Thames Barge Back to Range of Boats

The Peter Nicholls Thames sailing barge is a traditional barge design that  first introduced in 1980.  Barge yachts were always popular between the wars. Our design is based on the lines of Giralda built by Pipers of Greenwich in 1897; reputedly the fastest Thames barge ever built.

The sailing versions were superseded in our range by the Huffler motor sailer. But the Thames motor barge is still available from us and the simpler construction gives great value for money, for a comfortable cruising home, without compromising on the quality of build. An ideal barge to cruise Europe as a live aboard barge. The Thames sailing barge is still available to build too, we still have the original rigging plans.

Where can the Thames Barge be used?

The standard motor barge is 50ft x 12ft 6in. She is an RCD category C barge  for the EU Recreational Craft Directive (RCD). Inland in the Uk they have done well as grand Union Canal barges and Kennet and Avon Canal barges  With their shallow draft she can, just one example, cruise the East Coast and dry out in its creeks and inlets and cross to France for Europe. The wheel shelter is easily demountable, for the bridges on the smaller wide beam UK canals where bridge height is more restrictive. It has a matching hooped canvas roof to the rear of the shelter, extending the dining area. The Peter Nicholls Thames barge has over 30 years of development behind it. Vessels have included:

Barge Corunna:

Fitted out in the 1990s by the owners in Bristol,  near their home, she crossed southern Britain via the Kennet and Avon Canal and sailed the Channel for some years. When the owners felt the need, they converted her to a motor barge and crossed to France, where she is cruising now.

Barge Thomas:

Built as a demonstrator, she sailed the South Coast out of Hythe in the 1990s, then was used extensively as a motor barge in France. Then repatriated to refurbish and supply to clients for cruising the French and Belgian waterways. During refurbishment, an outside dining/ relaxing area was added over the aft sleeping cabin.

Our suggestion for 2015:

Our Thames barge design is now the basis for our 50ft x 12ft 6in Thames motor barge. This design dispenses with this aft cabin to give a large flat deck for dining and relaxing. Click here for the plan. and for a photo of the double cabin forward.

A door from this cabin leads to the galley which is set opposite the bathroom.  Then comes a large open plan saloon with diner and settee. Then past an (optional)  second double cabin and out onto the steering deck  with wheel shelter and canpy.

Alternatively, the second double cabin can be placed right at the stern, behind the wheelhouse and with a dining area set above it, as seen in the photo gallery below.

Thames barge for sale:

We have a Thames Motor Barge building now for sale to complete for next year at between 55 and 65 ft long.  Please contact us for an  appointment to view and discuss how to complete her to your requirements.

Photos

  • 40ft "Thomas" after refit in 2011

    40ft "Thomas" after refit in 2011

  • 40ft ft "Thomas" part of saloon.

    40ft ft "Thomas" part of saloon.

  • Pleasing sheer to hull and cabin top

    Pleasing sheer to hull and cabin top

  • "Thomas" sailing 1996

    "Thomas" sailing 1996

  • Stern deck extended over rudder. "Thomas' has pleasing lines with a sheer to the top of the cabin and the hull just discernible. The wheelhouse and "pram" canopy are easily removed for low bridges.

    Stern deck extended over rudder. "Thomas' has pleasing lines with a sheer to the top of the cabin and the hull just discernible. The wheelhouse and "pram" canopy are easily removed for low bridges.

  • 35ft "Corunna" lock working on the Canal du Nivernais, Burgundy,  1998

    35ft "Corunna" lock working on the Canal du Nivernais, Burgundy, 1998

  • Larger Thames Motor Barge with table laid in  the wheelhouse with doors folded back for al fresco dining

    Larger Thames Motor Barge with table laid in the wheelhouse with doors folded back for al fresco dining

  • "Thomas" in Burgundy 2012

    "Thomas" in Burgundy 2012

  • "Thomas" safely moored in Burgundy, while her owners returned to the UK for 2 months.

    "Thomas" safely moored in Burgundy, while her owners returned to the UK for 2 months.

  • Afternoon tea in Bruges<br />
2011 on the owners' maiden cruise.  While the kettle was boiling I took this snap. Two weeks previously, we had taken "Thomas" to Belgium on the owners' behalf. Canvas side cloths have since been added to the stanchions

    Afternoon tea in Bruges
    2011 on the owners' maiden cruise. While the kettle was boiling I took this snap. Two weeks previously, we had taken "Thomas" to Belgium on the owners' behalf. Canvas side cloths have since been added to the stanchions

  • "Thomas" rigged. Overnight anchorage in Newton Creek , Isle of Wight, 1997

    "Thomas" rigged. Overnight anchorage in Newton Creek , Isle of Wight, 1997

  • 35ft "Corunna" moored<br />
K & A canal 1998 en route  from Bristol to London and then crossing the Channel to France.

    35ft "Corunna" moored
    K & A canal 1998 en route from Bristol to London and then crossing the Channel to France.

  • Mast raising would be single handed if the leeboard winch was used!

    Mast raising would be single handed if the leeboard winch was used!

  • 36ft  "Frances" motoring on  the Kent coast 1986. For many years a comfortable home for a working couple.

    36ft "Frances" motoring on the Kent coast 1986. For many years a comfortable home for a working couple.

  • The owners lived on board<br />
36 ft "Frances" at Faversham for many years, sailing her at weekends

    The owners lived on board
    36 ft "Frances" at Faversham for many years, sailing her at weekends