After two postponements caused by tide and bad weather, the famous paddle steamer Medway Queen was finally on her way to Ramsgate Harbour Slipway for restoration work on a sunny Sunday morning, 18 July 2021, from her berth at Gillingham Pier.

Three tugs assisted in her departure: the former RFA tug Christine and Nipashore from Pratt Towage and finally Olympic to swing the floating restaurant London Regalia out of the way because of a series of posts that create narrow channel, separating the pier from a boat slipway.

Nipashore was able to ease herself between the posts and the paddle steamer’s bow to attach a stability line while Christine approached her stern to attach her line.

Working in tandem the two tugs eased PS Medway Queen into the calm waters of the River Medway and safely past the floating restaurant on their starboard side, all the movements accomplished with balletic precision.

Once safely clear of the pier, Nipashore detached her line while the crews attached Christine’s towing line to the Dunkirk Veteran’s bow. Nipashore now acting as a safety boat, the trio set off into the River Medway and around the Kent coastline to Ramsgate.

Onlookers and photographers were presented with a wonderful view, as PS Medway Queen and her tugs heading off into the early morning sunshine, a scene that would have inspired maritime artist J.M.W. Turner.

Report and photos by Fraser Grey

Three issues for £5

Subscribe to Ships Monthly magazine and receive your first 3 issues for just £5!