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