Share the love! Join us for chocolates and a glass of bubbly on Valentine's Day in the marina office.
Organised by First Class Sailing, who are based at MDL's Shamrock Quay in Southampton, berths are available on a Challenger 72 sailing from Antigua to Portsmouth.
Departing on 4th of January 2019 and expected to take 35 days, the adventure will cover 3500+ miles. Crossing this way round is proper ocean sailing and will be a challenge at times, mainly due to the weather systems you may encounter, and the temperature getting cooler rather than warmer. However, it will be great sailing and very rewarding.
The plan is to head north to get away from the easterly trade winds and into the more favourable westerlies. Whilst not guaranteed it is more than likely you will have a brief stop in the Azores. You will likely be pushed on this trip but the sense of satisfaction when you get to the UK will be huge!
Included in the trip is a training weekend out of Portsmouth in December.
The Challenger 72 was built to race across oceans but is still comfortable and spacious down below. She is a solid and safe yacht, meeting all MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) safety coding requirements.
The price is £1,695.75 (Including a 15% discount of £299.25) for MDL members and includes the training weekend, all food on board, fuel, mooring fees, custom entry fees and insurance - just about everything except food and drink ashore.
If you have any questions about this adventure, or queries about flights/hotel bookings, please call the office on 023 8001 1077, or visit the First Class Sailing website for more information.
What have fishing, cakes and mysterious celebrity lookalikes got in common? In this case they were all things which our network organised to raise money for our chosen charities. Between us, we’ve raised over £9,000 – a fantastic achievement.
We’ve had so much fun raising the money: here are just a few of the highlights.
Cobbs Quay Marina’s fundraising activities over the past 12 months included a fishing competition, a golf day and a summer party raffle. Members and staff raised a brilliant £3,133 for Julia’s House. This is a children’s hospice which provides practical and emotional support for families caring for a child with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition.
Torquay Marina raised a wonderful £2,025 for 2 Mikes 1 Boat. This was achieved with a wealth of activities including raffling a giant Easter Egg, and donating all stall pitch fees on Marina Day, plus charging for having photographs taken with a celebrity lookalike. (Hint: it wasn’t the real Stig). 2 Mikes 1 Boat is an epic rowing adventure where two men, named Mike, will row across the Atlantic in aid of Prostate Cancer UK and the StandUp Foundation which tackles bullying. The 2 Mikes journey begins in December 2018.
Over £380 was raised for Macmillan Cancer when Shamrock Quay hosted a Great British Bake Off. Cakes were crafted by members and marina staff and the delicious products were enjoyed by all (including a few Paul Hollywood lookalikes) while supporting the charity which campaigns for better cancer care.
The team at Ocean Village Marina raised £170 for The Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity, and £50 for Prostate Cancer UK from collection tins located within the Ocean Village Marina office.
And lastly, Queen Anne’s Battery Marina raised over £500 with a summer members party - all in aid of the Plymouth RNLI.
At TheYachtmarket.com Southampton Boat Show, we also raised £3,000, to be split between the Blue Marine Foundation and Ocean Youth Trust South. MDL members and guests bought tickets for a daily raffle featuring prizes such as Crewfit 180N Pro lifejacket from Crewsaver and a spa package courtesy of Towergate Insurance, as well as many other terrific prizes from other sponsors such as Mistral Hayling Ltd., Clean2Gleam, Salcombe Gin, West System International, Hamble Point Yacht Charters, and Musto. Members also donated money for refreshments during a daily charity hour.
There are lots of activities which take place all year round. Find out more about your marina’s social calendar, and other events, by visiting their social media pages.
There’s no need for the end of the summer to be the end of your sailing season says Jake Kavanagh, yachting journalist. If you follow these top tips, you’ll be comfortable whatever the weather brings.
Why put the boat ashore when there is so much great cruising to be had during the winter? Many berth-holders are now opting to keep the boat afloat from November onwards, and only have a brief lift out in early spring to scrub-off and change the anodes.
As one sailing instructor remarks: “With modern clothing, great insulation and blown-air heating systems, there is no real end to the boating season.”
Extending the boating season is one of MDL Marinas’ specialties as its extensive network offers some really attractive winter berthing packages, with fully serviced pontoons allowing a boat to be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Dry stack customers are particularly good at making the most of a sunny winter’s day, as one phone call has the boat afloat and waiting for them as soon as they arrive at the marina.
The speed of service means that when settled weather arrives, those crisp, sunny days can be exploited to the full, even though the daylight is relatively short. It’s been known for UK boaters to go sailing in T-shirts in January when a clear sky allows the sun’s radiant energy to warm the decks, with perhaps a gentle southerly breeze wafting up from the Sahara. As winter boaters cruise along the coastline, they will find popular summer anchorages largely deserted, harbour moorings plentiful, and vast expanses of water with not another boat in sight.
