The English Raid – a ‘raid’ rowing and sailing event on the Solent

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Photos from Raid Finland some years ago (photos from Richard Wynne); there’s a report on the latest Raid Finland at Duckworks

Henley Whalers group members George Trevelyan and Geoff Probert have organised a rowing and sailing ‘raid‘ event on the English South Coast for modern and wooden boats. It’s scheduled for the few days between 28th July and the 1st August 2010, starting from the Western end of the Solent.

A raid is an organised rowing and sailing passage in company in open boats, sometimes made of wood and traditional, sometimes more modern, powered by sail and oar, and supported by an organiser’s launch or rescue boat. In addition, arrangements are made to carry participants luggage from one overnight stopover to another!

Raids are generally non-competitive events, but often include fun prizes to recognise special qualities and achievements, and there are sometimes short sailing or rowing races.

I should explain that the word ‘raid’ here comes from the French organisers of the pioneer events and isn’t meant to imply anyone plans to attack homes and villages en route.

The idea of the raids first became popular in Portugal and Scotland in the 1990s and successful events have been held on the Douro River in Portugal, the Great Glen of Scotland, and in Sweden, Finland, Italy and Holland. To enter boats need to be equipped for sail and oar, and must be able to support their crew out of water after a capsize, and to be righted unaided to carry on sailing. They will be expected to cover around 15 miles daily.

One of the organisers’ objectives is to attract users who own traditional open sailing boats on the Solent, particularly scows and prams, along with the whalers, gigs, yawls and so on more frequently seen at raid-style events. The maximum number of entries for the new event is 20 boats, so I would expect the places to sell out quickly. It you’d like to be involved, contact English Raid via its website: