The 2013 Pin Mill barge race had a good turn out with thirteen barges racing and four barges following the race with spectators.
The wind was light northerly and the barges ran out to a turning mark off Walton Naze. A. Harman and Partners’ bowsprit barge Edme built up a lead on the beat back up Harwich Harbour and the River Orwell. The other two in the class had a continual battle for second place, and with a very close finish the Faversham based Mirosa, which does not have an engine, just beat Tim Kent’s Xylonite which had gone on the block just before the race to scrub and remove the prop, but the race committee told them not to remove the prop.
This was the fifty-second time this annual race had been sailed, but the first time the steel barge Niagara had taken part. The Niagara was the last of the five barges in the fast staysail class to start and in a light breeze she steadily worked her way up to the lead.
The Pin Mill based Melissa had a good start and worked hard to keep up with Niagara. In the middle of the day the wind became very light and the staysail class made slower progress. The Ardwina just kept ahead of the Lady of the Lea, that sets a lot of sail for her size, while the Thames Sailing Barge Trust’s Centaur and Pudge, which don’t often race together, were still off Walton Naze when the fast bowsprit class had already finished the race.