Concern over Missing Catamaran Sailor

Missing Cat Sailor

Concern is growing for a missing sailor after a 12 ft catamaran was found drifting in the Thames Estuary on Saturday. The white New Cat 12 was discovered 27 miles north east of the North Foreland at about 8 pm with no one on board. Coastguards found a black North Face rucksack on board containing items of clothing, maps and a small quantity of cash, but no clue to identity. It has now been towed into Ramsgate Harbour. If you have any information please call 101 for Kent Police and quote reference 26-1235. Read more at Kent Online.

LNG terminal exclusion zone

LNG exclusion zone
Chartlet courtesy of Wilsonian SC

At the last MSBA business meeting, Captain Ian Clark reminded boaters to keep 150 metres away from the LNG terminal. Otherwise, proximity alarms go off and mayhem ensues, potentially resulting in a fine!

Curiously, the Notice to Mariners states that the exclusion zone increases to 250m if a tanker is berthed, but only if your vessel is >50m long or you are exceeding 7.5 knots through the water.

Nick Ardley extols the Swale

Nick ArdleyRun, don’t walk! Get the latest (“October”) issue of Yachting Monthly to read a two page article by Nick Ardley, who spoke at our Medway/Swale Boating Conference, describing in his unique dream-like style an idyllic sailing trip through the Swale with insights into its industrial past. Did you know there used to be a link between the Swale and Stangate Creek?

Beware inaccurate Navionics charts of Medway

Navionics Saltpan Reach
Click for larger image, (c) Navionics Inc

If you use the popular Navionics charts on your chart plotter, iPad, smartphone or web app (see for yourself here) you may notice highly inaccurate depths and spurious features such as non-existent rocks and buoys. This refers to their “normal” cartography, not the “sonar” version which is crowd-sourced from user-supplied depths and shows even more bizarre contours. The example above shows Saltpan Reach on the Medway, close to the container terminal and the LNG terminal, an area frequently surveyed by the port authority, which supplies its data to UKHO. In addition to the three non-existent mooring buoys (circled), there is a non-existent drying patch just off Sharp Ness (labelled “Sharp Point”) and a large area incorrectly shown as very shallow (shown blue) just north of Burntwick Island. Around the high water mark in the adjacent creeks and the Swale numerous spurious “rocks” are shown. Similar inaccuracies in Navionics charts have been reported in the Solent and St Vaast areas. Read more…

UPDATE: The specific errors shown above have been reported to Navionics and have been corrected, though the spurious rocks litter the foreshore… Still no explanation has been forthcoming.

Dutch barge towed to Queenborough by Sheerness lifeboat

dutch barge

On Saturday 12 September, the Sheerness all-weather lifeboat went to the aid of this 20 metre Dutch barge “Friso” that had broken down and was anchored south of the Kentish Flats wind farm. The barge, with six persons on board, was towed to Queenborough Harbour..

Girl’s Guide to the Southern Ocean, 8 October

Winter WarmerEven if you’re not a CA member, you’re welcome to attend the fascinating evening “Winter Warmer” talks organised by the Kent Section of the Cruising Association.

On 8 October it’s “Girl’s Guide to the Southern Ocean” with Linda Crew-Gee, who recently completed one of the toughest sea passages on Earth. Linda will tell you the story what it was like to sail on an old ship, to be at sea for 30 days in tough conditions, with no communications… what she learned about our planet, the sea and the life. Across the Southern Ocean and via Cape Horn on “Tecla”, a  100-year-old Dutch gaff ketch, this is as traditional as it can get.

The talks are at 8pm at the Dog & Bear, Lenham, ME17 2PG. We recommend going earlier to enjoy the great food. Call 01622 858219 to book a meal.

Exceptional High Tides Warning

Peel Ports have issued a Notice to Mariners regarding the highest tidal predictions of the natural 19 year astronomical cycle. There will be a number of exceptionally high (and low) tides during the period of September 2015 to January 2016, the most notable high tides being:

  • 27th – 30th September 2015
  • 27th – 30th October 2015
  • 25th – 27th December 2015
  • 11th – 14th January 2016

In addition to the exceptional high tide levels there will be increased tidal flows.