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106 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

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

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Commodore:    mancacommodore@gmail.com

   Secretary:    mancasecretary@gmail.com

©Copyright Manchester Cruising Association

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The Association Toast.

Next  Members’ Meeting
Thursday  -  17th of  October 2019
 7.30pm for an 8.00pm start.

The MCA has adopted
the Plastics Pledge!!


The History, Saving & Restoration
of the ‘
Daniel Adamson

Bob Cannell and Les Green

Timothy West and
Prunella Scales

The restoration of the ‘Daniel Adamson’, affectionately known as the “Danny”, was an interesting and detailed account of the steam driven tug boat given by Bob Cannell and Les Green. Built in 1903 for the Shropshire Union Railway and Canal Company, she was originally called the ‘Ralph Brocklebank’ – a tug tender of 173 tons and 110’ long for work on the River Mersey transporting a wide range of goods and some passengers. By 1922 she was acquired by the Manchester Ship Canal to be used as a stern tug and for some corporate hospitality but the growth of the use of lorries heralded its decline as a working boat and it was used increasingly for hospitality and to attract trade to the port of Manchester. In the 1930s she was renamed the ‘Daniel Adamson’ as Ralph Brocklebank had been a keen opponent of the Manchester Ship Canal. The wheelhouse was raised and a promenade deck was added. For the interior, the “in-vogue” art deco style was adopted, copied from the Queen Mary and it continued to work as a passenger facility and tug until World War 2 when it became a firefighting support vessel.

 The “Danny” underwent a major refit in 1953 to continue carrying tours until its last trip in 1984 ( it had been last used as a tug in 1961). But it had become uneconomical and faced an uncertain future as she was first housed in Manchester docks before being moved to the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port. Vandalism and high maintenance hastened the decline to the point where it was destined to be scrapped until a former tug skipper, Dan Cross, approached owner Peel Ports and the Boat museum ending in a deal to buy her for £1 on condition she was removed as soon as possible. It was moved to Sandon Dock for dry dock inspection before being moved back across to Birkenhead, near to where it had originally been built. Under the patronage of Paul Asterbury the “Danny” volunteers achieved charitable status for the restoration project.

In 2015 Heritage Lottery Funding was obtained to the tune of £3.8m to be used over a five year period and tenders were put out for the restoration to begin and bring the vessel back to its 1936 pomp in readiness for educational trips and as a tourist attraction on the River Weaver ( cheaper than the Manchester Ship canal). It is now booked for private parties, educational trips and as a major waterfront attraction, having received a great boost from featuring in TV’s series on Great Canal Journeys. The work goes on as the need for sponsorship and volunteers continues. After questions, Roger Cleland gave the Vote of Thanks on behalf of the MCA.

The vessel survived WW1  and then was sold to the Manchester Ship Canal  to be used a stern tug with her passenger carrying capacity rarely used. Things looked up for her in 1936 when she was given a total refit as the directors’ corporate hospitality launch with fashionable art-deco saloons. She was to carry out that role helping build Manchester into the third busiest port in Britain until withdrawn and sadly neglected in 1984. Saved from the scrap yard and restored in a £5 million project she is now fully operational and registered on the elite National Historic Ships register along side the Cutty Sark and S.S.Great Britain.

JANUARY 2019 MEETING                                   

 The 1,466th meeting                               

Roger Cleland

Bridgewater Canal

Archaeology of the

DECEMBER 2018 MEETING                                   

 The 1,465th meeting                               

Michael is Head of Archaeology at the ELS Centre for Applied Archaeology within the University of Salford and he was recently seen on the Channel 4 programme ‘Great Canal Journeys’ appearing alongside Prunella Scales and Timothy West.

Dr. Michael Nevell, CIfA, FSA.

