The Thames spritsail barge Edith May has been named flagship of the year by National Historic Ships UK.
The winning vessel is an 86 foot coasting barge built by J & H Cann at Harwich in 1906 for coastal trade carrying wheat and grain products.  She later had a successful racing career before falling into disrepair in the 1990s but was then bought by her current owners and fully restored.    

Flagship of the Year is awarded by National Historic Ships UK to the owners of the vessel with the most impressive seasonal programme of public events in the forthcoming year.

The award is designed to promote wider engagement with, and appreciation of, the part historic vessels play in the heritage of the country. The winning vessel receives a traditional swallow-tailed broad pennant to fly from the masthead and a grant of £1000 towards the cost of keeping the vessel in operational condition and open for public viewing.

The organisation said the submission from Edith May was outstanding and the title was awarded due to the extensive public programme over the coming season, which includes festivals, barge matches, public cruises and taking part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

Martyn Heighton, Director, National Historic Ships UK, commented: “I am delighted that in the year of the Diamond Jubilee Pageant the status of Flagship has been awarded to a vessel specifically designed to trade on the river Thames. 

“The wide range of activities in which Edith May is involved will make this beautiful vessel accessible to a very large number of people.”

National Historic Ships UK advises the Department of Culture, Media & Sport and a range of grant giving organisations on ship conservation and is the official voice for historic vessels in the UK.  It maintains the National Register of Historic Vessels, which lists over a thousand significant craft.
National Historic Ships website

Edith May is fully restored and available for sailing charter trips on the river Medway, or as a static venue. The Edith May Trading Company has been formed to maintain the historic vessel. During winter months she is open at her berth in Lower Halstow Kent.
Edith May website


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