Battle of Chatham Anniversary: 2017

Thursday, June 8, 2017 to Saturday, June 17, 2017
Cine Mara sailing in the Solent, 2013
©Alistair Randall

20 May 2017 update

Rik Janssen, sailing in 'Cine Mara', of our Dutch OGA, is bringing a small fleet of Gaffers on 8 - 13 June. There will be visitor moorings available for East Coast Gaffers to meet up with our visitors and local clubs will be offering entertainment, breakfasts and dinners. Many of the historic ships will be open to the public as well as the visiting Dutch and British naval vessel.

The Dutch are expected to bring 200 or so yachts and ships to the Medway during the fortnight for the historic event, split into two fleets.

Fleet 1, coordinated by the Royal Maas Yacht Club from Rotterdam and including a small OGA fleet will gather at Queenborough on Wednesday 7, June 2017 and sail, in company, up the Medway, on the morning of Thursday, 8 June 2017, with the Dutch royal prince taking the salute at Upnor castle. Fleet 1 will leave the Medway on 13 June 2017.

Fleet 2, coordinated by the Dutch Offshore Sailing Club, will gather at Stangate Creek and sail up the Medway on 14 June 2017, leaving on 18 June 2017. The event grand finale takes place on Saturday, 17 June 2017. The day includes entertainment on the river; a parade of sail with Dutch and local tall ships, steam ships, including a modern steam vessel and many of the Fleet 2 yachts. The day culminates with the 'Medway in Flames', a son-et-luminaire and firework display with Upnor Castle as the backdrop.

2017 is the 350th anniversary of the Battle of Medway, or the Battle of Chatham, as it is known in Holland, when the Dutch fleet sailed into the River Medway, set fire to a substantial part of the British fleet, capturing and taking away, the flagship, 'Royal Charles'.

From 8 to 17 June, 2017, the Medway Council, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust (CHDT), Medway and Swale Boating Association (MSBA) and Dutch organisations including the Dutch Offshore Sailing Club, representing the hundreds of visitors expected from Holland, are co-operating in the organisation of waterborne and land based activities.

Read an account of the 1967 anniversary celebrations on 'Sailing by', written by a Dutch member of the OGA.

Browse the attractive illustrated brochure prepared for the event and written in English and Dutch.

Brian Corbett (UK)
Organiser email: