Sailors win barge race in memory of former colleague

PUBLISHED: 17:19 07 July 2015 | UPDATED: 17:19 07 July 2015

The race. Picture: Todd-White Art Photography / Ben

The race. Picture: Todd-White Art Photography / Ben

© Todd-White Art Photography 2015

Team raced 11-tonne ship

TWO sailors from north Kent were among a team who won a race on the Thames on Saturday in memory of a former colleague.

Mark Towens, from Gravesend, and Tony Handley, from Dartford, were part of the Port of London Authority team which took part in the annual Transport on Water barge race on Saturday.

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

Mr Towens, the harbour master for the Thames through central London, and Mr Handley, a marine river inspector, sailed with marine river inspector Paul Rickner, from Greenwich, deputy harbour master Darren Knight, from Bermondsey, and deckhand Alican Jennings, 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.

Mr Towens said: “The Barge Race is a highlight of the river calendar.

“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.”

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