Maidstone River Festival Cancelled

Our upstream partner organisation, the Medway River Users Association, has just announced that “due to complete incompetence of Maidstone Borough Council the towpath/footpath is closed from this week until late Aug 2017; this will prevent any visiting craft from mooring. The Maidstone River Festival that was due to take place on the last weekend in July has therefore been cancelled.”

The MRUA spokesman added, “Our dedicated committee are completely frustrated by the complete lack of any vision from Maidstone Borough Council, they have a plan that highlights the use of the river to promote Maidstone, but this has been completely ignored. To all the companies and professionals, clubs and associations, the committee sincerely apologise but thank you for your promise of financial support. Very many hours of personal time have been committed to this event and the committee are devastated at this outcome.”

Old Gaffer sails classic yacht Winifred

Brian Corbett, MSBA Chairman, talks about sailing Winifred, his Herreshoff half-rater.

Pirates Cave Open Day, 22 April

Pirates Cave Open Day* The Flare Amnesty is free, but with a minimum spend of £25 in-store on the day. Up to a maximum of 10 flares per person. As we have a maximum overall capacity of about 150 flares it is on a first come, first served basis.

Speeding PWC causes crew to fall from mast in Gillingham Reach

On Sunday afternoon, 9 April, a man fell about 10 feet onto another crew member from the mast of a yacht moored in Gillingham Reach. While the injured man was given oxygen, the Sheerness Inshore Lifeboat fetched a paramedic from an ambulance waiting at Gillingham Marina and then transferred him ashore. We understand the man suffered broken ribs.

There were two jet skis and eight personal watercraft (PWCs) in the area at the time and some of these were creating a lot of wash which was a nuisance and hazard to youngsters being trained in dinghy sailing at the Strand. The speed limit here is 6 knots (approx 7mph). Trevor Peen, a director of Medway Watersports, radioed Medway VTS to report this activity but could not get a response. When he called by phone he was told there was nothing they could do.

Mr Peen said, “I have campaigned for several years for parties to manage this situation, which gets worse every year to the point that these PWCs can achieve speeds in excess of 50 mph. During the afternoon I overheard a call on the VHF that there was an incident 1 mile east of the marina. It just so happens that I also belong to the Medway Cruising Club where these moorings are, so I know the area well. I went down to slow traffic down in the river as someone had fallen from a mast, I was told by the people on the boat that three speeding PWCs had created so much wash that the guy fell from the mast.”

Mr Peen added, “Three years ago when there was an incident that involved these craft on a jetty at Gillingham Marina, I was interviewed by BBC South east. I said that until someone dies here then nothing will be done. I have reported these incidents so often including photos. Please don’t let someone’s son or daughter die at the Strand.”

TS Royalist to visit Queenborough

The famous tall ship, TS Royalist, will be coming to Queenborough Harbour on Tuesday 11 April at approximately 4.00pm. This will be their second visit. Well worth coming to have a look. The new sail training vessel entered service with The Marine Society and Sea Cadets in 2015.

AphroditeAnd, just arrived today is Aphrodite, (pictured left) looking magnificent.

A fleet of Tall Ships will be leaving Greenwich on Sunday. The fleet then sails a clockwise Atlantic route with Portugal the next stop on the way to Quebec.

Queenborough Harbour wins £500K award

Queenborough Harbour Trust CIC is delighted to have been awarded £500,000 from the Coastal Community Fund Awards, Round 4, to develop Queenborough harbour’s mooring facilities and in so doing support the local visitor economy.

As a relatively new, community-based organisation, we are grateful for the confidence the Department for Communities and Local Government has shown in us to deliver this substantial investment. We are also grateful for the support we have received in our application from a variety of sources including Sheppey Proud, the local Coastal Community Team which gathered support from the business and community service and feedback from the public. In addition we would like to thank Swale Borough Council and in particular the Regeneration Team for their support and funds in helping QHT to secure this substantial investment in the harbour facilities. We are aware of the challenges that the delivery of this project within the budget and resource constraints poses but with the support and assistance of current and new supporters and friends we will provide the improved facilities and increased capacity that will encourage more visitors from the UK and the Continent to visit Queenborough and beyond, enjoy the local services and attractions to the benefit of the local economy.

River Medway Nursery Area: No-Take Zone

Working with Rochester Oyster and Floating Fishery, Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) is leading the way in marine conservation with the creation of the UK’s largest no-take zone in the Medway Estuary.

The no-take zone covers 12.1 square kilometres (4.6 square miles) of saltmarsh and mudflat environments that are vitally important to a wide variety of fish. The shallow waters have been identified as a nursery area, as they provide a refuge for fish during their juvenile stages, allowing them to shelter from predators and storms whilst supporting an abundance of prey sources.

The River Medway Nursery Area No-Take Zone byelaw prohibits any fishing activity within the intertidal areas along the northern banks of the estuary, spanning from Hoo Marina to Elphinstone Point. This includes angling and netting from boat or shore, and bait digging. Anyone caught fishing within the restricted area may be liable for prosecution.

For more information, visit: http://www.kentandessex-ifca.gov.uk/im-interested-in/mpas/medway-nursery-area/

Follow the Kent and Essex IFCA on Twitter: @KentEssexIFCA

Battle of Chatham / Medway in Flames – Latest Update

The Dutch are well underway with the registration of the 200 or so yachts and ships coming to the Medway for the historic event. The really good news is that the bulk of the Dutch visitors will be split into two fleets.

Fleet 1, consisting of; tall ships, including the HNLMS Urania, the brigs; Merganster and Aphrodite; many yachts from  the Royal Maas Yacht Club from Rotterdam, and; historic steam and motor vessels, will gather at Queenborough on Wednesday. 7 June 2017 and sail, in company, up the Medway, on the morning of Thursday, 8 June 2017, with the Dutch royal prince taking the salute at Upnor castle. Fleet 1 will leave the Medway on 12 / 13 June 2017.

Fleet 2, up to 90 yachts, largely from the Dutch Offshore Sailing Club, will gather at Stangate Creek and sail up the Medway on 14 June 2017, leaving on 18 June 2017.

Many of the historic ships will be open to the public as well as the visiting Dutch and British naval vessel, which will be berthed in Chatham Docks, Basin 2.

The event grand finale takes place on Saturday, 17 June 2017. The day includes entertainment on the river; a parade of sail with Dutch and local yachts and ships, including a modern steam vessel and many of the Fleet 2 yachts. The day culminates with the ‘Medway in Flames’, a son-et-lumiere and firework display with Upnor Castle as the backdrop, with magnificent views from MYC.

The Medway and Swale Boating Association (MSBA) and member clubs and marinas, including Medway YC and  Upnor SC, are providing moorings for our  Dutch visitors and arranging river activities.

Our Medway and Upnor clubs are working together to provide breakfast and evening meal galley facilities, and; to arrange Hog Roast evenings with a sea shanty band, at MYC, on Saturday 10 June and Friday 16 June 2017. There will also be a ‘Pub Night’ meal,  served from the counter, with Upnor SC running a Quiz, on Thursday 15 June.

Hoo Ness YC, together with Medway Cruising Club and Segas SC are providing moorings and hospitality for a small fleet of ‘Gaffers’ from Holland and the east coast.

Websites providing further information can be found at www.deruyter.org and www.visitmedway.org

Brian Corbett, MSBA Chairman

Three MPs at Medway Watersports Open Day

3 MPs at the StrandOur three local MPs show us how it should be done today at the Medway Watersports Trust Open Day: (left to right) Kelly Tolhurst, Tracey Crouch and Rehman Chishti. Kelly is Patron of the MSBA and Tracey is Sports Minister. Tracey unveiled a new mural by Sharmaine Kwan. To the left you can see the parlous state of Medway’s only public slipway, known as Commodore’s Hard. The MSBA is campaigning for better public acess to the river.

Stangate Creek now no anchoring zone

Anchoring in Stangate Creek in the heart of the Medway Estuary, which is a Marine Conservation Zone, is to be prohibited from today, April 1st, following the discovery of several colonies of tentacled lagoon worms Alkmaria romijni. These creatures normally only grow to a few millimetres but in the unique environmental conditions of the creek several specimens have been found up to a metre long hiding in the hitherto unsuspected coral formations. Known until now only to local fishermen, who used to supply the delicacy to the scampi factory in Queenborough, the worms are thought to have arrived on the bottoms of ships quarantined in the creek in the nineteenth century. A spokesman for the harbour authority, now known as Peel Ports London, announced that special worm-friendly moorings for recreational boaters will be installed using funds accumulated over many years from conservancy fees.