Jubilee Pageant, Sat 4 June

This will be a HUGE event on the Medway on the Saturday afternoon involving over 100 vessels of all sizes. The boats will form an orderly queue in Saltpan Reach at 12.30 and will then proceed slowly up to Chatham for about 15.30 whereupon there will be a Grand Cacophony. The classic gentleman’s launch Lilian will take the lead and a Switzer tug will bring up the rear. NO VESSEL THAT IS NOT REGISTERED FOR THE EVENT SHOULD COME BETWEEN THESE TWO. Please read the Notice to Mariners below for more details.

Maidstone Mayor’s Court of Survey, Sat 11 June

Swan being “upped” at last year’s event

This curious local event, organised by Hampstead and Yalding Cruising Club, reminds us that the swans on the Medway belong to the Mayor of Maidstone, not the Queen as elsewhere. The Mayor of Maidstone is carried on a flotilla down the river to the Hawkwood stone (halfway to Rochester) then back to Wateringbury where some swans will be checked and tagged by the Swanmaster.

If you would like to join a flotilla of motor cruisers from Rochester to meet the Mayor’s boats at the Hawkwood Stone, please contact info@msba.org.uk

Swale Match changed to 25 June 2022

The Swale Smack and Sailing Barge Match, organised by the Kentish Sail Association, has been changed to Saturday 25 June 2022 (not as published on the KSA website) because of a clash of dates for 20 August with other East Coast events, which would have prevented many of the usual entrants from being able to take part.  Next year is the 50th Anniversary of the very first Swale Match inspired by Laurie Tester, Lena Reekie and Richard Hugh Perks.  

There will be distinct advantages with the change. The later tides mean a very civilised later start than usual and, although this also means that the evening events will have to start later too, the long hours of summer daylight will mean that the prize-giving and party can go on for longer and without crews having to rush to catch a falling tide at Hollowshore.

More details about the Match will follow in the New Year.

David Pollock, KSA Swale Match Secretary

e-mail: kentishsail@gmail.com

phone: 07831 200 018

Medway Towns Rowing Club Head Race, 17 Oct

An important “Head” rowing race will take place on Sunday 17 October, starting at Wouldham at 1pm and ending at Rochester.

  • A timed race over a distance of 3 miles downstream on tidal water on the River Medway from Wouldham Church to Medway Towns Rowing Club. To be rowed on an ebb tide.
  • The event will have a maximum of 50 crews.
  • The event is for eights and fours / quads, both river and coastal.

A number of motor boats will be stationed along the route to marshal the racers. Other boaters please keep clear.

The Swale Match: a Celebration of Traditional Sail

Report by Julian Mannering

Last Saturday witnessed the 48th annual Swale Smack & Sailing Barge Match and the magnificent sight of some thirty traditional vessels racing in the River Swale off Faversham and Whitstable. The organisers, the Kentish Sail Association, were delighted that, having had to cancel the event for two years due to gales and the pandemic, they were finally able to fire the starting cannon for the 22-mile race out into the Thames estuary and back to the finishing line off Faversham Creek.

Strong winds on the Friday had prevented some entrants arriving from Essex, but there were plenty of vessels to make a great spectacle. The newly-built Thames barge Blue Mermaid was one of the few craft to make it over from Essex and she went on to win the Bowsprit Class. A good turnout of Kent barges – Repertor, Orinoco, Marjorie, Niagra, Edith May and the beautifully restored Cambria ­– had a fine day’s racing with Repertor winning the Staysail Barge Class, and Cambria the Restricted Class. There were prizes for other craft with the smack William & Mary, the smack yacht Bird of Dawning, the large gaffer Almita and the small gaffer Fifi all taking line honours in their classes.

The Swale also welcomed two traditional Dutch sailing vessels, Albatros and Johanna, the Humber keel Selby Ellen,and Lilian, the beautiful gentleman’s motor yacht, built in Stockholm in 1916, which this year acted as the Committee Boat and added another layer of old-time elegance to the day.

The Swale Match is the largest such traditional boat event on the East Coast, possibly in the country, and offers a vital celebration of these beautiful craft that still play a part around our coast and in our maritime story.