Kingsferry Bridge Closures, Oct 2019

Network Rail have informed Peel Ports Medway that, due to essential maintenance, the Kingsferry Bridge will be inoperative and unable to be lifted on the following dates and times: 21:00 07/10/19 – 00:30 08/10/19 • 21:00 08/10/19 – 00:30 09/10/19 • 21:00 09/10/19 – 00:30 10/10/19 • 21:00 21/10/19 – 00:30 22/10/19 • 21:00 22/10/19 – 00:30 23/10/19 • 21:00 23/10/19 – 00:30 24/10/19. Admiralty Chart Numbers 2482 & 2572 refer. Further information may be obtained from Medway VTS on VHF Channel 74, call sign “Medway VTS” or telephone 0151 949 6148 or 0151 949 6650

“Stress Free”, Hollowshore CC, Oct 19

Duncan Wells.

DUNCAN WELLS, author of the highly-regarded “Stress Free” series of instructional books and DVDs on sailing, motor boating and navigation, will be guest speaker at Hollowshore Cruising Club, Faversham, on Saturday October 19 at 7pm. There is no entry charge, and visitors are welcome. He has a wealth of experience as an RYA instructor and skipper, and as Principal of Westview Sailing School, which produces the Westview Sailing RYA shore-based Day Skipper and Yachtmaster video tutorials used by RYA students. His presentation will include “robust” techniques for casting off and coming alongside from the cockpit. Hollowshore CC’s clubhouse is at Youngboats Yard, Oare Road, Faversham ME13 7TX.

Wouldham/Halling Overhead Cable Works

Overhead works are scheduled to begin on or around 23 September 2019 across the River Medway between Wouldham Marshes and Halling, and will involve the replacement of an overhead power cable. River traffic will be monitored by a safety boat which will be on site whilst the cable pull takes place. Communications relevant to the works should be directed at the safety boat or Medway VTS on VHF Channel 74.

UPDATE 20 Sept: The work is now expected to be completed on or around 18 October. (Peel Ports Notice to Mariners No 25 of 2019)

High and dry on Nor Marsh

Drone photo by Gavin Parson.

This cabin cruiser has been high and dry on Nor Marsh for at least a month. The Sheerness inshore lifeboat was called out by the Coastguard on 27 July to investigate but there was no-one aboard. As the boat was a metre above the high water mark it must have already been there for some days.  Please let us know if you know anything about this vessel and we’ll pass the information on. Email info@msba.org.uk

Blackstakes buoy gone for good

The cylindrical yellow buoy on the south side of Saltpan Reach has again been removed by Peel Ports without notice, this time permanently. The Blackstakes buoy was a racing mark, located to keep boats well away from the LNG Terminal, as we are constantly exhorted to do by Peel Ports. As in 2016, the unexpected removal of the buoy has caused unnecessary inconvenience to clubs which race in the Medway estuary. Enquiries by Medway YC and the MSBA elicited the response from Peel Ports that the buoy was considered “not commercially viable” and today a notice to mariners was belatedly issued. The two adjacent commercial mooring buoys (Saltpan Nos. 8 and 9) have been given a fresh coat of yellow paint (see photo) but this does not mean they are a replacement for Blackstakes. There has been no explanation of why the clubs were not notified in advance of the buoy’s removal.

Blackstakes has gone. Don’t use these nearby yellow mooring buoys as a replacement.

Beware of sunken barge at Lower Halstow

Peel Ports advise that the floating dock/converted barge Westmoreland, that has been moored between two large yellow mooring buoys to the north of the Lower Halstow Yacht Club moorings, has sunk. It is still made fast to the two yellow marker buoys fore and aft but is covered at high water. The centre of the barge between the two yellow buoys is marked by floating pellet buoys. Mariners should navigate with caution due to this submerged danger to navigation. Approximate position 51 23.00N 000 40.60E. The owner is aware and will be dealing with the situation.

CA Winter Warmer: Dick Holness (East Coast Pilot), Thu 11 April

Dick is well known to many of us for being the co-author of the popular and innovative pilot book, which is regularly updated.

This is the last of the 2018/19 Winter Warmer series organised by Clifford Mickleburgh who runs the Kent Section of the Cruising Association. 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

Garrison Point traffic warning light reinstated

Peel Ports have issued a notice that the flashing white warning light on top of Garrison Point for big ships going in or out of the Medway is now working again.

The Traffic Warning Light is positioned to assist vessels in complying with General Direction No. 10, Navigation of Vessels of more Than 130 Metres length Overall Between Sunset and Sunrise and in Restricted Visibility. The Traffic Warning Light is a white light that flashes every seven seconds and is normally exhibited by day and by night as follows;
• When an inward bound vessel of more than 130 metres Length Overall is underway in the buoyed channel between the Medway Buoy and Darnett Ness the lights are exhibited in an upriver direction.
• When an outward bound vessel of more than 130 metres Length Overall is underway in the buoyed channel between Darnett Ness and the Medway Buoy the lights are exhibited in a seaward direction.
Further information may be obtained from Medway VTS on VHF Channel 74, call sign “Medway VTS” or telephone 0151 949 6148 or 0151 949 6650.

Gillingham Marina training

Passage Planning Lecture (free, all welcome)
Tuesday 26th March – start 18.30 

VHF/ GMDSS courses
(Price £90 plus £60 to the RYA including handbook and lunch, from 08.45 to approx 18.00 hrs)
Tuesday 9 April, Wednesday 29 May, Tuesday 4 June, Tuesday 23 July, Tuesday 6 August, Tuesday 10 September, Tuesday 8 October, Tuesday 12 November, Tuesday 10 December.

Sun Pier re-opened at last!

We’ve just heard from Adam Taylor of Medway Council that Sun Pier is open again following some “enhanced engagement” with the electricity supplier. Note that overnight mooring is not currently allowed but we should take every opportunity to visit the Pier and the nearby Rats Bay river moorings if we are to keep them. Use them or lose them!

Please note there is no restriction on overnight mooring for the FREE visitors’ mooring buoys in Rats Bay, close to Sun Pier. If coming ashore to experience the delights of Chatham High Street, leave your dinghy on the inside of the pontoon or in the dinghy rack. There is no charge but it will cost you a pound to buy a token from the machine to get back through the gate. Sun Pier House is well worth a visit for the cafe and art gallery with a spectacular view of the river.