Commemorating Queen Elizabeth the First's immortal Armada speech at Tilbury Fort in August 1588, this 35 NM challenge against wind and tide is a new event in 2019

Co-hosted with Erith Yacht Club, this event caters for both competitive racers and more social sailors who wish to extend their skills in a longer sail. Taking a cue from events such as the London Marathon, entrants are encouraged to raise money for the charity of their choice - we suggest you fundraise via

The event is open to members of Thurrock Yacht Club,  Erith Yacht Club, Gravesend Sailing Club, and Greenwich Yacht Club. 

Full information is available in the Notice of Event.

Established: 2019

Course: Erith YC  - Thurrock YC

Briefing: 0800

Start: 0900  delayed to 1000

HW: 0704

Wind: E 1-2

“We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
  As idle as a painted ship
  Upon a painted ocean.”

Yes, the weather was great for sitting on a beach watching yachts bob about, but not so great for competitive sailing. With light easterly winds forecast the event committee made the difficult decision to start the race 1 hour later than scheduled, and to shorten the course to a short “sprint” from Erith to Thurrock. The winds were simply too light to safely transit the Tilbury Docks area under sail alone.

Despite the conditions, 11 boats from three clubs made the Erith start line, with a number of Thurrock boats having made their trip upstream the night before. The ebb tide was running at its peak and the boats all stayed a respectable distance upstream, doing their best to get some way on as the count down commenced. The start showed the Erith boats displaying some local knowledge of their home patch, leading the fleet out into the Long Reach.

Unusually there were few shipping movements to interrupt the fleet, and they certainly created a picturesque site as they spread out from Purfleet to the Dartford crossing, the boats competing more against the conditions than each other.

The wind gradually built up to a barely respectable Force 2, and it was almost an hour and half before Valencia crossed the line at Thurrock. The final boat crossed 45 minutes later. Beers and barbecue commenced soon after!

So the event didn’t quite live up to our ambition for a longer distance challenge, but it was a great day and we all made new friends with members of other clubs. Unlike the 1588 version, this Armada will return!

Line Honours: Valencia
First Overall: Valencia
First Erith boat home: Valencia
First Thurrock boat home: Sparkle
First Greenwich boat home: Shuda
Highest Handicap boat to finish: Solvik


The official race video can be viewed on the TYC Youtube channel.

The support boat took a number of photos which can viewed on the TYC Facebook page. High resolution copies are available for a minimum £10 donation to the RNLI on our dedicated justgiving page.

Armada Challenge - 24/08/2019 at 1000

Start: Start 1, Finishes: Place
Rank Boat Class SailNo Club HelmName PY Elapsed Corrected
1 Valencia Beneteau First 325  GBR3529T EYC A. Thomas 965 85.53 1.29.00
2 Sparkle Minstrel 680  4 TYC M. White 1254 112.59 1.30.06
3 Shuda Bowman 26 17 GYC S. Olaffs 1127 105.15 1.33.23
4 Southern Knight Colvic Sailer 32   TYC D. McLean 1198 115.50 1.36.41
5 Marlin Jouet Tarantelle   EYC N. Pikesley 1055 102.01 1.36.42
6 C'est La Vie Leisure 27 GBR4387L EYC D. Mapp 1029 100.12 1.37.23
7 Linnet Mirage 28 412 TYC T. Jackson 1092 108.05 1.38.59
8 Us 2 Sabre 27 GBR4956L TYC T.Baker 1208 122.22 1.41.18
9 Solvik Westerly Nomad 272 TYC M. Newman 1254 135.02 1.47.41
10 Solar Eclipse Sundream 28   EYC J. Cusick 1037 115.09 1.51.02
11 Midas Touch Jaguar 25 1288 TYC G. Earley 1108 136.37 2.03.18



Sailing Instructions


Need crew for the Armada? Find them on our dedicated Tendrr Page.



Notice of Event


Armada Challenge Poster


Entry Form and Risk Assessment


Currently no events are available

All TYC members are reminded that special byelaws apply on the tidal Thames. All vessels, including those under sail, are required stay to the right of the fairway. Please apply common sense:

  • Do not cross in front of large vessels
  • Keep a lookout astern as well as ahead.
  • If approaching a large vessel,  make a prompt turn to starboard and get to the right side of the fairway. If you have a loud horn, sound one short blast, but in any case be clear and concise in your manoeuvres.
  • If sailing in races or company, make other boats aware of large vessels on channel 37 (M).
  • Consider making short tacks and go about midway across the fairway.
  • Always carry a functioning VHF Radio and maintain a listening watch on London VTS, unless participating in an organised club event where another channel is prescribed.

Complying with rules reduces the chance of over enforcement being applied, and learning to sail within the constraints will make you a better sailor. For more information please visit the PLA's Boating on the Thames website.