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What kind of boat is sailing barge Drifter?
Drifter is a traditional sailing barge known in the Netherlands as a Lemsteraak. They have flat bottoms and a shallow draft suited for shallow lakes and rivers, but are also very capable sea going vessels. They are very stable due to their wide beam. Lemsteraaken are developed from the historic sailing barges which were used for fishing and carrying cargos.
Why a sailing barge in the South West?
Sailing barges were not an unusual sight in the South West in the past when they worked their way far into the rivers and creeks. Some of the features of those barges originated in the Netherlands but very few of the native West country barges remain today. Our barge is a descendent of those working barges, carrying both their spirit and tradition.
Should I have any experience of sailing?
We especially welcome those who have never sailed before. The barge is also very interesting to those who have, due to its traditional features and versatility.
Does the barge tip over like other sailing yachts?
Sailing barges do not tip much under sail. We set our sails according to the wind conditions but we keep things very relaxed.
How small can my group be?
For short and half day trips, individuals to 6 people. We may ask you to share your trip with others.
For private hire, your group can be up to 6 passengers.
Where do we board the barge?
We start and finish our 'share the sail' trips at Malpas. Other locations can be considered for private hire.How to find us!
Where will the barge sail to?
Depending on the wind direction and tide we will choose the most suitable point of interest. For example local fortifications, villages or landmarks. For longer trips we can spend more time sailing to different parts of the river, or stop and anchor to have lunch or go ashore.
How long is the short sailing cruise?
The short cruise is about 2 hours.
Is 2 hours long enough for a sailing trip?
The barge can be got under sail very quickly, and yes, you can have a lot of fun in just 2 hours.
Can I book the barge for longer trips?
The barge is available for half day and all day sailing trips. It is also available for special events and bespoke cruises.
Will I get seasick?
Our kind of sailing is 'no waves' so we don't expect anybody to get seasick. If you know you already suffer from travel sickness it might be worth taking one of the few medications or devices that are available. Remember to take or use them according to the instructions.
Is the barge safe?
The barge is surveyed and certified by the Maritime and Coastguard agency to ensure it is structurally sound and is carrying all the required safety equipment in the unlikely event of an emergency. The crew are also properly qualified and endorsed to carry passengers.
What should I bring with me?
Bring appropriate clothing for the weather. Remember that it will feel a lot cooler out on the water than on land. If there is some sun you should also bring sun cream. For longer cruises you are welcome to bring your own beverages or picnic. Please remember to bring any medications that may be needed.
What if the weather is not very good?
We sail in good or fair weather. If the weather forecast is going to be bad, we will cancel the trip with as much notice as possible, and we will either refund you or book you on another trip.
Is the trip suitable for young children and babies?
Children and babies are welcome. We do not have any baby changing facilities though.
What about disabled passengers or wheelchair users?
Although we cannot have wheelchairs in the helm area, we can fold and stow them down below. We can accommodate most disabilities but we do not have a disabled toilet. Please enquire.
What if I want to go ashore for a while during a day sail?
On longer trips, we will stop at some point for lunch etc. Access to the shore is possible using our own small RIB or if available a water taxi. Fares for water taxi's are not included.
Are the crew friendly?
Yes they are. They are very relaxed and have been looking after people onboard boats for almost 20 years.
Do I need insurance?
No. The barge and crew have third party liability insurance.
How long has the barge been doing sailing trips?
Neil and Debbie bought the barge to the Falmouth area in 2017 and shortly after started offering sailing trips.
What about food and drink?
Please bring your own. On short trips you could bring a cold drink or a hot flask. On longer trips you are welcome to bring a picnic, including alcohol(Responsible alcohol consumption is acceptable). We also have a BBQ on board which we are happy to setup on board or ashore.
What activities can I do.. swimming, fishing, etc?
For short trips there will generally not be the time to stop and do activities. For longer trips, if you have a specific request then please talk to us.
What will I learn about the area?
There is a lot of history and interesting facts in the areas that we sail and seeing them the way sailors have over the centuries adds something very special.
How do I get to the barge?
How to find us! Drifter starts are finishes its tours at Malpas near Truro. If you are not coming by car then please contract us for information.
What if I am late for the trip?
For 'share the sail' trips, it is important to be on time as other passengers may be keen to get underway. If you are likely to be late please let us know by telephone and we may be able to reschedule your trip that day.
Is there a toilet onboard?
Yes there is and you will be welcome to use it. It is a marine type which are a bit different from regular toilets and we will advise you if you are unfamiliar.
Can I help on deck?
The barge carries 2 crew who perform all the work on deck, such as raising the sails or anchoring. As a passenger, you will be asked to remain in the seating areas inside or outside. You will however be welcome to have a go at steering the barge.