The Medway & Swale Boating Association (MSBA) Meeting at Kent Boat & Ski Club

added by russ on September 3, 2014 at 09:10

 

 

It's fair to say I live and breathe hovercraft! Apart from running Flying Fish alongside my wife Emma, I'm also secretary of Hovercraft Manufacturers Association, Chairman of SE branch of Hovercraft Club of Great Britain (HCGB), and 'Cruising Director' for the HCGB (which frankly, sounds a bit weird.) I also race in the national championships and still thoroughly enjoy taking a hovercraft out for a spin on my favourite patch - the River Medway & Swale.

 So it was with some interest that I stumbled across the Medway & Swale Boating Association (MSBA) a little while ago.

To paraphrase their aims (from their website) :  “To promote and protect all waterborne sports and pastimes on the tidal Medway and Swale.”

The hovercraft community has been using Medway and Swale for a very long time, why wouldn’t we be part of the MSBA for the modest joining fee?  If you've seen any of my videos from Hoverclub events, you'll understand why - it's very tidal, loads of mudflats and shallow water to explore - and an amazing history with Napoleonic forts and WWI shipwrecks to visit.

So I decided to join up on behalf of the Hovercraft Club of Great Britain. As I'm involved with organising club events 8-10 times  a year, which usually launch into the Swale at the Long reach Ski Club, I felt it was important that our sport was represented within this new Organsiation.

Last night, along with Carl & Geoff, two of our growing list of active local enthusiasts, we went along to the Kent Boat & WaterSki club at Cuxton to see what it's all about. We were made very welcome and met loads of interesting folks who work and play on the Medway & Swale. The MSBA looks a very valuable resource and a great way of ensuring that the river is used responsibly - but that we water users don’t see more of our rights diminish as a result of increasing legislation and the 'environmental takeover' of the seashores. It was an interesting meeting and I'm pleased the Hoverclub now has a representation on it.

One issue was the contents of some previous minutes which indicated that reports were being made to Peel Ports (the harbour authorities) of illegal hovercraft launches from Gillingham Strand. I had to question this as the minutes seemed to indicated that the MSBA agreed with these complaints. The feller who's made these reports is a member and has my respect for saying 'that was me' and explaining why he made these reports. Basically, his position is that as somebody who runs a business on the Medway, he's sick of seeing so many laws and rules flouted by water users  and not being enforced. I can see that - if you're going to have rules, then enforce them. We explained that hovercraft are not PWC's - legally they are boats and the MCA categorises them as such and are therefore entirely legal to launch at Gillingham Strand. Further discussion centred on usage and speed limits - explaining that hovercraft create less wash at speeds over approx 8 knots which is the approximate speed where the hull is completely out of the water, resulting in no wash! In our experience, most harbour masters understand that and allow a small amount of leeway on the tightest speed limits - after all most speed  limits are made largely to prevent dangerous wash in busy and confined moorings.

And one point to remember. In the UK, you have a common law right to navigate on tidal waters. Restrictions may be made, permissions may be required, but you do have that right and it cannot be removed with a byelaw. Just remember that if you are ever told otherwise.

Bearing in mind that there have been literally hundreds of launches and hovercraft operating in the areas, to the best of my knowledge there have been absolutely no accidents involving hovercraft, very few breakdowns or recoveries and to the best of my knowledge and no prosecutions or charges brought against owners.

Statistically, hovercraft are the safest  means of passenger transport and its to my own personal delight that this amazing record also applies to the recreational hovercraft.

Hovercraft have considerable environmental advantages compared to other powered vessels.

  • They do not pollute the water like a PWC or boats - the exhaust is vented to atmosphere not into the water.
  • Recreational craft achieve approximately 20mpg, so use much less fuel than a boat of equivalent size.
  • They do not create any wash so they cause no damage to river banks
  • They have no protrusions underwater, so cannot strike marine mammals such as porpoises, dolphins or manatees. The lack of propeller  or jetdrive also means they do not damage the seabed in shallow water.
  • They exert 75 times less pressure on the ground than 12" of tide, or 100 times less than a man walking.

Hovercraft do have a rep for being noisy but modern craft using small commercial spec air-cooled engines are around a quarter of the noise of earlier two-stroke models.  The noise is directional in nature and due to the low frequency dies away very quickly. At 100m it is not any more intrusive than many other water vehicles.

One key point is that recreational hovercraft use tends to be 'get in and go' and are used in much the same manner as many people use a rib or small boat.  Club events are usually organised so that the group travels to an objective. Our last four hovercraft club cruises this year covered 23/32/50 and 45 miles - we don’t just go round and round in circles near the shore.

Being part of the Medway & Swale Boating Association looks to me like it will be a valuable and useful part of organising events and continuing the growth of the Hovercraft Club of Great Britain - and our thanks for allowing us to be part of it.

