Red Sails captures a piece of history

Thames sailing barge at sea

Red Sails © Peter Smith Stock Images

Kent’s waterways are featuring in a new documentary that promises to give a unique insight into the fascinating history of the Thames Sailing Barge.

Red Sails is currently being produced by Kent-based company Countrywide Productions.  It tells the story of the sailing barges that used the Swale, Medway and Thames Estuaries, as well as other waterways, to transport goods and materials.  They were our nation’s pioneers in wind and wave power for commercial use.

From the reign of queen Victoria right up to the end of the roaring 60’s sailing barges carried hundreds of thousands of tons of cargo to and from London and up as far as the Humber, as well as to the continent. Local economies were totally reliant on these majestic craft to transport agricultural produce and manufactured goods all over the country by barge alone.

The film brings this story to life in an interesting and entertaining way by mixing archive with contemporary footage. It also includes interviews with the last surviving barge men of the day, recounting their fascinating experiences. The film covers the annual barge matches, which are such a big attraction for tourists and locals alike, as well as highlighting their use as chartering vessels.

This is a unique opportunity to preserve local history through film and the production company is keen to hear from anyone who wants to get involved with the project.

Here is the link to the trailer:

To contact Countrywide Productions please visit or email