Harbour Day Report 2019

“A great community event… with A wonderful atmosphere!”

Whitstable Harbour Day 2019 was a great success thanks to the contribution of over 300 volunteers who ran the stalls, sailed the boats, played the music, and kept everyone safe: and we have some very happy traders. Over 10,000 visitors passed through the Harbour in the 6 hours the event was open and we have been inundated with compliments  such as ‘a great community event’ and ‘a wonderful atmosphere’. 

My personal highlight was watching the magnificent Thames barges keeling over as they raced towards the shore using every inch of sail to beat their opponents.

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Harbour Day Preview

With Harbour Day now almost upon us, this coming Saturday, 3rd August, here is a round up of just a few of the many things to look out for.

The Barge Match

The history of Thames Barge matches (or races) goes back a long way. The original Thames barge race between Stanford-le-Hope in Essex and Gravesend in Kent was held in 1863, making it the world’s second oldest organised sailing race after the America’s Cup. It still takes place today, and is now one of a series of nine matches held throughout the Summer months. Whitstable’s own barge match takes place during Harbour Day every year.

The start of this year’s Whitstable match is scheduled for 12.45. A briefing will be given to all participants on the quayside at Whitstable Harbour beforehand. The course will start and finish off the harbour and be set around familiar navigation marks including the Pollard Spit, Columbine Spit and Whitstable Street Buoy.

Prize giving will take place at approx. 16.30 aboard the Greta in Whitstable Harbour basin, with prizes and refreshments provided by Whitstable Harbour. Prizes are awarded for the first barge, first gaffer, first smack/yawl and the Harbourmaster’s prize for the most notable performance.

Craft to look out for

Here’s a small taster of just four of the variety of craft to look out for in and around the harbour on Harbour Day.

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The Chieftain comes to town

Whitstable residents Sue and Richard Judge have recently acquired ex-RNLI lifeboat The Chieftain. Richard has a lifelong connection with Whitstable Harbour through being crew on the RNLI lifeboat for nearly 40 years.

The Chieftain is a 35 ½ foot, Liverpool class lifeboat built by Groves and Gutteridge in Cowes, Isle of Wight in 1948 for the RNLI. She is twin-engined and built of double diagonal mahogany planking on oak frames with a two ton iron keel and lead ballast to provide stability.

In many ways this class of boat was very similar to the earlier pulling and sailing boats in appearance with just the addition of a cuddy for the engines.

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Summer Magic

THREE Dates for your diary this summer

We have got a little magic lined up – literally! -for our supporters this summer, starting on Midsummer evening with the Whitstable Maritime Midsummer Ball and Charity Fundraiser. Then, in early July, Gamecock gets her first outing of the year at the Faversham Nautical Festival. And then there’s the high spot of our summer calendar – Whitstable Harbour Day on 3rd August. We are expecting up to 10,000 visitors this year, admission is free – what’s not to like?

The Whitstable Maritime Midsummer Ball

Friday 21st June 2019

Stay cool on the longest evening of the year and enjoy champagne, canapés and Whitstable oysters with us in the company of Goosebumps swing band. Entertainer and Magic Circle member, Guy Wade, will be on hand to sprinkle a little magic over the proceedings… “Jus’ like that!

Join us at the Marine Hotel, Whitstable on Friday 21st June from 7.30pm until 11.30pm. Tickets are still available at £45 per person.

More details are on our Midsummer Ball page.

Gamecock Sails into Faversham

Sat/Sun 6th-7th July 2019

Whitstable Maritime’s historic 1907 oyster yawl Gamecock is appearing at the Faversham Nautical Festival on the weekend of 6th/7th July 2019, her first outing of the season, having over-wintered at Iron Wharf nearby.

So, if you are looking for a great day out, plus an insight into the life and times – and challenges – of restoring this historic working vessel, we will be delighted to welcome you!

More details can be found on our Faversham Nautical Festival page.

Whitstable Harbour Day

Saturday 3rd August 2019

The lineup for the day’s live entertainment has been published and is available via the link below.

Over 40 organisations are taking part and it is all free –

bands • boat trips • marine environment • coracle building • lifeboats • coastguards • boating pool • frontier force • inshore-fisheries • model boats • steam train rides • beach gardens • rope making • tipper trucks • traditional & modern boats • marine archaeology • coastal birds • children’s theatre • food stalls • gifts • crafts

Please note that events and times are subject to change. Latest details can be found on our Whitstable Harbour Day page.

LATEST – SOUVENIR PROGRAMME free download (16 pages):

Harbour Day Programme 2019

Whitstable Harbour Day 2019

On Saturday 3rd August, 200 volunteers will help Whitstable Maritime present a full day’s entertainment and experiences on land and sea with 50 local and national organisations already booked for Whitstable Harbour Day. 10,000 visitors are expected to enjoy the fun.

Craft filling the harbour will range from a Bronze Age replica boat to the latest high-tech racing dinghy. Visitors will be able to board vessels varying in size from a 250 foot coaster to a 20 foot lugger that you could trail behind a car. Visiting boats include powerful 60 foot patrol boats belonging to the Border Force and Inshore Fisheries Conservation; the Margate All Weather Lifeboat; several Thames barges and Old Gaffers, and the local fishing fleet. A 45 foot ex-naval launch belonging to the Maritime Volunteer Service is due to offer boat rides.   

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Sailing away!

Here we are in another new year with a new-look web site and lots to look forward to in 2019!

These are some things we have got planned –

Harbour Day 2019. This was a huge success last year and planning is now under way for this year’s event. Keep an eye on these pages and meanwhile put the date in your diary –

Saturday 3rd August 2019

The deadline for booking stand space has now passed but some further space may become available. If you are interested in being considered, please download the Harbour Day 2019Application Form (pdf) and return it to the address shown on the form.

Gamecock Restoration. We have a major restoration project under way on this historic Oyster Yawl. Watch this space for some exciting news coming up soon.

Fund Raising. We are very grateful to our loyal supporters who have contributed their time and/or their money to the good causes that Whitstable Maritime supports. And to make it even easier to donate or to raise money for these good causes, we now have our very own page on JustGiving – www.justgiving.com/whitstablemaritime