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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

“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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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

Photography for Yachties & Hot Pot Supper

Sydney to Hobart Race 2016
From Canada to Pwllheli
Journey to the ends of the World

AGM & Building the ‘Amelie Rose

Sept 21

October 12

November 9 December 14

July 13

The ‘Boathouse Summer Dinner’               7.00 for 7.30pm

Richard Stain
Nerys and Rob Kimberely
Clare Thorpe
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.

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

Next  Members’ Meeting
Thursday  -  21st of  September 2017
 7.30pm for 8.00pm start

The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2016

A presentation by MCA member Richard Stain

Richard and a couple of mates managed to get themselves a boat, (Samskara, a Beneteau 47.7)  get it Cat 1 accredited, took on some extra crew, enjoyed Christmas in Sydney, and of course the race itself.

After the break, Karen Partington will tell us about her amusing experiences whilst doing the RYA Day Skipper Practical Course
and other anecdotes.

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




(Click for venue details)

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


In introducing his talk on “Sailing Accidents – Investigations and Lessons”, Roger Brydges reminded us that it was ten years since his last visit to the MCA though only a handful of those present had attended at that time. Roger outlined the beginning of the Maritime Accident Investigation Branch which was set up following the “Herald of Free Enterprise” ferry disaster off Zeebrugge in 1987 and whose brief is to act as a separate body to investigate marine accidents without any role in pursuing legal litigation. The reports that they publish establish in detail the facts and offer recommendations as to future avoidance. So the “what we do”, “how we do it” and “why we do it” revolved around a number of different case studies Roger had chosen to illustrate the scope of the MAIB’s work.

APRIL 2017 MEETING                                The 1,451st meeting                               

Sailing Accidents – Investigations & Lessons

a report by Roger Brydges of the M.A.I.B.

Based in Southampton with a staff of 36, the team is split into 4 colour groups each of 4 inspectors together with additional support staff and technical advisors. They investigate accidents involving UK flagged vessels anywhere in the world, any vessels in UK waters, merchant ships of all sizes where foreign countries lack the necessary infrastructure to investigate as well as fishing vessels and recreational craft both commercial and privately owned. They set the atmosphere, gather and safe-guard evidence, interview extensively those involved, follow up with equipment testing and/or forensic testing but do not prosecute even where there are fatalities or errors of competence and judgement. For each investigation the pattern is to deploy to the site, interview, debrief, follow up, produce a written report including recommendations, allow a 30 day consultation and subsequently publish a report. The examples that Roger chose ranged from speed boats to freighters, modified fishing boats, to racing yachts with two particular accidents – one where the skipper went overboard but drowned whilst still attached to the boat highlighting all the problems of the recovery of an unconscious person from a rough sea. The other of a collision where the yacht was driven backwards at speed , filling the hull with water and trapping  a crew member with fatal consequences. So often, the cause was human error, lack of preparation, over ambitious sailing plans, failure to operate a proper watch system, even sometimes an over-reliance on modern electronics.  Roger answered a number of questions and Alan Street proposed the Vote of Thanks on behalf of the members.
                                                                  Roger Cleland.

MAY 2017 MEETING                                The 1,452nd meeting                               

Advances in Digital Photography that benefit the Yachtsman

Followed by the ever popular MCA Hot-Pot Supper
together with the Commodore’s Quiz

Roy Conchie’s talk on digital photography was a clever mix of the technical, informative and eye opening in the breadth of possibilities that modern cameras can offer. His starting point was prompted by the low entry to the MCA’s photo competitions and how what may seem ordinary photographs can be transformed into something better.

Different types of camera were discussed including Smartphones and Go-Pro action cameras as he took us through a timeline of colour photography from its early 1861 “tartan ribbon” to Leicas 35mm film and then on to the digital age.

He discussed the many bundled features of a modern digital camera from the video function, wi-fi connection, image stabilisation and to the wide ranging editing effects amongst others. Even more sophisticated were some of the sensor updates offering low light, wide angle, broader tone range and a higher pixel count. Roy showed us how cropping could enhance what seemed like an ordinary shot, the benefits of a wide angle lens for better perspective both in depth and height and what the range of f numbers meant in terms of light admitted to the shot.

For the point and shooters” among us, we were left with a fresh look at our possible future shots and also a feeling of awe of where the ever more complex cameras are taking us. Lets hope his challenge for more entries to the photo competitions in November bears fruit.
                                                                                                  Roger Cleland

MCA member Nicholas Lever has been sailing solo around from Whitby to Maryport via the Caledonian Canal, a section for which he was accompanied by his wife. He’s doing a blog of the trip with some videos. Please visit this link   http://withthetide.com  to see how they got on.

The logistics of getting to the start line are quite daunting, much more so than for the Fastnet race.  Happily, being recently retired he had the time and ability to navigate the minefields.

They had less than one week with all crew for training, plus a boat that they’d only seen a week before so the pressure was on!  The race start on Boxing Day is just the most exhilarating and exciting thing ever, with the knowledge that most of Australia is watching.

A Near-Death Experience(for Frank!)

followed by