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Stroud Raft Race Report

Fun afloat in Stroud

Stroud Raft Race on Sunday 2nd October will last long in the memories of the many who took part in their different ways. Whether paddling, volunteering or spectating & supporting, great fun was had by all.

Preparation, planning & publicity

Main organisers Luciano and Sarah Magalotti seemed well pleased with the results of their prolonged hours of preparation, planning and spreading the word.amazing-magalottis

Enthusiasm & activism

A bright chilly morning turned into a day more like mid-June. The sunshine brought out the very best of Stroud. It is often said that Stroud is home to many enthusiastic activists and creatives.
This was certainly affirmed on Sunday.

How the race was run

The Raft Race took the form of a time trial. Crews were waved off from Wallbridge Upper Lock at ten minute intervals. Their task was to paddle in an easterly direction to Capels Mill where they would turn in the wide basin beyond the railway viaduct and paddle back to the starting point.

A diverse collection of ten crews with varying levels of nautical expertise propelled their quirky home built craft along the recently restored section of the Thames and Severn Canal.
Crews representing pirates, angels, politicians, publicans and Rotarians all took part.angels-afloat
One raft interestingly named Halfway actually fell apart and foundered before reaching the halfway turning point at Capels Mill. All crew-members safely waded ashore to the safety of the towpath.

Professional Safety Standards

Safety matters were carried out in professional manner. Paddlers and Towpath Stewards alike all wore personal floatation jackets. Cotswold Canals Trust Volunteers operated the motorised Safety Boat while Stroud Valley Canoe Club members, led by club chair Tony Chalk, monitored the progress and positioning of the rafts throughout.canoes-and-rafts
Stroud’s Mayor ‘Captain’ Kevin Cranston is pictured below in an administrative role on board Stroud Town Council’s raft which carried the entry number 4.captain-cranston-crew


  1. First place was taken by Stonehouse Pipedream crewed by members of Stonehouse Rotary Club who covered the course in just 23 minutes
  2. Angelic Music, built and crewed by Nailsworth Community Centre members came second
  3. The variously attired and bloodthirsty crew of Pyro Pirates paddled their craft into third place

(Whilst the photo above suggests Raft No 4’s apparently triumphal return to Wallbridge Upper Lock the time judge’s calculations actually placed it in ninth position!)

Further accolade

Angelic Music also received the prize for ‘Most Creative Raft’ as it was equipped with a full sized home-made harp — and a crew-member to play it,

Further Fun