Apprentice lightermen barge their way under Tower Bridge to victory on the Thames
- Credit: PLA
An apprentice crew has won this year’s Barge Drive race on the Thames rowing seven miles downriver under Tower Bridge from the Houses of Parliament to Greenwich Palace.
The crew from the Apprentice Lighterman was first past the post opposite the Isle of Dogs in the annual Barge Driving Trust’s contest.
They beat 12 other crews using tidal power and sheer brute strength rowing the 30 tonne barges.
Only three crew members can row at any time using the 20ft oars, known as ‘sweeps’.
Two rowers power the craft from the bow, while the third uses a ‘sweep’ at the stern to steer the barge with the tide.
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The navigational challenge includes spinning the barge at the start.
Each barge must also collect at least one pennant flag during the race by a crew-member leaping from the vessel to a moored barge and back again.
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The annual event is sponsored by the Port of London Authority and the Company of Watermen and Lightermen.