The Race Weekend
The Great River Race again will be run upstream from the Millwall Slipway opposite the Docklands Sailing Centre, Westferry Road E14 3QS to Ham, Richmond. Running the Race upstream means that all crews will have the benefit of the prevailing flood tide. Read on for a brief overview of the plans to date, but please contact us if you have any questions.
The course - 2022
Millwall Riverside, Westferry Road London Docklands
Competing crews arrive, register and prepare their boats for the launch and of course the Race. Public announcements throughout.
Millwall Dock Slipway London Docklands
Racestarts with the slowest craft first , each vessel has it is own individual handicap and the faster the potential speed of the boat, the later the start time. The fastest boat will start just over an hour after the slowest.
Not long after passing Canary Wharf, the unmistakable outline of Tower Bridge comes into sight. The Bridge is a great favourite with spectators who love to line the rails to watch the crews fighting for position as they approach.
Tricky currents give crews, especially novices, a tough challenge as some fight to hold on to their handicap advantage, while others try to weave their way through. Great racing for the crowds as the competition hots up.
The leading boats are now passing the Houses of Parliament and concentrating on the long haul upriver. Back at Millwall there are still more than one hundred boats yet to start.
Approaching the halfway point and the crews have now received maximum assistance from the incoming tide. The riverside promenades above and below the Bridge make excellent vantage points.
While the best crews in the slower boats are still leading the field, the more powerful crews in the faster craft are now showing their speed as they move through the field.
While the head of the Race is now two thirds of the way home, the end of the fleet has just cleared central London.
Tricky currents around the Dove Pier just above the Bridge will test tiring crews and weary coxes.
With around an hour to go, speculation mounts as to whether those low-handicap boats which have led the fleet for so long will be able to hold on to their advantage or be overwhelmed.
Now racing a against a semi-rural backdrop, the faster dragonboats, Waterman Cutters, Pilot Gigs and Celtic Longboats are beginning to show their superior pace and feature in the top twenty.
Richmond's riverside spectators cheer on the crews as they pass through the Bridge. With 35 trophies up for grabs, crews must draw on their last reserves to vie for a winning spot.
Riverside Below Ham House, Richmond
Our Race winner crosses the line to a cannon broadside, rousing applause, and the prospect of receiving The Challenge Trophy of The Company of Watermen & Lightermen and becoming the UK Traditional Boat Champions in the process.
So that’s the course but there are still many more to come in over the next couple of hours, many of them to claim honours. Then it’s time to have a much-earned drink in the Great River Race marquee on the riverside below historic Ham House (once a hotbed of political intrigue during the Civil War), swap stories and listen to cries of “never again”.
The Race Weekend - Introduction
Find out more...
Make an Entry
Enter the River Race here
See some of the sights from previous races