Blue yacht returns…

The windowless blue yacht, which displays no identification, has reappeared on Sun Pier, preventing its use by visiting vessels. It was previously evicted by Medway Council from Sun Pier and had been involved in more than one RNLI callout before being towed away to Sheerness by Peel Ports. The owner assured them that he had a legitimate mooring at Gillingham Pier…

UPDATE 16.11.2017: Hayley Taylor of Medway Council tells us that the pier is now clear and available for visitors. Let’s use it or we may lose it! Don’t forget that the nearby moorings in Rats Bay are also free for visitors and there is a dinghy rack on Sun Pier.

Peel Ports to clear debris from river today

After numerous complaints about the increased quantity of hazardous floating debris in the upper reaches of the tidal Medway, especially between Aylesford and Allington, we have just been informed by James Goodfellow that Peel Ports will at last be undertaking a river clearance today. Peel Ports have traditionally run regular rubbish clearance operations using the Medway Otter but this elderly vessel has had operational difficulties of late. The debris includes numerous large logs, several gas cylinders and floating rubbish of all kinds. Motor boaters, deterred from using the river for fear of damage to hull and propellers, have been deserting the non-tidal marinas because of the danger of passing this stretch of the river. A major rowing event was cancelled too.

Blue Yacht seized by Peel Ports

Blue yacht

Photo Rob Chandler

The nameless blue yacht was evicted from Sun Pier and then moored unsuccessfully on the Historic Dockyard slipway, as shown in this photo taken on Sunday.  The vessel, which has been the subject of more than one RNLI call out, has now been towed away to Sheerness. Medway VTS informed us that the boat will be held until the owner comes forward with proof that he has a legitimate mooring for it. Well done Peel Ports!

Vessels obstruct Faversham Creek

Pirate Ship Revenge

Peel Ports have advised that the exceptional high tides have caused some vessels in Faversham Creek to float into the wrong places, in some cases out of the creek altogether. The infamous “pirate ship” Revenge, which has featured on this website several times before, is obstructing the channel having tipped onto its side towards the middle of the creek. Photo from Peel Ports Notice to Mariners No 31 of 2017.

“I’ve got a dead whale on my bow”

Jack Smedley and the whale carcass he and his crew brought into Sheerness docks

Jack Smedley and the whale carcass he and his crew brought into Sheerness docks

Sailing past Sheerness Dock on Saturday, your webmaster thought he was imagining it when he heard the captain of the huge car carrier call Medway VTS saying, “We’ve got a whale carcass on our bulbous bow.” He later called again to say it had slipped off when the ship reversed away from the dock. Read more at Kent Online…

MSBA launches CCTV to monitor rogue jetskis

Here’s some terrifying video from the new CCTV camera sponsored by the MSBA and hosted at Medway Cruising Club, giving a good view of Commodore’s Hard and Gillingham Reach. The antisocial and dangerous behaviour of some PWC/jetski users (and other speeding vessels) has been a safety issue for many years but neither the harbour authority nor the police have been able or willing to put a stop to it, despite the 6 knot speed limit. Gavin Parson, MSBA committee member and acting Secretary, hopes to provide live access to our camera via this website soon. As they say, watch this space…

Nore Swatch Buoy removed for repair

Peel Ports advise that the Nore Swatch Buoy, Fl(4) R 15s in approximate position 51º28.28’N 000º45.58E, is temporarily removed from station.  The buoy will be repaired and re-instated as soon as possible.

Demolition of Kingsnorth Power Station, 27 July

Capt Ian Clark of Peel Ports has informed us that the two remaining boiler structures at Kingsnorth Power Station will be demolished by use of a controlled explosion on 27 July 2017 at 15:00hrs. No date has yet been given for demolition of the chimney.

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

Mid Cant Beacon to be “deleted”

Peel Ports have issued a list of obsolete or missing navigation marks that are to be deleted from Trinity House’s records. At the end of this list is the Mid Cant beacon, a lit north cardinal beacon marking the end of the submarine barrier off the north coast of Sheppey, to be reclassified as “ruin”. As this is an important aid to navigation for boats, including fishing vessels, using the Four Fathom Channel between the Medway and Ramsgate we have requested that the mark be maintained but otherwise it should be removed entirely so that it does not itself become a hazard.

You are invited to submit comments to Capt. Ian Clark AFRIN AFNI, Manager Marine Operations, by 30 June 2017.