2013 will see the Little Ship Club dip its toes (figuratively) in the chilly waters of the Thames in February and October as part of a group of Thames-based yacht clubs promoting the Thames Frostbite Race in February and then jointly with Erith Yacht Club the Trafalgar Race in October. The two races will take the form of two stage passage races from upstream down to Erith, passing through the Thames Barrier, and back the next day.
The initiative has been taken by the President's Committee, led by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who in addition has negotiated discounted berthing with St Katharine Docks to enable boats which are kept outside the immediate Thames area to take part.
The Thames Frostbite Race has been run for a number of years and brings together Greenwich Yacht Club, Erith Yacht Club, Thurrock Yacht Club and Gravesend Sailing Club. The Little Ship Club has joined to help organise and promote the race and the five clubs will be known as The Thames Yacht Racing Association.
The Trafalgar Race is a new initiative which is being jointly organised and run by Erith Yacht Club and the Little Ship Club. It will be held on Saturday 19 October to Sunday 20 October 2013.
The berthing arrangement with St Katharine Docks marina will enable skippers to berth from the weekend before the race to the weekend after at a special rate of £100. This berthing discount is open to any boat entering either race, although proof of race entry will need to be provided to secure the discount and skippers will be expected to settle their berthing fees with St Katharine Docks separately.
Meanwhile, the Notice of Race, Sailing Instructions and Entry form for the Frostbite Race on Saturday 23 February 2013 and Saturday 24 February 2013 are here: http://littleshipclub.co.uk/content/frostbite-race-thames-notice-race
The Thames Trafalgar Race Notice of Race will be published on 1 February 2013.
Both races will be launched at the Little Ship Club stand C129 at the London Boat Show on Wednesday 16 January 2013, 11am.
The picture shows Ice on the River Thames at Gravesend 16 February 1895, taken by FC Gould and Son of Gravesend and held in the National Maritime Museum archives. Copyright: The Commons (NMM)