Flag Details




106 Years - Established 1913

See MCA on Facebook

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”

Back to top


Commodore:    mancacommodore@gmail.com

   Secretary:    mancasecretary@gmail.com

©Copyright Manchester Cruising Association

Contact Us


The Association Toast.

January 10
February 14
March 14
April 11
May  9

Bob Cannell & Les Green
Terry McGaul
Sam Llewellyn

The Daniel Adamson Restoration

Return from the Baltic

Britain and the Sea
Hot-Pot Supper +++

July ??th

The ‘Boathouse Summer Dinner’                   7.00 for 7.30pm

Life of a Whaler
No tides on the Baltic…..
Marlin’s Mission

AGM, Maud Trust & The Norfolk Wherry

Sept 26

October 17

November 14 December 12

Katie Murray
Dave & Jeanette Hardy
Dave Selby
Linda Pargeter

Meetings & Events for 2019

Next  Members’ Meeting
Thursday  -  14th of  February 2019
 7.30pm for an 8.00pm start.

SEPTEMBER 2018 MEETING                                   

The ARC+ and a ‘Twizzler’
(Atlantic Rally for Cruisers via the Cape Verdes)

Paul Weinberg

“ARC and ARC+” by our own member, Paul Weinberg, was an informative insight into participating in the Rally (not a race!) organised by the World Cruising Club crossing the Atlantic from the Canaries to St. Lucia. For Paul, it proved to be the epitome of good cruising on board a Hallberg Rassy 40. “Enigma” was a solidly built, comfortable boat, not as speedy as some in their class, but with its novelty headsail – a Twizzler or Simba comprising effectively a double genoa ballooned out like a spinnaker downwind but which doubled up on itself in a more conventional headsail when close hauled.

As most of the trip was off the wind, the mainsail was hardly called upon, self steering under the Twizzler was very much the order of the day leaving plenty of time to eat sleep and drink. The talk was interspersed with two short videos – one of the activities in the Canaries and the other showed the relatively calm sea state, marine life  and a promotional film by sailmaker, Elvstrom, on the merits of the “Blue Water Runner”.

We were introduced to the crew, Diane as owner, Alan, Viv and Paul who between them  shared all the on-board tasks on a carefully planned rota basis covering everything right down to regularly checking the bilges.  Paul outlined the kit needed for such a venture – generator, water making kit, satellite phone, various items of  safety equipment plus Paul’s own sextant.

Arrival in St. Lucia gave rise to hearty celebrations particularly as they came 2nd in their class, some fishy tales from other boats, mid Atlantic transfer of fuel in exchange for masthead repairs and the camaraderie of all fellow participants.
There were many questions on all different aspects of the trip after which Dave Hardy gave an excellent vote of thanks.

Roger Cleland

 The 1,462nd meeting                               

Dr. Deborah Maw

OCTOBER 2018 MEETING                                   

An expedition
around Great Britain

 The 1,463rd meeting                               

Deborah Maw began her talk on “Exxpedition Britain” by introducing herself and explaining her scientific and artistic background. She is a bio chemist who has combined her interest and talent in art as a means of communication with the general public by creating artistic pictures using discarded plastics.
The trip was made by an all female crew of differing sailing/scientific backgrounds (or neither in some cases) on board the former “British Steel” ketch of 72’, but only three of them completed the whole circuit. Setting off from Plymouth where Richard Thompson had first used the term micro plastics, they stopped at the major capital cities of Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh and London bur also stopped in Arran and Stornaway before returning to Plymouth. At each port of call, they held litter picking sessions, meetings and lectures/workshops to highlight just how much plastic was ending up in our rivers and oceans and how the whole food chain was affected. Water samples were taken regularly en-route including using their mantra trawl and the contents were scrupulously analysed and logged. Perhaps the most alarming revelation was just how small the nurdles of plastic were and the extent to which they had settled in the sediment of the seabed at all depths and virtually everywhere.
Deborah’s research also involved canoeing in the Liverpool area both on canals and rivers. Her somewhat gloomy summary was that modern materials are so well established that the best we can do is restrict current and future unnecessary use of plastics, and she offered a number of preventative measures which might help.
There was quite a lively discussion over the future effects of pollution and possible bio-degradable alternatives which we may substitute in the future.
Mike Leahy gave an excellent Vote of Thanks and it linked nicely with his appeal to members to endorse a plastics pledge.

Roger Cleland

NOVEMBER 2018 MEETING                                   

 The 1,464th meeting                               

Queen Elizabeth Class
Aircraft Carriers:
Flagships for the Future!

A presentation by Mark Dannatt

“Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers – Flagship for the Future” was a most interesting and informative talk by Mark Dannatt, formerly chief engineer on the “Ark Royal” and now head of acquisition for the Queen Elizabeth Class project.  The whole talk was interspersed with beautifully shot video footage and expertly delivered narrative.  Mark started with some historical background about British aircraft carriers – the first being “HMS Argos” in 1918, though a bi-plane had been flown from a ship in 1912, to the Royal Navy having 57 by the end of WW2 but now going to rely on just two with a contract being signed in 2008 for initial delivery a decade later.

“HMS Queen Elizabeth” is 280 m long and 70 m wide, 65,000 tons with a crew of 680 but the capacity to accommodate 1,600 including air crew.  She has been built by a variety of British firms, principally BAE, Thales, Babcock and the MOD, around the country (in 6 shipyards and with 75% from UK suppliers) who each contributed to various sections of the ship.  These were transported to Rosyth for final assembly by barge and huge low loader transporters – a triumph for the British shipbuilding industry and an example of close co-operation in the Alliance formed specially for the project.

The brief was basically to squeeze an airfield and all its facilities onto a 65,000 ton ship which unusually had twin island control towers – forward for the ship: rear for aircraft control, electrical propulsion, plus it needed to be bigger than the French carrier “Charles de Gaulle”.

From the 1998 Strategic Defence Review three designs were considered basically around whether to have vertical take-off capability or a catapult system. The first steel was cut in 2009 and the in service dates for the two ships were 2020 and 2022 after some 4266 deliveries of 23 million items. The audience was left open-mouthed at the sheer scale of such an operation with the huge motorised trolleys, immense barges and the close tightness of the dry dock.

Videos showed parts being assembled, massive cranes linking sections together, the ship being turned around by tugs and shunted alongside its berth, sea trials around the Moray Firth and the ironing out of problems with propeller vibration and the odd stress crack. The ship was commissioned on 7th December 2017 and is currently in trials off the east coast of the USA.
There were lots of questions and Geoff Meggitt gave an excellent Vote of Thanks.

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

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





(Click for venue details)

Please feel free to bring guests
Non-member visitors welcome too!

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                               

Return from the Baltic

A presentation by Terry McGaul

Terry will give a full account of his and Nola’s trip last summer from Kiel to Pwllheli, via the Kiel canal, River Elbe, North sea, Dutch waterways, the English Channel and finally round Land's End to home.
It was the culmination of six summers cruising Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Terry won’t shy away from emphasising the things that didn't go so well but will highlight their enjoyment of the many good parts too!.

Roger Cleland