Restoration of the Raybel Sailing Barge and Lloyds Wharf
Operating as Raybel Charters Community Interest Company, we have three interwoven objectives: to complete the restoration of the Thames Sailing Barge Raybel; to return her to cargo delivery under sail; and to manage this magnificent barge as a newly revitalised heritage asset for community benefit.
During the three decades that followed her launch in 1920, Sailing Barge Raybel delivered many thousands of tons of cargo under sail. Then the world changed, and diesel power became most favoured. But now, as we see the enormous damage being done to our environment by the burning of fossil fuels, values must shift again. And there are lessons to be learned from the past.
At Raybel Charters we are committed to restoring this magnificent sailing barge so she may join a growing fleet of ships able to deliver cargo by harnessing the great, unlimited power of the wind. As well as directly reducing the carbon emissions of transport, our journeys will act as a catalyst and inspiration for other wind-powered initiatives, joining a national and international network of sustainable transport enterprises.
Raybel is of especially strong construction and largely original. It is vital that all restoration work increases the significance of the barge as a heritage asset, and we will pay careful attention to originality and detail.
Raybel Charters has also been commissioned by Swale Borough Council to undertake a project of physical and social regeneration at Lloyd’s Wharf, creating a heritage-based boatbuilding, leisure and cultural site for Sittingbourne which draws on the town’s great tradition of barge building and sailing.
Lloyd Wharf, The Wall, Milton Regis, Sittingbourne, ME10 2XD