Thames Barge Match

The Thames Barge Match is the original Thames Sailing Barge Match.

First organised by ‘Golden Dustman’ Henry Dodd, in 1863, the Match is second only to the America’s Cup as the oldest sailing race in the world.

Along with the Thames Driving Race, the annual spectacle provides a glimpse into the heritage of the River Thames before powered vessels took over.

2023 Match Details

Date: Saturday 8th July

Embarkation: Gravesend Town Pontoon – time TBC

Return: Ca. 3pm

The course runs from the Lower Hope (between Stanford Le Hope in Essex and Cliffe Marshes in Kent), down river past Southend Pier and into the wider estuary, turning at the N. Oaze buoy before returning to finish at Bawley Bay, Gravesend, where the best view is from the Three Daws public house.

Guests join the barge at the Gravesend Town Pontoon, where the barge will either be moored alongside or a ferry service will be running to drop passengers to the barges waiting on moorings just downstream.

Once aboard, the barge takes around 20 minutes to get to the start area before it all gets a bit serious as with a fast tide and often very little wind first thing in the morning, the skippers and crews have to use plenty of skill to make a good start.

After the finish, the barge will aim to drop guests at the Town Pontoon before finding her mooring for the evening.

The evening prizegiving supper is held in the Three Daws pub and passengers are welcome to join the crew for the evening function. Please let us know if you wish to do so as tickets have to be booked in advance.

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