Great trip - Thank you and we will be back

We loved the harmony of the experience, the people, the landscape, the way the barge sailed, how it functioned and how it felt and the environment

A brilliant way to spend a weekend

The charter experience was one that couldn't be exceeded, would and have recommended to everyone we know! the absolute joy of the multi-generational experience was one that is not bettered in this world. The volunteers went out of their way to make us feel like family and we will remember this always - we can't thank you all enough.

We had a fantastic 5 days on board Pudge. Pat and Terry were excellent company as were the crew who joined us for the race. Thanks to all a brilliant time!

Excellent instruction of sailing tasks for those who wanted to take part. A very pleasant experience for those happy to observe.

May 2023
Brilliant from beginning to end - Medway Barge Match

Children's Day 1st June
Thank you so much this was such a lovely visit and we had a very busy time
Local residents and often walk by the barges and admire. Visited before at a child day and thoroughly enjoyed it and made a return visit. Thank you to all for your time and warm welcome.

August 2022 - Clacton Airshow Cruise
I took a three day trip on Thames Sailing Barge Centaur from Maldon to Clacton to watch the Airshow. This is one of two barges owned and run by the Thames Sailing Barge Trust with enthusiastic volunteers. The friendliness of the Captain, crew and guests made this experience unforgettable.

August 2022 - Children's Days
A fantastically well organised event, everything explained, brilliant Activity Books and well organised activities - very 'hands on'. The boys loved it.

Thank you to all the volunteers for a fantastic time. All very friendly and knowledgeable. Take home resources were fab.

May 2022
I really enjoyed the friendly atmosphere created by the skipper and his crew. A lovely weekend.

September 2021
Overall we had a fantastic time with a really great skipper and his mate

June 2021
The peace spending a whole day on the magnificent Centaur, a memorable experience.

May 2021
The whole experience of sailing on a beautiful estuary in an historic vessel was fantastic.

May 2021
Hands on sailing for our young son at the ropes and to be able to use the wheel made his day

Behaviours Policy

The Trust are committed to eliminating discrimination and recognising equality and diversity in our own policies, practices and procedures and encouraging those outside our organisation to do the same in their dealings with volunteers, customers, suppliers and third parties.

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