Red Sand Fort to become hotel

RedSandFortHotelRetired businessman David Marriot Cooper has outlined his vision for how the fort could be converted into a unique hotel and spa, and provide a new heritage museum.

Red Sand Sea Fort to be luxury hotel

New Deben entrance chartlet at ECP

With East Coast boaters starting to go off cruising, Dick Holness of East Coast Pilot has advised us that there is a new chartlet of the Deben entrance now available to download from the ECP website, drawn from a survey carried out in the last week or so. This Deben chartlet is very different from the first one of 2015 drawn from a survey done in March. The Deben and the Ore chartlets are both drawn by Imrays from Trinity House data.

UPDATE: For a limited period, the 4th Edition of the East Coast Pilot is available at www.imray.com for a discounted price of £19.95 including postage instead of £23.50. Enter discount code ECP15.

Miss Isle stops over at Queenborough

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Natasha Lambert arriving in Queenborough Harbour on Miss Isle

Queenborough harbour Trust was honoured to have Natasha Lambert sail ‘Miss Isle’ into the harbour on Wednesday evening. Natasha, who has cerebral Palsy, is achieving her dreams through sailing, steering the yacht by mouth using ‘Sip and Puff’. 

Natasha’s route from Cowes has taken her to Brighton, Eastbourne, Dover, Ramsgate, and Queenborough. She is due to leave Queenborough on Saturday when it is hoped to give her a great send-off from the ATL. She is heading for London to host a charity event, stopping at Gallions Point (Royal Albert Dock) and St Katharine’s Dock.

Hoo Peninsula chosen for transnational GIFT-T project

For the past three years our partner the Medway Swale Estuary Partnership has worked alongside Medway Council on GIFT-T, a transnational project, to bring together local communities and businesses, through the development of bottom-up planning tools, that can help deliver sustainable and robust green infrastructure across their local environment. The project consisted of five case study areas across north west Europe, including the Hoo Peninsula. As part of the project, the MSEP produced this film:

RYA responds to renewed Red Diesel concerns

The advice on the RYA’s website concerning going to Belgium with red diesel in your tank does not seem to have changed. However the latest Yachting Monthly states that the Belgian government has announced that it will once again be enforcing its ban on dyed fuel. The MSBA has today asked Gus Lewis, Head of Legal & Government Affairs at the RYA, for clarification and this is his reply:

“Last year the Belgian Government issued a formal statement to the effect that UK boaters would not be penalised for the presence of red diesel in their yachts’ fuel tanks. That formal position statement was time-limited and it expired at the end of last year.

“The Belgian Government has so far declined to reissue its formal position statement but our understanding is that, at a practical level at least, nothing has changed since last year and while it continues to be unlawful for recreational boaters to use red diesel in Belgium no action will be taken in relation to fuel bought in the UK.

“We are not aware of any UK boaters having been fined in Belgium this year for having red diesel in their yachts’ fuel tanks.”

UPDATE: RYA urges local marinas to lobby Belgian Government on red diesel

Small earthquake in Kent, not many dead

A quake registering 4.2 on the Richter scale was felt in an area from Kent to Essex last night at about 3 am. Police reported many calls from Thanet, though Ramsgate remains unharmed. According to the British Geological Survey, the epicentre was near Sandwich at a depth of 15km. A similar tremor occurred off Folkestone in 2007.

Twitter wags have blamed locals for voting UKIP, which made God angry. Photos showing the devastation, including a smashed gnome and fallen garden furniture abound on news sites. Damage has been estimated at 39p.

Rochester Pier open again

UPDATE 22 May: Hayley Taylor from Medway Council advises that the token machine has just been replaced at Rochester Pier, so it is open again. However there are still electrical supply problems at Sun Pier so it can only be used by Jetstream Tours, who have a key.

Medway Barge Match, Sat 23 May 2015

The course is from Gillingham Pier to the Medway Buoy and back. The first start is at 0730 for the Coasting Class, followed by the Restricted Staysail Class then the Bowsprit Class. The Committee Boat will be Song and Dance, a motor yacht operated by Swanning About Charters*, and one of Alan Pratt’s tugs (Christine?) will act as tender. Look out for historic tug Touchstone* and the sailing barge Centaur from the Thames Sailing Barge Trust* which will be competing.

For the best view of the start, enjoy breakfast from 0715 on the balcony of the Spinnaker Restaurant in Gillingham Marina*. Pre-bookings only, £5, on 01634 280022.

Prize giving will be at 1830 at Medway Yacht Club*, with the post-match report given by Nick Ardley, who spoke at the MSBA/RYA Spring Conference, followed by dinner.

Through the industrial revolution and Victorian expansion of London, the sailing barge evolved to be one of the most efficient small cargo carrying vessels of the world. Henry Dodd started the first official barge match in 1863 on the Thames. The Medway soon followed with the inaugral match held in 1880. With up to 20 barges competing, many over 100 years old, it is truly a sight to behold on our famous, industrial river.

According to the Society for Sailing Barge Research, barge racing has taken place in the Medway since at least 1872. In 1949 the Marina Club at Hoo (now known as Hoo Ness Yacht Club*) organised the first of 5 matches for yacht barges, and commercial craft raced again from 1954 until the Centenary Match. The modern series started in 1965.

Read more at www.medwaybargematch.co.uk

* denotes a member of the MSBA

MRCC Thames to close on 5 June

This letter from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency explains that our local coastguard station will close on 5 June and we will be covered by the National Maritime Operations Centre in Fareham. However we should continue contacting the Coastguard in the usual way: Thames Public Letter Final

Police appeal for information following Scout boat theft

A 20ft blue Scorpio boat and a trailer, owned by the 4th Gillingham Scouts, were taken from the Scout compound at the Strand, Gillingham between 3 and 4 May If anyone has information, call PC Cole on 01634 792120 quoting reference XY/15400/15. Alternatively, contact Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.