Cheer on modern-day watermen and lightermen as they battle it out in the Steve Faldo Memorial Barge Drive while friends, family and newcomers compete in the Dave Pope Challenge.
The annual Steve Faldo Memorial Barge Driving Race (2pm-3pm; Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge) is a chance to see traditional lighterage skills being carried out as they were up until about 50 years ago. The skill of barge driving enabled a single Lighterman to move a laden barge or 'lighter' around the port of London using his knowledge of tides and tidal sets with a single sweep or oar. These barges or lighters would have been moored or 'fetched' alongside the many ships and warehouses working within the port and in a similar manner you will see the competitors 'fetching' and collecting flags from the target barges today. The main race is manned by professional watermen and lightermen who, to this day, still operate the many tugs and passenger vessels on the tidal Thames. There will also be a second shorter race without fetches.
The Dave Pope Challenge (11am-11.30am Waterloo Bridge to Tower Bridge) has been added to the day's events to allow members of the public a chance to experience barge driving under the supervision of Thames lightermen.
The Steve Faldo Memorial Barge Driving Race is one of several races of its kind held each year. The race is in memory of Steve Faldo, captain of the Marchioness, who died along with fifty others when it sank after being run down by a dredger on 20 August 1989.
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