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Medway Queen goes to Ramsgate for maintenance

After a wait at the Commercial Quay in Ramsgate, the historic paddle steamer Medway Queen made her way onto the slip on 12 August 2021.

She had left Gillingham on Sunday 18 July under the guidance of a working party of Medway Queen volunteers, departing for Ramsgate in the care of Michael Pratt’s tugs, Christine and Nipashore.

A third tug had moved the vessel moored astern of Medway Queen and she was edged stern first away from her mooring.

The tow was reconfigured for the journey, with Christine in the lead and Nipashore at the stern to improve manoeuvrability.

The voyage was completed with a minimum of fuss and Medway Queen arrived safely at Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour. There she was berthed at the Commercial Quay to await her turn on the slipway.

The problems experienced in 2015 with Medway Queen’s sponson deck catching under the lip of the quay as the tide came in have been obviated by the addition of steel fenders in the vulnerable area.

The move to the EAPL slipway was delayed by their previous job and the need to reconfigure the slip for a paddle steamer, but on 12 August she was finally able to move.

The Ramsgate harbour work boat provided the ‘muscle’ and Medway Queen was moved across the harbour and winched onto the slipway ready for work to commence.

The main objective is a hull repaint and maintenance. The hull anodes need to be checked and the paddle wheels will be grit-blasted and repainted.

The saloon window frames are to be revarnished and the deck rails and stanchions will be replaced where necessary and sealed against the weather.

Work on the windows, deck rails and stanchions can be carried out more safely and conveniently on the slipway than on a tidal berth. It is a necessary but expensive exercise and the Medway Queen Preservation Society would welcome donations towards the cost (www.medwayqueen.co.uk).

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