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

Chatham Maritime Food and Drink Festival, 27-29 May

Chatham Maritime Food and Drink Festival will take place over the bank holiday weekend on 27-29 May. It’s a free-to-enter three-day event featuring local artisan food and drink producers, live music in the bandstand, Dragon Boat racing, a funfair, watersports and a charity fun run. We’re going to be joined by 15 of the original Dunkirk Little Ships as part of their commemorative cruise. They’re all members of the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, and will be moored in Old Royal Dockyard Basin 1 in Chatham Maritime – a beautiful and inspiring sight. Owners will be on hand to chat to visitors about their very special boats during the festival. Everyone is welcome to a memorial service by the Ship and Trades pub on Sunday 28 May at 11am. We’ll also be joined by 20 Dutch barges from The Barge Association with members of the Rochester Symphony Orchestra doing some concerts on one of them on Saturday 27 May.

Celebrate Queenborough Independence Day on 17 June

Queenborough Independence Day

Queenborough Receives Independence from the Dutch in 1967

This year is the 50th anniversary of the official handing back of Queenborough by the Dutch. A ceremony was performed at Queenborough on 17 June 1967. The town will be holding a celebration of this on 17th June 2017 and it is hoped to make it an annual event. There will be a boat flotilla with changing of flags at midday plus events throughout Queenborough: Live bands, Treasure hunt, Stalls, Magic, Bouncy Castle, Fancy dress and Re-enactments. All are invited – please help to make this a memorable day! All proceeds will go to the local lifeboat station.

For more information, visit the Queenborough Independence Day website.

“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.

New MSBA Visitor Charts now available

The MSBA visitor charts (one for the Medway and one for the Swale) have been updated for 2017 and can be downloaded from our Navigation page or here. The charts show the locations of most MSBA members and key visitor attractions. We recommend you print this document double-sided on A4 and then laminate it.

If you are visiting the Medway for the Battle of Medway events in June and have been allocated a guest mooring, you can find its location on this chart.

Maidstone River Festival Cancelled

Our upstream partner organisation, the Medway River Users Association, has just announced that “due to complete incompetence of Maidstone Borough Council the towpath/footpath is closed from this week until late Aug 2017; this will prevent any visiting craft from mooring. The Maidstone River Festival that was due to take place on the last weekend in July has therefore been cancelled.”

The MRUA spokesman added, “Our dedicated committee are completely frustrated by the complete lack of any vision from Maidstone Borough Council, they have a plan that highlights the use of the river to promote Maidstone, but this has been completely ignored. To all the companies and professionals, clubs and associations, the committee sincerely apologise but thank you for your promise of financial support. Very many hours of personal time have been committed to this event and the committee are devastated at this outcome.”

Battle of Chatham / Medway in Flames – Latest Update

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 2017 and sail, in company, up the Medway, on the morning of Thursday, 8 June 2017, with the Dutch royal prince taking the salute at Upnor castle. Fleet 1 will leave the Medway on 12 / 13 June 2017.

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 2017.

Many of the historic ships will be open to the public as well as the visiting Dutch and British naval vessel, which will be berthed in Chatham Docks, Basin 2.

The event grand finale takes place on Saturday, 17 June 2017. The day includes entertainment on the river; a parade of sail with Dutch and local yachts and ships, including a modern steam vessel and many of the Fleet 2 yachts. The day culminates with the ‘Medway in Flames’, a son-et-lumiere and firework display with Upnor Castle as the backdrop, with magnificent views from MYC.

The Medway and Swale Boating Association (MSBA) and member clubs and marinas, including Medway YC and  Upnor SC, are providing moorings for our  Dutch visitors and arranging river activities.

Our Medway and Upnor clubs 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 2017. 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.

Websites providing further information can be found at www.deruyter.org and www.visitmedway.org

Brian Corbett, MSBA Chairman

Dragon Boat Challenge, 28 May 2017

Promotional Clip for Medway Sunlight Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge and The Food Festival. The festival takes place on St Mary’s Island Chatham from 27 to 29 May. The Dragonboat Challenge takes place on Sunday 28 May.

A maximum of 30 teams can participate and MSRC currently have 9 firm bookings and 14 expressions of interest so don’t delay. Last year the event raised over £12,000 for charity and they hope to exceed that figure this year. If you would like to enter a team contact Allan Smith on 07956 452331 or email dragonboat@medwaysunlightrotary.org.uk  or visit www.medwaysunlightrotary.org.uk.