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104 Years - Established 1913

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The Manchester Cruising Association has been meeting regularly in Manchester since 1913. Originally a small group of friends getting together and sharing their interest in sailing, the MCA has grown and now has over 150 members. Bigger maybe but still very friendly and still devoted to sharing experience, knowledge and enthusiasm. Gone are the Reefer jackets and club ties, come down in your jeans if you want, You don’t have to be a boat owner either; If you’re interested in Inland, Offshore, Coastal or Blue-water cruising, you'll find more information and how to join us HERE. If you would like to come to one of our meetings as a visitor most are open to the public with no entrance fee.  Meetings are held usually on the second Thursday each month between September and May with the occasional social meeting during the summer cruising period.


Welcome to the
Manchester Cruising Association

Next  Members’ Meeting
Thursday  -  6th of  April 2017
 7.30pm for 8.00pm start

“To they that go down to the sea in ships, a safe and speedy return”

The Association toast.

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Commodore:    mancacommodore@gmail.com

   Secretary:    mancasecretary@gmail.com

©Copyright Manchester Cruising Association

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(Click for venue details)

The Hon. Secretary’s Minutes of the previous meeting
can be seen by clicking HERE!


January 12
February 9
March 9
** March 18
April 6
May 11

Trevor Pratt
Mike Brown

Hough End Centre
Roger Brydges


The Aegean to The Black Sea & back!

Chartering UK, Croatia & Greece
45 Boats later……Aluminium  !!

MCA Annual Dinner
Marine Accident Investigation
Cruising Tit-Bits & Hot Pot Supper

Sydney to Hobart Race 2016
from Canada to Pwllheli
Cruising England’s SE Coasts

AGM & Building the ‘Amelie Rose

Sept 21

October 12

November 9 December 14


The ‘Summer Dinner’ - TBA                              7.00 for 7.30pm

Richard Stain
Nerys and Rob Kimberely
Derek Burchell
Nick Beck

Meetings & Events for 2017

The Black Sea is not a popular Cruising Area but each year a number of boats do battle with the strong currents of the Dardanelles & the crowded waters of the Bosphorus to visit this once USSR Naval stronghold.Trevor undertook this journey from Leros in the eastern Aegean to Bulgaria & Romania in the summer of 2015.

JANUARY 2017 MEETING                                The 1,448th meeting                               

The Aegean to the Black Sea
& back!

a presentation by Trevor Pratt

Leros to the Black Sea (and back) began with an amusing story of a mis-addressed email to a recently widowed minister’s wife who was led to believe that her late husband had contacted her from beyond the grave, announcing that he had arrived, that they had computers and it was flipping hot!!

Trevor then got down to the serious account of his trip from the Aegean to the Black Sea in his Jeanneau 409. Following a shake down sail to Patmos, famed for its monastery of St. John and touristic beauty, he then proceeded to island hop via Pythagorian, Chios, Oinoussa and Lesvos including a visit to the Ouzo distillery in Plomari whose wares were eagerly tasted.

Leaving Greek waters, Trevor changed crew at Myitilene on Lesvos and met up with friends with a Westerly Oceanlord to sail in company and leave Greek waters for a passage through the Dardenelles. By way of stops in Canakkale, Karabiga and Topogac they crossed the Sea of Marmara and eventually reached Istanbul where they berthed in the new marina. The old fortifications of Constantinople were impressive as were the three suspension bridges they passed under before the long passage through the Bosphorus and entry into the Black Sea. An overnight passage took them to Tsarevo which proved like so many places in the Black Sea to be deserted and overstaffed by officials and then onto Bulgaria’s main port of Sozopol ( best pronounced before too much of the cheap local beer !).

At Balchik they checked out of Bulgaria before moving onto Mangalia in Romania and then onto Constanta which is the largest port on the Black Sea. Though many places were beginning to cater for tourists there was much dereliction in the hinterland of many of these places in the former iron curtain countries.