“Recent Archaeology Work on the Bridgewater Canal” by Dr. Mike Nevell was an interesting insight into what for many members is a feature of our own backyards and yet whose historical significance is often either not known or overlooked.
The Bridgewater Canal was the world’s first industrial canal and became the foundation for future such waterways in Britain, which now 250 years later has been transformed and upgraded into a leisure facility enjoyed by thousands who like to be on or near the water. In 1759, the Duke of Bridgewater conceived the idea of speeding up and increasing the transportation of coal from his mines in Worsley to Manchester where previously lines of pack horses took a day to carry loads and in winter took several days – his barges could carry 20-30 tons at a time. Such was its success that by 1830 there were 4000 miles of canals in Britain having taken the Bridgewater as the template.
Having hired John Brindley for his expertise in water management, the work began in 1759 and the canal from Worsley to Castlefield was opened in 1761. Using a one way system, barges actually went into the mines to be loaded up and then horse drawn to the centre of Manchester. Grain was also carried from the Duke’s agricultural estate and at Castlefield wharf, evidence has been found of limestone, timber, potatoes and groceries being shipped by barge. Once the wharfside warehouses became the template for future similar buildings.This success lasted till after the end of World War 2.
Recent work on Worsley Delph, which has now been transformed into a tourist destination, has revealed new tunnels and sluice gates and odd artefacts from old barges. Today the canal is owned by Peel holdings and is very much a living canal.
There were many questions and the Commodore gave a vote of thanks and presented an MCA commemorative glass.

Roger Cleland

January 10
February 14
March 14
April 11
May  9

Bob Cannell & Les Green
Terry McGaul
from PBO - Sam Llewellyn
Roy Conchie

The Daniel Adamson Restoration

Return from the Baltic

Britain and the Sea
Adriatic to Aegean & back again !

Hot-Pot Supper +++

July 27th

The ‘Daniel Adamson Weaver Cruise’           2.00 for 2.30pm

Getting Started in Yacht Cruising

Sept 26


Meetings & Events for 2019

July 11th

The ‘Boathouse’ Summer Dinner                   7.00 for 7.30pm

No tides on the Baltic…..

Marlin’s Mission

AGM, Maud Trust & The Norfolk Wherry

Dave & Jeanette Hardy

Dave Selby

Linda Pargeter

October 17

November 14

December 12

    “Return from the Baltic” by one of our own most active members and former Commodore, Terry McGaul, was a detailed account of his return to home waters after several seasons sailing around the Scandinavian countries. Asked at the outset to emphasise errors and mishaps, Terry pulled no punches as he explained delays, shortages of parts, oil leaks, unhelpful boatyard personnel, damaged instruments and lock gates not being open when needed.

     So in the summer of 2018, he and Nola (aka.the Cook) left the Baltic with the rather ambitious intention of sailing to Pwllheli - a journey which took some 36 sailing days interspersed with rest-days, sight-seeing and recuperation. From the Baltic they cut through the Kiel Canal to the River Elbe and on to Cuxhaven, surprised at the lack of shipping for such an important waterway. Out into the North Sea, past Norderney, they enjoyed a long fast sail down the coast before joining the Dutch waterways in irder to get to Amsterdam. En route they encountered many attractive towns, automatic bridges, traditional boats on the Isselmeer and huge windfarms before overnighting at Sixhaven marina. The plan to continue to the coast via Stellendam was thwarted by the lock not being open for three days, so they followed another boat down the inland route though navigating blind as they hadn’t envisaged requiring charts for this section of the journey. Once again they found some nice towns  and helpful marinas before emerging into the North Sea at Flushing and then coast hugging down the Belgian coast (Blankenberg, Neuport, Dunkirk –mostly uninspiring) before reaching the nice walled town of Boulogne sur Mer.

      “Cinnebar”, their Vancouver yacht, then cut across the Channel shipping lanes which were not as busy as expected and arrived at Eastbourne. After a brief rest, they then began to coast hop via Brighton, the Solent, Portsmouth (very busy), Poole (very expensive), Weymouth, round Portland Bill to Brixham, Salcombe, Plymouth, Fowey (their favourite), Falmouth and Penzance.

