Welcome to Tiller & Wheel

Creating a sustainable future for Thames sailing barges and East Coast fishing smacks.

We are the first to offer FREE sailing trips and an affordable subscription model, making sailing an option for all. 

Operational managers for two historic vessels – Thames Sailing Barge Edith May and Whitstable Oyster Smack Thistle F86

We’re a small family business, dedicated to promoting the historic East Coast fleet of smacks and barges and providing high quality experiences and events aboard these historic vessels.

Sign up to our mailing list to be kept informed of our free sailing opportunities, or become a Patron from as little as £3+VAT a month to help us preserve the surviving fleet of East Coast heritage craft.

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Please contact us if you would like to know more information.

Sailing Experiences

What better way to explore the South East Coastline, than by craft developed over centuries to be perfectly adapted to these waters?

We offer trips from several locations across the Kent coast, only 40 minutes from central London.

Whether you’re a newcomer or experienced sailor, young or old – we aim to create amazing days out on the water for everyone. The Skipper and crew will ensure that the maximum time possible is spent under sail, and you can be as involved as you like when it comes to setting sails and steering the ship.

We offer a variety of experiences, to enjoy sailing with us, you can;

Unique events space

The characterful hold of a wooden sail boat provides a unique warmth and a great atmosphere, perfect for celebration events, private dining, meetings, or music nights.

Our sailing barge, Edith May, can hold up to 60 people for a static event, or up to 30 for a sit down meal. We are available to hire and welcome enquiries for this beautiful historic vessel.

Heritage & Education

As the custodians of two historic vessels – the Sailing Barge Edith May and the Whitstable Oyster Smack Thistle F86 – we are passionate about developing an arts & educational programme to support the unique history and opportunities these boats offer.

Please subscribe to our Youtube channel or join us aboard for one of our ‘Learning the Ropes’ sessions to understand a little more about sailing and maintaining these vessels.

We are keen to form new partnerships as part of this development. If you have a proposal for us or would like to know more, please contact us.

About us

We aspire to create a sustainable business model to ensure the ongoing preservation and heritage of East Coast smacks and barges.

Tiller & Wheel CIC was formed in 2019 by husband and wife team, Ed Gransden and Heather Burgess. Learn more…

In 2020, we decided to try something completely new to the barge world and begin a crowdfunding approach to achieve our goals to restore and preserve as many of the East Coast sailing boats as possible. With options from £3- £500, please take a look at our Patreon page to see how you can support us and what exclusive benefits we offer to our Patrons.