Medway trip – day 1 – Limehouse to Gravesend

And so the great day arrived, for the St Pancras Cruising Club trip to the Medway. We are returning from the Medway in June, weather permitting.

Technical details

Andy Spring of ARTHUR DENT led the convoy and the organisation, I was his allegedly competent  crew, and supplier of various gadgets (depth gauge, more powerful VHF set, wind gauge, GPS tracker etc). The Medway pages on this site include a number of resources we assembled to assist the nine crews with their preparation. This PDF file (34 pages, 4 MB) is a collection of timing, log and charting information which shows how the trip turned out in practice. Only one potentially awkward (but minor) navigational error: see if you can find it.

Outline plan

After the safety brief on Friday night, on Saturday we locked out at Bow and then assembled at the mouth of Bow Creek for the run to Gravesend. We aimed to arrive there about an hour before LW, so we could moor facing upstream in the last of the ebb. After an afternoon of ambling around Gravesend we had a final supper together in the Three Daws. On Sunday we set off at mid-tide, aiming to reach Southend-on-Sea at about low water, and then cruise up the Medway. Four boats carried on to Rochester (one) and Allington (three), but five stopped off in Queenborough. On Monday one of those boats (with a pilot and safety boat) set off for Ramsgate, en route to France (see here), and the other four completed the journey to Rochester.

Photographs from others

Most of the photographs in this and the next two blogs (day 2 – Gravesend to Queenborough, and day 3 – Queenborough to Rochester) are taken by me. In addition:

  • A whole album taken of us passing the barrier by @Watching the Thames – thank you!
  • Gravesend pontoon has been tweeting (here)
  • More of the Gravesend moorings on twitter here
  • There is a real-time photoblog, which  starts here
  • Flickr album here (added 19th May)
  • More photos from GERTRUDE  here (added 19th May)


The usual briefing in the Cruising Association – 1 hour 20 minutes including questions. Here are the handouts ready for distribution..DSCF7328

A couple of early morning shots at Limehouse ..

DSCF7330 DSCF7333

And we’re off …


Bow Locks – eight boats in three lockings …DSCF7346

FLORA DORA and GERTRUDE awaiting their turn (GERTRUDE still has one of my walkie-talkie sets)DSCF7350

.. and KETURA who locked out from Three Mills, where she is mooredDSCF7352 DSCF7358

Bow CreekDSCF7363

Are we going to go out onto the big river? DRAGONLY is in the lead, with ARTHUR DENT bringing up the rearDSCF7368

Yes we are! PANACEA, the smallest boat in the convoy, is not put off by a hydrofoil.DSCF7371

I think London VTS asked us to get into single file …DSCF7374

Approaching the barrier, being overtaken by a yacht. Now we are in single file.DSCF7377

Gently past the Woolwich Ferry, who as usual
kindly waited for us to pass through (Andy’s photo)


What do those two upward pointing cones mean? Thamesmead power station cooling outlet. Most boats  passed to the South.DSCF7384 DSCF7386

In what feels like next to no time, we arrive at the Dartford Crossing, switching to Ch 68 on VHF just upstream.DSCF7391

All nine boats – taken by Martin on the Humber Keel GOODWILL, who had joined up with us at Barking.


DSCF7399 DSCF7397

Approaching TilburyDSCF7401




Having turned to stem the ebbing tide, all nine  boats moor in turn, in the right order (nearly) and in the right place (exactly)!DSCF7415

ZAVALA  inspocting the PLA’s brand new survey boatDSCF7417

We take up the final mooring position. Tilbury ferry on the right: some of their passengers were a little raucous.DSCF7420

The RNLI were exercising, and provided a bow thruster for GOODWILL. They had some slight difficultly mooring to the yellow buoys.DSCF7423

The crew came and gave a very interesting talk about their work. Thanks to Libby for organising this.DSCF7426 DSCF7427

I should make clear the lifeboat has
not come to assist ARTHUR DENTDSCF7428

The view from the shoreDSCF7430 DSCF7432

Gravesend canal basin – it must be very tricky to get these boats in and out!DSCF7434

Some passing trafficDSCF7435

Dinner in the pub – described by some as the Last SupperDSCF7439


Last light – the two Svitzer tugs were in use all night.DSCF7441


Continue to Day 2 – Gravesend to Queenborough


One thought on “Medway trip – day 1 – Limehouse to Gravesend

  1. Pingback: SPCC trip to the Medway – day 1 arrives | Scholar Gypsy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s