       Terry and Nola were struck by just how attractive and varied the south coast is compared to say the Belgian seafronts and just how much wildlife they encountered – Nola’s sketches adding to some excellent photographs. After rounding Land’s End, they stopped at Padstow before crossing the Bristol Channel to Dale and then onto Fishguard which they liked, Aberystwyth  which they found disappointing and finally to Pwllheli where they were made particularly welcome. It was  a really lovely account full of interest and detail which was well received by members.  Niall Golding gave a Vote of Thanks on behalf of the members.

Return from the Baltic

A presentation by Terry McGaul

FEBRUARY 2019 MEETING                                   

 The 1,467th meeting                               

Roger Cleland




(Click for venue details)

Visitors, Guests, Non-members are all welcome !!

Cruising to the Swedish Archipelago(2015 – 2019)

a presentation by
Dave & Jeanette Hardy

This talk, starting in Liverpool, follows the west coast of Scotland and Caledonian Canal before crossing the North Sea. Then leaving Norway’s west coast and heading south through the Skagerrak & Kattegat to reach their base on the east coast of Sweden. From there they explore the intricate channels and numerous islands of the Swedish and Finnish  archipelagos, the historical towns of Estonia as well as the golden domes and spires of St Petersburg.  

No tides in the Baltic!

an evening with
Sam Llewellyn

‘Britain and the Sea’

MARCH 2019 MEETING                                   

 The 1,468th meeting                               

“Britain and the Sea” by the well known yachting journalist and author, Sam Llewellyn, differed in several ways from our usual monthly talks. The MCA made a special effort in advertising it as widely as possible with 'flyers' and on Facebook and with considerable success as it brought in a good few visitors. The talk did not follow the usual pattern but was more like “An evening with Sam Llewellyn” and highly entertaining it was too!

He began by reprising a telephone invitation by a researcher for the Woman’s Hour programme in which he gave a verbatim account of his tirade about the sea and why people are linked to it. This led to his list of observations about the sea delivered in a mix of both tongue-in-cheek and an acerbic manner reflecting modern fads and fears that others have adopted. Firstly, we live on an island and that’s a nuisance; we look upon the Channel as a moat; the sea has become a motorway for all kinds of vessels and yet our coastal fleet has declined unnecessarily; the sea has been, and is, a battleground and yet oddly we have nearly double the number of admirals for only 31 ships; the sea has become a rubbish dump where local initiatives are more effective than international ones; the sea is a larder but is being trashed by some trawlers; the sea as a historical source with the proliferation of reproduction traditional boats and even his suggestion to Prince Charles that he commissions a new ‘Cutty Sark’ as a Royal Yacht; the sea as a playground has to be enjoyed by all and finally act as a universe of undiscovered wonders.

Sam advocated encouraging anarchy in children with them getting wet at an early age but not the RYA merry-go-round of exams from competent cradle onwards; he questioned travelling from marina to marina as a sort of caravan club; the cost of sailing that can be offset by improvised boat construction like he saw on the island of Yap; the horrors of inboard engines; the benefits of sculling and his 14 day trip without an engine; reliance on GPS (several of them), paper charts, the compass and waves and birds recognition to establish position. In essence the ideal boat is the one you like sailing.

After the interval, Sam talked about the philosophy of sailing from an over complicated view of the sport from La Stampa to the more basic Glenans manual’s  holistic approach and the RYA Skipper instructor’s method of just shouting; the simplicity of colour co-ordinated ropes so that gentle crew can handle them effortlessly; the benefits of heaving-to in order to make a well earned cup of tea; the mysteries or freshwater pools on Tresco and Tenneyson’s poem “The Kraken”. He touched on the importance of safety without crash helmets and steel toe-capped boots; cooking and ship’s biscuits; sea-sickness and the benefits of patches; entertainment where whale watching was better than TV or persuading a crew member to read Stephen Hawking’s 'A Brief History of Time' and finally sailing as the national salvation where simply messing about in boats beats everything.

Terry McGaul gave an excellent Vote of Thanks for a most entertaining evening.    

Roger Cleland

Adriatic to Aegean
and back again !

