Classic Boats at Queenborough, Sat 8 Oct, 11.00

wheelCome and see 20 classic craft including tugs, sailing boats with traditional rigs and motor boats

Special! – enjoy a twenty-minute boat trip around the harbour with live commentary.

Crundalls Wharf, All Tide Landing, Queenborough

For further details phone 01795 662051

Visit historic sailing barges at Queenborough, Friday 8 July

Five Thames sailing barges will be assembling at Queenborough on Friday afternoon in preparation for a race to Ipswich on Saturday. Members of the public are welcome to visit the pontoon Friday evening and admire these historic craft: Edith May, Melissa, Xylonite, Marjorie and Niagara.

Nore Race

Nore Race 2016

Photo Wil Pretty

The annual Nore Race was held on Sunday, organised by Benfleet Yacht Club. The 17 nautical mile course in the Thames Estuary attracted a hundred sailing dinghies and cruisers, including multihulls, many from the Medway and Swale.

Nick Ardley book launch, Sat 23 July

Join the author at Baggins Book Bazaar, High St, Rochester, Sat 23 July, 1300-1500. Call Baggins on 01634 811651 to reserve a copy.Nick Ardley book launch poster

Medway Barge Match, Sat 28 May

Medway Barge MatchThe spectacular annual barge match will start at Gillingham on Saturday morning, probably quite early as HW is at 0530. The barges race out to the Medway Approach Buoy and back up the river.

The June 2016 issue of Yachting Monthly featured an article on the Medway Barge Match by Nick Ardley.

Visit Medway Barge Match website.

Nick Ardley: A Barging Childhood and Beyond, Thurs 14 Jan

Nick ArdleyThis month’s Winter Warmer is brought to you by the Cruising Association Kent Section is by Nick Ardley – A Barging Childhood and Beyond: The Story of an Essex Sailor. This talk will take you on a journey which began in the early 1950s when Nick’s parents bought a spritsail barge to live and go yachting on. She was the May Flower, built in 1888. The tribulations and joys of a barging childhood are looked at before, with time moving on, Nick leaves home, first, as an engineer officer at sea, then for married life too. His girl, a Midlands’s maiden, was soon introduced to the silt laden waters of the Thames estuary.

We then follow Nick and his mate on a passage around the East Coast’s rivers between North Kent and mid Suffolk aboard their Finesse 24, Whimbrel. As they weave in and out of muddy creeks, Nick watches as the world passes slowly by, wondering. Once at anchor, we find that Nick is just as likely to continue exploring in a gunter dinghy, sometimes ‘dragging’ his mate with him, to search for the lost world that rests amongst our salt marsh and mud.

Non CA members are welcome. There is a charge of £3 for the talk, which starts at 8pm. The pub offers a special menu for these events so come to eat at 7pm. Call the Dog and Bear, Lenham, on 01622 858219 by 5pm to book your meal.

Dutch barge towed to Queenborough by Sheerness lifeboat

dutch barge

On Saturday 12 September, the Sheerness all-weather lifeboat went to the aid of this 20 metre Dutch barge “Friso” that had broken down and was anchored south of the Kentish Flats wind farm. The barge, with six persons on board, was towed to Queenborough Harbour..

Swale Smack & Sailing Barge Match, Sat 8 August

Swale Smack & Sailing Barge MatchFor the 43rd year, the Kentish Sail Association (affiliated to the RYA) presents “probably the largest traditional boat gathering on the East Coast.”

For more details visit www.kentishsail.org

Medway Barge Match, Sat 23 May 2015

The course is from Gillingham Pier to the Medway Buoy and back. The first start is at 0730 for the Coasting Class, followed by the Restricted Staysail Class then the Bowsprit Class. The Committee Boat will be Song and Dance, a motor yacht operated by Swanning About Charters*, and one of Alan Pratt’s tugs (Christine?) will act as tender. Look out for historic tug Touchstone* and the sailing barge Centaur from the Thames Sailing Barge Trust* which will be competing.

For the best view of the start, enjoy breakfast from 0715 on the balcony of the Spinnaker Restaurant in Gillingham Marina*. Pre-bookings only, £5, on 01634 280022.

Prize giving will be at 1830 at Medway Yacht Club*, with the post-match report given by Nick Ardley, who spoke at the MSBA/RYA Spring Conference, followed by dinner.

Through the industrial revolution and Victorian expansion of London, the sailing barge evolved to be one of the most efficient small cargo carrying vessels of the world. Henry Dodd started the first official barge match in 1863 on the Thames. The Medway soon followed with the inaugral match held in 1880. With up to 20 barges competing, many over 100 years old, it is truly a sight to behold on our famous, industrial river.

According to the Society for Sailing Barge Research, barge racing has taken place in the Medway since at least 1872. In 1949 the Marina Club at Hoo (now known as Hoo Ness Yacht Club*) organised the first of 5 matches for yacht barges, and commercial craft raced again from 1954 until the Centenary Match. The modern series started in 1965.

Read more at www.medwaybargematch.co.uk

* denotes a member of the MSBA

Sail on Thames Barge Centaur

SB CentaurSB Centaur, originally from the Medway, is owned and operated by the Thames Sailing Barge Trust,  which is a member of the MSBA. The barge will be berthed at Lower Upnor (GPS yard), for a 2 day overnight cruise of the Medway and Swale area, with boarding at 7.30 pm on 14th August and returning by 3.00 pm on the 16th, costing £120 per head for 12 persons. Contact Chris Martin 07810 586318 for booking and other information. Please mention this website!

This local cruise by Centaur from TSBT’s recently acquired visiting berth at Lower Upnor is a first attempt to promote the Trust’s objectives again on the Medway, and the surrounding waterways of the local Thames Estuary, after a long absence.