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The 77th Thames Sailing Barge Match

Saturday 21st July 2007

The Thames Sailing Barge Match which takes place on the Lower Thames just 36 miles from central London and is now in its 144th year and is believed to be the second oldest organised sailing race in the world after the America’s Cup.

This spectacular event from its start in the Lower Hope (off Stanford-le-Hope, Essex and 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 14 barges – based in London, Kent, Essex and Suffolk compete for the Championship of the London River and many of the vessels are over 100 years old.  Four of this year’s entries competed in the 1920s and 30s.

This year’s start is 08.30 to 09.00 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 12 years is 7½ hours.  It can also be watched from the Essex shore at the World's End public house and the historic Tilbury Fort. 

Guns, located on the Gravesend shore are fired to mark each entrant's 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 (opens in a new window).

Contact details – Hon Sec: Mark Boyle, 7 Albert Street, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 1HP.  01227 265568. (E-mail)