So although daylight hours are shorter the spirit of exploration and adventure can remain the same, especially if owners take advantage of schemes like MDL’s Freedom Berthing. This offers complimentary stays in over 120 marinas in the UK, France, Italy and Spain allowing passages between marinas during the short hours of daylight before enjoying all the comforts of home at your destination.
Here are some top tips to get the most from your boat with off-season cruising:
1: Have the right clothing
Most boat owners already have a good set of wet weather gear, but it pays to invest in a layered system underneath. Many manufacturers have their own dedicated system of breathable fabrics for maximum effect. Several thin layers beneath a fully waterproof outer layer are much better at trapping heat than a couple of thick ones. Most heat is lost through the head, so don’t forget a comfortable wooly hat!
2: Keep a well-stocked galley
Winter sailing requires regular hot food and drinks, especially on a longish passage. One-pot meals are always popular, and usually comprise of tinned ingredients that can be poured into a pan, heated quickly, and served in a bowl so it stays warm in an exposed cockpit. There are plenty of good cookbooks that suggest these instant meals.
3: Switch to propane
Boaters who cruise all year round – or who are planning a blue water adventure - often change their cooking gas from butane to a propane system instead. This is because propane has a higher calorific value and freezes at a very respectable minus 40oC, whereas butane succumbs at just minus 4oC. If there was an overnight frost, the butane in the regulator would freeze and there would be no gas until it had thawed. Propane, however, will still light easily, even if the sea itself has iced over! Most cookers will happily use either gas, although a different regulator will be needed. Long range cruisers often carry both types of bottle and regulator to cover their options.
4: Keep those fingers warm
Cold fingers stop working very quickly; not good when it comes to handling ropes. Invest in a good pair of gloves, and keep those extremities warm. Fingerless gloves are a sort of compromise in summer, but ideally the finger tips should be protected at all times in cold weather. A mitten works well, as you can still steer, throttle and wind winches, but the hand can be easily slipped out of it for tasks requiring more dexterity.
5: Embrace the hot water bottle
The hot water bottle is a major asset afloat. Choose a fleece-lined one, and keep it tucked under your jacket to warm the inner core. Also great at night – as the thicker the bottle’s coat, the hotter the water you can use and the longer it will stay warm. They are great around your feet under the duvet if you haven’t got a heating system.
6: Why not fit blown air heating?
Talking of which, why not fit a blown air heater? Arguably the safest way of heating a boat, it is free from potential carbon exhaust emissions within the cabin. (Running the gas stove all night is highly dangerous, unless there is excellent ventilation, which rather defeats the object.) A blown air heater burns small amounts of diesel from the boat’s main tank, with the combustion gasses exhausted over the side. A small electric motor then drives the hot air from a heat exchanger throughout the accommodation. A good tip is to insulate the heating duct between outlets, and to reduce the diameter of the duct as it travels further from the heater to maintain velocity. (The duct can be left un-insulated as it passes through hanging lockers to help damp clothing to dry). Check out products from manufacturers such as Eberspacher and Webasto, to name just two, with prices highly competitive due to the volumes made for the trucking and RV industries.
7: Indulge in a luxury sleeping bag
Warm bedding will make a big difference to your comfort afloat, so look for winter sleeping bags or duvets with a high tog rating. This rating is a measure of thermal insulation, and the higher the number, the warmer you will be. A lightweight summer duvet, for example, will have a tog rating of between 3.0 to 4.5. A spring/autumn-weight duvet will score between 7.5 to 10.5tog, and the one you will want for mid-winter will be between 12.0 to 13.5.
8: Run a dehumidifier
Condensation can be a problem in the winter months, especially when the warm air inside the boat meets the windows. With little insulation from single-pane glass (although you can make insulated covers) the cold air outside promotes condensation and can cause annoying runs. The same thing can happen on uninsulated headlinings.
If you are taking advantage of MDL’s Freedom Berthing, you can expect to connect to shorepower every night and run a small dehumidifier. These inexpensive machines strip all the excess water from the air and transfer it to a built-in reservoir, whilst some can drain directly into the galley sink. It is best to get a reputable make, and keep an eye on it, as some cheaper ones have been known to burn out if used excessively. Even a relatively small unit will make a big difference aboard and some 12-24V versions are also available for use at anchor.
9: Get the most from Freedom Berthing
MDL’s complimentary berthing scheme allows you to check out marinas in the UK and participating marinas in southern Europe with a series of free visits. In addition, some of MDL’s marinas have partnered with hotels ashore, such as Southampton’s Ocean Village and the 5-star Harbour Hotel within the marina complex. If your partner is reluctant to sail in the midst of winter, then a stay ashore in such luxury should make a chilly sail worthwhile.
