Kingsferry Bridge restricted operation, Wed 27 July

Planned industrial action by the rail union RMT will disrupt operation of Kingsferry Bridge on Wednesday 27 July and the following morning. Network Rail have implemented contingency plans for some of the period. See below for the bridge operational timetable:

Wednesday 27 July 2022
Midnight – 06:00 Normal service will be maintained
06:00 – 07:00 No bridge lifts available
07:00 – 19:00 Contingency operator on shift – bridge lifts available
19:00 – 06:00 (28 July) No bridge lifts available

Priority will be given to commercial shipping. Leisure craft will also be able to transit the bridge but it is advised to give as much notice as possible to avoid delays.

Delay in VAT changes on yachts returning from Europe

The Association of Yacht Brokers and Agents (ABYA) has been lobbying HMRC for the past eighteen months to make changes to the existing Return Goods Relief (RGR) scheme. The new changes would enable anyone who purchased a vessel, pre 31st December 2020 based in Europe, on which they have evidence that UK/EU VAT has been paid, to return the vessel to the UK under the Return Goods Relief scheme without having to pay VAT again.

Medway Marathon open event, Sat 6 Aug

Medway Yacht Club extends a warm invitation to dinghy and dayboat sailors. The Medway Marathon has provided a yearly challenge for the dinghy and dayboat sailor for over half a century. This year the event will be held this year as part of the Great British Sailing Challenge. The 26 mile course takes competitors through the sweeping main estuary reaches of the Medway River and into the mysterious creeks bisecting wading flats of abundant birdlife. The tides and differing points of sail nature of the challenges the sailors endurance tactics and seamanship. Support and safety however is second to none with guard boats and safety ribs stationed along the course. Come along and spend a Saturday doing something very different.

Key information and access to entry of the race is available on

Brief facts:

  • Venue: Medway Yacht Club, Lower Upnor, Rochester, Kent ME2 4XB.
  • Entries close: Thursday 04/08/22 5:00pm.
  • Great Lakes handicap applies.
  • Storage: Boats will be inside the secure MYC compound
  • Launching: All tide winch assisted slipway,
  • Camping: Free if you wish to arrive Friday. Contact the office on 01634 718399 to book a space.
  • Food: Clubhouse open Friday Evening serving a fish and chip supper(Booking is required) and Saturday from 07:30h for breakfast, plus tea/coffee with cake and bar snacks throughout the day.
  • Contact:  office on 01634 718399 or email

Bernie comes home

Fresh as a daisy, Bernie Branfield is seen here on Tuesday mooring up his Invicta 26 “Louisa” at Hoo Ness YC after returning from the Jester Challenge single-handed transatlantic race. Another of the five competitors, John Apps from Medway CC, also with a Kent-built Invicta, returned a month ago. Both intrepid sailors had to retire from the race after being beaten back by storms in mid-Atlantic. Bernie enjoyed the Azores so much he stayed there a while to enjoy the scenery before returning. Respect!

Maidstone River Festival raft race, 30 July

EA Notice to Mariners – The Maidstone River Festival is taking place on Saturday 30 July 2022.
As well as a high number of vessels in the Maidstone area. There will be a raft race running between 2:30pm and 3:30pm, from the High-Level Railway Bridge and Maidstone Bridge (by Thai Orchid).
For safety reasons, we ask that boats remain on their moorings or give way. Please do not try to navigate through the raft race. There will be a safety boat and stewards at the front and rear of the race, but it is very likely that participants will be in the water at some point during the race!

Brian Corbett funeral, 1 August

Brian’s family have announced the funeral arrangements as follows:
Monday 1st August 12pm at St Nicholas Church Strood, all welcome
Crematorium 1pm, family only
Wake at Medway Yacht Club, all welcome from end of Service at St Nicholas
We would like to try and get a gauge on numbers, please email
We would love to meet with you and share this sad time together

Golden Anniversary for the Swale Match, 25 June

Report by Kentish Sail Association. Photos by Seamus Masters.

Back in 1972, a few keen traditional boat sailors from north Kent organised a race for Essex smacks and Thames barges in the river Swale; fifty years on the event prospers and is now one of the largest annual gatherings of traditional boats on the East Coast. Last Saturday witnessed some thirty-five craft racing out of the Swale in a brisk sou’westerly to compete in the 22-mile race off the north Kent shore; the brown sails, set against the eastern horizon, made for a fine sight and a great day’s racing was enjoyed in the calm waters of a weather shore.

It had been blowing pretty hard the day before and that had deterred a few of the smaller boats from heading south from the Essex rivers for the race. But the engineless Thames barge Edme arrived in the Swale for the first time since 2019, and the smack Hyacinth and bawley Gladys made it down from Pin Mill. The ADC was another smack that had been absent for a number of years so her arrival was much to be welcomed.

Edme went on to win the bowsprit class and the BMM Western trophy for the fastest elapsed time around the course, while ADC was the first smack home. The Faversham-based Repertor won the staysail class and Centaur the restricted staysail class. Nightfall was first home of the gaffers over 25 feet, and Fifi sailed home alone to take line honours in the gaffers under 25 ft, the rest of that class having retired in the teeth of the squally conditions. It’s always good to welcome a small fleet of Dutch barges, and this year Johanna, Nooit  Volmaakt and Albatros sailed a shortened course and added a touch of stately elegance to the affair.

Fifty years on from that first Swale match it’s clear that the traditional boat scene thrives. Despite the rising costs, the declining interest in our maritime history and the inevitable toll of the years on old wooden boats, an active and enthusiastic core of owners, crew, shipwrights and skilled craftsmen keep a remarkable fleet of traditional craft alive and active around our coasts. The Swale Smack & Sailing Barge Match is just one of many races and events that take place each year but it’s certainly one of the most significant on East Coast and it looks set for another fifty years.

Better news from Dover Marina


We recently advised that some important works had to be undertaken during the 2022 summer season in order to enable the new marina and boatyard to fully open in 2023, and that this regrettably meant the temporary closure of Dover Marina to new customers and visitors during a three-month period from mid-May. Following better than anticipated progress and excellent cooperation from our existing berth holders, we have been able to review our temporary closure decision and Dover Marina is very pleased to report that we will now be able to offer limited availability of berths for visitors throughout the summer, commencing 4th July.

In order to effectively manage our limited capacity, anyone considering a visit to Dover Marina must email or telephone the Marina Office to secure an available berth before sailing to Dover.

Contact details for the Marina Office are as follows:
Tel: +44 (0) 1304 241 663

We now very much look forward to seeing some visitors to Dover over the next few months ahead of many more arriving in 2023 when we will be fully open and operational