With Harbour Day now almost upon us, this coming Saturday, 3rd August, here is a round up of just a few of the many things to look out for.
The Barge Match
The history of Thames Barge matches (or races) goes back a long way. The original Thames barge race between Stanford-le-Hope in Essex and Gravesend in Kent was held in 1863, making it the world’s second oldest organised sailing race after the America’s Cup. It still takes place today, and is now one of a series of nine matches held throughout the Summer months. Whitstable’s own barge match takes place during Harbour Day every year.
The start of this year’s Whitstable match is scheduled for 12.45. A briefing will be given to all participants on the quayside at Whitstable Harbour beforehand. The course will start and finish off the harbour and be set around familiar navigation marks including the Pollard Spit, Columbine Spit and Whitstable Street Buoy.
Prize giving will take place at approx. 16.30 aboard the Greta in Whitstable Harbour basin, with prizes and refreshments provided by Whitstable Harbour. Prizes are awarded for the first barge, first gaffer, first smack/yawl and the Harbourmaster’s prize for the most notable performance.
Craft to look out for
Here’s a small taster of just four of the variety of craft to look out for in and around the harbour on Harbour Day.
Repertor is an historic steel-hulled Thames Sailing Barge, built in 1925 and now owned by David and Elaine Pollock. Read more…
Londinium 1 is a 42 ft. former Thames ambulance now operated as a launch by the Volunteer Marine Service at Chatham.
Ex-RNLI lifeboat The Chieftain, recently acquired Whitstable lifeboatman Richard Judge and his wife Sue. Read more…
Lucie-B, a 32 ft. replica smack owned by Richard Kemball-Cook.
Whitstable based community theatre company Kent Coast Theatre return to Harbour Day for the third year running with their 2019 offering The Jumblies by Edward Lear. This classic, nautical themed poem will delight and entertain our young audiences – and perhaps some older ones too! This is a free, open air theatre event, suitable for all ages. Performances will take place on The Deck at Dead Man’s Corner at 12.30pm and 4.00pm.
You can pick up your free 16 page Souvenir Programme at the harbour gate, or view/download the latest online version by clicking here.
Whitstable is very short on parking and relies on one main route into and out of town so we would strongly advise using public transport to visit the event. Every weekend sees a huge influx of visitors and their cars to the town in summer and we would hate anyone to get stuck in queues of traffic and miss the fun that Harbour Day brings!
Getting to Whitstable by Public Transport [moovitapp.com]