(ex Will Everard).
Official No. 148677.
150 tons, built of steel originally as "Will Everard" in 1925 for F.T. Everard & Co. Ltd., by Fellowes of Great Yarmouth.
She was one of four built between 1925 and 1926 and all named after parters in the family firm- Alf Everard, Ethel Everard, Will Everard and Fred Everard. They cost about £500 each, and were built to the same dimensions - 97.6 x 23.1 x 9.6 feet, but two of them were registered as carrying more cargo and were therefore charged more for towing dues.
They were claimed to carry the greatest set of sails of the sailing barges as they measured 112 feet from truck to keel and had sprits 65 feet in length. This allowed them to set 5,600 square feet of canvas, not including balloon canvas. They carried a crew of three - skipper, mate and third hand. They were built when Everards secured the contract to supply gas coal to the Margate Gas works, and the Will did a lot of this work, fetching coal to Margate from Keadby on the Humber.
In trade they had a grey hull with a pink bottom, black rails and gold
The Will Everard traded by sail alone until 1950 and was by then the last one of the four to have an engine fitted (Ethel Everard having been lost earlier at Dunkirk).
From 1932 until a little while after she had her engine fitted, her Master was Captain Jim Uglow MBE - the only barge captain known to receive this decoration for gallantry, devotion to duty and meritorious service on board the Will Everard during the war.
He tells his story in the book "Sailorman - A Barge Master's Story" - about half of which includes his time as master of the Will Everard.
The Will Everard was finally sold out of trade in 1966 for £750 to Vernon S. Harvey under the condition that she did not retain the same name. She was renamed Will. She was used as a store for this time, until bought by John R. Hobbins who rerigged her and used her as a private yacht, until he sold her to Overseas Containers Ltd (part of the P&O group) in 1976. She has changed ownership within the P&O group, in her role as hospitality/P.R./corporate entertainment ship.
The photograph above shows her in 1988, anchored off Heybridge Basin on the River Blackwater, with a green hull when owned by OCL. More recently she has been sporting a blue hull under P&O colours. Master was Sue Harrison who eventually bought her in partnership with Malcom Fisher.
2004 - now owned by Topsail Events and Charters and available for charter
There is now a link between Will and the Falmouth Lifeboat of the RNLI.
John Hobbins and his wife set up the Will Charitable Trust which gave money to fund the purchase of a new Severn Class lifeboat which is stationed at Falmouth, Cornwall. In commemoration of this, the life boat has been named "The Will" after the barge they once owned.
For more information about the Will Everard in trade, see the pages at http://www.geocities.com/redhughodonnell/ set up by Hugh O'Donell, who started as third hand on her in 1946, and became master of her in the 50's for Everards.