The Passage Match is unique in the barge racing calendar, sailing from the River Medway to the River Orwell in Suffolk.
Depending on the tides, the race can start or finish in darkness – providing a very different challenge for competing crews.
The weekend begins on Friday evening, with Edith May departing Lower Halstow dock and playing host barge for a BBQ in the beautiful and remote Stangate Creek.
An early start then usually awaits, with the 2019 Match starting at a bleary eyed 0330hrs…! However, this is worth it, with the beautiful sight of barges sailing together in the very first of the morning sun.
The conditions of the day depend on how fast a passage the barges make – if the wind is favourable in strength and direction, barges can expect to complete the course within 8 hours and crews will be in the famous Butt and Oyster pub at Pin Mill for afternoon beers. However, if the wind is against the barges and light, the race can go on into Saturday night.
The Passage Match is always the week before the Pin Mill race, so the barge remains in Suffolk for the week. Return journeys are made either by shared taxi or train from Ipswich (booked in advance – ca. £25 to Rainham, Kent).
If you book to join the barge, you will be allocated a bunk, but no bedding is provided, so please bring a sleeping bag and pillow.