Although the European sailing cargo boat is now a thing of the past, in 1900 the majority of British shipping was still under sail. Vessels such as the River Thames Spritsail sailing barge, still to be seen sailing under charter for sail training and leisure activities, numbered more than two thousand at the commencement of the First World War. They still survive in some numbers today, cared for by enthusiasts.
This book is intended as a general introduction to sailing barges their history, their main components and design, their activities and those who sail them today. The south-east coast of England is the barge's traditional home and this book also includes details of the main centres and races that continue to be held. A number of rare historical pictures are included.