CA Winter Warmer talk: Medway Queen, Thu 11 Oct

Clifford Mickleburgh has announced the Cruising Association Kent Section’s 2018/19 programme of “Winter Warmer” talks:

  • 11 October: Pam & Mark Bathurst, Medway Queen Preservation Society
  • 8 November: Peter Norris, Clarke & Carter Kent
  • 13 December: James Collier, RATS (CA Regulations and Technical Services)
  • 10 January Des Crampton, trip to Svalbard
  • 14 February: Roy Brooks, Scotline
  • 14 March: Chris Jeckells, Jeckells the Sailmakers
  • 11 April: Dick Holness, East Coast Pilot

More information on the CA Kent Winter Warmer 2018 – 2019 programme…

We are all invited to these excellent talks, which are held at 8pm at the Dog and Bear, Lenham, near Maidstone. It’s a good idea to book a meal (by 5pm please) on 01622 858219 for 7pm before the talk. A special CA 7-choice menu is available for £9.95.

The first presentation on 11 October is by Pam & Mark Bathurst of the Medway Queen Preservation Society. The Medway Queen was launched in 1924 and entered service on Thames estuary routes in May of that year. She was used as a minesweeper in WWII. Few ships associated with Dunkirk have fought so hard and escaped destruction so tenaciously and for so long as the Medway Queen. After the war she returned to her old route until 1963. From 1966 until 1974 she was a nightclub in the Isle of Wight. The hull rebuild was undertaken in Bristol with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the European Regional Development Fund and completed in late 2013. Medway Queen was towed back home and is now moored at Gillingham Pier where she can be visited.

Whopping EA fees hike promotes protests

Boaters on the non-tidal Medway and Thames are to be hit by inflation-busting increases in fees from next year. If boaters abandon these waterways the result will be counter-productive for the Environment Agency.

The public consultation on the EA’s proposed navigation charge increases for 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021 is now live here.

Please respond using this online tool which will enable the EA to manage their comments more effectively. However, if you prefer to respond by email or post, you can email enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk using ‘Navigation charge proposals 2019 to 2021’ in the title. You will get the consultation documents and a form in the post to complete. All responses must be received by Thursday 30 August 2018.

Admiral’s Cruise, 23+24 June 2018

There will be a briefing in the Rochester Cruising Club clubhouse on Wednesday 20 June at 20.30 for all those participating. If you have put your name down to take a councillor please make a special effort to attend.

Ian Foster, Admiral’s Cruise Coordinator
T: 01622 735882
M: 07710 704151
E: ia.foster@btinternet.com

Maidstone River Festival is ON, 28 July 2018

Our non-tidal partners, the Medway River Users Association (aka River Medway Boaters on Facebook) have just announced that the Maidstone River Festival, now known as the “Gathering of Boats” is back on the last weekend in July.The new Mayor of Maidstone is fully behind this event and will be presenting the trophies. For those who haven’t ventured upstream yet, the non-tidal Medway is well worth a visit if you can get your boat under Aylesford bridge.

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.