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14.07.2009

Port Authority Barge Takes Top Slot

Blackwall moves through the fieldA Port of London Authority team has taken first place in a specialist race after rowing an 18-tonne barge from Greenwich to Westminster.

Michael Russell, Mark Towens, Tony Handley, Darren Knight, and Craig Restarick used 30-foot sweeps (oars) and the tide to power their barge Blackwall along seven miles of the Thames through Central London.

They beat nine other crews in the Transport on Water (TOW) Barge Driving Race – their fourth victory in a row - and shaved 11 minutes off last year's winning time by reaching Westminster Bridge in one hour and 45 minutes.

The Swann Marine barge Jenny took second place with a time of one hour 46, and a Thames Clippers crew aboard Balmoral finished third in one hour 47 minutes.

Blackwall in the lead at WaterlooLast Saturday’s event, the 35th Barge Driving Race, was sponsored by the PLA as part of its centenary celebrations.

The annual event was first introduced in the mid-1970s to showcase the skills of barge crews (lightermen) and promote waterborne trade and transport.
The winning crew