The meetings of 2019…

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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

No tides in the Baltic!

OCTOBER 2019 MEETING                                   

 The 1,472nd meeting                               

Cruising to the Swedish Archipelago(2015 – 2019)

“No Tides on the Baltic, Narrow Channels, Secret Anchorages, New Techniques” was a talk given by two of our own members, husband and wife, Dave and Jeanette Hardy in their yacht “Free Spirit”, an MG335. This was a sort of travelogue carried out over several seasons of their journey first of sailing from Liverpool to Norway via the Isle of Man, the Crinan Canal, Fort Augustus, Loch Ness, Inverness and over to the Hardanger Fjord where they overwintered in Northeimsund. With a mixture of video footage and some excellent photos, they captured in a series of cameos the different shorelines, narrow channels and sheltered anchorages that they encountered throughout the whole of the Baltic region.

Having rounded the southern end of Norway, they hugged the west coast of Sweden, made a mandatory stop in Copenhagen and Elsinor, before tackling the open and windy south coast of Sweden and then into a series of superb anchorages sheltered by trees on the east coast, where they soon mastered the stern buoy system of tying up.

Another overwinter stop in Nafvequarns but this time returning by car with the advantage of stocking up on liquid refreshment ! We were shown the delights of sailing amongst the many islands and guest harbours sheltered by narrow entrances some of which had been canalised but even then was there barely enough depth for them to enter gingerly. Linking up with a Cruising Association  mini rally, they then sailed overnight to Latvia and on to Estonia where a “national day” brought out their lines of flags to dress “Free Spirit” overall. Ashore they took full advantage of their bicycles to see the sights and even take in a ballet. From Tallin they sailed across to Vyborg where they took a train to St. Petersburg for a two day visit including the magnificent Hermitage and all its splendours.

Returning along the south coast of Finland whose anchorages were similar to those in the Swedish archipelago, they stopped in Helsinki in a guest harbour and enjoyed a very sociable reception as well as the delights of what was going on in the town. They ended their talk in negotiating the Swedish archipelago and the narrow channel leading to the centre of Stockholm. Sadly, the evening’s time ran out though there were obviously more insights to be revealed from our two most adventurous members.

a presentation by Dave & Jeanette Hardy

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.

Roger Cleland

Getting Started in Yacht Cruising

A reach-out Seminar in conjunction with the RYA

SEPTEMBER 2019 MEETING                                   

 The 1,471st meeting                               

Marlin’s Mission

NOVEMBER 2019 MEETING                                   

 The 1,473rd meeting                               

A presentation by

Dave Selby

“Marlin’s Mission” by Dave Selby, whom sailors will recognise as a regular contributor to “Practical Boat Owner” magazine, was an interesting and very varied talk, delivered with much humour in his own laconic style. Starting with his sailing credentials of 12 Atlantic crossings but in aeroplanes and with the admission that writing for PBO was for people who can’t afford a proper boat, he went on to describe his beloved Sailfish 18 (the Reliant Robin of the seas) which was advertised as a six berth family cruiser (as long as slave ship accommodation was born in mind) but which numbered 800 made.
Based in Maldon in Essex, he described some of his learning experiences in and about the many creeks and river inlets whether afloat or aground stranded on an exceptionally high tide. But the ‘Mission’ was to sail from Maldon to Southampton for the Boat Show where he was offered a stand to promote sailing at the budget end of the market. With tongue in cheek, he suggested that he had been set up by the Professional Golf Association as what he described would force people to take up golf. The 338 mile trip was to be undertaken in short hops, often to the fanfare of great local support from the Sailfish Association or friends and people who joined him. To negotiate the powerful Thames tides and its hazardous sandbanks, he went up into London along the north bank and back along the south bank before creeping along the south coast to Southampton. His stand was deliberately offbeat and zany and he cocked a snoop at some of the high-end cruisers by offering his free tickets to the homeless of Southampton. However, he strongly believed that the introduction to sailing had great potential in redirecting lives that had gone astray.
Dave highlighted a series of old boats which could be purchased for very low prices and which when done up would provide hours of sailing pleasure. This was the way forward for young people and some repair/restoration projects could be a lifeline for down and outs. Old boats, he said, were part of the solution and he cited how sturdy Westerly Centaurs had reduced in price relative to an equivalently priced classic car of the same year.
In his top ten tips in which he promoted his book, “The Impractical Boat Owner”, as a source of learning nothing about sailing, he emphasised buying something small and one which had been produced many times as the best investment.
In the second part of his story, he explained his rare medical condition of Guillain-Barré Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies which paralyses him from the waist down, and his treatment of having antibodies from 800 donors pumped into him over five days every four weeks. What seemed like a depressing aspect to his life, he said it made him buck his ideas up and take on new adventures. Sharing the experience with fellow sufferers, he found them to be humbling and together, buoyed by the wonderful care from the NHS, it had put a sailor in chaos back on the water and proved to be one of the richest experiences of his life: It made him realise just how lucky we are.
Dave’s fundraising over the last three years has raised £15,000 towards further research.
Questions were asked about his dog that died last year, his plans for a future sailing season in the Gulf de Morbihan and his spearheading help, through sailing, for homeless people at an affordable rate.

