Barbarossa of Benfleet Gaff Ketch before East Cliff in Dover Harbour, Kent, UK

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John Latter on July 30, 2010

The "Barbarossa of Benfleet" ferro-concrete gaff ketch heeling over as she turns with the East Cliff end of Dover Harbour in the background.

A ketch is a sailing craft with two masts: a main mast, and a shorter mizzen mast abaft (or rearward) of the main mast, but forward of the rudder. (1)

To my inexperienced eyes the main mast of this sailing ship is amazingly high: if you look at the gap at the top of the photo between the main mast and the forestay to its left (which runs down to the end of the bowsprit at the front of the ship) you can estimate the point at which forestay and mast meet - and then add another couple of feet for the tip and pennant!

I'm only uploading this view of theBarbarossa for the moment, even though the main mast is cropped, but I may add a "top-to-bottom" shot at a later date (and place a link to it here).

The owners of the Barbarossa are Robert and Susan Hart ("Rob & Su") who built the ship in 1976. Since then they circumnavigated the globe in 2001, sailed to the Baltic in 2003, and sailed from London (UK) to Washington DC (USA) in 2007. (2)

The photo was taken from a point mid-way between the Porthole Shelters and the Lighthouse on the Prince of Wales Pier (eastern side). The Barbarossa is 800+ yards away, and the distance to the shore is 1200 yards.

The name of the ship is particularly indistinct in the photo because of the "font" used: each leading edge of a letter is duplicated and there are vertical "struts" in the S-curves - this Artist at Work on the Barbarossa image will show you what I mean.

Robert Hart gives his home country as Bermuda (I've been there!) and has a website called the Barbarossa of Benfleet.

Another sailing ship, the Morgenster two-masted brig visited Dover Harbour on Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010 (the Morgenster is a Class A Tall Ship).

Elsewhere in the photo:

The houses on the right-hand side back onto a narrow pot-holed street below the cliffs called East Cliff, but front onto "Marine Parade, also called East Cliff". The building on the left with the red doors is an ex-hangar of the RNAS Dover Seaplane Station. RNAS stands for "Royal Naval Air Service" which was the air arm of the Royal Navy until near the end of the First World War, when it merged with the British Army's Royal Flying Corps to form a new service (the first of its kind in the world), the Royal Air Force. The RNAS came under the direction of the Admiralty's Air Department. (3)

The small pier, or jetty, on the seafront below the old hangar also appears in the Celebrity Constellation and Balmoral Cruise Ships and AIDAblu Cruise Ship and Pride of Dover Ferry photos.

To the right of the jetty, the narrow stretch of pebbles on the beach indicates it is high tide.

Barbarossa details (2):

Designer: Robert Hart

Builder: Robert and Susan Hart (nee Susan Tree)

Model: One

Year Built: 1976

Length: 50ft

Beam: 14ft

Draft: 6ft

Displacement: 32 Ton

Engine: Gardner 6LW

Dinghy Tender: 11ft Clinker G.R.P

Engine Rebuild: 2004

Equipment Upgrades: EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), Liferaft, Echo Sounder

And (4):

Launched: 26th of June, 1976 at Benfleet Creek, Essex.

Extract from Robert Hart's appended comment to the article, "Underwoods - The Benfleet Slipway" (5):

The site of Underwood Slipway's was of course later the Benfleet Yacht Club, but in 1973 it was leased by Dauntless Boat Yard under the name of Dauntless Enterprise. My wife and I built "Barbarossa" our ferro cement boat on this site starting January, 1974 and launching in June, 1976 (more).

Click to see all Ship photos (related tags: Boats, Ferries, Cruise Ship, Tugs).

(1) Wikipedia entry for Ketch; also see Gaff rig (2) Cruising World Forums: Profile page for Mudlark (3) Wikipedia entry for Royal Naval Air Service (4) Extract from History of the Barbarossa (5) Canvey Island Archive: Underwoods - The Benfleet Slipway

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

This is the Images of Dover website: click on any red or blue "John Latter" link to access the Entry Page.

John Latter on August 2, 2010

John Latter, on July 30th 2010, wrote:

...The houses on the right-hand side back onto a narrow pot-holed street below the cliffs called East Cliff, but front onto "Marine Parade, also called East Cliff".

Click to see Charles Lightoller of the Titanic and the Spanish Prince blockship of Dover Harbour, a photo of 8 East Cliff where Lightoller, second mate and senior surviving officer of the 1912 RMS Titanic iceberg disaster, began to live after joining the Dover Patrol in 1916.

John Latter on November 10, 2010

Click to see The Discovery Replica Ship, Wellington Dock, Dover Marina photo.

The Discovery is 11 metres long at the waterline and 3.5 metres across at the beam, this replica was built in 1984. The original weighed 26 tons and carried 22 crew on her journey to America in 1606-1607.

There are 5 other views of the Discovery:

A view of the Discovery bow.

A view of the Discovery stern.

A view of the Discovery starboard side.

A view of the Discovery main mast and rigging at deck level.

A view of the Discovery upper main mast from the bow.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on July 30, 2010
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2010/07/29 14:52:11
    • Exposure: 0.020s (1/50)
    • Focal Length: 200.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/5.600
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash

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