It was wonderful to see so many of you celebrating the start of the new season during the Easter weekend. Even if the weather wasn’t entirely spring-like for everyone, waterside treats from the Easter bunny and a steady stream of hot cross buns emerging from the dock offices certainly set the mood.
What’s more, with a packed schedule of events on and off the water this summer, there’ll be plenty of opportunity to burn off any excess calories all those chocolate eggs.
Here are a few shots of the Easter bunny dishing out treats to members at Torquay (including one young sailor who exchanged all her dummies for an Easter egg!) and Queen Anne’s Battery. The office at Ocean Village was packed with around 50 members who called in to toast the new season with friends old and new.
With winter finally, if reluctantly, giving way to spring, we’re excited about a fantastic summer of cruising and events.
The teams have been hard at work getting the marinas ready. The winter dredging programme is wrapped up – with a £1million investment every year, it’s no small undertaking. In 2016, enough material was dredged to fill more than 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The upgrade at Ocean Village is continuing, with a smart new look and members already enjoying the spa, gym, restaurants and bars at the luxurious Harbour Hotel on the waterfront. At Cobb’s Quay, a new a 40 ton hoist has been installed, meaning larger boats can now be accommodated.
As you’d expect, we’ve been planning our social calendar with as much attention to detail! Big news for this year is Marina Day on June 9th. After the enormous success of the inaugural family open day event at our Sant Carles marina in Spain in 2015 – the popular celebration spread to marinas across Spain within two years – we’re bringing the fiesta to the UK. It’ll be a day of music, food, fun on the water and entertainment into the evening. Don’t miss it.
Just a few of the other social highlights this year include ‘dress as you please day’ at Ocean Village in June (with prizes, of course!), outdoor film nights in July and August at Northney, adventure golf complete with cream teas at Hythe in June, the British Firework Championships at Queen Anne’s Battery in August and a beer and wine festival in September at Bray.
We’re looking forward to welcoming you, do pop into the site offices to say hello and don’t forget to make the most of your Freedom Berthing membership to visit other marinas in the group this season – and maybe even complete the set!
A venture to the far flung west stopping at Plymouth before motoring down to Falmouth for a few days. It has been many years since the Association has gone to Falmouth but we are looking forward to returning.
Helping the next generation to discover the joys of life on the water is something MDL is passionate about. For over 20 years, we’ve supported the Ocean Youth Trust (OYT) South, a wonderful charity that gives hundreds of vulnerable and disadvantaged young people their first taste of sailing.
On May 13th, to raise vital funds, an MDL team will be running (and possibly struggling) around the grounds of Broadlands House outside Romsey in Hampshire for the third annual Romsey Relay Marathon.
Our team is made up of engineers, a HR administrator, our head of marketing and two directors. Team members have varying degrees of running experience, from marathon veterans to complete newbies.
Dan, Ollie, Adrien, Jo, Dean, Jane, Mike and Ben will each run a 2.6 mile leg of the course, competing alongside 130 other teams.
We’d love your support to help us reach our fundraising target of £1,000 and continue to support OYT South and all the incredible work they do. Sponsor us here.
For more information about the charity, visit their website at www.oytsouth.org
Those participating are: Dan Chamberlain (Marina Development Advisor), Oliver Witt (Projects Assistant), Adrien Burnand (Head of Marketing), Jo Meekley (Project Manager - Civils & Marine), Dean Smith (Commercial Director), Jane Whitcher (Payroll & HR Administrator), Mike Glanville (Director of Operations) and Dr Ben Carroll (Assistant Project Manager).
You could WIN a romantic getaway for two in our luxury Woolverstone Lodges by sharing your #LoveIsOnTheWater photos with us on Facebook. Before the winner is announced for that, find out what our marina teams are offering our members for Valentine's Day…
Brixham Marina - Pop into the marina office anytime during Valentine's Day for a sugary pick up of love hearts and chocolate.
Chatham Maritime Marina - Between 6 and 8pm on Valentine's Day, pop into the marina office for a heart shaped chocolate and a glass of bubbly…
Cobb's Quay Marina - For a sweet treat, enjoy some chocolates with the marina team anytime on Valentine's Day.
Hamble Marinas - All day Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, catch up with the marina team over a glass of bubbly and chocolates.
