Shock at threat to burn local author’s boat

The MSBA is saddened and shocked that local author, Nick “ditch crawler” Ardley, has received a threat to burn his beloved wooden yacht following his expression of anger at boats anchoring overnight in Stangate Creek. Apparently someone believes Nick has “dobbed” them to the police. On his Facebook page, Nick has made it clear that he did not identify any individual or vessel, though at least two dozen were displaying their boat name on AIS on the late May bank holiday, thus incriminating themselves. Many boaters from both the Essex and Kent side of the Estuary have expressed support for Nick and advised him to take the matter to the police immediately. Whatever our views on the practicalities of the current coronavirus laws, such a threat is a serious criminal matter and cannot possibly be condoned.

Briggs recruiting for marine services with Peel Ports

Briggs Marine have been chosen by Peel Ports as the preferred bidder to provide a range of marine services at the Port of Sheerness. After completing the contract agreements they hope to start the new services in July. These will include Mooring Services (i.e. handling the mooring lines for vessels berthing and unberthing), which will include the provision of new line handling vessels, River Patrols, to include debris collection, and Workboat Services, for which again they will be providing a new work boat.

Briggs are recruiting for Mooring Coxswains and Mooring Assistants. Details are on the Briggs Marine website at https://www.briggsmarine.com/careers/

The MSBA needs you!

The Medway & Swale Boating Association exists to support the local boating community. We are looking for new committee members, especially someone to take on the role of Secretary. We also need someone with good IT skills. The committee meets monthly and is in constant communication. If you would like to learn more please contact the chairman, Brian Corbett, at chairman@msba.org.uk

Kelly Tolhurst is new Maritime Minister

Kelly Tolhurst MP.

As part of the Cabinet reshuffle, the Prime Minister has appointed Kelly Tolhurst MP, a marine surveyor by trade, as the new Maritime Minister. Kelly is also the MP for Rochester and Strood. She is also Patron of the MSBA, having been a long standing committee member.

Kelly became a councillor for Medway Council in 2011 and worked to get a River Medway strategy in place to encourage economic development and improve leisure use to replace declining commercial activity. One success was the restoration of Sun Pier, which now provides boat access to Chatham, below Rochester Bridge. Kelly is a marine surveyor and a keen Dragon racing sailor on the Medway, when time permits.

British Marine’s press release notes Kelly’s concerns about the MMO’s burdensome procedures for dredging of moorings on the Medway and effects on the leisure marine sector. With Mark Garnier MP she has set up an All-Parliamentary Party Group (APPG) for marine leisure

Apprentice wanted at Queenborough Harbour

Queenborough Harbour Trust has a vacancy for a Level 2 Marina & Boat Operative Apprenticeship. Applicants need to be 18-21 years old, courteous with good Maths and English GCSEs.

Queenborough Harbour Trust

This is an exciting opportunity to acquire the necessary experience and recognised qualifications for a career afloat with an emphasis upon the maritime leisure industry. The job entails water services for harbour operations, on the job learning and off site training courses, variable shift to cover harbour operations from 0900 to 2200 hrs during peak season and 0900 to 1800 hrs out of season, 9 hours per day. At peak times there may be additional periods to cover for leave and sickness as required. For more information download the job description below or email manager@queenborough-harbour.co.uk

RYA webinar “Putting People First”, 5 Dec

If you didn’t get to the RYA Regional Affiliated Clubs seminar last Sunday you missed some very useful tips and information for keeping your club members engaged, particularly with regard to volunteering for the committee, work parties and so on.

All is not lost however; an access-for-all webinar will be broadcast on Thursday 5 December (7-8pm) to delve deeper into the findings and recommendations with the chance to ask questions. If you can’t join us please sign up anyway and you’ll be able to hear the recording after the live show. Register here for the webinar.

The extraordinary life and loves of John Oliver, Rochester Library, 9 Oct

John Oliver on the tug Hobbit.

An illustrated talk by Frances Beaumont about John Oliver who was a tug man on ‘Hobbit’ on the River Medway for 40 years. John was born without hands and two short arms and became very adept with his feet. Many people in Medway knew him – he was quite a character. He was also a trained artist with an NDD and had many other jobs. Booking is essential for this free event at Rochester Library, Eastgate, Rochester ME1 1EW on Wednesday 9 October from 2.30 to 4 pm. To book call 01634 337799.

Mike Sharratt

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Mike Sharratt, who, together with his wife Barbara, founded Pirates Cave Chandlery in 1991.

Mike was well known throughout the local community, recognisable from both Pirates Cave and a member of various local clubs. After selling Pirates Cave in 2011 he and Barbara moved to the Isle of Wight, enjoying their retirement together, and of course, continued their trips overseas to enjoy sailing in a warmer climate.

Pirates Cave’s now Managing Director, Scott, once Saturday-boy for Mike & Barbara, remembers Mike fondly: “Mike was a true gentleman, always with a story to tell or advice to give. He had the ability to make everyone feel special and would always take an interest in everything you did. Working at Pirates Cave whilst a teenager wasn’t like work – it was an education – mainly in his beloved sailing grounds of the BVI! Over those years and since, Mike and Barbara became friends and I was pleased to make the trip to visit Mike just a couple of weeks ago. We often hear the quote from Mark Twain, and I’m sure Mike lived a life in accordance with it: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sail. Explore. Dream. Discover.” All of our thoughts go out to Barbara and family at this difficult time.”

Big story of a little ship

Photo Old Gaffers Association

Good news for Hollowshore Cruising Club member Dr. Rodney Pell, whose book “Little Ship, Big Story” has been nominated for a Mountbatten Literary Award. It tells the history of Sheemaun, a 15-metre gentleman’s yacht built for banker Ernest Richards in 1935 in Fraserburgh. She is ketch rigged and currently has two Beta Marine Diesel engines. Researches by Dr. Pell led to the author discovering some of the amazing stories of those who over the past 85 years have variously owned, sailed or served on her in World War Two. In 1939, Sheemaun was assigned to the Thames Auxiliary Pool at Cliffe, on the Hoo Peninsula, and it is almost certain that she would have been engaged in clandestine duties. She had many adventures in the Thames and Medway Estuaries, and was present at the sinking of the explosives ship Richard Montgomery off Sheerness, parts of which can still be seen at low water. Sheemaun was sold out of service in 1947 and acquired by Rodney and Maura in 1987, and is now based at Ramsgate Harbour. She has featured in picture postcards, on a jigsaw puzzle, and in yachting magazine advertisements. Little Ship, Big Story is published by The Conrad Press at £9.99