Admiral’s Cruise, 23+24 June 2018

The flotilla rounding the Montgomery wreck on Day Two. Photos and article by Fred Trice.

Once a year, rain or shine, a very mixed group of Medway leisure craft led by local fishing boats, accompanied by police RIBs and sometimes the Sheerness lifeboat, makes its way up and down the Medway. Held over two days on an early summer weekend, the flotilla Beats the Bounds of the Rochester Oyster & Floating Fishery.

ROFF, a very ancient organisation indeed, can trace its roots back to a charter granted by Henry III to the City of Rochester and another by Henry VI giving the local fishermen rights to harvest fish and oysters from the river. The charter was given further weight in 1729 when George II passed an Act of Parliament allowing management of the river to be organised and policed  by ROFF.

Day One

The Admiral’s Court in Rochester Guildhall

Each year, Saturday starts early with the Mayor, as Admiral of The River, holding court in the Rochester Guildhall, listening to reports from the Chamberlain of the Fishery, as to how the year has gone. The health of the fishery is noted; poaching has been a problem in the past.

The Beadle leads the procession. Can you spot the local MP who is also MSBA Patron?

After the court the Mayor led by the Beadle makes his way round the corner to Rochester Cruising Club where a boat has been allocated as his Barge for the Day.

Hawkwood Stone, the upstream limit for the Rochester Oyster & Floating Fishery

The flotilla then heads upstream to the upper limit of the fishery with members of the great and good aboard. Then it’s back down the river for refreshments.

Day Two

Once again the fleet sets off following the ROFF fishing boats, this time heading downstream, frequently picking up vessels from some of the clubs and marinas as we pass. It is traditional that we fire a cannon at all the various clubs  we pass and they answer in the same manner.

The historic tug Touchstone laying a wreath over the wreck of HMS Bulwark

First “hove to” is the war grave of HMS Bulwark where a vessel is stationed  for a wreath laying with local sea scouts and piper aboard. Then it’s off out past Garrision Point, sometimes with a water display from the Sheerness tugs and on to the SS Richard Montgomery

One of the Sheerness tugs saluting the Admiral with  fire hoses

Again a “hove to” for a wreath laying and the Last Post before returning into Queenborough at the invitation of the Mayor of Queenborough and his good lady. Over 70 boats have been known to attend.

Temporary closure of non-tidal Medway, 17 April

The Hampstead Lock to Sluice Weir Lock reach of the Upper Medway Navigation will be temporarily lowered on or after 17 April 2018. This is due to an unforeseen issue with the operation of Anchor Sluice which requires urgent attention. The EA do not anticipate that the work will take more than one day and they will reopen the river as soon as possible.

During this time no navigation will be possible in this pen and the EA will be temporarily closing Hampstead Lock and Sluice Weir Lock. The river level lowering will be subject to suitable river and weather conditions, and may be postponed if the conditions are not suitable. For further information please contact Allington Lock on 01622 752864.

Do you recognise this boat?

Kevin Duvall of Kent Wildlife Trust has contacted the MSBA because no-one else was able to help trace this boat. For several weeks a blue cabin cruiser has been stranded on the shingle bank at Castle Coote between Whitstable and Faversham. There are no identification marks on the boat to enable tracing of the owner. Worryingly, it is very close to a nesting site for little terns, a bird almost extinct as a breeding species in Kent.

If you have any information please email info@msba.org.uk and we will pass it on.

Peter’s Bridge (between Halling and Snodland) UPDATED 16 March

Peel Ports advise that the planned bridge inspection for  5-8 March 2018 has been POSTPONED FURTHER until 26-29 March. This inspection will be undertaken by KCC contractor and will involve the use of a moving gantry to inspect the underside. Mariners are warned that the use of this equipment will restrict the available clearance. A watch will be maintained throughout the operation and the gantry will be moved to one side to allow the passage of vessels. Further information may be obtained from Medway VTS on VHF Channel 74 or telephone 0151 949 6656.

CA Winter Warmer Talk, 110 Years of Cruising by Jeremy Batch, 8 March

What is it? All will be revealed by Jeremy.

