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105 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”

The Association toast.

January 11
February 8
March 8
April 12
May 10

Dylan Winter
Julian & Vanessa Dussek
Nick Pochin
Jeremy Batch


Keep turning left !!

Ups & Downs of Med Cruising
Poles get closer !!

Waves, Wheels and Sparks
Hot Pot Supper

July 12th

The ‘Boathouse Summer Dinner’               7.00 for 7.30pm

ARC Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
An Expedition around Britain
Queen Elizabeth Carriers for the Royal Navy

AGM & History of the Bridgewater Canal

Sept 20

October 11

November 8 December 13

Paul Weinberg
Deborah Maw
Mark Dannatt
Mike Nevell

Meetings & Events for 2018

Next  Members’ Meeting
Thursday  -  12th of  April 2018
 7.30pm for 8.00pm start

Please feel free to bring guests - Visitors welcome too!




(Click for venue details)

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


Dylan realised that a journey around the world was going to be too expensive….in time & money. But a journey around the UK’s 20,000 mile long outrageously crinkly coastline could be done ‘One piece at a time’ – like the Johnny Cash song !  

JANUARY 2018 MEETING                                The 1,457th meeting                               

Keep turning Left!

with Dylan Winter

“Keep Turning Left” by Dylan Winter was unusual on several counts. He came recommended for his ability to inform and entertain which he accomplished very successfully with a mixture of films and stills of high quality. He began by taking us through a brief history of the different boats that he had owned or sailed with edible prizes for those who guessed correctly.
A cameraman by profession, he whetted our appetites with brief extracts of the “Hamble Scramble” to sailing in Scotland with an alluring range of scenery and wildlife, before starting his odyssey of sailing round Britain in an anti clockwise direction starting at Bembridge on the Isle of Wight.
He chose a Mirror Offshore largely because it was small enough to creek hug single-handed but also because he considered it a boat that was least likely to be stolen wherever he left it and was not very expensive to buy or run.
By the end of the first year he had progressed around the south east corner of England and was exploring the east coast up and down the mud creeks of East Anglia by year two. Once again there were film extracts (his films are available on his website and youtube), capturing the starkness of the scenery and some of the thousands of migrating birds, the icy conditions of winter and his primitive heating arrangements. On the Norfolk Broads we saw the start of the “Three Rivers Race” and an inevitable collision in such confined waters.
Inspired by the duck punts that he encountered, he decided to make his own version between Christmas and New Year in his garage using plywood and the stitch and glue method and an old Optimist rig. Having explored the salt marshes and north Norfolk, he moved through the Wash and up the Humber.

At this stage in his story he changes boats – upgrading to a Westerly Centaur, but true to his earlier criteria, it was an old boat whose dead engine he replaced with an outboard in a well – largely because other members of his family wanted to join him on various stages of his next leg to Edinburgh. But that’s another story… After questions the Commodore gave a Vote of Thanks and presented Dylan with an MCA tumbler as a memento of his visit.

Roger Cleland

DECEMBER 2017 MEETING                                The 1,456th meeting                               

The Building of the Amelie Rose’

Nick Beck

- a journey from city streets to the open seas!

    On the 23rd April 2009 Nick Beck and Melisa Collett, IT specialists in the City of London, departed the capital to start a new life in Dorset. A day later, 300 miles away in Gweek, Cornwall, they watched the manifestation of their dream, a 44 foot wooden pilot cutter called ‘Amelie Rose’ take to the water for the first time.

