Sailing barge Snark is in Margate today (June 13).
Snark was constructed to the original plans of a type of cargo-carrying commercial sailing barge built by J G Fay in Woolston, Southampton in 1898. This class of barges were used all along the east and south coast as well as in the associated rivers and estuaries.
Building of the Snark started in 1997 by previous owners and in 2018, Paul Jenkins and Qiao Feng completed her to the standards needed for commercial use in and around the British and European coasts.
She is not a historic replica but uses the most useful features of the original barge designs, alongside modern materials and equipment.
Paul and Qiao set about building Snark from a bare steel shell. They carved the masts from solid tree trunks, spliced, tied and rigged over 2 km of rope, cut and fitted over 80 sheets of plywood, installed loads of insulation, painted, wired, plumbed… and occasionally slept!
Her design has been updated to meet modern passenger vessel standards and simplify the handling of sails for safety reasons.
Snark now provides a home for Qiao and Paul, as well as a place to share their enthusiasm for sailing and the sea and the pleasures of a simple life with their guests.
She is 84 ft (26.5 m) long on deck and 105 ft (32 m) overall. She weighs 67 tonnes. She has one lower deck and no wheelhouse. The steering and sail operations are all in the open air.
Snark’s main cargo hold is fitted out for crew and guest accommodations.
SNARK is licensed to carry 12 passengers and 3 crew, up to 60 miles offshore.