We are proud custodians of Ardwina
For the last 40 years, Rolfe Judd clients and staff have enjoyed the opportunity to experience London from a truly unique perspective.
As proud owners and custodians of the last wooden spiritsail barge built by Orvis & Fuller – the Ardwina – we have the privilege of enjoying regular excursions along the Thames from St Katherine Docks or London Bridge City Pier. Taking in iconic feats of architecture and planning like Tower Bridge from new angles as we set sail towards the Thames Estuary.
1909 – 1955: the last of a generation
The last wooden barge to be built by Orvis & Fuller in Ipswich – the Ardwina initially worked carrying stone from Portland to Greenwich under EJ&W Goldsmith of Colchester. What followed was a period of near disaster. In 1938 she was dismasted and left to drift in a channel gale before colliding with a Dutch coaster in
the Thames in 1955.
1955 – 1979: the wilderness years
Following this unfortunate turn of events, Ardwina was saved by Daniel Bros of Whitstable. While consideration was given to converting her to a motor-barge – only her bow and port side were repaired. With no engine installed, she lay dormant in Whitstable until being sold in 1959 for use as a private yacht and
eventually a houseboat in both Chelsea Reach, Battersea and Maldon, Essex.
1979 – present: a barge reborn
Ardwina was purchased by Rolfe Judd in 1979. She returned to Dock End Yard in Ipswich for a full restoration, including the installation of an engine. Eventually making a triumphant return to the Capital to take first place in many Thames Sailing Barge matches. Before enjoying a much more serene retirement hosting our regular