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.

Kingsferry Bridge: more problems

Following a recent report of the bridge operator refusing to lift for a yacht returning from Conyer to the Medway, the MSBA has sought clarification from Peel Ports. The bridge still has a problem with the main switch gear requiring a generator to be stationed on the A249 to enable lifts. Railtrack say they are “working hard” to source new parts to fix it, which is proving difficult. They have reduced the number of lifts to a minimum and are only allowing yachts through when there are shipping movements. We are told that commercial shipping takes priority.

UPDATE 6.2.2020: Network Rail expect to have the replacement switch gear in place within six weeks, possibly even sooner, so the emergency generator will no longer be needed. In the meantime boaters should check with the bridge operator on VHF channel 10, or Medway VTS on Channel 74, when the next bridge lift is expected to take place.

CA Winter Warmer talk: Border Force, 13 Feb

With small inflatable boats making their way across the English Channel we will get an insight as to how the UK Border Force deal with this problem and how we can help them.

CA Kent Section Winter Warmer talks are popular.

We are all invited to these excellent Kent Cruising Association 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 menu is available.

Morning Star decommissioned

The MSBA is sad to learn that on 14 December the Morning Star Trust decommissioned its flagship vessel Morning Star of Revelation in a moving ceremony at Chatham Marina. The 19-metre, gaff-rigged ferro-cement ketch with its distinctive maroon sails has been a familiar sight on the Medway when she was not away in the Baltic or even further away. Officially a “tall ship”, Morning Star is the oldest purpose-built sail training vessel in the UK Sail Training fleet and has been in continuous service since 1978.

The MST is a Christian sail training organisation based in Chatham. The Trust’s remaining vessel is an 11-metre Westerly Oceanquest called Bright Star and we understand that a larger, more up to date vessel is being sought to replace Morning Star.

RYA Cruising/Racing Conference, Eastbourne,12 Jan 2020

This bi-annual cruising/racing conference is aimed at the motor and sailing yacht fraternity within the RYA London and SE region and is for RYA personal members, and members of RYA affiliated clubs and organisations (including the MSBA) as well as members of stakeholder organisations in the region.

It aims to provide interesting and cutting-edge talks and workshops to inspire sailors for the upcoming season, providing a forum for networking and discussion on topical issues. The event schedule can be viewed here.

The conference is free to attend with an optional £12 pre-bookable hot lunch payable at the latest on the day. Book here

CA Winter Warmer: Medway Pilot, Thu 14 Nov 2019

David Lloyd will reminisce about his life and times as a pilot, picking up ships off Ramsgate and advising the master of a safe route to the Medway. David’s home port was Sheerness but other ports were served including Ridham Dock and we will hear of “near misses” when the train had priority. David will describe a typical trip into the Medway and highlight occasional “difficulties” both with ships and captains. There will be much for us to learn.

We are all invited to these excellent Kent Cruising Association 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 menu is available.