PLA team wins annual barge race


PLAA Port of London Authority (PLA) team won the annual Transport on Water (TOW) Barge Race on the Thames on Saturday.

The five-strong team raced the 11-tonne unpowered barge, Blackwall, using the tide and oars to race between the palaces of Greenwich and Westminster in just 1 hour, 52 minutes.

The PLA team was: Harbour Master for the Thames through Central London, Mark Towens, from Gravesend; Marine River Inspector Paul Rickner, from Greenwich; Marine River Inspector Tony Handley, from Dartford; Deputy Harbour Master Darren Knight, from Bermondsey; and Alican Jennings, Deckhand from Twickenham.  The team raced in memory of their colleague, diver and salvage ship skipper, Alan Nichols.

The competing crews passed London landmarks including the towers of Canary Wharf, Tower Bridge, the Shard, Tate Modern and the London Eye.  En route they had to navigate alongside moored barges to collect marker flags.

“The Barge Race is a highlight of the river calendar,” said Mr Towens, who navigated Blackwall through central London.

“It draws on the traditional skills of the waterman, working the tide to move the barge upriver.  We’re really proud to have won and to dedicate the win to Alan.”