Barges & Boats at the 2017 Harwich Sea Festival & Lifeboat Day

The MTB102 Faramir, Centaur & Victor will be moored alongside Halfpenny Pier and open to the public during the festival.


MTB102 Faramir

MTB102 was launched in 1937 and crewed by 2 officers and 8 men. During 1939 and 1940 she saw active service in the English Channel.

During 'Operation Dynamo', (the evacuation of British Troops from Dunkirk), she was used as the flagship for the last 2 nights and was the third to last vessel to leave Dunkirk.

In 1944, she carried Winston Churchill and General Eisenhower on their review of ships assembled on the south coast for the D-Day landings.

After the war, she was sold and converted to a motor cruiser.

In 1973, she was found abandoned and in need of a lot of attention but was saved from an ignominious fate.

Kelso Films refurbished MTB102 to a fully operational sea going vessel for the film 'The Eagle Has Landed'. MTB102 took part in the Queen's Silver Jubilee Pageant, and has represented 'Yesterday’s Navy' at Portsmouth Navy Days.

She returns to Dunkirk for the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships anniversary crossings every five years and regularly appears on TV.


Sailing Barge Centaur

Centaur was launched by John and Herbert Cann at Harwich on 15 February 1895, for Charles Stone of Mistley.

Built of wood, she was a coasting barge able to trade all around the British coast and to the near continent, trading between Calais London, Portsmouth and Southampton. She entered barge races, winning the 1898 Harwich race, and 1899 Medway match.

In 1911, she was sold and traded between Colchester and Milwall, taking linseed oil in drums to London and returning with raw linseed and cottonseed.

After the 1st World War she traded between London and the Essex and Suffolk coasts, with Colchester the principal port.

In 1940 whilst at Dover preparing for the Dunkirk evacuation, she was damaged and began taking in water. Unable to sail for Dunkirk she returned to Maldon for repairs.

In 1951, she was used as an unrigged timber lighter bringing timber from ships moored off Osea Island to Heybridge Basin.

She was sold in 1965 and re-rigged for leisure work and in 1974 was acquired by the Thames Barge Sailing Club. The club began an extensive restoration, replacing most of the frames and planking and was completed in 1995. She now works out of Maldon for the Thames Sailing Barge Trust with charters and cruises between May and October each year, taking up to 12 passengers.


Sailing Barge Victor

Sailing Barge Victor was built in Ipswich in 1895. Until the 2nd World War she loaded linseed from farms around the East Coast for discharge at Colchester and onward shipping to London with linseed oil in barrels.

During the 2nd World War she was requisitioned by the Royal Navy to transport munitions from Chatham dock to cruisers, corvettes and destroyers.

Victor was the last sailing barge to be decommissioned. She was converted to a motor barge and traded for the London & Rochester Company on the Medway until sold in 1964.

During the next 10 years she had a short career as a strip club before moving to Ramsgate. Whilst on passage she got into difficulties and the crew were rescued by the Ramsgate lifeboat which also towed Victor to port where she lay for 4 years unused. She was later used as a houseboat on the Medway.

In 1974, Victor was purchased by Owen Emerson, a shipwright, who rebuilt and re-rigged her. In 1995 she was purchased to operate as a 40-passenger charter barge and floating office located primarily on the South coast at Beaulieu and at Tower Bridge London.

In 2005, Victor was bought by Steve Godwin and Tony Chancellor who brought her back to the East coast. She underwent a major refit at Maldon and Mistley, including new mast, sprit, running and standing rigging, new electrics, water and heating systems, water and fuel tanks, refurbished decks, saloon, cabins, galley and heads. Victor today is now in 1st class condition and working in the charter and events business with an MCA Passenger Certificate for 40 persons. David 'Wes' Westwood of Ipswich is the Skipper and operations manager.

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