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

Meet the new staff at Queenborough Harbour

Chris

Queenborough Harbour Trust is pleased to introduce to your our new Harbour Operative. Chris is very excited to be taking on this role and looks forward to meeting our mooring holders and visitors in the near future.

Dawn

Most of you will have already met Dawn but this year she is joining us as a full time Seasonal Harbour Operative.

Denis

One of our Seasonal Harbour Operatives, Denis owns a classic barge and has been a regular visitor to the Harbour in past years.

CA Winter Warmer: Dick Holness (East Coast Pilot), Thu 11 April

Dick is well known to many of us for being the co-author of the popular and innovative pilot book, which is regularly updated.

This is the last of the 2018/19 Winter Warmer series organised by Clifford Mickleburgh who runs the Kent Section of the Cruising Association. We are all invited to these excellent talks, which are held at 8pm at the Dog and Bear, Lenham, near Maidstone. It’s a good idea to book a meal (by 5pm please) on 01622 858219 for 7pm before the talk. A special CA 7-choice menu is available for £9.95

PC David Lavender retires

At the MSBA business meeting last week we were sorry to report that PC David Lavender of the Kent Police Marine Unit has retired after many years of service to the local marine community.  He wrote to us in January as follows:

“I have been attending the MSBA meetings for the last eleven and a half years. I joined Kent Police Marine Unit in 2007 and one of the first things I was asked to do was to take over from Steve Elliot to become, for want of a better title, the police liaison. At the time the group was the Medway Yachting Association and Jenny Deacon was the chair. The group has gone through some changes during that time. The biggest of course was changing the name and new branding, but the group has kept the same ethos. The Medway and Swale themselves have also changed in those years, two powers stations chimneys gone! There have been a number of notable events over the years such as the Climate Camp 2008, Protester at Kingsnorth, the London Olympics, the Medway River Festival, not to mention the annual Admirals Cruise and of course Medway In Flames. I thank you from a policing perspective for your support in these, for example willingness to change race start times to avoid clashes! The marine unit has also gone through some changes during that time, which I have shared with you and you have been supportive. After thirty years of policing it is time for me to retire. I have, some of you may think, gone to the dark side and I start a new job with the Marine Management Organisation in early February. I have enjoyed the meeting and interactions, though some occasions have been challenging. Some may say this is all part of the job. I have tried to be honest and open when asked difficult questions and I know that you appreciate that. There have been things that I have achieved over the years and some I have failed to do. The lack of a proficient form of communication such as marine watch has been one of these, but hopefully when Country Eye gets into full swing this may finally happened.  I thank you for the information that you have shared with us and have been willing to pass on information to your clubs and MSBA website on our behalf. Such as stolen/boats of interest and missing persons etc. I thank you for welcome and inclusiveness. You may see me again in my role with the MMO.”

We sincerely wish Dave success and satisfaction in his new role. It’s not clear at the moment who, if anyone, will replace him as our police liaison person.

Local ditch crawler “comes out”

Author Nick Ardley, often seen cruising the Medway with his wife Christobel in their classic Finesse 24 “Whimbrel” with sailing tender in tow, has revealed that he has prostate cancer.

The diagnosis only happened after he insisted on a PSA blood test and he is campaigning for routine screening for men in the same way that women are screened. He says many a sailor’s life could be saved, so come on chaps, get a PSA test!

Paul Mace

Sadly we have to report that Paul Mace, long time Captain of the Medway Branch of the RNSA, passed away on 3rd May. A keen and knowledgeable sailor himself, Paul’s enthusiasm and leadership of the local RNSA developed the Branch and steered it through difficult times and it is much to his credit that it is now a healthy and flourishing club.  He will be sorely missed by all in the RNSA, and the many other river users to whom Paul freely gave his time, help and guidance.

Paul served in the Royal Navy as a submariner.   He also served on board HMS Cavalier, now preserved in Chatham Historic Dockyard and Paul was an active member of the HMS Cavalier Association, helping to maintain the ship when time allowed.

Our condolences go out to Paul’s family at this sad time.

Harbour Controller Wanted

Queenborough Harbour TrustApplications are invited from enthusiastic pro active persons in the Leisure Boating Industry to join the team at Queenborough Harbour Trust CIC in the role of Harbour Controller. The harbour is a not for profit Community Interest Company which is rapidly developing and expanding. The successful candidate will be responsible for the day to day running of the harbour, management of staff and plant equipment, as well as be part of the team developing the harbour. The successful candidate will also need to show evidence of a successful track record in the industry as well as qualifications, expertise and experience in management and marketing similar organizations. In order that there is a smooth transition from the current post holder the Directors wish the successful candidate take up the post as soon as possible before the new year, if at all possible.

Interested persons should apply, for full further details, in writing, including a CV, to the Chairman at the following address by 31st October 2017.

Queenborough Harbour Trust CIC
Harbour Masters Office
Town Quay, South Street
Queenborough, Kent
ME11 5AF