Maidstone River Festival, 27 July 2019

Thanks to sponsorship by Weston Homes, the Maidstone River Festival is back after a pause of a few years and we are planning a day all the family can enjoy. The River Festival started 40 years ago and people of all ages in Maidstone have great affection for what was the county town’s biggest annual event. We’ll have dressed up boats, raft races, fun and games for all the family. There will be illuminated boats in the evening and it will all end with a big bang as an award-winning fireworks display will go off from the top of Fremlin Walk in the town centre.

More info at www.maidstoneriverfestival.info

Swale Smack and Barge Match, 10 Aug 2019

There’s nowhere better to be than at sea to watch the 50-odd traditional vessels that are expected to attend. But for those not afloat there are good vantage points at the point at Harty Ferry, on Tankerton slopes and down at Herne Bay where competitors round the outer mark just off the pier. The first start is at 10.30 from Sand End in the East Swale and you can expect vessels to heading back into the Swale around 2pm onwards. More info at www.kentishsail.org

Blackstakes buoy gone for good

The cylindrical yellow buoy on the south side of Saltpan Reach has again been removed by Peel Ports without notice, this time permanently. The Blackstakes buoy was a racing mark, located to keep boats well away from the LNG Terminal, as we are constantly exhorted to do by Peel Ports. As in 2016, the unexpected removal of the buoy has caused unnecessary inconvenience to clubs which race in the Medway estuary. Enquiries by Medway YC and the MSBA elicited the response from Peel Ports that the buoy was not considered “commercially viable” and today a notice to mariners was belatedly issued. The two adjacent commercial mooring buoys (Saltpan Nos. 8 and 9) have been given a fresh coat of yellow paint (see photo) but this does not mean they are a replacement for Blackstakes. There has been no explanation of why the clubs were not notified in advance of the buoy’s removal.

Blackstakes has gone. Don’t use these nearby yellow mooring buoys as a replacement.

Adult sailing sessions at Medway YC, Saturdays

Medway Yacht Club is running “adult sailing sessions” on Saturday mornings. The participants can sail their own boats or clubs boats and one instructor will be on water giving advice and training. The informal session is open to all the sailing abilities and levels, from beginner to advanced. It will give a chance to spend time on water, to learn new skills and techniques, to try new boats or simply warm up and try the rig tuning for the afternoon racing. The informal sailing sessions start at 9.00 and finish around 12.00. The price is £5 per session.

RYA Powerboat Training at Medway YC

Medway Yacht Club will be running RYA Powerboat Training sessions on Thursdays and Fridays, 9.00 to 16.00. The price for the Powerboat Level 2 will be £120 for members (including members of local MSBA/RYA affiliated clubs) and £185 for non members. The first RYA Powerboat Level 2 course will be available on 18 and 19 July. If anyone is interested please book a place at training@medwayyachtclub.com at least a couple of days before the date. Or you can come into the office and Inti, the new senior instuctor, will sign you up. The Powerboat Level 2 will be run on a regular basis and Inti will endeavour to keep the course open every Thursday and Wednesday. The maximum number of places is 3 but 1-to-1 sessions are available. The first RYA Safety Boat course will be on the 15 and 16 August with the same ratio as Powerboat Level 2, from 9.00 to 16.00 and the price will be £100.

MCA yacht and powerboat safety consultation

The MCA wants to hear recreational boaters’ views on six draft Marine Guidance Notes (MGN) concerning guidance on boat safety over the next few weeks. The six notices cover guidance on keel groundings, rigging inspections, preparedness, stowage of life saving gear, vessel resilience and emergency procedures, and maintenance, modifications, damage and repairs. They are aimed at both small commercial vessels as well as pleasure boats. The MCA states that it wishes to reinforce to owners, managing agents and skippers of both commercial and pleasure vessels what it considers good practice in terms of safety when going out to sea.

Boaters’ views are sought in the following areas:
1. Whether the draft notes contain guidance that is realistic to carry out in practice;
2. What other costs and benefits there might be that haven’t been included in the de minimis assessment; 
3. If there is the right level of content in each MGN. 

Full details on the draft MGNs and how to give your views can be found on the government website. A full list of consultation questions is contained in Section 5 of this consultation. The consultation closes on Thursday 18th July 2019 and the RYA encourages all boaters to respond.

West India Dock Rally, 23-26 Aug 2019

Medway/Swale clubs are invited to join a rally to West India Dock (in the heart of London’s Docklands) on the August bank holiday weekend. The event is organised by the Dockland Scout Project on behalf of the Association of Thames Yacht Clubs. Apart from being a very inexpensive way to visit London there are lots of fun events to watch or join in. For full details click below to download the invitation letter…

For additional info, see reply by Fred Trice.