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!

The Dutch are here!

HNLMS Holland

Photo by Rob Chandler

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.

Further information on the Battle of Medway events can be found at www.deruyter.org  and www.visitmedway.org

Sailing Barge Cambria needs you!

SB Cambria

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.