80ft Thames Sailing Barge, 1881.

Price Details

Price: £325,000 GBP

Location: Maldon, Essex, CM9 5HG  GB
Year: 1881
Condition: Totally rebuilt & restored, very good
Category: Traditional Sailing, a Registered Historic vessel
Class: Thames Sailing Barge
Keel Type: Flat bottom with leeboards on winches


An 80ft engineless, wooden Thames Sailing Barge, 1881. Registered in Rochester, Kent. 1882. Built for carrying a cargo of bricks from Medway to the Thames.
She crossed the Channel  to France and Holland, around the coast as far south as Southampton and Devonport in her working Cargo carrying life.
S/B George Smeed has been completely rebuilt / restored over last 30 plus years. Used as a liveaboard vessel.
1922 she was rebuilt to increase her cargo capacity. The present restoration was started back in 1976 to date with a continuous maintenance programme.
A National Historic Vessel, wooden hull flat bottomed with lee boards. she has never been fitted with an engine. Throughout the vessel all her gear and equipment has been Traditionally made from top spec materials. She has also benefitted from the professional services and continued maintenance of shipwrights, Riggers, and caretakers who know and understand these wonderful vessels a 16ft barge boat hangs in her davits.
She has been used as a family home for the past 20 years.


Nominal Length: 24.38m
Length Overall: 24.63m
Length Of Deck: 24.38m
Length At Water Line: 24.38m


Beam: 6.28m
Draft: 2.44m
Air Draft: 19.81m
Max Draft: 2.44m
Keel Up: 1.07m
Keel Down: 2.44m

Fuel Tank Capacity: 1300litres
Holding Tank Capacity: 200litres
Water Tank Capacity: 1000litres


Berths: 6
Cabins: 3
Heads: 1
Passenger Capacity: 12


Builders: Smeed Dean & Co Ltd, Kent
Designer: SMEED DEAN, Murston, Kent . Built  to Thames Sailing Barge Standard, Engineless


A Wooden carvel planked doubled skinned (Iroko/ Elm on oak frames) hull.  All main beams are of Oak. a steel keelson on wood.
Oak leeboards, Flat bottomed ex cargo carrying commercial vessel. Fastened with galvanised bolts and spikes. Built to Thames Barge Standards (Fred Cooper’s book “Handbook of Sailing Barges”).
Out of the water “on the Blocks” April 2021. Underwater hull and topsides repainted/ re-antifouling. .
Flush laid deck tarred and painted ( light blue and green) using 7 x 3 inch Pitch pine and Iroko timbers.
Cabins are all lined out with 2inch thick Douglas Fir. the Sealing ( the cabin floors) throughout are also Douglas Fir, as are some of the bulkheads. The lesser bulkheads are of Marine grade ply wood with Fire proof insulation.
The hatch boards over the hold area are all insulated. 3/4’s of them are removable.
Sky lights and deck hatches all varnished, green canvas hatch cloths, with clear screens allow plenty of natural daylight below decks.
Steering gear was rebuilt new rudder and steering box , a refurbished ships wheel. All keel bolts and chine bolts were replaced in 2018.


George Smeed has been used as home for 20 plus years. The restoration in its entirety took over 35 years to complete.
Enter through aft hatch, a laddered companionway lowering down into what was once the Master’s cabin and now opened up, with a Reflex diesel stove, an used as a very comfortable snug room. Through central corridor.
Port side a workshop / store room full sized workbench and tools. a bosuns locker. this space could be used for an engine installation/ further berths/ an additional heads compartment.or an alternative entrance stairwell from deck.
Starboard is the office / guest cabin, it presently has twin bunk beds for the grandchildren and office space with desk and storage.

Attached to the aft bulkhead, behind the full length hanging wardrobe are all the electrical servers/ invertor, battery condition units and chargers. 4 x heavy duty batteries.
Galley again to starboard, with a Taylors Marine gas cooker with hob and oven. (gas safety cut out system), refurbished 2018, a small microwave.
The galley is fitted out with plenty of stowage cupboard / drawers and shelving.
a Neff larder fridge Galley sink and drainer, Hot and cold pressurised water and a fresh water tap. There is a serving hatch in the corridor bulkhead, through across the hold to a dining area opposite.
The saloon then opens up to the full width of the vessel. on the aft bulkhead there is a multi fuel stove. ( with a back boiler serving the hot water and the central heating system, radiators throughout the accommodation.
Adjustable book shelving, external Wi Fi aerial.
Forward Owners cabin – with a full size high rise double bed with storage underneath it. On the aft bulkhead large curtained full length hanging wardrobes.
Dressing table walk around bed.
Bathroom forward again with a spa bath and power shower
Pressurised water system. Vetus marine sea toilet or macerator to black tank additional macerator and pump out facility.
Fore hatch with a ladder escape to the foredeck
300 litre fuel tank for the heating and domestic cooking.
2 x water tank- a 200 litres day tank + 800litre
200litre Holding tank.
Accommodation hold well ventilated with 2x cowl and 1 mushroom ventilators


Reflex oil stove and a Stovax multifuel stove. Both feed into the pressurised heating system, they can be operated individually or together.

The Stovax will also operate as a gravity feed system.
Manual windlass was rebuilt.
The Dolly winch, bought new, 2 x brail winches and 2 x Crab winches – are new castings from the original ones by Raine Foundry.
Davits for the barge boat, 12ft GRP simulated clinker barge boat.
Manual windlass, 5cwt Fishermans Anchor, reforged and reweighed 2018
new galvanised chain with measured length marker links.
1.5cwt galvanised kedge anchor

Rig & Sails:

Spritsail Traditional sailing with topmast, barge rig. No bowsprit.
Flat bottomed ex Commercial cargo carrying barge hull with leeboards on manual winches.
Traditional tan coloured canvas sails.
Re rigged in 2017 by TSRigging Ltd
Air draft figure reduces to 65ft with her topmast struck.
Main mast and sprit both of steel
Main / lowers and peak brails
Main and fore horse of Oak
All iron works were made new and galvanised. as appropriate.
Standing rigging is galvanised wire and the running rigging is all synthetic hemp.

Main Sail, Mizzen, Topsail and a foresail,  all made new by Steve Hall at Tollesbury Essex.
They are in as new condition 2017.  Redressed April 2021.

Navigation Equipment:

Wheel steering
Compass-overhauled with a new card fitted 2018
Lead line
Thames Estuary charts
Navigation lights:
Mast head, port and starboard lamps in light boxes, stern and anchor lights
All new 2018.

Safety Equipment:

Solas Lifebelts – reflective with lights
12ft GRP Barge boat with buoyancy bags, 2018, Alf Last’s
Gas / Oil safety cut out system
Smoke alarms with emergency lighting
Fire extinguishers 3 x automatic over the diesel / gas stoves.
4 x fire extinguishers
Fire blankets x 2
2 x fire buckets on deck.
Master fuse and 2 x circuit breakers
Automatic bilge pumps 2 x aft 2 x forward.
Comet Marine distress signals
First aid kit: “Cat C” MCA