In early July I was down on Sea Bear for the annual Thames Barge match race on the Orwell. I watched from opposite the start line as the first pairs of barges started then I followed on down the river, out past Felixstowe, out to sea round the Pye end bouy then back and up the Stour before returning to Pin Mill. It was fine weather and fair winds. It was great to see so many barges out a sailing. When I see a sailing barge it always reminds me of when, as a youngster our family holidays were taken on Canvey Island and we would see the barges sailing past. In those days the ’50’s they were still working barges, so I must have witnessed some of their last days as coastal trading vessels.