A Trustee Board meeting agreed today that the planned members' preview (for MQPS members and their guests) would go ahead on Saturday 22nd January although some "tidying" work is needed on board and access may have to be restricted in certain areas. The ship is considered safe and secure but not all visitor preparation work has yet been completed - a true "preview"!
Opening times will be from 11am to 4pm with last admissions at 3pm. Access to the ship will be in tour parties as usual and we ask that all participants respect and follow any advice given on the day.
All visits must start at the Medway Queen Visitor Centre and face masks must be worn in the Visitor Centre and on board Medway Queen.
Photo: Medway Queen arriving back in Gillingham on 7th April - Bob Wilde
With work completed and the slipway winch repaired Medway Queen took to the waters of Ramsgate Harbour once more, and headed home to Gillingham Pier on Thursday 6th January. For all sorts of reasons she was there for longer than was originally intended but the restoration has moved forward and she looks magnificent.
In the care of tugs, "Christine" and "Nipashore" she headed out to sea and around to the Thames Estuary before heading towards the river Medway. She berthed at Gillingham Pier on Friday 7th January to be welcomed back by well wishers and her regular volunteers. We need to re-instate the gangway and connect and commission all shore services before allowing visitors on board so please bear with us for a while.
Ramsgate departure image, above: David Stearne.
Arrival, passing the locks, below: Paul Babington.
Arrival video, bottom: Bob Wilde.
As soon as details are confirmed we'll post opening arrangements so you can all come and see her in her new glory. In the meantime we need to begin replenishing the reserves to fund 2022's programme of work. Please visit the online shop or make a donation via our website.
A very Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year to you all!
Medway Queen looks magnificent on the Ramsgate slipway (photo: David Stearne).
Unfortunately she is set to continue to look magnificent there for a little while yet. The plan was for her to come off the slip yesterday afternoon and for the tugs to bring her back to Gillingham at the earliest opportunity. The operation had hardly started and MQ was about a quarter of the way down when the winch jammed. Now we have to wait for that to be fixed.
We have been assured that she is high enough to be in no danger, but it is still a cause of considerable frustration! It is just "one of those things" and we have to make the best of it.
It is not a simple case of completing work on the MQ and then towing back. The following documents had to be prepared by external agencies and then exchanged between them via me; UK Load Line exemption, Passage Plan, Tow Plan, Insurance Certificates, Tow Contract. All of this is in place.
The MCA and Insurers dictate the weather restrictions for the tow that Pratts (towing company) are obliged to keep within (south to southwesterly wind under 20 knots and swell not exceeding 1m); this has to coincide with the right tide conditions for Ramsgate and Gillingham. There is a sand bar on the approach to Gillingham Pier and we need sufficient depth of water to get both Medway Queen and her tug over that.
Winds and tides etc are in the hands of the gods, not us. Everything is in place. The Tow Master has to approve the return date and time that meets the MCA and Insurance requirements, otherwise full liability may be on him/her.
Photo: Bob Wilde