“The building of the Amelie Rose” was, we came to realise, part of a story captured on TV as the “Hungry Sailors” for which they programme makers chartered the boat. But this was much more – the fascinating story of a successful London banker who gave it all up to follow his dream.
Nick began by whetting our appetites with a video of the launching/ blessing of “Amelie Rose”, but then took us back to his first venture afloat on a lilo with his sister on a rubber duck. Two Enterprise dinghies later, then a Westerly GK29 and a meeting with Melissa, a fellow sailor, and the dream of selling up and going to sea became a reality. Pilot cutters were what he wanted to sail with early experience in “Compass Rose” and “Jolly Breeze” confirming their ease of handling, their speed and being a good sea boat. Sadly it took the death of a friend in the London bombings for them to realise that they needed to act promptly. Having Googled Pilot Cutters and found a builder in Luke Powell, a trial sail was all that was needed to secure a deposit.
The second part of his talk was an account of the building of “Amelie Rose”, starting with three piles of timber (opepe, oak and larch) stacked to dry out for three months. Carefully taking us through the various processes, we saw lofting (with line drawings moving on to a template), rough-cut ribs using the natural bend in the oak, assembling frames every 18 inches and the addition of the keel, stem and stern. When the carvel planking went on it began to look like a boat and reveal its size in relation to a man standing next to it. Deck beams followed and then to the interior fitting of bulkheads, floors, and benches. By 2009 Cornish Douglas Fir was being sought for the spars. Cupboard doors finished off inside work, and the ballasted keel and lead shoe were added before caulking and painting. The final stage was leaving the shed and the completion above decks of the rigging. And there she was in all her glory – 44’ LOA; 13’6” beam; 7’ draught; 24 tons and 1750 sq. ft. of sail.
Finally, Nick took us through a series of graphs relating to expenditure over the project, confidence in the boat, a ‘still to do’ list, happiness in the project and how it was now a thriving charter business. He showed two more film extracts – the maiden voyage from Gweek Creek and a promotional film for Topsail Adventures.
There were lots of questions about finance and committing to realising the dream, future projects, the risks of not holding back and the joy of finding a new rhythm to life. Alan Street gave the Vote of Thanks.

Roger Cleland

“You don’t ‘sail’ in the Mediterranean, it’s overcrowded and expensive”.
  So Julian & Vanessa were told and it’s reasonably true!
They achieved their retirement dream and went down the French inland waterways to the Mediterranean where they spent six years.

FEBRUARY 2018 MEETING                                The 1,458th meeting                               

Julian & Vanessa Dussek

 The Ups and Downs
of Mediterranean Cruising

     “The Ups and Downs of Mediterranean Cruising” by husband and wife, Julian & Vanessa Dussek, was not a catalogue of moments of joy and deep despair (although a damaged hull whilst in Riposto boatyard, which was astonishingly denied, must have been pretty traumatic), but rather an interesting travelogue of cruising from France to Greece, round the western Italian coast and then back up the Adriatic to Trieste – a journey spread over a number of years. Sailing their Southerly 115 ‘Pluto’  which they described as being very comfortable but, with a lifting keel , a little barge-like going to windward. Nevertheless ‘Pluto’ served them well. They set off from Port St. Louis in France and into the Mediterranean after a delay because of the Mistral and edged their way up from Marseille to the Italian border, experiencing marinas which were invariably overcrowded and overpriced, including Cannes during the International Film Festival where super yachts dwarfed their boat. The next leg from Genoa to Riposto in Sicily was only outlined briefly but the highlight was seeing Mount Etna at night with ribbons of red lava running down the hillside. From Riposto they crossed the southern Adriatic to Corfu and into the popular charter boat seas via Petriti, Lakka on Paxos, Levkas and its canal to Kioni, Fiscardo, Ithaka and Sami. They went inland to see the site of Olympia and its ancient temple, some 20 kms from Katakolon – a favourite cruise ship port of call, then on to Methoni with its beautifully lit castle and Kalamata, the olive oil centre of Greece with its unusually well stocked market. Travelling northwards, Julian & Vanessa had an interesting cruise along the coast of Albania and then into Montenegro, with deep inlets which reminded them of Norwegian fijords before getting into the more popular tourist routes of Croatia seeing Korcula, Hvar, Trogir, the Kornati islands and Mali Losinj where Vanessa described some of her father’s wartime exploits. The journey northwards took them to Pula and its magnificent Roman amphitheatre, Rosinj, Porec and Umag with, where appropriate, views of historic remains and shore based facilities. Venice was approached with caution, though a “must see” port, before ending the journey in the beautiful town of Trieste. From there the boat was transported by road back to Valence on the River Rhone before embarking on the canal journey to Calais where it awaits the next adventure. There were a few questions before the Commodore gave a Vote of Thanks and presented them with an MCA  tumbler.

