Swale Smack & Sailing Barge Match, 4 (not 14) Aug 2018

The annual Swale Smack & Sailing Barge match is probably the most prestigious traditional boat event on the East Coast, and has been running since 1972. It is open to all Thames barges, smacks, bawleys and gaff rigged craft as well as classic Bermudian rigged vessels, small open boat gaff and lugsail dinghies are also welcome.

Prizegiving is at Hollowshore in the evening and is a lively and convivial evening with live music, hog roast, burger van and bar.

For full details contact: Match Secretary Lena Reekie. Email: lenareekie(at)talktalk.net, phone: 07968 058398, website: www.kentishsail.org

SB Westmoreland wrecked

In recent gales, the stern section of the old sailing barge Westmoreland, berthed at Lower Halstow, broke away and “sailed” round to Funton Creek, just south of Chetney Hill, where it has joined the remains of other once-pround sailing vessels. Nick Ardley comments, “Sad, very sad, but interestingly she seemed to know her way towards sisters of the tideway within this area… ”

For more info visit www.upchurchmatters.co.uk
and www.westmorelandtrust.co.uk

The wreck of the main part of the barge (in a sunken dock) is marked by a yellow buoy in Halstow Creek
Notice to Mariners about the wreck

Thanks to Kevin Thorton for the photo and track image.

IWA Talk: Sailing Barges in their Heyday, Thu 25 Jan

Inland Waterways Association talk on Thursday, 25 January 2018, 7.30 for 8.00 pm at Strood Yacht Club, Knight Road, Strood, ME2 2AH

Michael Farnham will be giving an illustrated talk on the history of sailing barges and barge yards on the Medway and Thames estuaries.

Fire crews save sailing barge

Photo Richard Murr

Fire crews saved the 1900 steel sailing barge “Ironsides” at Iron Wharf, Faversham, after yet another fire broke out yesterday morning.

Read more at Kent Online…

Nick Ardley book signing aboard SB Edith May, Sat 11 Nov

Venue: Aboard saling barge Edith May at Lower Halstow Dock, Lapwing Drive, Lower Halstow.

When: 11 Nov, 1030-1600 with parking available

Nick was brought up, afloat, on a Thames spritsail barge: his childhood life and that of the barge is told about in his first book. Nick now sails the Thames estuary between North Kent and Snape in Suffolk. Along the way, he observes the coast and compares with the recent past: much of our coastal history of the past 150 years is fast disappearing. While wending his way he studies the land’s often soft edges, looking at wasted marshes, at silted creeks and abundant wildlife. He wanders amongst old industries, lost barge quays, the rotting hulks of traders, wondering… See Nick’s web site at www.nickardley.com

Don’t miss Britain Afloat on BBC1

A surprisingly good programme on BBC1 about the Thames sailing barge, featuring Nick Ardley and other experts. Many of the beautifully shot scenes are local to the Medway and Swale.

Visit BBC iPlayer…

Latest book from Nick Ardley

Nick Ardley is an eccentric, an anachronism from a simpler age, for the way he sails his clinker sloop around the Thames estuary. In Rochester to Richmond: A Thames Estuary Sailor’s View. The book is a reflective journey between Rochester and London, a path once of commerce, but now pleasure. Rochester was of immense importance to Britain’s past trading richness too. The belching chimneys pouring acrid fumes and cement dust have evaporated. Oil refineries have slipped away, but wharves lining the banks survive. As a distraction, he wanders a little above Rochester and then again, a little above the Pool of London towards Richmond. Between, he lands amongst the marsh and mud, finding graves and farmsteads enveloped in purslane and lavender. Many towns sailed past were part of this heritage, supplying building materials and food carried by the tan-sailed barge to London. Ardley dips and dabbles into these communities and explores how they have transformed.

Nick will have copies available on Whimbrel at the Queenborough Classic Boat Festival on 9+10 September.

Boatyard burglars arrested

Two men have been arrested following a burglary early on Tuesday morning at Shoregate Wharf Sailing Club (an MSBA member) near Upchurch. Several boats were broken into. Stolen items including power tools were recovered by police near to the scene.