With the war in Ukraine posing a potential threat they decided to explore the Danube Delta by minibus and small boat enjoying a true bird watcher’s paradise as they cut their way through water lily filled lakes and canals. In the return to the Aegean, Trevor paid tribute to the 1915 failed assault on the Dardenelles and the memorials to the Turks, French and Anglo Anzac forces cataloguing the many lost and wounded. His trip encompassed 1546nm of which 65% were done under sail, and he outlined some of the costs and support that they needed along the route
                                                                                       Roger Cleland.

DECEMBER 2016 MEETING                                The 1,447th meeting                               

Hardanger to Helsinki

with former MCA Commodore - Terry McGaul

Hardanger to Helsinki by Terry McGaul was an interesting & varied account of the extensive 1000 nautical mile cruise in a Vancouver 34 by our own MCA members, Terry and wife, Nola, aka “the cook”, during the two summers of 2015/16. Describing themselves not as intrepid sailors but rather as people touring by boat, we initially followed their journey down the Western Norwegian coast before cutting across the canals and lakes of Southern Sweden.

There were many highs (meeting up with the Hardys, visiting Pulpit Rock and a granite sculpture park) but lows too (broken glasses from a fall, early heavy rain and mechanical problems). After leaving the east coast of Norway which they described as expensive, posh but not as nice as the West coast,  they visited deserted (for mid summer) Gothenburg but by tram before entering the system of canals and on to Trolhatten with its industrial architecture and the lakes of Vanern and Vattern. Here they encountered some very large ships in procession all negotiating the rather narrow channel. Having survived some huge locks and a lecture in lock etiquette by a somewhat frosty lock keeper, they were reassured by the sights of IKEA, AstraZeneca and numerous reminders of ABBA mania.

The Gota canal (Telford constructed like the Caledonian) with its numerous locks took them to Stockholm where they over-wintered at an impressive marina boasting super-quick hauling out and launching times.

The re-launch however was delayed because the boat was not ready – the snow cover protection had not worked and the holding tank was left for Terry to install. The Baltic was noticeable for its cloudy water due to pine pollen and the large number of ferries, but the archipelago and the large number of windmills were impressive. Helsinki Sailing Club  and its attractive waterfront were offset by the rather inward-looking Finnish people they encountered and whilst they enjoyed the Pommern ship museum, cycling and walking trips were often plagued by midges; saunas were no substitute for showers too.

                                                                                              Roger Cleland.

Reports of meetings from all of 2016 can be seen by clicking HERE!!

Boathandling in Montevideo!

A talk by our President - Geoff Meggitt

An interesting half-meeting which outlined how easy it is to organise a Bareboat or Skippered charter around the beautiful islands of Greece & Croatia.

FEBRUARY 2017 MEETING                                The 1,449th meeting                               

Chartering in the UK, Greece & Croatia

a presentation by Plainsailing.com

A two parts meeting featuring

Plain Sailing ( a Stockport based Charter Agency and one of our sponsors ) gave a comprehensive introduction to the joys of chartering a yacht particularly in warmer climes. Tommy’s start point described what yachting abroad was like from the sense of exploration and fun to the teamwork among friends together with the boastability of the whole holiday experience. His breakdown of costs, though a little on the optimistic side in terms of filling all berths, showed just how affordable it has become and certainly cheaper than chartering in the UK. He took us through the choice of sea area, type of boat, qualifications required and/or whether professional crew were necessary or desirable. We were taken through the booking arrangements ( Plain Sailing.com for real time booking, discounts for MCA members), what to expect at handover and on the return of the yacht to its base port. He concluded by answering questions on checks on the standards of boats and equipment and on financial compensation when things went wrong.
Dr. Mike Leahy gave an excellent Vote of Thanks.
                                                                                          Roger Cleland

