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Classic boats and shanties

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

After a couple of days mooching around the Scilly Isles our fourth voyage will take us back to Falmouth for the Classics regatta and international shanty festival.

Falmouth in 1916 2.14

Sailing barges have been visiting Falmouth for centuries. The Tamar Outers would have been regular coastal visitors and there is plenty of evidence that the larger Thames barges traded here in the first half of the 20th century. In those days barges worked under sail without auxiliary engines and most ports had a steam tug that could get them in and out of port. The image above is a screen grab from a marvellous 1916 film by Kineto Ltd. It shows at least two Thames barges anchored in Falmouth and then one being tandem towed by the local steam tug. The images of the rest of Cornwall are also rather wonderful.

These days we have efficient auxiliary engines and not need for the tug but we still go to Falmouth. Not with cargo but with passengers. We still visit the traditional quayside pubs and listen to the yarns and traditional sea shanties as well as joining in the on water events before heading back to Dartmouth for a bit of a rest.

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