A rare sight! Waverley, the last sea-going paddle steamer, made her annual visit to the Medway on Sunday. Plenty of passengers by the look of it.
Yes, the Medway has one of the finest (if not THE finest) collections of heritage vessels in the world! MSBA Chairman Brian Corbett is passionate about the Medway being a leading centre for British, European and World Maritime Heritage. He has drafted a paper to encourage the agencies involved with the River Medway to meet, as an interested and integrated forum, to share in and mutually benefit from, the River Medway attaining its rightful status.
Clifford Mickleburgh has announced the Cruising Association Kent Section’s 2018/19 programme of “Winter Warmer” talks:
- 11 October: Pam & Mark Bathurst, Medway Queen Preservation Society
- 8 November: Peter Norris, Clarke & Carter Kent
- 13 December: James Collier, RATS (CA Regulations and Technical Services)
- 10 January Des Crampton, trip to Svalbard
- 14 February: Roy Brooks, Scotline
- 14 March: Chris Jeckells, Jeckells the Sailmakers
- 11 April: Dick Holness, East Coast Pilot
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.
The first presentation on 11 October is by Pam & Mark Bathurst of the Medway Queen Preservation Society. The Medway Queen was launched in 1924 and entered service on Thames estuary routes in May of that year. She was used as a minesweeper in WWII. Few ships associated with Dunkirk have fought so hard and escaped destruction so tenaciously and for so long as the Medway Queen. After the war she returned to her old route until 1963. From 1966 until 1974 she was a nightclub in the Isle of Wight. The hull rebuild was undertaken in Bristol with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the European Regional Development Fund and completed in late 2013. Medway Queen was towed back home and is now moored at Gillingham Pier where she can be visited.
The Hebridean Princess is due in Chatham Dockyard, Basin 3, at 09.00 this Friday.
This is part of her ‘Treasures of Normandy and Channel Islands’ cruise and her passengers will be visiting the Chatham Historic Dockyard. This cruise will be on the future Hebridean Princess cruise programme, visiting the River Medway every three years. It is hoped that the facilities at Chatham will encourage visits by other ‘compact’ cruise ships.
Once a year, rain or shine, a very mixed group of Medway leisure craft led by local fishing boats, accompanied by police RIBs and sometimes the Sheerness lifeboat, makes its way up and down the Medway. Held over two days on an early summer weekend, the flotilla Beats the Bounds of the Rochester Oyster & Floating Fishery.
ROFF, a very ancient organisation indeed, can trace its roots back to a charter granted by Henry III to the City of Rochester and another by Henry VI giving the local fishermen rights to harvest fish and oysters from the river. The charter was given further weight in 1729 when George II passed an Act of Parliament allowing management of the river to be organised and policed by ROFF.
Each year, Saturday starts early with the Mayor, as Admiral of The River, holding court in the Rochester Guildhall, listening to reports from the Chamberlain of the Fishery, as to how the year has gone. The health of the fishery is noted; poaching has been a problem in the past.
After the court the Mayor led by the Beadle makes his way round the corner to Rochester Cruising Club where a boat has been allocated as his Barge for the Day.
The flotilla then heads upstream to the upper limit of the fishery with members of the great and good aboard. Then it’s back down the river for refreshments.
Once again the fleet sets off following the ROFF fishing boats, this time heading downstream, frequently picking up vessels from some of the clubs and marinas as we pass. It is traditional that we fire a cannon at all the various clubs we pass and they answer in the same manner.
First “hove to” is the war grave of HMS Bulwark where a vessel is stationed for a wreath laying with local sea scouts and piper aboard. Then it’s off out past Garrision Point, sometimes with a water display from the Sheerness tugs and on to the SS Richard Montgomery
Again a “hove to” for a wreath laying and the Last Post before returning into Queenborough at the invitation of the Mayor of Queenborough and his good lady. Over 70 boats have been known to attend.
The festival is open to any boat, large or small, designed or built before 1970 – wood, steel, aluminium, fibreglass, ferro cement, sail, power, steam or other, the bigger the variety of boats the better the show. If in doubt as to whether your boat qualifies please email a photo and a short description.
Without classic boats, we will not have a festival, so we are delighted to offer free berthing for up to 5 nights for qualifying vessels that register with us before 31 August.
You must register by email and have received a confirmation email to attend. To register your Classic Boat please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Visitors (by foot)
Entry is FREE, the harbour will be open to the public to view the boats and meet the skippers. In addition, we plan to run passenger trips around the harbour and visit classic boats on their moorings. Last year almost 1000 people attended and the atmosphere was terrific.
Friday 28th Most of the Classic Boats arrive in harbour
Sat 29th Festival open 10am to 5pm
Sun 30th Festival open 10am to 2pm
We hope you can join us in making this 3rd festival even better than last year and a regular feature in the boating calendar.
SE Tugs have booked the 1948 motor tug Kent into the Maritime Festival in Ipswich on the weekend of 18-19 August. The Ipswich Maritime Festival features heritage vessels, tugs, tall ships etc and takes place on Ipswich Waterfront. Activities include Pirate & Sailor theme, Programmed stage of live entertainment (fully programmed all day both days), Street entertainers, Food market, Craft stalls, Bar, Vessels, Re-enactment activities and displays, Face painting, glitter tattoos, Funfair rides, Fireworks on Saturday night at 9:45pm