The latest edition of Classic Sailor magazine has a nice piece about last year’s Swale Match that provides a foretaste of this year’s event on the 29th July. The race is quite an event with 50 entrants in 2016.
It has a staggered start at 15-minute intervals including staysail barges, followed by bowsprit barges, gaff rigged yachts under the umbrella title ‘old gaffers’, smacks and bawleys, and what are called ‘bermudan classics’. There’s even a class for traditional power vessels, though they receive awards rather than racing.
The author seems to have have a very pleasant time aboard the staysail barge Orinoco, from which he seems to have admired other staysail barges such as Edme and Marjorie, Dan Tester’s gorgeous, Herreshof-built Starling Burgess 6-metre sloop Sheila and the Brightlingsea smack Alberta, which was restored some time ago by Dan and his late father Barry Tester.
For photos of earlier Swale Matches, click here and here.
It /is/ quite a spectacle – and well worth watching from a boat afloat or from the land – the point at Oare Marshes is a good spot.
Swale Smack and Barge Match organisers the Kentish Sail Association last week presented Faversham Sea Cadets with a cheque for £1,000 towards the cost of sending some of the cadets afloat on the Maritime Society and Sea Cadets fleet of training vessels.
The vessels include two power ships TS Jack Petchey and sister ship the TS John Jerwood, and the brig TS Royalist.
The cheque was presented by the KSA’s longest serving committee member Lena Reekie, who has been involved in the association’s work to promote traditional sail in Kent for more than 40 years.
In addition to the successful Swale match, the association also funds young people to experience trips on sailing barge Greta and other water-based activities.