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The 76th Thames Sailing Barge Match. Saturday 15th July 2006

·               The Thames Sailing Barge Match which takes place on the Lower Thames just 36 miles from central London and is now in its 143rd year and is believed to be the second oldest organised sailing race in the world after the America’s Cup.

·               The spectacular event from its start in the Lower Hope (4 miles down river from Gravesend, Kent) runs out past Southend on Sea, Essex to the North Oaze Buoy and back to Gravesend, a distance of 43 nautical miles.

·               Upward of 12 barges compete for the Championship on the London River and many of the vessels are over 100 years old.  Three of this year’s entries competed in the 1920s and 30s.

·               This year’s start is 08.00 to 08.30 and can be watched from the Essex shore at Coalhouse Fort, East Tilbury.  Or the Kent shore from RSPB Cliffe Pools Nature Reserve.

·               The finish is off Gravesend’s historic waterfront and can be watched during the afternoon. Times are difficult to predict as they are weather dependant, but its average duration from start to finish over the last 11 years is 7½ hours.  It can also be watched from the Essex shore at the Worlds End public house and the historic Tilbury Fort.  Guns, located on the Gravesend shore are fired to mark each entrants finish.  The barges then moor up in front of Gravesend’s Town Pier and the Three Daws public house.

·               For more information including excursion vessel arrangements visit our web site www.thamesmatch.co.uk

·               Contact details – Hon Sec: Mark Boyle, 7 Albert Street, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 1HP.  01227 265568. e-mail Mark @celnos.plus.com