The Annual Odiham Raft Race

Founded in 2018

2024 – The 6th Raft Race Event

This year the event will be held on Sunday 1st September 2024 from 1pm to 5pm. We do not have a VIP to give out the prizes yet but if anyone knows anyone ‘Famous’ who would be willing to support this event, let us know on

We have closed entries as we have reached our maximum, thank you to all entrants.

2023 – The 5th Raft Race Event

This year the event was held on Sunday 3rd September from 1pm to 5pm. Prize-giving was by Robbie Cumming of BBC’s Canal Boat Diaries, thanks Robbie for giving your time to help this charitable event.

The winners of the Tug-O-War were ‘Alton 4’ after a real battle with The Perbrazoney Pirates.
The Raft Race winner for 2023 were The Perbrazoney Pirates.
Times were as follows:-
12th – Fin & Tonic [Did-Not-Finish]
11th – Ship Faced in 112.8 minutes
10th – Wet Bandits in 53.03 minutes
9th – Dairy Rose in 48.9 minutes
8th – Ashton On-And-On in 42.3 minutes
7th – Primus Heating in 34.9 minutes
6th – Hopping Mad in 34.2 minutes
5th – Dirty Oars in 28.7 minutes
4th – Winos in 27.7 minutes
3rd – Alton 4 in 24.1 minutes
2nd – Badder Belles in 22.2 minutes
1st – Perbrazoney Pirates in 20.8 minutes
The prize for best raft went to Primus Heating.
Raffle prizes and winners will be announced in a future post but all 4 prizes were collected by their winners on the day.
Medals were awarded to all participants by Robbie Cumming.


The Event Opened at 1pm and finished at 5pm. The Raft Race started at 2pm. The Tug-O-War started at 3:30pm.

The Worshipful Mayor of Basingstoke & Deane gave out the trophies and medals.

Times and Places were as follows
1st. Boatyard Buoys – 15 min 38 sec
2nd Alton4 – 16 min 58 sec
3rd. Union Jackies – 18 min 7 sec
4th. Primus Heating – 20 min 6 sec
5th. Wineos – 23 min 57 sec
6th. Northern Pirates – 27 min 49 sec
7th. Dirty Oars – 31 min 56 sec
8th. Flint Stones – 34 min 16 sec
9th. The Even Faster Milkfloat – 39 min 33 sec
10th. Scraping The Barrel – 46 min 54 sec
11th. The Wet Bandits – Did Not Finish
Tug-O-War winners – Primus Heating
Best Raft as voted by the people was Primus Heating.


The Event Opened at 1pm and finished at 5pm. The Raft Race started at 2pm. The Tug-O-War was a new event this year and went down very well

For 2021, the course started and finished at Colt Hill Wharf. The turnaround point was just short of the Mud Barge giving a total distance of 1.6Km (1 Mile) the course for 2019 was 2.2Km (1.36 Miles).

The chair of the Odiham Parish Council, Angela McFarlane, gave out the trophies and medals.

Times and places were as follows

Main Raft Race
1st – Badder Belles 26.52 Minutes
2nd – Boatyard Buoys 33.53 Minutes
3rd – Shark Bait 36.46 Minutes
4th – Space Hoppers 38.51 Minutes
5th – Unsinkable 2 44.03 Minutes
6th – Fastest Milk Float in the West 45.98 Minutes
7th – Dijabringabeer 49.48 Minutes
8th – Floaty Boaty 65.56 Minutes
Tug-O-War Winner – Boatyard Buoys
Well done to everyone who made the day one to remember; Volunteers, Basingstoke & Deane Canoe Club, Air Cadets, Stall Holders, Raft Teams and everyone who attended. Can’t wait until next year!


Cancelled due to Covid-19


For 2019, the course started and finished at Colt Hill Wharf. The turnaround point was Lodge Copse Bridge. This gave a total distance of 2.2Km (1.36 Miles). This was a bit shorter than the course for 2018, which was 2.6Km (1.6 Miles). The interval between starts was reduced from 10 minutes to 5 minutes to allow more ‘interaction’ on the water between teams.

Here are the official results, if you missed them on the day
1st – 31min 43sec – Boatyard Buoys
2nd – 33min 34sec – In Deep Ship
3rd – 43min 40sec -Badder Belles
4th – 45min 34sec – Rafty McRaftface
5th – 46min 8 sec – Just Add Cash
6th – 51min 40sec – John Sinkerton
7th – 62min 22sec – Piston Broke Rafters
8th – 77min 26sec – Floaty Boaty
9th – 91min 40sec – Ladies Who Launch
10th – 100min 5sec – Good Ship Venus
11th – Did Not Finish – Drink or Sink

That you to our official timekeeper David Harris who diligently and patiently recorded the times.


The theme of the event was ‘100 years of the RAF’ and there was a fancy dress theme which not many spectators took up so next year we will reduce it to something more achievable like ‘wear a nautical hat’ Prizes will be awarded next year for the best hat!