 

Contacts

Medway & Swale Boating Association

Hovercraft Club of Great Britain

Flying Fish Hovercraft

 

Three more Minnow Hovercraft leave tomorrow!

added by Emma on March 13, 2014 at 11:52

I'm pretty sure my toys weren't this much fun when I was a lad - a hoop - and a stick if I was lucky.

Anyway, three more Minnow Hovercraft leave us tomorrow for their lucky new owners. Enjoy yourself lads!

 

Hovercraft Racing Video from Gang Warily....'THAT' accident!

added by Emma on November 13, 2013 at 10:42

Well, it wasn't going to end well was it.....?

 

 

 

GANG WARILY VIDEO

www.flyingfishhovercraft.co.uk
01304 619820
Cobra Racing Hull Kits from £1,500.00+VAT
Complete Marlin Leisure Hovercraft £13,500.00+VAT

Something of a fraught weekend, and for me, one best forgotten (and actually, parts of it already are... ten minutes unconscious does that!) but I keep getting asked for the on-board footage of my high-speed accident so here's a 5 minute video of the weekends fun and games. Skip to 5:30 if you only want to see the crash!

Next year the plan is to focus on the European Hovercraft Federation Championship (EHF). Dates have been released as below - and hopefully there will be a World Hovercraft Federation (WHF) World Championship event as well.....

24/25/(26UK only) May 2014 Hacket lakes UK Combined UK National & EHF meeting
21/22 June 2014 Prudhomat France
30/31 August 2014 Saalburg Germany
20/21 September 2014 Towcester UK Combined UK National & EHF meeting

 

Somebody likes our hovercraft!

added by Emma on November 4, 2013 at 07:10

Overall, I guess we should be flattered! I'm pretty sure that whoever designed this game saw a photo of the RAF Coastal-Pro online!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtXhTmjGeFI&feature=youtu.be

 

Cholmondleley Pagaent of Power - Round 3 of the HCGB National Hovercraft Championships.

added by Emma on June 20, 2013 at 06:06

A superb weekend racing at Cholmondeley saw the Volantis Hovercraft Racing Team finish first in Formula 2 with four wins from four starts - so a pretty good weekend!

Having finished third on the first meeting of the year, and fist in the last two rounds, with three rounds gone, theVolantis Cobra of Russ Pullen now leads the championship. Now to keep up the momentum for the rest of the season!

Next stop, Claydon House on July 20/21st. This is followed by a European race meeting at Prudhomat in southern France a week later.

 

Formula Two          
no Team Magnol Hacket Cholmo season
99
Russ Pullen 17 25 25 67
31 Team Polfrey 20 17 20 57
71 Kevin Tunaley 11 13 14 38
47 Wayne Ravenhall 15 14 9 38
92 Section4 9 15 10 34
77 Bernie Hook 10   17 27
100 Team Razor   12 15 27
73 Double A Racing 13   13 26
316 Team Castrol 25     25
62 James Limburn 14 7   21
50 Team Goldney   20   20
80 Team Wiggin 8 6   14
63 Team Buzzwagon     12 12
83 Nice But Dim Racing 12     12
111 John Cotton     11 11
44 Andy Griffith   11   11
39 Phil Jakeman   10   10
40 Wayne Hill   9   9
32 Fred Wilson   8   8
95 Nationwide Fire 503 7     7
130 Geoff Sweetman 6     6

 

Video from the last Open Race of the weekend.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47XkXlY7-D0

 Photo below courtesy of Rhiannon Black Photography - thanks Rhi!

The ultimate Marlin?

added by Emma on January 28, 2013 at 06:02

Released last week at the London Boat Show, the2013 Marlin II Platinum Black attracted massive attention from the public and media alike. Displayed in the Luxury brand Show alongside Bentleys,  Zondas and a Keonigessennisgesgegsssegg ;-) it certainly held its own with over 500 brochures picked up over the course of the show and several enquires since. Aimed squarely at the Yacht/Superyacht Tender  market, it features a unique metalflake, faded black to silver hull using GRP, carbon fibre and kevlar and the powerful Rampage specification 50bhp  V-Twin engine. There's teak effect flooring, low level lighting and bespoke blue 'chrome' fan blades with high quality fittings throughout including davit/lifting points for use in its role as a yacht tender and recreational toy.

Priced at £17,200.00+VAT including a spares kit and full cover, it's enormous fun, looks incredible and can travel effortlessly from water to beach and back again. So, it's goodbye to dragging the tender back to the water when the tide goes out - and hello to serious amounts of fun!

One of our clients who uses a Marlin on his yacht told us a while back… "It works brilliantly for a speedy ship-to-shore tender but I always seem to take the longest way back to the boat!"

To find out more, call us for a chat on (01304) 619820


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