Niall Golding gave the Vote of Thanks for a very entertaining evening.

Roger Cleland

The Maud Trust &
 The Norfolk Wherry

DECEMBER 2019 MEETING                                   

 The 1,474th meeting                               

with  Linda Pargeter

“Maud’s Story – the Life of a Norfolk Trading Wherry” was presented by Linda Pargeter who had travelled up specially from south of Norwich. In many ways it was part of her own life story spanning over 40 years since she and her late husband, Vincent, had first looked for a wherry to restore. There were examples of wrecks in the Broads, sunken and decayed and considered outdated and worthless. ‘Maud’ which was sunken in shallow water in Ranworth Broad, was in poor condition but salvageable and when pumped out, able to float. So began what had started out in 1981 as a five year plan with a drawing by Vincent eventually became an 18 year labour of love much to the fore.
‘Maud’ was built in 1899 by Hall of Reedham as a trading wherry for Walter Christmas Bunn and like the other hundreds of wherries was destined to carry all manner of goods (timber, roadstone, sugar beet, reeds and general merchandise) across the rivers and broads from Norwich to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. ‘Maud’ changed hands several times, even being used by Jewsons. ‘Maud’s’ first owner sold her in 1908 and she was then used by a succession of general river contractors until she went out of use in the 1960s.
Wherries varied in size but ‘Maud’ was one of the larger ones at 60 feet long, 16’9” wide with a shallow (well ballasted ) draught and an un-stayed 46 foot mast, carrying a large black sail, and capable of carrying 40 tons of cargo. All trading wherries, with the exception of ‘Albion’ were clinker built as in ‘Maud’s’ case. Pleasure wherries were the same hull design as the traders but had a higher roofline and windows beneath. The later wherry yachts had a white carvel hull and a white sail. Trading wherries were crewed by a skipper and mate (who lived in an aft cabin similar to that in a narrow boat). All wherries had a mast that could be lowered in order to pass under bridges and they were only motorised at the end of the wherry era.
‘Maud’ was carefully and meticulously restored – frames were removed and replaced where necessary, some of the clinker hull planks were replaced with timber coming from far and wide. Timber for a new pitch pine mast was brought over from Central America. Eventually ‘Maud’ was recommissioned and in spring 2015 became a registered charity to enhance public education about wherries; to maintain and preserve the boat for the benefit of the public and to provide future training to ensure its use.
Every three years ‘Maud’ is lifted out for inspection and maintenance at Burgh Castle and volunteers repaint the hull and treat the sails with black fence paint!
In this, ‘Maud’s 120th year, a party was held on 19th September to commemorate her birthday and the 20th anniversary of her recommissioning.  Another memorable event was in June when the two remaining trading wherries, ‘Maud’ and ‘Albion’ sailed across Breydon Water, the first time two traders had sailed that stretch of water together for around 70 years. A really interesting insight into an unusual boat after a dogged and loving restoration.

Roger Cleland

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

    “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

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

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.

Members only meeting
and Hot-Pot Supper

 The 1,470th meeting                               

MAY 2019 MEETING                                   

There is no write-up of this  meeting.