Plus, when you use MDL’s network, you’ll benefit from 24/7 marina staff and security, and great onsite restaurant and bars. All the marinas are experienced with looking after off-season cruisers, and offer warm showers, warm clubhouses and a warm welcome.
10: Don’t forget to take pictures
The winter offers some dramatic seascapes, with brooding skies, glassy reflections and spectacular sunsets. For those who hate getting up early, then the late sunrise is rarely missed. Keep your phone and camera handy, as the winter offers some excellent photo opportunities. If you are into astronomy, then crisp clear winter nights reveal the magnificence of the Milky Way and other northern constellations away from the light pollution of towns and cities.
11. Keep the tender available
The downside of a winter cruise is that some of the summer services, such as a water taxi, may not be available. Make sure your tender is accessible and easy to deploy, as this will allow you access to the shore when you have no choice but to anchor off. However, such will be the lack of crowds that some quayside pubs and restaurants may also throw in alongside overnight berthing even through they usually have strict time limits during the summer. The dinghy is also a great way to go creek crawling, and explore those places you missed during the season. But if you’re staying at an MDL marina you obviously won’t need a tender as you can step straight from boat to pontoon.
12: Take a course
Many sea schools do a brisk trade off-season as students like being able to practice their skills in empty harbours and anchorages. There are very few onlookers, and plenty of room to manoeuvre. Another big advantage is the short daylight, allowing them to practice night navigation for several hours and still manage to get back in time for a leisurely pub supper. Prices are generally cheaper, too, and will allow new boaters to gain confidence and skills before the busy summer season. MDL marinas always has a list of approved RYA sea schools available, with many operating out of each marina. Ask the dockmaster who they can recommend. Or visit www.mdlmarinas.co.uk/services-directory
And that’s it. You’ve invested a lot of money in your boat, so make the most of it by enjoying every fine day during the winter.
We’re delighted to announce a great package of winter offers across our extensive marina network, offering boat owners excellent quality and great value berthing, dry stack, lifting and storage packages. With these winter offers, boat owners can put their minds at ease as the nights draw in.
Highlights of the offers include savings of up to 40% on winter scrubs and storage ashore at a number of boatyards including Hythe Marina Village in Southampton and Queen Anne's Battery in Plymouth. Great-value short term berthing is available in the finest UK marinas, including the chance to enjoy three months berthing from just £649 at Shamrock Quay in Southampton, available on boats up to 8m.
“It’s very important to keep your boat well maintained, especially during the winter season when it tends to be used less frequently and is most at risk from adverse weather conditions,” says Adrien Burnand, MDL’s head of marketing.
“Our lifting and storage packages give owners the chance to carry out essential maintenance work and prepare their boat for next season. For those seeking a safe and secure home for their boat during the winter months, our berthing packages give peace of mind with boats looked after around the clock. We’re always keen to welcome new members too. Offers like these are a great way to come aboard our network, experience our renowned customer service and get a really good feel about what we offer. Once owners have taken advantage of a winter deal, we’re very happy to talk to them about what we can offer year-round.”
Read more about our full range of winter offers.
MDL Marinas has appointed Towergate Insurance as its new insurance partner for members’ boat insurance, offering comprehensive cover that stretches across its entire network of 124 marinas.
Highlights of the new insurance being offered include no excess fees when a claim is made for an incident within an MDL Marina, and up to £1,500 for repatriation / loss of use. Also covered in the Towergate Platinum Cover is cover for a single tender, loss of keys, misfuelling and legal expenses plus many more factors.
Additionally, MDL’s Beds on Board scheme which enables members to reap economic benefits from their berthed boats through a bed rental scheme can be covered.
“MDL members deserve peace of mind, whether that’s while berthed or out enjoying their boat,” says Adrien Burnand, MDL’s head of marketing. “That’s what we’re giving them with Towergate, an enhanced product over anything we’ve offered before. For example, Freedom Berthing is the most innovative marina berthing product available to boaters allowing them to explore our impressive network at no extra cost, and we wanted to complement our members’ spirit of discovery with an equally innovative insurance product and service. Whether customers are renting out their boat via our Beds on Board scheme, or enjoying a few weeks exploring the Med in our marinas, we want them to rest assured that they’re being covered by the best.”
For more information about the benefits offered to MDL members, please click here.
Six deserving young people who won a place on the 31st MDL Sail Training Awards voyage will be officially presented with their trophies by Lord IIiffe, on Thursday 20th September at 2pm (stand E52). The youngsters returned from their trip earlier this year after spending five days at sea with the Ocean Youth Trust South, on the incredible tallship Prolific.
The MDL-sponsored awards, which have been running for 31 years, offer admirable young people - carefully selected due to their exceptional accomplishments, or for overcoming adverse personal circumstances – the opportunity of a lifetime aboard the sail training ship.
