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The Manchester Cruising Association

1913 - November
Several Manchester businessmen with a common interest in sailing convened at the Bush Hotel on Deansgate and agreed to meet on a weekly basis.

1957  At a Committee meeting, the secretary, Mr A J Taylor, suggested that a history of the association be compiled with a view to it’s publication.

1913 - December
A committee was formed and Mr Sawley Brown was elected the Association’s first Chairman.

1915 - A Library was started with donated books, charts and other material.

An outside visit was arranged to the AVRO aeroplane factory hosted by non other than Mr A V Roe himself.

1918 - November
Following the Armistice, The Chairman, F W Hirst esq, entertained members for dinner at the Carlton Restaurant in Brown Street.

The membership fee was raised to 1 Guinea.(£1.05p).
And a Racing Committee was established.

Association meetings were changed from weekly to monthly

The membership fee was reduced to 10 shillings.(50p!).

1929   The Association acquired a 30ft ex-lifeboat and converted it into a houseboat, the ‘Thark’  which was to be moored at Fiddler’s Ferry as a “rendez-vous point for MCA members when the weather is not propituous.”

Dr.F V G Penman represents England at a Snipe Regatta on Lake Leman at Geneva, Switzerland.

At the AGM several members were ‘struck-off’ for non-payment of their subscriptions.

1941  MCA member Mr Crellin reported a) the birth of a son, John and b) the purchase of a new boat.  Members were asked to toast the health of the newly arrived John. The toast was responded to ‘heartily’ but more interest was shown in  the new boat!

1930 - October
The Association toast, “To those who go down to the sea in ships”(from Psalm 107 v23) was suffixed with A safe and speedy return” and has remained so ever since.

It was agreed that the Snipe Section would become Budworth Sailing Section

1957  Budworth Mere becomes flooded with oil when the Stanlow to Northwich pipeline fractured.

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1963  The MCA celebrates 50 years with a talk by Sir Francis Chichester and a Golden Jubilee Dinner Dance for 300 people at Belle Vue in October.

1966  The MCA Vice-Commodore was appointed as a RYA representative on the Sports Council.

1967  Sadly, due to problems agreeing access and other discussions with Manchester Council, it was decided to wind-up the Debdale Sailing Squadron and members moved to sailing waters elsewhere.

1969  The Budworth Sailing Section voted to become Budworth Sailing Club to gain RYA recognition in it’s own right. This then became total  independence with affiliation status with the MCA in 1970.

1979  Lady members are finally granted full membership status and in the same year Margaret Thatcher becomes Prime Minister of the Conservative Government.

1940 - February - Founder member and our first Chairman, Mr Sawley Brown, dies.

 1945 Dr J A Kennedy-Young was elected convenor of   the Snipe Class sailing dinghy committee and 9   members agreed to buy a Snipe at £60 per boat.

 1946 A lease was acquired for the sailing rights on   Budworth Mere near Northwich by Dr J A Kennedy-   Young and thus the MCA Snipe Section was born.   Dinghy racing began on 22nd of September that year.

The GP14 class was admitted to race at Budworth and became over-subscribed within a year.

  The MCA Secretary absconds with all the funds.

1957   The MCA committee decides that the titles of ‘Chairman’ & ‘Vice-Chairman’ be abolished in favour of the titles ‘Commodore’ & ‘Vice-Commodore’.

A lease from the Manchester Corporation Waterworks is taken for sailing rights on Debdale Reservoir at Gorton in East Manchester and the Debdale Sailing Squadron of the MCA came into being.

Lady members were formally admitted to MCA membership in their own right as ‘Associates’ similar to the arrangements in the dinghy sections even though informal memberships had existed since 1930.

1963  June
Dr John Kennedy-Young opens the new Budworth Sailing Section clubhouse

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1969 The passing of founder-member & first secretary, Colonel Robert S Newton is announced to the October members’ meeting.

The MCA celebrates it’s 1000th meeting in November at the City Art Gallery.  250 people attended including the Lord Mayor of Manchester.

2000 To celebrate the Milenium and recognising his enormous contribution to the MCA, Dr Alistair Kennedy-Young becomes Commodore for the 4th time.

1981  Members enjoy an outdoor visit to the RNLI lifeboat at Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey.

2007  MCA temporarily cancels it’s affiliation to the RYA and the members’ meeting venue changes to the Hough End Centre in Chorlton.

The MCA publishes “One Hundred Years of the Manchester Cruising Association” a 124 page tome by Roger Cleland.
A very detailed and fascinating insight into our history. Full of interesting facts which are far too numerous to place on these pages. A ‘Must Read’!
Further details can be found HERE


1988  75th Jubilee Year. Immediate Past-Commodore, Colonel J B Timmins OBE became High Sheriff of Greater Manchester & Commodore Jim Parkin is invited to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party.

Four distinguished members of the White Ensign club were made honorary members to boost the profile of the MCA.

1930  Our first Lady member, Miss Winifred Brown, wins the around Britain ‘King’s Cup Air Race’

1992  Betty Street donates the ‘Street Salver’ trophy to be awarded for the best single titled marine photograph chosen by members present at the AGMs.

Mrs.Colleen Auton is elected the first Lady Commodore.

1996  The membership reaches an all-time high of 363

Author, Broadcaster & former William Hulme Grammar School pupil, Tom Cunliffe, is elected MCA’s first President to celebrate 100 Years of the Manchester Cruising Association.


The MCA holds a Centenary Dinner at the Hough End Centre attended by Tom Cunliffe, Tony Adams(Grandson of our first Chairman, Sawley Brown), Flag Officers & members.


October 12th

105 Years - Established 1913

Dr Alistair Kennedy-Young, Life Member of the MCA, becomes President of the MCA .


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Alan Street, Life Member of the MCA, becomes President of the MCA .


Dr Stuart Thompson, Life Member of the MCA, becomes President of the MCA .


Geoff Meggitt, former commodore of the MCA during 4 separate years including the MCA Centenary Year, becomes President of the MCA .

Geoff is also Chairman of the RYA North West Region


Niall Golding, former Commodore of the MCA, becomes President of the MCA .