Roger Cleland

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Commodore:    mancacommodore@gmail.com

   Secretary:    mancasecretary@gmail.com

©Copyright Manchester Cruising Association

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2017 Meetings
A new page showing accounts of all the meetings during 2017 can be seen by clicking HERE!

MARCH 2018 MEETING                                The 1,459th meeting                               

“Festina – Lente”

Nick Pochin

Nick Pochin, the owner and skipper of ‘Festina Lente’, a Discovery 55, circumnavigated the World in 2005/7 and wrote his first book "Poles Get Closer" about his life aboard and the 34,000 n miles he travelled.

“Festina – Lente” was a detailed presentation by Nick of one of his long distance voyages undertaken in 2009. By way of introduction he described briefly a circumnavigation of the world during 2005-07 and gave details of his boat, a Discovery 55 which was cutter rigged.    Nick’s port of departure was Holyhead and he made his way down to the Cape Verde Islands, crossing the Bay of Biscay (which lived up to its reputation for rough seas), past Cape Finistere to Logos for a crew change and then on to Funchal, Madeira in time to see a gathering of tall ships. The next leg of 1400 nmiles took them across the south Atlantic towards Brazil, via the Fernando Islands, arriving at  Sao Paulo where they encountered many different landscapes and wildlife before a stopover at Mar del Plata (Argentina’s premier beach resort) for a trip inland.

Stanley on the Falkland Islands brought back many strong memories of the conflict there, but seeing minky whales and emperor penguins offset this. Choosing a weather window they negotiated the Beagle channel but an engine problem almost resulted in a collision with a tanker. As with many others, Cape Horn offered calm seas with only 3 knots of wind and after having their passports stamped accordingly they headed west into the Pacific before cutting back to Valparaiso to avoid very strong winds and carry out some essential repairs. Taking a trip to Santiago afforded them the sights of dramatic almost Alpine like scenery. Onwards and up the Chile coast to Peru and another trip inland this time to see Machu Pichu with the Aztec ruins and more beautiful wildlife.
The Galapagos Islands were the next port of call and the inevitable encounter with their giant tortoises, then onwards to Acapulco which was shut down due to an epidemic but where they were allowed to berth. They followed the North American coast up to San Diego and then San Francisco which, because of the fog, hid its spectacular bridge and made Alcatraz seem even more cut-off. The next stop was Vancouver where they took the inshore passage to Glacier Bay and saw some of the best wildlife of the whole trip (bears and salmon) against a backdrop of mountains and waterfalls.
The journey back south was described all too briefly as we seemed to rush from seeing the Grand Canyon, down to El Salvador, Costa Rica and the intimidating Panama Canal passage. They left Panama heading across the Caribbean Sea to the ABC Islands for more repairs before sailing north to Antigua, the Bahamas, Bermuda and then the long stretch across to the Azores, Madeira and Logos in Portugal.
Questions followed about the boat, the cost per day, the ideal number of crew and favourite places visited. Geoff Meggitt gave the Vote of Thanks and Nick received an MCA tumbler as a memento.

Roger Cleland

Waves, Wheels & Sparks

an illustrated talk by
Jeremy Batch

We can no longer find our way to the shops – let alone across an ocean – without daring to rely on a power source that has come a long way since it was demonstrated to Napoleon but still lets us down at just the wrong moment.

This is the story of radio and radar, Decca and Loran, Transit and GPS plus the many other electrical, electromechanical and electronic devices that we have invented and discarded, or become totally and perilously dependent upon for communication and navigation.

Including: how a children's toy known to the ancient Egyptians has steered ships, missiles, submarines and spacecraft, enabled us to drive cars on the Moon without satnav or compass (but with a little extra help from the Vikings) and is miniaturised inside your phone and beneath the wings of a fruit-fly.

-  Sailing into the Electrical Age!!

Jeremy makes a very welcome return to the MCA  having delighted us with his entertaining & well researched presentations.