There is nothing… absolutely nothing, half-so-much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” Appropriately, those words were first published in 1908, the year that the Cruising Association was founded based on a different book: “Cruising for 100 Years” by Brian Hammett and with additional material provided by many other members, this is Jeremy’s adaptation of the story of the CA over the past 110 years, told against the background of a century of developments  in  leisure boating  and  marine   technology  including:  how  a  melted  ice- cream led to an invention which has been blessed – and cursed – by every CA member [and it wasn’t the freezer] and how  “the most valuable cargo we ever sent to America” can now be found on many of our homes

The Cruising Association Kent Section Winter Warmers are held at 8pm on the 2nd Thursday of each month at The Dog & Bear Hotel, The Square, Lenham, ME17 2PG, which is 8 miles east of Maidstone, just off the A20 in the village square. All are welcome. There is a small charge of £3. Many eat beforehand and it helps speed up service if you telephone the pub on 01622 858219 and order your meal before 5pm.

Tidal Thames Navigators Club Evening, Wed 7 March

For those of us who venture up the Thames. This event will be held on board the vessel DIXIE QUEEN, at Butlers Wharf Pier, on the south side of the river next to Tower Bridge, commencing at 18.30 with tea and coffee being served from 18.00. The event will finish by approximately 20.30.

The evening will consist of topics from representatives of the Port of London Authority Harbour Master’s team, (some of whom we may recognise) as well as guest speakers covering:

  • Overview of events held by a local club (TBC)
  • Special Guest Speaker (TBC)
  • Large scale towing operations on the Thames
  • Bigger ships now visiting the Thames
  • ‘Journey of Thames experiences’ presentation
  • A Q&A session will follow

There will be information given on the first batch of the highly recommended ‘TTNC River Trips’ and how you can book.

To book and confirm you attendance please book in online here (or go to www.bookitbee.com and search ‘Port of London Authority’) by Monday 26 February 2018.

In addition, you can find out more about the TTNC and what benefits there are to being a member here.

Do you know this boat?

Photo Graeme Longmuir

This dilapidated motor cruiser was found drifting in the Medway above Rochester Bridge on 4 February and was rescued by the tug Speedwell. It is still tied up on Rochester Pier. If you have any information about who owns it or where it came from, please email info@msba.org.uk.

Is your bottom clean? Medway CC, now Thurs 8 March

  • Want to know why there are so many options of antifoul on the shelves?
  • Interested in how they work? And why they’re different?
  • How about the future for antifouling?

Join us at Medway Cruising Club clubhouse, The Strand, Gillingham ME7 1TT, at 7pm on Thursday 8 March, where International Paint’s Technical Support Specialist Tim Bannister will talk us through some of the different products and technologies available and the advantages/disadvantages of each. Antifoul vs. copper coat, and some of the new products that will be introduced over the next few years. Plus a Q&A session if you have any other paint queries.

ALL WELCOME! Contact: Chris Diaper, chrisdiaper58(at)gmail.com

CA Winter Warmer Talks, 8 Feb 2018

Caroline Milmo will give a short presentation on the CA Crewing Service and tell us about her trip from Lymington to Svalbard in the Norwegian archipelago. This will give you a flavor of how YOU can make use of the service. The CA’s Crewing Service puts skippers and crew in touch.

Clifford Mickleburgh will talk about his trip around the Frisian Islands in Dawn Owl. The Frisian Islands are a chain of islands in the North Sea off the Dutch coast, along the edge of the Wadden Sea. They continue further east as the German East Frisian Islands. If you have sailed the East Coast you will be fascinated by the Frisian Islands and the Wadden Sea.

The Cruising Association Kent Section Winter Warmers are held at 8pm on the 2nd Thursday of each month at The Dog & Bear Hotel, The Square, Lenham, ME17 2PG, which is 8 miles east of Maidstone, just off the A20 in the village square. All are welcome. There is a small charge of £3. Many eat beforehand and it helps speed up service if you telephone the pub on 01622 858219 and order your meal before 5pm.

The next CA Winter Warmer will be as follows:

  • 8 March 2018: Jeremy Batch on 110 Years of Cruising

Maidstone Invicta Rowing Club Spring Head Race

Maidstone Invicta Rowing Club will be holding the Maidstone Spring Head Race on Sunday 4 March 2018. Boats will be launching from the Maidstone Invicta Rowing Club steps and King’s School Boathouse from 08:00 hours and should be clear of the water by 16:00 hours. The races will be run on a timed basis over a course from Allington Marina bend to Town Bridge, Maidstone. There will be four divisions starting at 09:00, 10:45, 12:30 and 14:15 hours. Each race should last between 45 and 60 minutes.

Would all other river users please give the rowers unhindered passage during race times. Vessels travelling upstream from Allington Lock may be asked to wait until a race has been completed.

For further information please contact Allington Lock on 01622 752864.