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 considered “not 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.