Queen Anne's Battery - Hold out for good weather as QAB are planning on hosting bubbly on the pontoons! If the weather isn't good, then the bubbles will be served in the warmth and dry of the marina office. Either way anytime between 1-3pm on Valentine's Day be sure to head to QAB!
Sparkes Marina - On Hayling Island, bubbles will be available in the marina throughout Valentine's Day.
Thames Marinas - Enjoy coffee and chocolates with the teams in the marina offices of Bray, Penton Hook and Windsor.
Woolverstone Marina - For sweet treats and bubbly head over to the marina office on Valentine's Day.
Mike Fox and his wife Carol are seasoned sailors, having enjoyed sailing and yacht ownership for the last 30 years. After taking early retirement in 2017, the dynamic duo decided to set sail on board their Wauquiez 40 Pilot Saloon with pet budgie, Snowy and cross the Channel to enjoy a spot of cruising on the continent. Mike and Carol made use of the Passeport Escales scheme, which is a free visitor berthing scheme available to MDL Freedom Berthing members that provides access to 124 marinas across the UK, France and Spain.
Mike explains: “After carrying out extensive sea trials in late spring, we waited for a weather window to cross the English Channel from Cobb’s Quay, our home marina in Poole. Once the strong winds and fog had passed, we completed the trip across to Cherbourg in about ten hours.
“We had visited Cherbourg some 25 years earlier, but even for a first-timer, it couldn’t have been easier. As we approached the marina, a harbour master in a dory came out to greet us in English and to find out how long we were planning on staying and the length of our boat. We were led to a berth, where other visitors helped us to tie up. With a cheery wave, the harbour master departed, leaving us to adjust our lines, plug ourselves into the mains electricity and celebrate our first crossing of the year!
“After an hour or so, I popped along to the Capitainniare (the Harbour Office, sometimes known as the Bureau de Port) and handed over my Passeport Escales Card before using my best schoolboy French to request a berth for two nights. The lady on reception inputted our details, asked a few questions and then handed us a receipt for two free nights, along with a goody bag with security codes for the shower and toilet facilities, the free WiFi, a map of the town and details of events and offers. The Harbour Office has lounge facilities with TVs providing local news and weather, along with printed forecasts in both French and English.
“This experience was to be repeated time after time at the other marinas we visited. The level of English varied, but there was never any question about the willingness to help and make life easy for visiting boat crews. The Passeport Escales system is well-tried and tested in France, and with dozens of participating marinas, it’s so much easier than filling in forms at each one.
“Unfortunately stormy weather kept us in Cherbourg and after our two free nights, we paid for our berth, but at a much lower rate than July and August would have been. We made the most of the chance to visit local markets, bakeries, shops and restaurants and we had a very enjoyable and relaxing stay, in spite of the weather!
“Once the bad weather passed, we topped up the water tanks from the taps on the pontoon and cruised on down to Guernsey. Having left the EU, here we had to fill out forms and obtain Customs clearance. We stayed one night before heading on to Lezardrieux in Northern Brittany.
“This is one of our favourite harbours in the region – we have been coming here for 23 years and know the staff well - and once again, we were greeted by the harbour master, led to a berth and settled in. On showing the Passeport Escales card we were provided with a free berth, along with the pass codes for the facilities and then left to our own devices. Daily weather and tidal details were posted in English and French behind the sill.
“From here we travelled to Roscoff, a completely new harbour for us, and the first of many on this trip. We were certainly not disappointed; the scenery was great, dolphins visited us and our route planning preparation paid off again.
“We were met on arrival, and with a through-tide in the marina, the harbour master’s help into our berth was much appreciated. Other boat crews also took lines to ensure it was a smooth arrival and we passed the favour on to the next few yachts that arrived. The facilities in Roscoff are superb – being a new marina, it has all the usual facilities, plus launderette, chandlers, cafe and restaurant on site, plus a free bus service to Roscoff in season.
“As we moved further south, we visited many more marinas under the Passeport Escales scheme and found the standard to be universally high, facilities very good, and if we arrived at peak times, we were usually greeted by the harbour master. We never had any issue with the card and it certainly helped to keep costs down. There were no harbours or ports we wouldn’t go back to, and in fact, some could become firm favourites.
“We reached the Gulf de Morbihan and offlying islands fairly quickly and spent an idyllic month in the area, before journeying north again and heading to Brixham for a family celebration in August, before cruising back over the Channel to Brittany and Normandy for a few more weeks.
