East Coast


Swale Match, 2019

Friday, August 9, 2019 to Sunday, August 11, 2019
Crossfield-built 'Bonita' racing back into the Swale
©Seamus Masters

The 47th Swale (Lena's) Smack & Sailing Barge Match, run by the Kentish Sail Association, will be held over the weekend 9 - 11 August this year.

We are pleased to attach a Letter of Invitation, Information & Criteria and Entry Form for the Match for download below. We hope that you will be able to take part in this special year for the KSA. The Entry Form can be completed and returned to me online, if you would prefer to enter in this way. At the same time, please let me know how you intend to pay the entry fee: by cheque or by cash or by direct Bank Transfer (details on entry form); if by transfer, please mark the payment with the name of your vessel.

We would be very grateful if you would also provide and/or confirm your full contact details of vessel name, class, owner’s name, email and postal addresses and phone numbers, including mobile, so that we can fully update the KSA database.

David Pollock has stepped in to take on some of the responsibilities of Match Secretary, following the sad passing in January 2019 of Lena Reekie, who has been such an indefatigable supporter of the KSA and organiser as Secretary of the Swale Match for the past 45 years. David is keen to ensure that all OGA members know they are most welcome to join the event in 2019.

The Swale Match is unusual, some would even say unique. First established by Laurie Tester in 1973, it was intended to be a celebration and festival of all manner of sailing craft on the East Coast. It has continued, indeed developed this theme over the years. The assembled fleet comprises not only Thames sailing barges and smacks in several categories, but a variety of gaffers, classic and Bermudan yachts as well as Dutch barges, Baltic traders and historic powered craft. This provides a magnificent spectacle on the water for both participants and onlookers.

And that’s just the sailing and racing. Both at anchor in the Swale and on land at Hollowshore, crews and supporters gather in great comradeship for prize-giving and entertainment. As well as the Testers’ Boatyard, furnished for the weekend with food and drink stalls and live music, the shore venue includes the fabled Shipwright’s Arms, supplying cask ales and food. The weekend starts on Friday afternoon, the Match is on Saturday and the homeward voyage usually undertaken on the Sunday, but you can stay longer!

This is an event you really should not miss – put it in your diary and send us at least a provisional entry advice now and tell your sailing friends to do the same – you will all enjoy the experience!

To find out more about the Kentish Sail Association, visit their website.

David Pollock
Organiser email: