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Drawings of the Mayflower and SNARK (not to scale)

The Boat

Sailing barge Snark is a spritsail barge, constructed between 1996 and 2018 to the original plans of a type of cargo carrying commercial sailing barges build by J G Fay in Woolston, Southampton in 1898. Her design has been updated a little to meet modern passenger vessel standards and to simplify the handling of sails for safety reasons. However, to all but the specialist, she is a Thames barge of the classic coastal mould.
 
Many of these vessels carried stone from Portland to London to build the great monuments and buildings of the late
19th C city. Snark has been rigged as a muley, that is with a larger mizzen than the more familiar river barge and a long
bowsprit. She retains the lowerable, deck stepped mast needed to work ‘above the bridges’. She has raising leeboards
and rudder to allow her to dry out on the idal foreshore of the many estuaries and creeks along the English coast.
 
At 84 ft on deck and 105 ft overall, she is a little shorter than Mayflower and lighter at 67 tonnes. She is slightly
larger than Speedwell. She only has one lower deck instead of two and no upper deck houses. The steering and
sail operations are all in the open air.
 
Unlike the Mayflower, she has a self tacking fore and aft rig which makes her more weatherly and generally easier to
manage shorthanded. Indeed, Thames barges are often sailed with just two people and rarely more than three as
opposed to the 20 or so crew who managed the Mayflower.
We normally sail Snark between ports, weather and itinerary permitting. She will sail comfortably at 8 knots and generally averages over 5; Mayflower averaged just 2 knots across the Atlantic, though her log suggests she managed closer to 5 when the wind was fair.
 
We also have powerful auxiliary engines for when we can’t wait for the wind and to manoeuvre in the now overcrowded harbours of the English south coast. Our generator supplies electricity and hot water for galley and heads (shower rooms).
 
SNARK’s main cargo deck is pretty much the same size as the Mayflower but is fitted out for crew
and guest accommodation. The guest sleeping accommodation is shared, 4 in each space, with bunks in the aft cabin and seaman’s hammocks in the main hold, very much as the traditional ship might have had, but without the cows and chickens! She has two shower rooms and has a well equipped galley, so no salt beef and hardtack, unless to special order!
 
We are licenced to carry 12 passengers and three crew up to 60 miles offshore so can safely cruise the English Channel as far as the Scillies and most of mainland Europe, however we generally only take 8 guests for overnight and longer trips, not the 102 that were crammed into Mayflowers hold.