Sailing barges, smacks and classic yachts gather

On Saturday 15 August the north Kent coast from Faversham to Herne Bay will witness the stirring sight of dozens of traditional sailing craft taking part in the annual Swale Smack and Sailing Barge Match. Now in its 37th year, this event offers an opportunity to watch preserved oyster smacks and Thames barges, once such a common sight around the Kentish coast going about their work dredging for oysters and carrying cargo in and out of the London river.

The traditional ochre sails of some fifty vessels make a dramatic sight against the morning sky as they race out of the Swale. For a moment onlookers have a brief reminder of how our coastlines looked 100 years ago.

It is one of the largest annual traditional sail regattas in the country a tribute to all those who restore, repair and sail these beautiful craft.

The Match starts at 8.30am. The first boasts home are usually back in the Swale about four hours later. Progress can be watched from Harty Ferry, Graveney, Tankerton and Herne Bay on the mainland shore, or Shellness on the Sheppey shore.

For further details about the Match, and for opportunities to
photograph and report on the day’s events, please contact
Lena Reekie on 07968 058 398.