“Overall, we travelled almost 1,200 miles in three and a half months and visited dozens of harbours, marinas and anchorages. There were a few bad spells of weather, but these were forecast well in advance, so we were able to hole up in carefully selected ports of refuge, with better shelter and access to shops.
“The Passeport Escales scheme worked really well for us and is a valuable part of our MDL member benefits package. We benefited from around 60 free nights and with so many French marinas on the scheme, there was plenty of choice. We certainly made good use of it this year and will definitely be doing it all again!”
Find out how to become a Freedom Berthing member so you too could tour Europe in style!
Last season MDL saw the addition of 24 new marinas, expanding our network to 124 marinas, across Europe with Passeport Escales - making it the perfect tool for weekend breaks or longer adventures. You can now explore even more of coastal Europe from the luxury of your own boat and it doens't cost any extra; it's included in your Freedom Berthing benefits!
In addition to the UK and Italy, Passeport Escales allows MDL members to explore a stunning array of destinations across France, Spain and now Belgium too. With the addition of Ostend in Belgium, sailors can enjoy the varied landscapes of Europe’s Atlantic coasts, to Porto Deportivo Cangas in Spain, before heading around to our very own Sant Carles Marina on the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.
Over the last year alone our members have benefited from over 15,000 visitor nights across our European network, saving on visitor fees whilst experiencing the joys of sailing further afield. Popular destinations include Cherbourg and Jersey in the Channel and Roscoff in Brittany
From the wild, rugged coasts of the Belle-Île in Brittany, to the cultural hub of Bilbao with its impressive Guggenheim museum, Passeport Escales provides a gateway into Europe that all MDL members can enjoy.
With Freedom Berthing, our members also benefit from fuel at cost, free wifi, discounted boatyard services, great socials and the option to explore the UK’s coastline and waterways in any MDL Marina at no extra cost. Get a quote today!
Or find out how the Foxes got on when they toured the European network.
If you're a planner then we've got good news for you; grab your 2018 diaries and a cup of tea and make note of the fantastic calendar we have in store for you next year!
With members' parties, fireworks, BBQs, fishing competitions, classic car shows, boat shows and open air cinemas, there's plenty for everyone! What's more, even when there isn't a dedicated event on there's always plenty to enjoy in your local MDL marina, so if you ever find yourself at a loose end, it's always worth heading to your boat to see what's on.
See what events are happening at your local marina below, with your downloadable social calendar for 2018, or see what's happening around the network to plan your weekend trips away!
MDL Marinas has launched a unique integrated partnership with leading online boat accommodation platform, Beds on Board, marking its continued position as a pioneer within the marine industry.
In a world-first tie-up between a marina group and a sharing economy platform, the exclusive partnership will provide MDL’s members with a fully managed service to rent out accommodation on their yachts. The platform allows holidaymakers to access unique getaway experiences in unrivalled locations across Europe, whilst offering the boat owner a tried and tested model through which to securely rent out their vessel.
Dean Smith, Commercial Director at MDL Marinas, commented: “Within the tourism industry there is a growing appetite for alternative, unique accommodation and we’re thrilled to offer our members access to this audience through our partnership with Beds on Board. The platform will offer our members a hassle-free, safe and fully-managed approach to book out accommodation on their yachts, helping our members to create additional value through their boat ownership.
“At MDL Marinas our unshakeable benchmark is to maintain a leading position within the industry, so it is essential we continue to evolve and provide access to services such as Beds on Board. Our dynamic network of marinas across the UK and Europe are situated in a variety of stunning locations, affording users of Beds on Board the opportunity to experience a stay on the water and see the local area from a novel perspective.”
Launching in 2015, Beds on Board is a peer-to-peer marketplace that allows owners to rent their boat to guests looking for an alternative to traditional accommodation, such as hotels and bed & breakfasts. Users of the site can search for boats in their desired location, before chatting to the owner through a secure Message Centre. After a stay, both the user and owner are encouraged to write reviews in order to grow trust and the community.
Co-founder of Beds on Board, Jason Ludlow, added: “This exciting partnership shows our commitment to working with the marine industry to help grow the boating community and to help owners offset their costs. We’re looking forward to working with MDL to offer their members a managed solution for renting their boat on bedsonboard.com.”
Existing MDL members can list their boats at bedsonboard.com.