Thames Barge Match

22nd August2015

Start from Mucking No. 3 buoy, Lower Hope Reach, River Thames to South West Barrow buoy, returning to the finish off Gravesend.

Course chart/AIS

  Match Details

Match Committee

The Thames Match is sponsored by Patrons.
Become a Match Patron

View the Match from afloat or ashore
More Details

Thames Sailing barges are available for charter and hire for those special occasions
Find out more

We would like to thank our supporters


Individuals or groups may follow the Match, capacity permitting, aboard the following passenger craft:

To follow the Match aboard an authentic traditional Thames Sailing Barge telephoneTopsail Charters on 01621 837567

To follow the Match aboard the historic coal fired Steam Tug Portwey contact

Also following the Match will be Princess Pocahontas from Gravesend - contact

To view the Match from the land, vantage points ashore to the north of the Thames are detailed below:

Barges preparing for the start (7.00 a.m. - 8.30 a.m.) should be visible from the north shore of the Thames at Coalhouse Fort, East Tilbury, Essex, RM18 8PB.

Directions by road: From junction 30 on the M25 travel East (towards Southend) along the A13 to the A128 Orsett Cock roundabout.Take the third exit along the A1013. Follow the signs for East Tilbury. After approximately 1 mile, turn RIGHT into BUCKINGHAM HILL ROAD and follow the brown tourist signs to Coalhouse Fort and East Tilbury. At the southern end of East Tilbury village you will enter the COALHOUSE FORT car park, from which it is a short walk to the riverside. PLEASE DRIVE CAREFULLY THROUGH THE VILLAGE .

The barges will pass by later in the day as they race back to the finish. Timings are entirely dependent on weather conditions and cannot be guaranteed.

The competing barges will sail east from the start line and will be readily seen from the sea wall running much of the length of Canvey Island's south shore from shortly after the start until all have passed by. This will again be a vantage point as the barges head back up river, though again timings are entirely weather dependent and cannot be guaranteed.

Another north shore vantage point is at Grays waterfront in the vicinity of The Wharf public house at the river end of Wharf Road South, Grays, RM17 5YX, where competitors will pass heading west towards the finish during early to mid-afternoon, weather conditions dependent, and a little later past The Royal Hotel, London Road, Purfleet, RM16 1QA.

The race course takes the barges past Southend which makes the famous mile-and-a-quarter Pier a place from which they can be seen. Note that if the course is shortened they may not actually sail this far.

To view the Match from the land, vantage points ashore to the south of the Thames are detailed below:

Many of the competing barges will lie overnight off Gravesend before departing early, around 6.00 a.m. on Saturday 22nd for the start downriver at Mucking Bight. Best view of the overnight berth and the morning departures will be from the gardens near the St Andrew's Riverside Mission Church, Terrace Pier Road and the Town Pier by The Three Daws public house, Gravesend, DA11 0BJ.

Gravesend Promenade, DA12 2BS, is also an ideal vantage point to see the barges making their way to the start around 6.00 a.m. and also to view the returning barges on the way back upriver to the finish at Gravesend.

The finish line at Gravesend will be around St. Andrews Gardens, near the Three Daws pub. A signal gun is usually fired for each barge as it finishes. Occasionally the committee boats are unable to make it back to the finish in time, and the guns may be fired from a Committee boat instead of from the shore. The finish can be observed from the Promenade, or the sea wall adjacent to the Three Daws.