26.5m Thames Sailing Barge, steel 1926

Price Details

Asking Price: £395,000 GBP
Location: Pin Mill, nr. Ipswich, Suffolk.GB
Builders: F.W.Horlock of Mistley, Suffolk
Year: 1926
Condition: Sound & Good, Under cosmetic refit, August 2023.
Category: Traditional Sail with Auxiliary engine
Class: Thames Sailing Barge
Keel Type: Flat bottomed steel hull with leeboards.


Xylonite: has been laid up for a year or so, through Covid times in West Dock London.
An 87ft Steel and Iron hulled Thames Sailing Barge with Bowsprit. Built in 1926 by F.W. Horlocks of Mistley, Suffolk.
She has been kept in sailing condition, and has until recently retained an
Exemption Certificate, for carrying up to 12 Guests, when sailing.
A rather special barge, in all her various guises throughout her life: a Cargo carrying Trading ship, owned by the same family from new in 1926 -1958, a Sail training vessel, she’s been used as a Film prop in feature films, Adverts. Photo shoots, as a liveaboard home, and most recently as a London based office for a Production Company.
Fortunately, she has retained much of her original fixtures and features, including her Ships log from her Trading days of 1937….The Master’s cabin has remained unaltered.
2012-14 she underwent a huge number of alterations and reworking of her accommodation, all undertaken to a high standard/ high end specification.
There are always improvements and ongoing maintenance required. Underwater hull and topsides have been repainted, this Summer.
August 2023. The mast and her gear is presently lowered to the deck. For an overhaul, to be kept lubricated and checked on.
Last survey for her insurance was conducted in June 2023
She has done very well in the past competing in the Barge Matches, racing against her sister barges, as she carries a bowsprit she is placed in the fastest class of Sailing barges, a fabulous site to see and participate in.


Nominal Length: 26.50m
Length Overall: 30m (with Bowsprit)
Length Of Deck: 26.52m
Length At Water Line: 26.35m

Beam: 5.64m   Draft: 0.91m     Air Draft: 28.00m
Max Draft: 0.91m
Draft with Leeboards Down: 2.25m


Fuel Tank Capacity: 1200ltrs.
Holding Tank Capacity: 1600ltrs
Water Tank Capacity: 2000ltrs
Displacement: 68tons
Cruising Speed: 6knots
Engine Power: 120hp


Berths: 6
Cabins: 3
Heads: 2
Passenger Capacity: 12


Builder: F.W.Horlocks, Mistley, Suffolk
Boat Name: Xylonite


Hull Material: Mixture of Iron and steel hull both rivetted and welded together.
Hull Design: Displacement
Hull Speed: 10knots


Engine Description: Gardner 5LX, diesel engine, shaft driven, triple bladed propeller. Five cylinders, naturally aspirated, indirectly cooled via a heat exchanger.
A dedicated engine room, which can be isolated off, with two watertight doors.
Twin lever rod controls for the throttle and the gear box, at the wheel, deck level.  Two steel fuel tanks either side of the engine room. Fuel capacity of 1200 litres between them.


Hull is constructed as a mix of iron and mild steel, the iron hull area being riveted, the mild steel welded, and an entire flat bottom which has been fully re plated in 8mm plate, carried out in 2013
All underwater hull has paint coatings of epoxy paint professionally applied,
Her topsides are riveted iron, where the bow and stern are formed the plating of steel riveted plate, there are many areas that have been re-plated this has been done by cutting out the old and setting in new plate.
She has a pair of hydrodynamic steel leeboards, which act as her keels.
The deck structure consists of iron and steel plate. The cabin top (including the fore hold) has traditional type individual athwart ships hatches with PVC cloths laid on top, lined below with timber. The Aft cabin has steel coamings with steel top and an addition of a hard wood (Iroko), top.


Xylonite has been professionally fitted out and she gives a very homely feel to the accommodation. accommodation below stairs.
Her previous owner had her completely refitted internally 2012-14. He lived onboard her in London and on the East Coast.
When sold in 2017, she was slightly altered below decks for her change of use as an office space, in the London Docklands. Her cabins fore and aft of the vessel have remained, main bedroom was converted into an office store.
The Master’s cabin is as it was originally built, all panelled out with two coffin berths. The cabin has its own access companionway / Sea toilet facility and solid fuel stove.
In the main hold area, there’s a large open saloon with a library, again all beautifully panelled out, there are several skylights allowing for daylight to illuminate the space below. The hull has been fully insulated.
There is open access to the galley.  Starboard side are “the Heads” opposite with an electric sea toilet and a urinal). Black tank and grey tanks. specifically made for her capacity of 1600litres.
Fresh water tank of steel mounted on the forward bulkhead.  A pressurised Hot water system, serviced by a diesel combination boiler to provide hot water and central heating system. Old style wrought iron radiators throughout the Hold.  A separate stainless-steel tank to supplies the domestic heating system.
Appliances in the galley: a washing machine, dishwasher, a large fridge and freezer, Gas oven and hob in the galley.
A sliding main hatch with an open wooden companionway descends at the aft end of the hold into the saloon.

Forward companionway ladder ascends from the foc’sle cabin to the foredeck.

Looking forward through the Hold      Looking aft to engine room and Masters cabin.

The Galley 

  The Heads


Wooden Ships wheel.
Compass Binnacle.
A large Fisherman’s anchor with chain
Manual windlass and Bitts, typical to Thames sailing barges.
All deck gear includes Mast tabernacle, crab winches, brail winches,
a fore and main horse.
Pair of davits with block and tackles for hauling the barge boat.
GRP Barge boat with oars.
Tohatsu Outboard engine 5hp
A Boarding ladder.



Traditional Tan canvas sails. She carries a Spritsail rig, with bowsprit.  A full compliment of sails in her wardrobe.
All associated Traditional blocks and tackle.
Tubular Steel main mast and main sprite, a timber Top mast, greased in the top section and painted in the
lower section, where it is housed in the main mast fittings. A Mizzen mast, boom and sprite.
Standing rigging is steel wire, all 7×7. Dead eyes and thimbles,  all dressed  using a mixture of oil and tar to prevent deterioration.
As the vessel is laid up at present the running rigging is not on the spars, much of it is presently stowed below decks.

Navigation Equipment:

1x Icom VHF
1x Nasa Depth
1x compass
Navigation lights: Electric removable port and starboard light boards.
Clock & Barometer

Safety Equipment:

Fire extinguishers.
Fire Blankets.
Deck wash pump.
Bilge pumps
Stanchions, (removable).
Life rings.

Gear lowered for an overhaul, August 2023. PIN MILL.


Disclaimer: Disclaimer: The Company offers the details of this vessel in good faith but cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. A buyer should instruct his agents, or his surveyors, to investigate such details as the buyer desires validated. This vessel is offered subject to prior sale, price change, or withdrawal without notice.