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!
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.
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.
A 110 year-old wooden screw lugger, believed to have been originally built for the Marquis of Bute in 1907 by John Adams & Son in Greenock, was successfully raised from the depths of Bray Marina in Berkshire by River Canal Rescue (RCR) engineers recently.
Sgùr Urain - named after the battle cry of the Clan MacRae and derived from Sgurr Fuahan, one of five mountains at the base of Loch Duich - has been in current owner Simon Jones’ family since the 60s when his father, visiting Scotland on holiday, found her laid-up on the beach and bought her off a local fisherman.
Designed to navigate the lochs of Scotland, Sgùr Urain only draws four feet and was originally powered by a petrol paraffin engine, using internal ballast to balance the lug sails she would have carried for steadying out in the open sea. Her hull is constructed of 36ft lengths of splined pitch-pine with a teak deck and teak housing. As with all wooden craft, Sgùr Urain requires continual work and renovation to ensure she remains in excellent condition.
In July Simon took her out of the water to replace a section of keel. Having been out of the water for a protracted period in hot weather, when re-floated there were, as expected, a number of leaks as the wooden planks took up water to seal the dried-out hull. Despite stabilisation by bilge pumps - and the staff at Bray Marina keeping a very close watch - a failure of the pumps overnight lead to her rapid sinking whilst at her mooring before the wooden hull had become water-tight.
Simon comments: “I was advised by a diver that air bags couldn’t be used to raise the craft as there was a very high risk the pressure would cause the hull to collapse due to her shape and weight and, while a barge crane was an option, it wasn’t available for at least a couple of weeks and came at very significant cost and risk of damage. I then came across River Canal Rescue and their engineers and support team were brilliant.”
RCR used a novel technique to raise Sgùr Urain within four hours – this involved making a plywood box to put over the front access hatch to create a vacuum, sealing the boat and then using high-pressure pumps to remove the water and refloat the vessel.
Managing director, Stephanie Horton, explains: “The key to a successful refloat is in the preparation and ensuring the vessel is sealed before attempting to pump out. Our engineers also ‘first-aided’ the engine whilst on site to prevent corrosion and ensure that it would be functional in the future.”
Simon continues: “The speed at which RCR took control of the situation was unbelievable - the engineers were practical and reassuring, they weren’t fazed by anything, they explained everything and knew exactly what to do to rescue the boat and prevent further damage to the engine.
“When you see a boat of this age in such distress, your main concern is what damage might be caused during re-floating and it was extremely reassuring to have access to such skills and expertise and an enormous relief when she was back afloat with no damage from the process. I look forward to getting her cleaned out and back to how she was.”
Roma McGurk, Duty Manager at Bray Marina, echoes these sentiments: “Sgùr Urain has been moored with us since 2009; the boat is a crucial part of our heritage so it was important to raise it with as little damage as possible. RCR certainly delivered on this and while we hope our members won’t have to call on their services again, it’s good to know their engineers are on hand to help when needed.”
Stephanie concludes: “We’re so pleased we could be of assistance to Mr Jones, our approach to this refloat managed to save him a lot of distress and expenditure.”
To find out more about River Canal Rescue visit www.rivercanalrescue.co.uk or call 01785 785680.
We are delighted to announce that we have installed a second wave of Tesla charging points within our UK Marina network, following the success and excellent feedback received from our members after the initial launch last year.
The new units have been installed at the following marinas:
Type 2 Universal chargers can also be found next to our Tesla chargers (excluding Windsor and Penton Hook Marina), allowing ease of access for other models of electric cars.
Last year’s installation saw us become the inaugural UK marina operator to feature the charging points and we strive to be an innovator in the industry. We’re fully committed to ensuring our members enjoy an unrivalled service, enjoying the latest technology and benefits as part of their berthing package.
Adrien Burnand, Head of Marketing at MDL Marinas, commented: “We are always striving to find new ways to add value to our member experience and recognise the increased demand for electric vehicles and charging points, as the industry evolves.
“Following last year’s UK launch and the popularity of the chargers, we are delighted to be introducing electric charging points at more of our marinas. The installation offers our members greater flexibility, as well as a marina experience which recognises the importance of providing sustainable and environmentally-friendly travel options.”
MDL Marinas, Europe’s leading marina operator is today launching an exciting charitable initiative which will see its team and members raise money for Ocean Youth Trust South by rowing a combined total of 910 miles to help raise funds.
The company initiative has been created after being inspired by the Land Rover BAR team who, in preparation for the recent races, rowed a total of 910 miles in seven weeks.
To conquer the challenge MDL will install rowing machines across 11 of its marinas starting in Northney, Queen Anne’s Battery and Penton Hook, where team members and customers will be challenged to row as far as they can to raise funds for such a worthy cause. Rowing machines will be installed in the marinas from 13th June.
The rowing challenge will culminate at Southampton Boat Show which starts on 15th September with a final ‘row in’. One rower will be on our stand to give people a chance to show what they can do and go head to head against their friends, all in the name of a good cause.
Ocean Youth Trust South is a Hampshire-based charity which specialises in using an ‘Adventure Under Sail’ concept to help young people develop confidence and the essential problem solving skills needed to succeed in life. MDL Marinas and Ocean Youth Trust South first came together in 1987 to create the Sail Training Awards, which recognise the outstanding efforts of young people who have faced exceptional challenges, or have gone above and beyond to support others.
Adrien Burnand, Head of Marketing at MDL Marinas, commented: “The 35th America’s Cup may have come to an end for Land Rover BAR but what an incredible journey and one that MDL is honoured to be part of. The training begins now for 36th America’s Cup which we fully support. We are all very excited about the rowing challenge and are looking forward to seeing all of our team, as well as many of our willing members, row up a storm in one of our 11 UK marina locations.”
If you would like to donate or find out more, visit our MDL Row to Sail charity challenge page.