A SAILING barge took to the water after a restoration project.

The Dawn Sailing Barge, which has spent the last four years being restored in Heybridge Basin, began sea trials at the end of July and as part of these trials she participated in the Blackwater Barge match.

The Dawn Sailing Barge Trust has spent the last 10 years looking forward to the day she would sail again.

Many hours of work by trustees and volunteers, along with a National Heritage Lottery grant and donations from other organisations, including Maldon District Council and members of the public, meant she could sail again.

The last time she sailed in the Blackwater Barge match was in 1988 and 20 years later everyone was keen to see how she performed.

Kim Holdsworth, treasurer of the Dawn Sailing Barge Trust, said Dawn was placed third in her class at the match and won a prize for best rounding of the outer mark.

She said: "It was absolutely fantastic.

"We hoped she would be ok and it went very well.

"It was wonderful to see her sailing again but even better to be in the match."