David Pollock of the Kentish Sail Association writes: After 2 years’ cancellations, we’re hoping for a third time lucky and invite you to take part in the Match on 31 July 2021. The Swale Match was established by Laurie Tester, Lena Reekie, Hugh Perks and others in 1973, as a festival of all manner of traditional sailing craft on the East Coast. The assembled fleet usually comprises not only Thames sailing barges, smacks and bawleys in several categories, but also a variety of gaffers, classic and bermudan yachts, as well as Dutch barges, Baltic traders and historic powered craft. This provides a magnificent spectacle on the water both for participants and for onlookers.
Last year we introduced a new Open class last year, for non-traditional or unconventional craft, subject to interest. We also held a match race for the Small Open Gaffers class on the Saturday after the scheduled Match, which was very well supported.
Both at anchor in the Swale and on land at Hollowshore, crews and supporters come together for prize-giving and entertainment. As well as Testers’ Boatyard, furnished for the weekend with food and drink stalls and live music, the shore venue also includes the fabled Shipwright’s Arms, supplying cask ales and food. The weekend starts on Friday afternoon, the Match is on Saturday and the homeward voyage is usually undertaken on the Sunday, but you can stay longer!
For further information and to register interest, please contact David Pollock at email@example.com, or phone 07831 200018
Assistant/Trainee Shipwright Full Time With restoration work now underway we are looking for someone to join the shipwright team. A rare opportunity to work with a credited national expert on barge restoration, learn heritage skills, and contribute to the regeneration of Sittingbourne and Swale Heritage. More details at http://adobe.ly/3ejJo3U
Artist in Residence £3600 based on 2 days a month of heritage-based community arts activities. Applications sought from artists living, working, or with a strong connection to Swale. Timescale April 2021 until December 2022. More details at https://tinyurl.com/hfruzhca
Socially Engaged Artist Mentorship 10 working days over a year. An opportunity to work alongside Salford Makers, a highly experienced arts collective, commissioned to deliver a programme of heritage-based arts engagement during 2021. Would suit an early career artist living, working, or with a strong connection to Swale. More details at https://tinyurl.com/3mwm6k3w
Everything is still locked down by winter and the pandemic but the Medway Queen Preservation Society has ambitious plans for the coming year. All dependent, of course, on Covid and in some respects the weather. Nevertheless they will get as much done in 2021 as available time, effort and cash allow. To that end the MQPS is seeking sponsorship for two main projects this year. Follow the link below to find out more…
The historic Queenborough Harbour is to be linked with Milton Creek. At Queenborough, the harbour trust is improving mooring facilities for Thames sailing barges.
Lloyds Wharf, in Milton Creek, is home to the Raybel Charters project. There is also a magnificent new building which will house the reborn Dolphin Barge Museum. An inaugural meeting is to be held shortly.
On the high tide of 16 November, after months of careful planning, the restoration team successfully manoeuvred the sailing barge Raybel into her dry dock in Milton Creek at Sittingbourne. More information…
A feather in the cap for Medway becoming Britain’s first Heritage Harbour is the visit by this beautiful gaff-rigged schooner, Te Vega, designed by Cox and Stevens of New York and built in 1930 in Germany. With a length overall of 154 ft (47m) and draught of 16.5 ft (5m), there are not many ports than can offer a berth but she has found a spot in Basin 3 of Chatham Docks. If Medway is to continue to attract such beautiful ships we must take care not to lose the docks, wharves and maritime facilities that made our river so important.
The sailing vessel De Gallant is returning to our shores with a cargo of olive oil, olives, wine, coffee and chocolate, almonds, chick peas, pinto beans, sea salt and honey. Here’s the schedule, subject to wind and weather:
Friday 18th September – De Gallant arrives into Ramsgate Harbour, where friends and partners Kent Sail Cargo will be hosting a day of unloading and collections. Whilst in the harbour we’ll also trans-load the London cargo on to Sailing Barge Dawn, for the final leg of the journey up the Thames estuary. We’re offering the opportunity to be on board Dawn as she sails up to St Katherine Docks. Be part of these inaugural sail cargo charters which are available for two stages of the journey: Monday 21st: join at Queenborough Harbour or Leigh-on-sea for the passage to Gravesend, with an unloading at Tilbury. Tuesday 22nd: join at Gravesend for the meandering course into central London, through the Thames Barrier, passed Greenwich, around the Isle of Dogs to St Katherine Docks. Wednesday 23rd we will host the London collection event at St Katherine Docks for customers who have placed their orders.
Welders at the Dockyard called these low, stable working platforms “soggy logs”. John Sutton, owner of the Russian submarine, lost his when it was “borrowed.” He says, “it was about 15ft x 6ft with low freeboard so ideal for working from, 4ft thick so very stable.” He asks if anyone has seen it or can offer him something similar. It doesn’t have to be quite as big as the one in the photo. Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass on the message.
If you are in Sittingbourne on Wednesday evening 15 July, Raybel Charters invite you to witness history being made. Back in January, sailing ship Gallant left Trinidad on a voyage to collect sail cargo goods from Colombia and Portugal. Last Saturday she docked into St Katharine Dock in London and on Wednesday she will transfer goods onto the sailing barge Dawn at Queenborough. Dawn will be delivering to several Kent ports and on Wednesday night at about 8.45pm will be sending her barge boat (the big rowing boat that barges use) with a delivery to Lloyd Wharf at the head of Milton Creek. This will be the first cargo delivered by sail to Sittingbourne in perhaps 80 years.
Please join Raybel Charters on the wharf to welcome the first of what we hope will be regular event in Sittingbourne. Please note, we will be maintaining social distancing on the wharf and would ask you to do the same. The new Dolphin Sailing Barge Museum will be open in case of inclement weather.
The MSBA is sad to learn that on 14 December the Morning Star Trust decommissioned its flagship vessel Morning Star of Revelation in a moving ceremony at Chatham Marina. The 19-metre, gaff-rigged ferro-cement ketch with its distinctive maroon sails has been a familiar sight on the Medway when she was not away in the Baltic or even further away. Officially a “tall ship”, Morning Star is the oldest purpose-built sail training vessel in the UK Sail Training fleet and has been in continuous service since 1978.
The MST is a Christian sail training organisation based in Chatham. The Trust’s remaining vessel is an 11-metre Westerly Oceanquest called Bright Star and we understand that a larger, more up to date vessel is being sought to replace Morning Star.