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.


* 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.

Sail on Thames Barge Centaur

SB CentaurSB Centaur, originally from the Medway, is owned and operated by the Thames Sailing Barge Trust,  which is a member of the MSBA. The barge will be berthed at Lower Upnor (GPS yard), for a 2 day overnight cruise of the Medway and Swale area, with boarding at 7.30 pm on 14th August and returning by 3.00 pm on the 16th, costing £120 per head for 12 persons. Contact Chris Martin 07810 586318 for booking and other information. Please mention this website!

This local cruise by Centaur from TSBT’s recently acquired visiting berth at Lower Upnor is a first attempt to promote the Trust’s objectives again on the Medway, and the surrounding waterways of the local Thames Estuary, after a long absence.

Adopt a Plank at Queenborough Harbour

Queenborough Harbour Trust is inviting individuals and yacht clubs/associations to Adopt A Plank on the newly refurbished walkway. For £25 you get a silver plaque with a message of your choice for one end of a plank and for £50 you get a gold one for a whole plank. There are about 1200 planks to adopt.

The new 60 metre pontoon and existing ATL hammerhead allow vessels to berth alongside and you can walk safely ashore along the completely refurbished walkway. In addition there is a free trot boat and free gate tokens are given to overnight visitors. ALL monies raised will be used to provide services such as toilets/showers, electricity, enhanced security and other necessary services. Read more

Medway Queen goes to Ramsgate

Medway Queen

Medway Queen on way to Ramsgate, photo Wil Pretty

At midday on Sunday 17 May the Medway Queen departed from her berth on Gillingham Pier for Ramsgate, towed by the tugs Christine and Nipashore. After anchoring for the night off Margate, she arrived on Monday morning to commemorate the venerable paddle steamer’s role in the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation, codenamed Operation Dynamo. She is due to return at the end of the month. For updates, see Medway Queen Facebook page

Faversham Creek Basin Dredging Application

Faversham Creek Basin 2The proposed works are to restore the Basin as a working resource in the centre of Faversham, to enable traditional vessels such as Thames Barges to be berthed, restored and maintained there. This is part of a wider project to restore the whole Creek for the benefit of Faversham Town and its visitors, and to develop marine based employment.

The application to the Marine Management Organisation for the licence to dredge the Basin, is now out for public consultation. Please follow this link to the Faversham Creek Trust Dredging Application to find out more and respond with your support for the dredging application.

Raid on the Medway

In June 2017 the Medway will see the commemoration of the 350th anniversary of the Dutch Raid, known to our Continental cousins as the Battle of Chatham. The biggest humiliation of the Royal Navy was brought about by admiral Michiel de Ruyter, the subject of a new Dutch film: view the trailer for Admiral.

Dylan Winter spent some time in the Medway on his 19ft Mirror Offshore motor sailer and produced some excellent films for his Keep Turning Left series. This one deals with the embarrassing events of 1667: