Cruiser Talk - The Last Sailorman

»«Sunday 15th January 2012

Dick Durham, news editor of Yachting Monthly, talked of his time in the late 60s and early 70s, as mate on the Thames sailing barge Cambria, the last commercial sailing vessel without an engine, in northern Europe.

Dick joined Cambria as an 18 year old, at Pin Mill. Little did he know that the skipper and owner, Captain A W ( Bob ) Roberts, was to become "The Last Sailorman" and a legend in his own time.

Dick explained about the different freights taken and various ports entered and the exploits in getting the barge from port to port without the use of an engine.

Although Dick's photos showed Cambria becoming steadily more dilapidated with the passing years, the story ended happily with a major rebuild, costing £1.4 million, largely helped by a lottery grant of a million pounds. Her future is now assured with a new career in sail training and educational activities. Find out about the Cambria Trust via the link on the right.

Thanks must go to Dick who has given a talk to the club before on his yachting expiences; it must be a bit of a "Busman's Holiday" for him.

Peter Willetts