Swale Smack & Barge Match, 29 July 2023

Medway and Swale boaters are welcome to watch the race from the sidelines.

NOTE: the Swale Match is for traditional sailing craft (principally sailing barges and smacks) and is not to be confused with the Swale Regatta which is for sailing yachts.

Admiral’s Cruise, 1 & 2 July 2023

The Mayor of Medway (previously Rochester) has been officially the Admiral of the River since ancient times. After a couple of years’ break for Covid, the Admiral’s annual cruise organised by Rochester Cruising Club (est 1905) in conjunction with Medway Council (est 1998) and the Rochester Oyster & Floating Fishery (est 1729) will resume over the weekend of 1st and 2nd July. The beating of the bounds is to confirm the existence of ROFF and will involve a cruise up river on the Saturday to the southern boundary of their jurisdiction at the Hawkwood Stone and quite possibly meeting up with the Mayors of Maidstone and Tonbridge & Malling on their cruise down river from the non-tidal Medway. Our little flotilla will then return to Rochester for refreshments and celebrations in the clubhouse.

On the Sunday , the cruise will head downstream from Rochester for a wreath laying ceremony at HMS Bulwark, with the Sea Cadets and a piper playing a lament, before heading into the Swale for a lunchtime stop at Queenborough Harbour.

The river will be busy. It would appear that Medway YC have a dinghy regatta for the Kent Schools Sailing Association on the Sunday as well. We hope to be joined by Peel Ports harbourmaster’s launch, the RNLI, Medway Towns Sea Cadets, the Maritime Volunteer Service, City of London Port Health Authority and we may even get a water spray salute by one of the Svitzer fire tugs based at Sheerness. The historic tug Kent will be going into Stangate to provide a mooring for those unable to go into Queenborough due to limited availability of moorings. On departing Queenborough those taking part in the cruise will be returning to Rochester to take part in a sunset ceremony, again with the piper. Hopefully we will have at least thirty vessels taking part and the weather forecast is even looking good.

All participants have been asked to avoid the exclusion zone near the gas terminal. Peel Ports will get very grumpy indeed with transgressors, you have been warned.

As the convoy passes each club or marina our gunner and bugler will sound a salute on behalf of the Admiral. If your club or marina is on the route between the Hawkwood Stone and Sheerness you should have received a letter by email inviting you to receive and return a salute. If you haven’t received this please let us know by email to info@msba.org.uk.

Thanks to Fred Trice for the above. You can find an article by Fred about the 2018 Admiral’s Cruise here.

Swale Regatta, 8+9 July

This friendly racing regatta is a great opportunity for sailors to experience racing without the stress of a highly competitive environment. The regatta is completely free and takes place over two days along the Swale and Medway Rivers. The event starts in the Swale near Harty Ferry and finishes on the Medway River.

For full details go to www.swaleregatta.co.uk/

Sail on Blue Mermaid in the Medway Barge Match, 27 May

TSB Blue Mermaid

Sea-Change Sailing Trust is a charity that takes young people and vulnerable adults on life-skills-building residential voyages on board our Thames sailing barge Blue Mermaid.  We like to enter Blue Mermaid in the annual series of historic Thames sailing barge races (or matches) that take place around the east coast each year. On these occasions only, we invite a small group of up to 8 paying guests aboard for an overnight stay onboard and participation in the race. The funds raised on these occasions help to support the work of the charity. No previous sailing experience is necessary, and as we have a race crew of our own onboard, guests may either participate in sailing the barge, or find a place that is out of the way of the action, and just spectate. Racing can get pretty exciting with the winner taking home the coveted Match Pennant, and the race points count towards the annual award of Champion Barge. The cost of an overnight berth, an evening meal before the match, and a place onboard for the race itself is £160 per person.