An historic Thames sailing barge is due to leave Woodbridge today after spending the weekend moored on the quay.

Blue Mermaid, which does not have an engine, arrived in Woodbridge on Friday as part of a ten-week tour of the East Coast supported by the Heritage Fund.

It sailed into the River Deben from Lowestoft with trainees who completed their National Historic Ships ‘Traditional Seafarer’ certificate during the voyage.

They safely delivered a sack of wheat grown in Kent and loaded in Gravesend and flour ground at Woodbridge Tide Mill was loaded on to the barge, which can carry up to 110 tonnes of bagged or palleted cargo.

The barge will leave Woodbridge on Monday with local apprenticesThe barge will leave Woodbridge on Monday with local apprentices (Image: Shikhar Talwar)

Local apprentices will leave on the barge, which is owned and operated by Maldon-based charity Sea-Change Sailing, and deliver the cargo of flour to Brightlingsea in Essex.

From there the flour will be taken in a rowing boat up St Osyth Creek where it will be delivered to Thames sailing barge May, home to the Bread and Roses project, a female lead project to create a floating bakery to help women who have been through trauma.

While moored at Woodbridge Town Quay, the public were able to board the the barge for free to see an exhibition of the Thames sailing barge and watch an Arts Council-funded film, ‘Wind, Tide & Oar’.