PS Waverley, the last passenger-carrying sea-going paddle steamer in the world, visited the Medway on Saturday as part of her annual round Britain cruise. The historic tug Touchstone was among the local boats that went out to meet her.
MSBA fan Mark Thorne, known to many as the first mate on X-Pilot, has acquired the classic Tom Pudding tug “Water Haigh” which is currently on the mud near Strood Pier. He is requesting help from 3 or 4 able-bodied people to refloat the tug on Thursday 12 October. X-Pilot will be assisting but someone with a workboat would be a great help. Contact email@example.com or click Reply and I will pass on your details.
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.
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.
MSBA Chairman Brian Corbett was treated to a personal tour of the indescribably weird and wonderful steamship SS George Stephenson. The beautiful vessel is the brainchild of eccentric Dutch owner Vaas Stik who used hundreds of recycled components and materials, some more than a hundred years old, in her construction. The ship has both a steam engine and an eight cylinder 1950s Gardner diesel engine, both wonders to behold in their respective immaculate engine rooms The ship is moored on the waiting pontoon in the river at Chatham Marina and is free to visit this week only, so don’t miss the opportunity!
The offshore patrol vessel HNLMS Holland arrived today in Basin 2, along with the type 23 frigate HMS Richmond just to keep an eye on what they get up to. You can find out more and book a visit to the two ships at http://new.medway.gov.uk/news-and-events/bom
The Dutch are well underway with the registration of the 200 or so yachts and ships coming to the Medway for the historic event. The really good news is that the bulk of the Dutch visitors will be split into two fleets.
Fleet 1: consisting of tall ships (including the HNLMS Urania, the brigs Merganster and Aphrodite), many yachts from the Royal Maas Yacht Club from Rotterdam, and historic steam and motor vessels will gather at Queenborough on Wednesday 7 June and sail in company up the Medway on the morning of Thursday 8 June with the Dutch royal prince taking the salute at Upnor castle at 11.45. Fleet 1 will leave the Medway on 12/13 June.
Friday to Sunday: Dutch and Royal Navy ships open to public
Saturday 10 June: Dutch retired Marines Rowing Challenge, MSBA members Queenborough Rowing Club have accepted the challenge. The course is Upnor to Rochester Bridge then back to Thunderbolt Pier to “break the chain”!
Sunday 10 June: MSBA members Medway Towns Rowing Club are hosting a regatta from 10.00 to 12.00 in their reach of the river but with a race between Dutch and British rowers from Rochester to Upnor about midday in an 8 or 4.
Fleet 2: up to 90 yachts, largely from the Dutch Offshore Sailing Club, will gather at Stangate Creek and sail up the Medway on 14 June 2017, leaving on 18 June.
Many of the historic ships will be open to the public as well as the visiting Dutch and British naval vessels which are now berthed in Basin 2 of Chatham Docks.
The event grand finale takes place on Saturday 17 June. The programme includes entertainment on the river, a parade of sail with local historic yachts and ships including a modern Dutch steam vessel at 17.30 from Sun Pier to Upnor Castle . The day culminates with the ‘Medway in Flames’, a son-et-lumière and firework display with Upnor Castle as the backdrop.
The Medway and Swale Boating Association (MSBA) and member clubs and marinas are providing moorings for our Dutch visitors and arranging river activities. Medway Yacht Club and Upnor Sailing Club are working together to provide breakfast and evening meal galley facilities and to arrange Hog Roast evenings with a sea shanty band at MYC on Saturday 10 June and Friday 16 June. There will also be a ‘Pub Night’ meal, served from the counter, with Upnor SC running a Quiz, on Thursday 15 June.
Hoo Ness YC, together with Medway Cruising Club and Segas SC are providing moorings and hospitality for a small fleet of ‘Gaffers’ from Holland and the east coast.
To get the Sailing Barge Cambria ready for this year’s season, the Cambria Trust urgently needs volunteers. This is a unique opportunity for everyone (mums, dads, children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, sea scouts, sea cadets, even air and army cadets, etc) to get personally involved with the Cambria. Volunteers are vital to preserve our great maritime heritage. Full details including contacts are on the Cambria Trust website and you can watch some great videos on YouTube.