Tag Archives: Medway

Canoe sailing on the Medway

Someone took a camera aboard as they went canoe sailing on the Medway last weekend and here’s the result. My thanks to Paul Mullings for spotting this one.

Now, bearing in mind that Deadman’s Island is where folks who died on board the prison hulks that used to lie in Stangate Creek and the Medway were buried in the past*, would you say that was a human bone?

*Were the Nore mutineers’ leaders buried there too, I wonder?

Stangate Creek. It makes you think about times past…

These days Stangate Creek on the south side of the Medway is a popular stop for cruising sailors and motorboaters – it’s sheltered, and visitors are surrounded by low-lying land and islands and saltings, and some impressive bird life.

But this peaceful spot has a heck of a past, and was frequently a less than happy place.

With the Naval dockyards at Chatham just a few miles away up the Medway, the Navy has at times used it intensively as a place to moor ships when necessary.

From 1712-1896 it was used for quarantining ships. For example, there’s a story that in 1832, the barque Katherine Stewart Forbes set out from Woolwich with a complement of male convicts for Australia but then anchored in Plymouth Sound after cholera broke out. She was sent back to Stangate Creek for many months – of 222 convicts aboard, 30 men developed cholera and 13 died.

There’s an account of how the quarantining started here.

During the Napoleonic era, French prisoners of war were coonfined in prison hulks on the River Medway, where they were subject to cholera, smallpox and typhoid, and many of those who died were buried on Deadmans Island on the eastern side of the Creek.

And of course it was close at hand in 1667 when the Dutch captured Sheerness, invaded the Medway and threatened Chatham. The Wikipedia has the story, including a wonderful painting.

In the early part of the 19th century Turner depicted it in one of his watercolours of English rivers, and much more recently, the extraordinary cruising film-maker Dylan Winter visited Stangate and seemed to fall in love with the place.

Most of the photos of Stangate Creek above including the Finesse class small yacht, the  smack, Buccaneer and the barge yacht Whippet above are mainly Julie Atkin’s shots. Only the shots showing the flooded saltings are mine…

The Kentish Sail Association’s Swale Match 2013 – part 2

Medway match 9

The Medway barge match, 2013 – an accidental photo gallery

Out sailing on my own this weekend, I came across the Medway barge match. I’d completely forgotten it was happening, but soon got the idea when I saw them all trooping out past the SS Montgomery.

Anyway I got the little Samsung pocket camera out, and took these snaps – I hope you like them.

PS – Fowey boatbuilder Marcus Lewis has been in touch to say that there’s an old negative of the sailing barge Cabby up for auction on eBay. It doesn’t look like it’s in strong demand and I suspect the seller will have a few more up his sleeve. Thanks Marcus!

Dutch barges on the Medway, near Allington

 

A photogallery stroll on the River Medway at Allington in Kent, including Dutch barges, a Thames barge yacht, various other craft and an Archimedes screw – I must visit with a larger camera some day, as it’s an impressive piece of machinery,

Sailing barge Edith May wins National Historic Ships national flagship title for 2012

Thames sailing barge Edith May has been named National Historic Ships national flagship for 2012.

In the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant, it seems particularly appropriate that the winner for 2012 is a vessel specifically designed to trade on the Thames.

Edith May is an 86ft barge built by J&H Cann of Harwich in 1906 for the coastal trade carrying wheat and grain products.

She also had a successful racing career before falling into sad disrepair in the 1990s before being purchased and then restored by her current owners.

The flagship of the year title is awarded to the owners of the vessel with the most impressive seasonal programme of public events in the forthcoming year, and is designed to promote engagement and appreciation of historic vessels in the UK’s heritage.

Each year’s flagship vessel receives a traditional swallow-tailed broad pennant to fly from the masthead wherever she goes to mark her flagship status, and a grant of £1000 towards the cost of keeping her in operational condition and opening for public viewing.

The judges decided that the submission from the Edith May was outstanding. Her extensive public programme over the coming season includes festivals, barge matches, public cruises and taking part in the Queen’s pageant.

Edith May is registered on the National Register of Historic Vessels held by National Historic Ships. She can be seen at her berth in Lower Halstow in Kent during the winter, and is also available for sailing charter trips on the Medway and as a static venue for events.

PS – on the subject of the National Historic Ships, there’s still lots of time to enter the annual photographic competition. Details are here and here.