Admiral’s Cruise, 23+24 June 2018

The flotilla rounding the Montgomery wreck on Day Two. Photos and article by Fred Trice.

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.

Day One

The Admiral’s Court in Rochester Guildhall

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.

The Beadle leads the procession. Can you spot the local MP who is also MSBA Patron?

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.

Hawkwood Stone, the upstream limit for the Rochester Oyster & Floating Fishery

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.

Day Two

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.

The historic tug Touchstone laying a wreath over the wreck of HMS Bulwark

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

One of the Sheerness tugs saluting the Admiral with  fire hoses

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.

Do you know Lady Mine?

This old and neglected Westerly Centaur called “Lady Mine” has been moored on Sun Pier for some time without authorisation. If you know anything about the boat please contact info@msba.org.uk

Rochester Pier Closure, 26 Feb – 2 March

Marion Phillips of Medway Council informs us that Rochester Pier will be temporarily closed from Monday 26 February 2018 for one week to allow for some electrical testing to be undertaken. An FB padlock will be used to allow for emergency access if required.

Do you know this boat?

Photo Graeme Longmuir

This dilapidated motor cruiser was found drifting in the Medway above Rochester Bridge on 4 February and was rescued by the tug Speedwell. It is still tied up on Rochester Pier. If you have any information about who owns it or where it came from, please email info@msba.org.uk.

Chatham Interface Land Proposal – please respond before 22 Dec

Please add your response to the Chatham Interface Land proposal using this questionnaire. Please share it on social media too.

PLEASE NOTE: For your views to count, you must send your response, ideally using the questionnaire, to Medway Council. Email planning.policy@medway.gov.uk

The Council say they want to retain the Dockyard slip, but will it just end up boxed in with inadequate parking and facilities like Gillingham Pier slipway?

There are two parcels of land involved in this planning proposal, which covers part of the Chatham Historic Dockyard. Let’s keep the housing on the landward part. The riverside part is not huge and is the only green space next to the river with access to the water, with far greater amenity value to the community. Lying between a busy shopping centre and a world class visitor attraction, it would not be an attractive place to live. The area gets very busy in the summer when events are on; traffic and parking will always be a problem. Having a residents’ parking scheme would create the problems that can be now seen at Gillingham Pier where overflow shoppers vie for parking spaces with residents and anyone wanting to use the Pier. Or will the Dockyard slip be abandoned and left unusable like Commodore’s Hard?

Please suggest in your response how the slipway and its surroundings should be used. How about a first class public slipway with a community clubhouse? Maybe nautical themed bars and restaurants nearby should be welcomed if they are not too close and the a pontoon would encourage boats to visit, thus boosting the local economy.

MSBA member clubs, the Royal Navy Sailing Association and the Royal Engineer Yacht Club are based at the Historic Dockyard where they use the slipway to access their moorings. Let’s support them by expressing our concerns to the Proposal:

 

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.

CA Winter Warmer talks start on Thurs 12 Oct

Carl Madjitey will give a talk on the 1667 Raid on the Medway. The 350th anniversary was commemorated by Medway Council this year.

In June 1667 the Dutch, under the command of Admiral Michiel de Ruyter, bombarded and captured the town of Sheerness, sailed up the River Thames to Gravesend, then sailed up the Medway to Chatham and Gillingham, where they burned three capital ships and ten lesser naval vessels, and towed away HMS Unity and the English flagship, HMS Royal Charles.

The Cruising Association Kent Section Winter Warmers are held at 8pm on the 2nd Thursday of each month at The Dog & Bear Hotel, The Square, Lenham, ME17 2PG. Situated 8 miles east of Maidstone, just off the A20 in the village square. All are welcome. There is a small charge of £3. Many eat beforehand and it helps speed up service if you telephone the pub on 01622 858219 and order your meal before 5pm.

Further CA Winter Warmers will be as follows:

  • 9 November 2017: Matt Craughwell on Rowing the Atlantic Ocean
  • 14 December 2017: Jeremy Littlewood, HM Coastguard, on Safety Equipment for yachts
  • 11 January 2018: Patricia & Neil Lynn, Engineering Our Way Across Europe aboard Sea Griffin
  • 8 February 2018: Members’ Confessions, what went right or wrong?
  • 8 March 2018: Jeremy Batch on 110 Years of Cruising

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…

Rochester Pier closures, 15 and 21 July

On Sat 15 July and Fri 21 July Medway Council will be using Rochester Pier for fireworks: 15 July for Castle Concert Proms, 21 July for Medway Mile. For safety reasons access will not be allowed from 10am each morning for a 24hr period.

Medway in Flames, Sat 17 June

Medway Council’s spectacular finale to the Battle of Medway commemoration will take place on Saturday evening. During the fireworks display, a section of the river from the Upnor Pier to Whitewall Creek will be cleared from 21.40 to 22.40 hrs, see Peel Ports’ Notice to Mariners. Controversially, boats on the RNSA and REYC moorings are required to move out of the exclusion zone.

UPDATE: At 17.30 a sail past will start in the vicinity of Chatham Ness / Sun Pier and “parade” to Upnor Castle. MT Kent will lead the fleet, followed by the steam ships SS George Stephenson, flanked by VIC 56 and VIC 96 (3 steam ships together on the Medway, probably the first time in 50 years). These will be followed by other classic/historic vessels.

Also on Saturday, Queenborough will be celebrating Independence Day with a flotilla, music and other events. The Medway Queen Preservation Society will have a Fun, Food and Craft Day at Gillingham Pier.