The second part of the meeting by Geoff Meggitt also involved “chartering” a boat albeit the 1102ft Queen Mary 2, no sails and some 4000 people on board for a cruise around Cape Horn beginning in Rio de Janeiro. Delivered in his typically dry, witty and laconic style, he shared some of the delights of his new camera and his artistic revelation of shots of “Christ the Redeemer”, having a state room with balcony (mentioned at every opportunity), to capturing on film the slick transfer of the pilot in rough waters. He photographed a fellow passenger who swam all the way round the Horn (in the swimming pool) and the dramatic backdrop of glaciers in Chile while watching the rescue of the ship’s rescue boat. Montevideo captured his imagination for its links with the sinking of the “Graf Spee” and the various film versions of the “Battle of the River Plate” whose main characters seemed to shuffle round depending on the nationality of the version. More revealing was his fascination for 1950’s style risqué films such as “the Garden of Eden” and “the Attack of the Crab Monsters”. The food was excellent as were the facilities for other activities on board and having a state room was the icing on the cake.
                                                                                                 Roger Cleland

MARCH 2017 MEETING                                The 1,450th meeting                               

45 boats later - Aluminium !!

a talk by Mike Brown

..trials & tribulations of commissioning an aluminium boat in France and a short sprint back to the UK!

“45 Boats Later” by Mike Brown who although billed on the MCA website as a North West sailor has in fact lived in Hamble for the past 28 years although his formative years were spent in Knutsford. The title refers to an early estimate of the number of different boats he has sailed from his first experience in a Mirror on one of Fiddler’s Ferry’s lagoons with his dad. During his early years he progressed through a variety of racing dinghies including some he had built himself. His big boat experience grew from trips to Holland, Ireland and France before he helped on a trans Atlantic delivery trip with his wife to be, Kay.
Once a family arrived he chartered boats before owning a Hunter 273 which he subsequently replaced with a Hunter Channel 31 and in which he gained considerable experience clocking up between 60 – 85 days a year at sea. But the dream was of an aluminium boat, with shallow draft capability to explore deeper up creeks and little coves, and after return visits to Southampton Boat Show their hearts were set on an Ovni 365 which they commissioned to have built at Alubat in Les Sables d’Olonne.
Backed by lots of really interesting and unusual photos, we were taken through all the stages of construction from plain sheets of aluminium of various thicknesses, to the formers and stringers, three tons of lead ballast, the options for the interior layout and the French oak cabinet making of lockers, galley and navigation station – aspects which most talks never mention. Mike spoke of some of the frustrations of dealing with a French firm from a distance where any slight change of specification was deemed an “extra” and a Gallic shrug was the explanation for any discrepancy. Fortunately, the end product was a splendid yacht which they were thrilled with.

Mike’s third part of his talk was a composite description of his shake down sail in 2015, chased by threatening storm force winds, from Les Sables d’Olonne to the Hamble via Belle Ile, Loctudy, Camaret, L’Aberwrac’h and Trégastel to their home mooring in Newtown Creek. He ended with some modifications to the boat (rig, winches, cuddy extension) and his future plans to enable the boat to be self-sufficient around the world. Questions were asked along the way and the MCA President, Geoff Meggitt, gave the Vote of Thanks on behalf of members.
                                                                                         Roger Cleland

A report by Roger Brydges

Sailing Accident Investigation
- the work of the MAIB

Roger Brydges of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch will be talking about some of the recent investigations he has worked on including the grounding of the Hoegh Osaka in the Solent and the collision off Felixstowe between the yacht Orca and a dredger.  His talk will also cover the wider work of the MAIB and its role in improving marine safety.  Roger, a lifelong sailor himself, has talked to us previously in 2007 and regularly presents to sailing clubs and organisations around the country.

Please come and join us, bring a guest if possible,
All are welcome!

Booking Now!!

May 11th Meeting Hot-Pot Supper
   only £5 per head
(inc. guests)
Hot-Pot followed by Apple Pie & Cream
(Vegetarian option will be available)

Deadline - May 7th