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'Greta' Sailing Barge

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Arrange a day out with a difference and enjoy a trip on the Thames Sailing Barge Greta.

Greta is available for daily, weekend or full week charters and static functions.

Depart from Whitstable Harbour or the port of your choice. Visit the Thames Estuary Forts, Herne Bay Pier or cruise round the Swale.[all trips are dependent upon the weather and tides]
Enjoy a sedate sail from Whitstable Harbour into the Thames Estuary, viewing the forts, cruise down to Margate, see Reculver Tower or take a leisurely cruise up the Swale.
A typical day on board Greta starts 30 minutes before departure with a welcome coffee and a brief talk about the barge and safety. Slipping her moorings Greta sets out for the day's sailing. Once the sails are set and the engine is stopped a new calm atmosphere envelopes the barge and its occupants. Peace and quiet replace the stress and strain of every day life.
Lunch may be taken at anchor or underway - if anyone in the party are of a musical ilk please bring your instruments and have a sing-a-long. Drifting along with a guitar strumming and gentle voices mingling makes for an idyllic afternoon.

You can just lie back and doze, wake up eat and drink and doze again; you can help with the sails, winding the anchor or leeboards. Passenger involvement in the sailing Greta is optional and at the Skipper's discretion.
After a day of sailing, which is to a certain extent influenced by the wind and tide, Greta returns home to the mooring.

Cost of Chartering Greta

Please refer to our website for up to date pricing and special offers.

A 20% non-returnable deposit is required to secure your sailing day. If we are unable to sail due to weather or should Steve have to postpone your trip, we would always try and arrange for an alternative. If however you cancel your trip we would not be obliged to refund the deposit, as we will of held your day for you and turned other possible charters away.

Most of our trips from Whitstable Harbour with some from Faversham Creek. Picking up at Standard Quay, the Ship Wrights or Harty Ferry.


We can supply vouchers for individuals should that be what you require and I can supply a themed card should this be appropriate. There is a small extra cost of £2.50 to cover the cost of the card and postage.


Our trips our on a bring your own picnic basis, we do supply tea coffee and biscuits (if the crew have not eaten them first.)
As Greta is Steve's home, we have a fully functional Galley and you are free to make use of these facilities should you wish to, however we have found that most charters work better if a buffet is brought along and laid out on the galley table. (Please see the pictures of below decks to get an idea of the galley layout.)
On occasion we can arrange catering, which would be through a local caterer. We would discuss with you any dietary needs and budget and then arrange for a suggested menu to be available to you before you sail. We would add an extra charge of 10% on top of the catering to cover our costs.

Weather & Unforeseen Difficulties

All our trips are subject to the discretion of the Skipper and are wind and tide dependant. Should we need to cancel you trip due to our wonderful British weather we would inform you as soon as is practical and endeavour to arrange an alternative mutually convenient day in this sailing season. Should we be unable to sail due to any other problems, (Skippers discretion) we will inform you and your deposit would be returned.

All About Greta

  • Greta was built 1892 at Brightlingsea Essex by Stones and has a length of 80ft, beam of 20ft, draft of 3ft and displaces 49 tons.
  • Greta was built for a barge sailmaker called Hibbs. He sold her to Owen Perry who owned a fine fleet of working boats noted for their smart turnout and racing success.
  • Greta's usual cargo consisted of grain, malt and building products, she did however carry some more unusual things for example the spars for the German Kaisers racing schooner.
  • In 1918 Greta was sold by Perry to The London Rochester Barge Company - now Crescent Shipping.
  • Early in World War II Greta was chartered by the Ministry of Supply. Her cargo was ammunition from the Army depot at Upnor near Rochester to naval vessels anchored in the Thames Estuary.
  • Greta is now owned by and is home to Steven Norris. She is berthed at Standard Quay Faversham.
  • Greta is maintained by Steven and his enthusiastic voluntary crew. She is sailed each season and regularly takes part in barge matches.

Additional Information

To find out more, or to make your reservation, please contact:-
Steven Norris
SB Greta
15 School Road
Kent ME13 8QZ
07711 657919 or 01795 534541


We can supply email vouchers for individuals should that be what you require and I can supply a themed card should this be appropriate.  There will be a small charge of £2.95 to cover the cost of the card and postage. 

Dunkirk Little Ships 60th Anniversary Celebrations

2000 60th Anniversary of the DUNKIRK Evacuation

Our major trip in 2000 was the return to Dunkirk for the 60th anniversary of the evacuation. It was a trip that will always be remembered, we were introduced to three veterans, Dick, Bert and Sid. After a few false starts due to the weather, something that would of ruined the original attempt the 70 Dunkirk little ships set off. Our veterans accompanied us back for the return trip. This added the reality factor to our return. Dick thought it was strange to get the picture from the Dunkirk Little Ships point of view, he was on the beaches waiting in the water to be picked up. Seeing all the different sizes ages and types of vessels, Greta being of the oldest vessel on the return trip, really made a difference.

  • Prince Charles. Once at Dunkirk, Steven had a nice chat with Prince Charles while they were moored up. Unfortunately Prince Charles was too busy to have a charter, but congratulated Steven on his beautiful well-kept barge. This was amusing for those of us left in the UK watching on the telly, as the commentator had no idea that Prince Charles would make this impromptu stop, you could hear the papers being shuffled as he tried desperately to find out details of the vessel and skipper Prince Charles was talking to and of course he miss pronounced her name.
  • Service on-board. While taking part in the commemoration Steven was asked if he would mind holding a service on board for a veteran who had passed away before he could make this anniversary trip, his niece had brought his ashes along as they had promised. Two sailors from HMS Somerset were posted onboard and while the rest of the little ships were circling and the RAF memorial flight flew overhead Steven took Greta out and the ensign was lowered and William Horn was scattered in the sea and a glass was raised in his memory.