APRIL 2019 MEETING                                   

 The 1,469th meeting                               

An illustrated presentation by Roy Conchie

It was a treat to have a talk by one of our own members, Roy Conchie, on his continued exploits in the Adriatic and eastern Mediterranean. From purchasing his family boat, a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 43, “Skimming Star”, we were taken on a whistle-stop journey from Pula to Bodrum though his cruising policy was very much in the order of stopping at places en route to see some of the culture and architecture rather than flat out sailing. With his crew of Paul Brotherton, they stopped for shelter on the way to Zadar, then Primosten and on to Dubrovnik. Good weather brought out pilot whales and dolphins but a storm forced them to make for Brindisi in Italy and its difficult entrance. From there they went to Corfu in a day and a night, then on to Orthoni where bumpy conditions urged them to neighbouring Erikoussa for better shelter. Strong winds continued as they went down to Parga, suffering a knock down and then the theft of their dinghy while they were ashore, later retrieved, alas sans laptop (also stolen). As they journeyed south down the Gulf of Patras and on to the island of Trizonia, they discovered that they were taking on water from what turned out to be a ruptured shower hose which they fixed in Kiato. After passing through the Corinth Canal they stopped at Aegina in the Saronic Gulf where unfortunately they lost their main anchor, before weaving between the islands of Kythnos, Naxos, Levitha, Kalymnos and on to Bodrum. With the boat lifted out at the recommended ‘Yat Lift’ boatyard  they sorted out various repairs, brought a new 20kg anchor from home as “sporting equipment” hand luggage and then spent time sailing around the area, enjoying the cosmopolitan town with its castle and English Tower, Black Island – a favourite diving spot – and eventually on to Mamaris via a stop at Pedhi just south of Symi town, which was well worth a visit.
The second part of Roy’s talk centred on chartering in Croatia (having sold his own boat) where there were stop overs at historic Split, the charming port of Milna, picturesque Solta, Trogir with its choice of three marinas, the island of Roganiza, up the river at Sibenik thence to Skradin and its spectacular waterfalls – a romantic setting for his daughter to become engaged. It was a very enjoyable evening with the lasagne supper beforehand and this interesting tour which struck a nostalgic chord with many in the audience. Roger Cleland gave the Vote of Thanks.

Roger Cleland

Getting Started in Yacht Cruising

A reach-out Seminar in conjunction with the RYA

SEPTEMBER 2019 MEETING                                   

 The 1,471st meeting                               

The theme for September’s meeting was “How to start Cruising” with a particular target group of non-members for whom this would be the catalyst. Following a concerted publicity drive there were a good number of visitors though not as many as had originally indicated by email.
The two speakers were our own Simon Temple and Oliver Shaw from Liverpool Sailing Club both - now trailer-sailors though with wide experience of a variety of boats of different ages and materials.
Simon outlined how to get started in cruising by highlighting the major differences from dinghy sailing with the greater loads on sails, an engine to master, navigation and the use of charts, greater distances undertaken. He took us through the various RYA Courses from ‘Start to Sail’ to ‘Yachtmaster’ and detailed where they are held in the North West, but for some people sailing with a friend or on a sailing holiday is the opening.
Oliver talked about different kinds of boat, their drawbacks, likely costs and the options of boat charter, skippered yachts, flotillas, berth charter, boat share and crewing on a friend’s yacht.  Honing in on the North West, he highlighted local clubs, different sailing areas and what was achievable in small boats.
MCA Commodore Geoff Meggitt added to the talks with details of running costs, maintenance, antifouling and club membership.
Hopefully the evening gave food for thought for all our visitors and whetted their appetite as to what MCA membership might offer in the future.

Roger Cleland

Members only meeting
and Hot-Pot Supper

 The 1,470th meeting                               

MAY 2019 MEETING                                   

There is no write-up of this  meeting.

The entire Powerpoint presentation slides from the September Seminar
‘Getting Started in Yacht Cruising’
have been made into a PDF file which can be downloaded by clicking
The file size is approximately 15 Mb.