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

PS Waverley visits the Medway

PS Waverly 2017

Photo by Jason Thomas

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.

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…

Help wanted to raise old tug, 12 Oct

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 webmaster@mbsa.org.uk or click Reply and I will pass on your details.

Queenborough Harbour Closed for Classic Boat Show, 9 & 10 Sept

PLEASE NOTE: Queenborough Harbour will be closed to visiting boats from Noon Friday 8th to 6pm Sunday 10 September to accommodate the classic boat event. We hope to see you there, but kindly request you come by road or rail.

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.

Brief outing for Medway Queen

The “Heroine of Dunkirk” was briefly towed out of her berth yesterday to allow the minesweeper Tongham to access Gillingham Pier.

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.

Don’t miss the SS George Stephenson, this week only at Chatham

SS George StephensonMSBA 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!