Shock at threat to burn local author’s boat

The MSBA is saddened and shocked that local author, Nick “ditch crawler” Ardley, has received a threat to burn his beloved wooden yacht following his expression of anger at boats anchoring overnight in Stangate Creek. Apparently someone believes Nick has “dobbed” them to the police. On his Facebook page, Nick has made it clear that he did not identify any individual or vessel, though at least two dozen were displaying their boat name on AIS on the late May bank holiday, thus incriminating themselves. Many boaters from both the Essex and Kent side of the Estuary have expressed support for Nick and advised him to take the matter to the police immediately. Whatever our views on the practicalities of the current coronavirus laws, such a threat is a serious criminal matter and cannot possibly be condoned.

Dick Holness live, Fri 5 June 6pm

Imray Live with Dick Holness, Friday 5 June 1800 BST

Dick Holness, co-author of East Coast Pilot, will talk you through the founding of this well loved guide to the waters of England’s east coast from Great Yarmouth to Ramsgate. You’ll hear about what’s involved with putting it together, the update process and the running of the website. And you’ll find out who John Goode is too! 

Join the Q&A and share your thoughts, questions and feedback in the Comments section. 

Visit Imray’s Facebook page for more details and to join the event

Anger at boats anchoring overnight

Local “ditch crawler” Nick Ardley has expressed anger at the two dozen boats anchored overnight in Stangate Creek at the bank holiday weekend and has written to Kelly Tolhurst, the Shipping Minister and MSBA Patron. He points out that the current law is clear that we must all return to our homes overnight and not stay in caravans, second home or boats. He concedes that, while being in a boat is a perfect way to self isolate, the law is clear. The RYA has published a guide to help us understand how it applies to boating:

Obstruction in Bridge Reach (Updated 28 May) – GONE

Peel Ports have issued a notice to mariners warning of an obstruction with only a foot of water over it, right in the middle of the river by the Russian submarine. The survey team and divers say it seems to be a sunken boat.

“During a recent hydrographic survey of the Port of Rochester an unknown obstruction, possibly a wreck, has been identified in Bridge Reach. The obstruction is marked with an unlit, yellow ‘can’ buoy denoted “Wreck”. The depth above the obstruction at chart datum is approx. 0.3m. Mariners transiting Bridge Reach should navigate with extreme caution. When available, divers will be deployed to ascertain the nature of the object which will assist with the Port Authority’s subsequent actions.”

Buoys marking the wreck

UPDATE: 7.5.2020 (Notice to Mariners 23/2020)

“Diving operations are due to take place in Bridge Reach, Port of Rochester to ascertain the nature of an unknown submerged obstruction. Dive works are planned for Wednesday 13th May 2020 will be carried out over the morning low water period. The dive team will be working from the Briggs Marine vessel “Forth Linesman”, who will be monitoring VHF Channel 74 at all times. All passing vessels are required to navigate with extreme caution and minimise their wash. Diving is expected to be concentrated around the following approximate position: 51 23’.72 N – 000 30’.34 E”

UPDATE 22.5.2020 (Notice to Mariners 23/2020)

Diving operations are due to take place in Bridge Reach, Port of Rochester to remove a submerged obstruction confirmed during previous dive ops. Dive works are planned for Thursday and Friday 28th / 29th May 2020 and will be carried out over the late morning low water periods. The dive team will be working from the Briggs Marine vessel “Forth Linesman”, who will be monitoring VHF Channel 74 at all times. All passing vessels are required to navigate with extreme caution and minimise their wash.

UPDATED 28.5.2020

Due to technical issues with salvage craft the planned diving operation detailed above is postponed until further notice. An update to this notice will be issued as soon as new dates are confirmed.

UPDATED 01.6.2020

The 7 metre powerboat with outboard still attached has now been lifted and the warning buoys removed.

Is your club unsure of what to do about Covid-19?

The RYA website has a Covid-19 Hub which includes key information for clubs, recreational boaters and training centres. The RYA Legal and Government Affairs team is working hard to interpret government announcements and understand the detail to provide us with accurate information. For instance, if it is OK to go for a bike ride can we go for a solo sail?

UPDATE: Some interesting comments here. Click on Replies.

Keep Racing (Virtually)

Free offer for RYA affiliated sailing clubs: keep your members engaged whilst following government guidelines on social distancing.

Virtual Regatta (eSailing) Inshore provides players with an opportunity to race against friends, fellow sailors and real-world Olympic champions. All UK players will automatically be entered into the exclusive GBR eSailing National Championship, racing the same challenges, seasons and playoffs as the eSailing World Championship and ranking both nationally and globally.

UPDATE: The free 12 month VIP pass for clubs was closed on 1 April.

Kingsferry Bridge – is your club intending to pass before end of May?

The bridge continues to be non-operational for leisure traffic due to the failure of Network Rail to replace the ancient motors. A temporary generator is only being used to lift for commercial traffic. Network Rail have told the MSBA that Kingsferry Bridge may not be fully operational until 25 April or potentially the middle of May.

Please advise Peter Norris (peter@msba.org.uk), of any rallies or events that are scheduled to take place between now and the end of May, which require passage through Kingsferry bridge, as he is working with Network Rail to find a solution so that the bridge can be navigated at weekends and Bank Holidays.

Royal Naval Sailing Association to be evicted from Chatham

RNSA members at the historic slipway. Photo Kent Online.

Despite the Royal Navy’s proud 400-year association with Chatham, the RNSA has been given its marching orders from its modest base at the Historic Dockyard to make way for yet another housing development. The Sea Cadets and Sea Scouts who share the slipway and shore facilities will also have to go.

Read more of this shocking story at Kent Online…

Kingsferry Bridge update

Network Rail have told us that, while work is being carried out to reinstate the power at Kingsferry Bridge, the bridge can only be lifted when there is a fitter on site, which is usually from 6am to 6pm Monday to Friday.  Outside these hours, leisure craft will only be allowed through with commercial vessels. Because of the compromised state of the equipment at the bridge, the risk of failure is higher than normal. Failure would result in the closure of the bridge to trains, road vehicles and prevent it being lifted.  If a fitter is on site, it can be reinstated quicker than if an on-call fitter must be called in.

Effectively then, Kingsferry Bridge will be out of action for the next three weekends and only available from 06:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday.