Lunchtime talk: John Apps, Medway CC, Sun 12 Feb

The 2021 Jester Azores Challenge was quite unique for a number of reasons, primarily because all the boats that crossed the start line finished.

Minke without rudder being towed by Good Report on a beam reach

However the challenge also posed a number of questions. Should you abandon a perfectly good boat in the middle of the North Atlantic just because she has lost her rudder? How far can you sail a boat without a rudder? How can you tow a boat under sail? What do you do when you can’t find the boat you are trying to rescue? Why do Frenchmen keep crossing the finish first? Can cows win a war? Why is Azores beef thrice blessed? These are some of the questions that John Apps will answer in his illustrated talk?

John Apps is a member of Medway Cruising Club and will be presenting this lunchtime talk of up to an hour and a half, at 1pm, Sunday 12 February. Members of neighbouring clubs and MSBA-affiliated organisations are invited to MCC’s Strand clubhouse.

If you would like to attend please let MCC Commodore, Paul Lloyd, know you are coming:

Open Races at Greenwich YC in 2023

18+19 February: Frostbite Race overnight at Erith YC with dinner ashore
Sun 9 April (Easter): Gaffers’ Race from Garrison Point to GYC followed by dinner ashore
Sun 28 May: Duke of York Challenge followed by dinner ashore
Sat 9 September: R.T. McMullen Cup single handed race followed by dinner ashore
Mooring on GYC pontoon is free of charge for competitors before and after the race.
For more information or to enter a race, please email

Mary Cup, now 2 Oct

UPDATE: The race has been postponed to Sunday 2 October 2022

This is an annual race for monohull yachts, organised by the Royal Engineer YC, and open to local cruisers with an NHC rating. Entry is free of charge. There are three classes: fast cruisers, medium cruisers and slow gaffers. The start line is in Gillingham Reach at 10.00 and there are 57 possible courses.

This is the oldest yacht race on the Medway and may be the last, so don’t miss it!

For further information, non REYC members should contact Charles Hessey (

Bart’s Bash, 11+12 Sept 2022

The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation (ASF) was established in 2013 after the tragic death of Andrew “Bart” Simpson. Andrew was a talented sailor who firmly believed in the benefits that participation in sport can bring to young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.  ASF now exists to continue Andrew’s vision and to bring change for thousands of young people. ASF’s core purpose is to transform lives through sailing.  

Would your club/friends/family like to take part in Bart’s Bash 2022, ASF’s annual flagship fundraising race? 

Bart’s Bash is a global sailing race taking place at 100’s of venues, with 1000’s of sailors in 100’s of different classes of boat around the world. Founded in 2014, the event was verified by Guinness World Records as ‘The Largest Sailing Race in the World’. 

This year Bart’s Bash takes place on 10-11 September 2022 and is open to all venues globally. Each individual event is organised by a venue and organising authority for all activities at the site. Each of the Andrew Simpson Centres will be hosting events too, so if you would prefer to come take part at your closest centre, here are the locations:  Birmingham, Reading, Portland, Portsmouth

To find out more see the attached event guide and register yourself, your group or your club here

Wednesday evening racing from Medway YC

Wednesday evening racing for cruisers and dinghies starts on 25 May 2022 from the Medway Yacht Club line and is open to all. Warning signal is at 1850h for cruisers and 1900h for dinghies. The series will run through to 27 June and comprise of 10 races, six to count for the series win. The racing aims for an hour on the water followed by full evening galley service. Trot boat service is provided. Please see the MYC website or contact the MYC office (01634 718399) for the NOR and entry forms.

Medway yachtsmen enter Jester Challenge

Two of the five entrants for the famous single-handed transatlantic race are members of local sailing clubs and have similar boats built in Kent. The Jester Challenge was created for skippers of small boats who want to test their skill and self-reliance and is a uniquely successful experiment in single-handed ocean sailing. This year it’s the “full” race to the Azores and on to Newport Rhode Island, starting at Plymouth on Sunday 8 May, 2022.

Bernie Branfield from Hoo Ness Yacht Club has previously competed in the shorter Baltimore Jester Challenge in 2017, across to Ireland. Bernie’s boat is Louisa, an Invicta 26. John Apps is a veteran solo ocean sailor from Medway Cruising Club. John’s boat is called Arelia of Hoo, a 25ft Invicta Mk 1.

John Apps has had to turn back after a massive wave knocked out his electrics. Bernie Branfield from Hoo Ness Yacht Club in Louisa is one of the two skippers still in contention. You can track their progress here:

Swale Regatta 2021 was great success

First Knight and Summer Breeze. Photo John Irvine.

Nigel Stevens writes, “The Swale Regatta is a long standing local event traditionally held over three days, starting on a Friday in the Swale off Harty Ferry, and finishing in the Medway on the Sunday. It caters not just for regular racers but also especially for cruisers who would just like to give sailing with others a go. The Covid restrictions saw last year’s event cancelled but this year fifteen boats from various Medway and Swale clubs managed to get together for the regatta.” See Nigel’s full report below…

Swale Regatta, 25-27 June 2021

Nigel Stevens writes: The plan this year is very much a do what we can approach given the way Covid has dominated much of our lives for the past year or so.  Despite the formal documents (below) we are really trying to keep the fun spirit of the regatta alive so would really encourage entrants from nervous first time “racers” as well as perhaps the more seasoned skippers.  If people approach it with the attitude that it is long weekend of cruising in company then they hopefully won’t be disappointed.

Unfortunately the Swale Regatta website has crashed and we haven’t been able to get it back in time, so all entrants are asked to drop me an email at with some basic details and I can get back to them as necessary.

RYA Cruising/Racing Conference, Eastbourne,12 Jan 2020

This bi-annual cruising/racing conference is aimed at the motor and sailing yacht fraternity within the RYA London and SE region and is for RYA personal members, and members of RYA affiliated clubs and organisations (including the MSBA) as well as members of stakeholder organisations in the region.

It aims to provide interesting and cutting-edge talks and workshops to inspire sailors for the upcoming season, providing a forum for networking and discussion on topical issues. The event schedule can be viewed here.

The conference is free to attend with an optional £12 pre-bookable hot lunch payable at the latest on the day. Book here