The complexity of the gear and rigging of a Thames Barge can be bewildering to a newcomer. But like most things that seem initially very complicated it all makes sense when you get to know what everything does. Thames Barges are very functional and frill free, each rope, wire, block and cleat has a distinct and specific purpose.

Getting involved is fun and great exercise too. Lending a hand on the winches is probably the first thing a novice will be invited to do. The barges when in trade were crewed by a man and a boy, the winch winding experience alone will give you a fascinating insight into what hard work it must have been to sail these ships for a living!

When racing Xylonite in addition to the qualified skipper we usually have a crew of five or six volunteers with very good, but varying levels of knowledge and experience.

Showing willing and lending a hand could lead to a role as part of the regular crew so don’t be afraid of getting involved.

Experienced crew and volunteers are very welcome aboard. Please make contact if you are interested in helping crew or maintain the Xylonite.