Thames Sailing Barge, Kitty, 1895


Price Details

Guide Price: £195,000 GBP
Location: River Crouch, Essex GB
Year: 1895
Condition: Good, requires commissioning and routine maintenance
Category: Power
Class:  Thames Sailing Barge
Keel Type: Flat bottomed with Lee boards.


A National Historic vessel, Kitty is a fully working sailing, Charter vessel / Liveaboard vessel. She is 82ft long with a 22ft beam.
Fully kitted out as a rather unique venue for a Business meetings, Family celebrations, Corporate hospitality, Team building exercises or just for the sheer pleasure of a sail aboard one of these magnificent ex ” Work Horses”.
Kitty is a wooden vessel. Built in 1895 by J & H Cann of Harwich, having undergone major refurbishment. Her gleaming woodwork and brass confirms the widely-held opinion amongst the barge community that Sailing Barge Kitty is now considered to be one of the finest barges that is currently available for charter. Whether on deck, down below in the saloon,  Kitty has something to offer everyone. This treasure of maritime history, together with her modern entertainment systems, and hospitality she will provide an unforgettable venue for any special event.

Kitty is one of 37 barges built by J & H Cann at Gas House Creek, Harwich. The Cann’s were renowned for both high quality workmanship and a reputation for building fast vessels. This reputation for speed is evidenced by the number of East Coast Barge races she has won over the years.  Built in 1895 to carry cargoes of grain in the North Sea, along the East Coast and on to the near continent.
Her Spritsail rig has a sail area of nearing 3000 sq ft, she weighs 79 gross tons. In her time capable of carrying a cargo of 150tons, mainly sailed by a Master and his Mate alone. She was taken out of trade in 1955 after 60years of commercial service.
She holds a passenger licence for up to 43 guests when under way , 60 guests when moored as a static event alongside, or up to 35 persons for a formal sit down dinner. Each Chartered event and it’s catering can be tailored to meet individual’s requirements. Her sailing exemption certificate allows her to sail with passenger around the whole of UK waters with passengers.
Presently she is moored alongside undergoing some cosmetic refit work. She is awaiting a slot for a dry dock, for her survey an annual requirement of the MCA  ( if she is to continue as a Charter Vessel).


Nominal Length: 24.99m
Length Overall: 28.65m
Length Of Deck: 24.99m
Length At Water Line: 24.99m


Beam: 6.71m

Draft: 1.22m
Air Draft: 27.43m
Max Draft: 1.22m


Dry Weight: 79 tons
Cruising Speed: 5 knots
Number of Engines: 1


Berths: 8
Cabins: 4
Heads: 3
Passenger Capacity: 43



Builder: J & H Cann, Harwich
Barge Name: Kitty


Hull Material: Wood
Hull Design: Displacement
Hull Speed: 8: knots

Fuel Type: diesel
Engine Description: Single engine and generator.
Shaft driven to triple bladed propeller.
Engine Transmission Description: Shaft drive



Double Skinned carvel wooden flat bottomed displacement hull. Constructed in 1895.
Annually dry docked for her MCA certification.
Large transom hung rudder.
Wooden combings and hatch board canvas covered.
Kitty 25 metres in deck length, 6.5 metre on the beam;
She is massively built on oak frames and floors clad in 3 and 4 inch thick pitch pine planking. She still has her original pine keelson 0.4 metres square and 23 metres long. Her spritsail rig has a sail area of almost 3000 square feet and her gross tonnage is 79 tons and is capable of carrying a cargo of 150 tons.


As a Charter Barge, she has a comprehensive inventory of all gear and equipment to facilitate the catering and bar facilities for 50 persons, furniture and fittings required.
Central corridor runs the full length of the barge alongside the enormous pine keelson.
Aft of the heads there is a privacy partitioning door , beyond going aft there is a tall freezer standing in a corridor stowage cupboard. A double cabin to port this has a bedside airing type stowage and a large sliding double door hanging wardrobe. Opposite there is a double bunk berth cabin, both large singles.
Sound proof door to the engine room the engine itself is encased in a sound reduction box.
Generator and other mechanics in the engine room.
Another sound proofed door to stair well, companionway steps coming down from the helming position.
Engine controls and radio all on the stair well.
Concertinaed door to the Master’s cabin.
Masters cabin is all panelled out with varnished pine there is seating both sides with a table and free standing pot bellied stove and two large coffin berths.
Paint store in the forepeak and then there is a large rope store.
This forward cabin area also has two single bunk berths


NB:  Internal images above used are from MJLewis Archive files….


Mains power supply to deck. 4 x sockets

240v ring main, sockets throughout the vessel.

Companionway to the interior from deck level. Wooden varnished steps

Bar Area  with fixed seating, carpeted throughout, Glass fronted display fridge, Optics, 2 door cabinet for glass storage.

Full standing fridge and drinks store.(behind bar area)


Gas heater for the hot water

Pressurized hot and cold water system

Two stainless steel sinks with drainer.

6 burner gas stove with double oven (commercial)

Full standing larder fridge. Electric kettles, Microwave.

Plates cutlery and crockery for 50 persons

Loads of cupboard and drawer space.

Servery counter with lifting section to access the dining area.

Fixed surround seating

3 x dining tables.

Carpeting throughout the vessel.

Claret coloured upholstery in good condition.

The whole internal fit out has been well executed the hull is well ventilated throughout.

Light and airy.

2 separate head compartments with button flush sea toilets and wash basins. A holding tank.


Doosan Marine diesel engine (WaterMota), replaced new 2017,    shaft driven, triple blade propeller.

Generator, 2 main engine batteries,  4 domestic batteries, Battery charger

Barge boat hanging in davits on Aft Deck, Fore horse and main horse varnished wood. Main anchor winch forward

All hatches and deck stowage covered with painted tarpaulin

Planked decks have been left natural with pitched seams.

Large fisherman’s main anchor on chain, manual anchor windlass

Mast case winch for main brails

Guardrails and stanchions on top of the bulwarks around the deck

Pair of davits

Boat hooks, barge poles, running poles

Mooring warps and Fenders

Leeboards x 2 crab winches aft


Spritsail rig with Bowsprit which can be lowered. Main mast, mizzen mast, both deck stepped in metal tabernacle. Metal masts, sprit , wooden topmast.
All traditional wooden blocks and tackle.
Manual halyards winches x 4.
Tan coloured canvas sails. The star painted in her topsail is the original owner’s mark, J Horlock of Mistley, used to identify the vessel at long distances.

Navigation Equipment:

Ships wheel, wheel Steering from deck. Magnetic compass brass binnacle, Echo sounder, DSC VHF, Public address system

Navigation lights, Steaming lights, Anchor lights,  Navigation equipment various.


2 x capsule life rafts

4 x  lifebuoys with light and smoke float, Danbuoy, Lifejackets, Distress flares

8 x Fire extinguishers, Mechanical bilge pump, 24  volt electrical bilge pumps, 240 volt electrical bilge pumps

Fire blanket, Chubb fire system