As promised, a report by Dave Brooks on the Blackwater Match
Dave tells us, “I desperately wanted to beat my previous record of 23 barges in a blog but can only manage 20 and one of them is unnamed.
14/07/12 saw 10 barges competing in the Blackwater barge match. There were three classes made up of Bowsprits, Edme and Marjorie.
Steel Barges, Repertor, Reminder and Decima and then a curious class made up of Edith May, Ardwina, Pudge, Cabby (racing as a stays’l) and Lady of the Lea and Phoenician
The start saw Edith May crossing the line first followed by Cabby and Pudge, looking good. It was nice to see her racing again.
Then the steel barges were led away by the Repertor, followed by Reminder and then Decima.
Edme led the only other Bowsprit in their class, Marjorie, away. It was a reasonable start with a little bit of wind and Edith May showed a clean pair of heels heading
and out past the Bradwell Power Station.
We headed off and like the following barges Hydrogen, Wyvenhoe and Nellie we tried our best to follow the fleet. We caught up with stragglers at Bradwell Marina
where we found J.P. Lodges new but unamed little barge on blocks in the yard. She looks really good and it will be nice to see her when she is finished and of course
Our next stop was St.Peters on the Wall, one of the oldest Saxon churches in the British Isles. By now the wind had died away and it was difficult to tell what was actually
happening. Making our minds up that some of the barges were on their way back we returned to Bradwell Marina for a pint and waited, waited, waited, but still no
We decided to head back up river to the finish where unlike at Bradwell you can get a better view right down the river. This paid off and we could see Edme leading Edith
May and Repertor back home. As it was these three were the subsequent winners of their classes. Edith May was rightly satisfied by being the first Stay’l barge home
beating the Repertor by 15 mins and 25 seconds. Had both barges started together this would have been an interesting match.
So back to Maldon to watch the barges returning where the Thalatta, Xylonite and George Smeed were all in attendance. Thalatta and Xylonite are hoping to be competing
in the next match, the Thames on the 28th July. (I could have grabbed a gratuitous 21st here by mentioning a challenge from the Thalatta to our own girl, two mulie rigged
coasting barges in a head to head, but that would have been crass.) By now the rain which had been an irritant all day had stopped and the sun was out making it a pleasant evening on the quay as the barges returned home passing the hulks of the Scotia and Oxygen in the backwater behind”.
Nice report, Dave, so thanks for that.
Dave Brooks’s picture was taken just before the start.