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.

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

“Medway in Flames” Exclusion Zone, 17 June

Medway on Fire exclusion zoneOn the evening of 17 June from 21.40 to 22.40, a Temporary Exclusion Zone will be established from a line drawn perpendicularly across the river from Upnor Jetty (51°24.56´N 000°31.80´E) to a line drawn perpendicularly across the river at Whitewall Creek (51°23.90´N 000°31.40´E) as shown on the chartlet (left).

Between these times no vessel shall navigate, anchor or be secured to a mooring buoy, within the area, without the express permission of the Harbour Master.

The Temporary Exclusion Zone will be in place to facilitate the safe conduct of a firework and water screen display (“Medway In Flames”). Six barges will be positioned in the following locations:

  • 51° 24.22´ N 000° 31.82´ E
  • 51° 24.38´ N 000° 31.88´ E
  • 51° 24.06´ N 000° 31.72´ E
  • 51° 24.08´ N 000° 31.59´ E
  • 51° 24.20´ N 000° 31.64´ E
  • 51° 24.32´ N 000° 31.68´ E

Pontoons will run between the barges positioned on the west side of the river. Medway VTS will broadcast the start and completion of the exclusion zone on VHF 74. Mariners are reminded that no vessel shall navigate at a speed above 6 knots through the water Westwards of Folly Point.