There were quite a few stalls on Colt Hill Wharf including; The Basingstoke Canal Society (BCS), The Basingstoke Canal Authority (BCA), Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Sand Art, Accessible Boating, Pickle Bear, La Creperie, a beer tent and a tea and coffee stand both manned by Galleon Marine.

Seven adult teams launched their rafts from the North Warnborough Lift Bridge at 10 minute intervals and finished 2.6 Km later at the boat basin at Colt Hill. The B.A.D. Canoe Club provided marshals to follow each raft to ensure safety. The winning Team was called ‘A Raft For Life’ and was crewed by staff from the Basingstoke Canal Society their winning time was 32 minutes which means their average speed was 3.00 miles per hour! (4.88 KPH). The 2019 course will be from Colt Hill Wharf to Lodge Copse Bridge and back which will be shorter (1.36 Miles) rather than the 1.6 Miles for 2018. This means that if the BCA can achieve the same speed they would complete next years course in just over 27 minutes!

Team times for 2018 were as follows

  1. Raft For Life – BCA – 32 minutes.
  2. In Deep Ship – Andy Caine – 47 Minutes
  3. Bad Idea – Basingstoke And Deane Canoe Club – 48 minutes
  4. Blues & Twos – Galleon Marine – 57 minutes
  5. John Sinkerton – Dan  Marsh + Fergus Stewart – 58 minutes
  6. West Street Wafters – Jeremy Fellows & Neighbours – 70 minutes
  7. Crafty Buggers – Graham Goldup and friends – 82 minutes

Two Junior teams raced from Colt Hill Wharf to the Odiham Bypass Bridge and back again.

They were:

  1. Basingstoke And Deane Canoe Club Juniors – 7 minutes, 17 seconds
  2. West Street Wafters Juniors – 11 minutes, 9 seconds

The Winners Cup and Medals for all team members were presented by ACM Sir Joe French after the race.

The race will run again next year so you have plenty of time to get a team together and build a raft!

  See our facebook page here


The following rules are for the safety of all competitors and to ensure that the canal and its wildlife are not damaged.

1. The minimum age for competitors in the main race is 11. A minimum of one adult (18+) must be part of any team containing youth members.

2. Each raft will be crewed by a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 6 competitors.

3. All competitors must be capable of swimming 25 metres fully clothed and unaided. Any competitors under the age of 16 must wear approved buoyancy aids. Life jackets will be available courtesy of the Canoe Club for a refundable deposit of £20. All competitors must wear suitable footwear to help prevent injury from hidden underwater hazards.

4. We advise against drinking alcohol or taking drugs when taking part in water based activities.

5. Leptospirosis, also called Weil’s disease, is an infection you can catch from animals. It is rare in the UK but can sometimes be present in freshwater. If present it can enter the system if water is swallowed or through broken skin. For information symptoms of infection include:

• a very high temperature of feeling hot and shivery.
• a headache
• feeling and being sick
• aching muscles and joints
• red eyes
• loss of appetite

6. The raft must not be more than 2 metres wide.  It must not be constructed of any materials likely to be toxic to the environment. No polystyrene foam is to be used unless fully encased in plastic. No nails to be used below the waterline. No commercially manufactured hulls.

7. Rafts must be propelled without any mechanical advantage such as a motor or geared paddle-wheel. No rowlocks! Competitors may not propel the raft by pushing against the sides or bottom of the canal (punting). You are allowed to use commercially available canoe or kayak paddles.

8. Rafts must be capable of being launched and recovered by the crew alone.

9. When boats have turned around at the midway point and are heading home, they have
priority so outward bound teams must give way to them by moving to the right bank.

10. Rafts must be available in the assembly area for inspection by the organisers by 1pm on
the day of the race. The organisers’ decision about the safety and fitness of the raft to take
part is final. Teams may contact the organisers prior to the race for advice and a progress

11. If you enter the tug-o-war competition the following must be noted.

  • Teams of an equal number of crew will pull against each other. If you have a team of say 6 people and the only
    available team is of 4 people you will need to lose 2 crew to make it fair. This can continue
    as the heats progress down to teams of 2 crew. We advise that you make a plan who will
    be in your reduced crew for the heats. Once decided, the same crew members must
    progress through the heats, no substitutions are allowed due to tiredness etc.
  • A pulling eye, bar or hook must be provided to hook up rafts to each other

12. You must allow a space for an A4 sized ‘Boat Number’ to be attached to your raft so that we can track you and record your finish time, a pole with an A4 piece of wood is best. We will provide the laminated number on the day once raft checks have been made.

Each team and its members will need to sign a Raft Race Participant Form to acknowledge and agree to the details above. If you do not want to sign this you will not be able to take part and the team will be disqualified.

If you need some ideas, have a look at this post Raft Ideas  or have a look at the rafts in the pictures below.

Below are some images of the event to give you the sense of occasion.

Odiham Raft Race