Southend-on-Sea Sailing Barge Match

Photo of Sailing barge Marjorie in a Southend Barge Match27th February 2018.

We regret that to announce that our Committee have come to the realisation that it is no longer viable for us to continue running the Southend Barge Match.

Sailing barge races (matches) were any early part of the early Southend Regattas, which began in 1867 with locally owned barges taking part. These continued until 1904 with a few matches at odd times after this.

The current series of Southend Barge Matches began in 1964, as part of the town’s Golden Jubilee celebrations. it has long been run in association with the Council, with councillors chairing the committee.

The current committee Is mostly comprised of sailing barge enthusiasts, who have been trying to rebuild the event and try to keep up with many changes that have been directed us.
Naturally the event has been relied on working with the Council, especially as the event has made good use of the pier as a focus for the event and a means by which members of the public can follow the event without going afloat. This has made it a unique barge match.

We have had no direct contact with Council officials for many years, being left to manage our event in cooperation with the Pier staff, making use of facilities the match has depended on in the past, and taking advantage of other options offered. This has enabled us to create an event with wider appeal for the people of Southend and beyond. More recently we have created a concurrent exhibition over the whole weekend.

However, we have gradually come to the realisation that the Council now consider the event is independent of the Council, which has left our small committee of volunteers very exposed and personally liable for anything arising from the match. We have tried to alleviate this situation as much as we can, but need additional funds, to properly protect the event and committee. In addition, we now become liable for charges from the Council levied to all events, for facilities it provides, in addition to costs we have had to cover for facilities that have not been replaced when withdrawn, defunct or unsafe for us to use.

We do not operate for profit, nor to raise money for charity from our event, although we have a long association with the Southend RNLI who have benefitted to some extent to monies raised through the event. We are grateful to them for providing access to their facilities and accommodation free of charge.

Most of our income comes from our connections within the sailing barge community and from participating barges, and we have been grateful for their loyalty and support. We have found it difficult to raise finance from other sources.

It is now clear to the committee that we no longer have the manpower or finance to properly overcome the immediate obstacles, and since we believe we need more financial input to create a better event this will be compromised by these other demands.

Our committee members have a variety of other demands on our time in actively working to preserve sailing barges and keep them sailing.

We would also like to thank all those who have supported the event in the past, in so many ways.

David Renouf
Chairman, Souithend Barge Match Committee

The 54th Southend Barge Match took place on Sunday 27th August 2017.

Many thanks to everyone involved in helping to make this event a success.



Class A Bowsprit barges:
1st Edme
2nd Marjorie
3rd Adieu
4th Lady of the Lea
5th Cambria

Class B Staysail barges:
1st Niagara
2nd Pudge

Fastest Start - Edme
First barge to outer mark Edme
Merit award - Pudge

The Mayor, Concillor Fay Evans was present at the start of the race and also be presented the trophies at the prizegiving at the Naval and Military Club in the evening.

ITV Anglia came to report on the match for their evening news, and put information on their website.
Their reporter also must have got caught in the security alert on the pier during the race and was able to report on that too.

Has anyone got a model paddlesteamer that they would lend to the Southend Pier Musuem for a window displat at Southend Pier advertising their Medway Queen feature? Please email the Museum Manager

2017 Match Report
Light hearted review from the prizegiving by Dick DUrham (2017)

2016 Results and Match Report
Light hearted review from the prizegiving by DIck Durham
Sailing Barge Exhibition 2016
Programme advertisers 2016

2015 Results
Match Report
Light hearted review from the prizegiving by DIck Durham
Sailing Barge Exhibition 2015
Programme advertisers


Many thanks to everyone for their contributions to this exciting event.

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