The passage commenced from MDL’s Ocean Village Marina and the team made their way down to Dartmouth, being taught along the way how to sail the vessel, before circling back along the coast. During sailing, the team carried out drills such as rescuing a man overboard and pilotage planning, whilst having plenty of fun in between. Upon returning to shore, the young sailors deservedly earned a ‘Royal Yachting Association Start Yachting Certificate’.
Adrien Burnand, Head of Marketing at MDL Marinas, commented: “Our Sail Training Awards are a hugely important initiative for us, which we have undertaken with Ocean Youth Trust South for an amazing 31 years. It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip for those selected, honouring them for their remarkable achievements at such a young age. We look forward to this day at Southampton Boat Show each year, as it’s a fantastic chance to hear all of the stories and see what an inspiration the trip has been for everyone.”
Mark Todd, Chief Executive of Ocean Youth Trust South, added: “Over the last three decades years we have met many truly inspirational young people through the MDL Sail Training Awards. Throughout the 31 years, MDL Marinas has given us tremendous support, the MDL award winners are always highly deserving and inspirational young people and this year’s winners were no exception.
“We have a long track record of using adventure under sail to give young people the skills to succeed in life – the skills that individuals, families, schools, employers and communities need – and MDL’s generosity plays a key role at the heart of all our work.”
MDL Marinas is delighted to reveal that within its hospitality lounge overlooking the main boat show marina (E052), Salcombe Gin will be hosting daily taster sessions and teach the art of distilling, while the five-star Southampton Harbour Hotel spa team offers complimentary head, neck, and shoulder massages.
Known across its extensive network of over 120 marinas for its excellent customer service, prime locations and top of the line facilities, MDL Marinas is applying its key ethos of relax, enjoy and discover to its stand at TheYachtMarket.com Southampton Boat Show.
“We’re recreating the excellent experience people enjoy at our marinas,” says Dean Smith, commercial director for the European-wide group of marinas in UK, Italy, France and Spain. “There’s always something exciting happening onshore, so it makes sense to continue that at Southampton Boat Show. We’re delighted to be welcoming two partners to the stand.”
Salcombe Gin, a traditional copper pot, one-shot distiller based in Devon, will host a tasting session every day between 4 and 5pm on MDL’s stunning members’ waterside hospitality lounge. Distillery demonstrations will take place on both Sundays (16 / 23 September), and Wednesday (19 September) between 3 and 4pm.
Southampton Harbour Hotel's HarSPA, will also be offering complimentary head, neck and shoulder massages throughout the show, as well as foot pampers. Known for their deep tissue massages to ease muscle aches and areas of tension, HarSPA therapists offer Lava Shell, Bamboo and Lomi Lomi massages in the five-star hotel.
Relax, enjoy, discover
MDL is looking forward to welcoming over 4,000 members and their guests to its stunning waterside hospitality lounge. Visitors are encouraged to use the area as a meeting place, or somewhere to take a well-deserved break. With free WiFi, refreshments and massages from the Harbour Hotel’s spa staff, the lounge is the ideal place to relax in comfort.
Helping its members to explore with friends, MDL will showcase its impressive network of over 120 marinas. Visitors will also be able to discover the exciting benefits of becoming an MDL member such as Freedom Berthing which gives access to the marinas in the European network at no extra cost, and upcoming offers that feature options for winter marina berthing and storage. Plus, it’s the ideal opportunity to discuss Beds On Board, the accommodation scheme designed to unlock the economic potential of members’ boats.
Additionally, the boat show offers a great opportunity to celebrate and enjoy the end of the season. On the members’ balcony overlooking the marina, MDL’s hospitality lounge offers a buzzing social environment, complimentary refreshments and fundraising events for the two great charities that the company supports.
“We love the Southampton Boat Show,” Dean continues. “It’s a great opportunity to touch base with our members and hear about their marina and cruising experiences. Plus, we enjoy meeting those who haven’t stayed with us before, finding out about their sailing adventures, plans, and letting them know all about the benefits of becoming part of the MDL family. We’re also really looking forward to sharing more information about the great work we’re doing with the Blue Marine Foundation, the Ocean Youth Trust South and our Sail Training Awards. It’s going to be a great show!”
Make sure that you plan time in your day to visit the stand (E052), enjoy the view and learn more about MDL Marinas.
The eyes of the world were on Windsor earlier in May as Prince Harry married Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel. It was a spectacular setting for the ceremony, and a reminder of just why the royals are so fond of their beautiful Berkshire home by the Thames.
MDL Marinas, Europe’s leading marina operator, has three sites along the Thames in this lovely corner of Berkshire and Surrey: Windsor, Bray and Penton Hook. Each is a five gold anchor marina with its own unique character and idyllic cruising on tap.
This stretch of river is perfect for leisurely days on the water. The riverbanks are peppered with welcoming pubs and even the odd Michelin starred restaurant – indeed, the area is something of a foodie paradise, home to some of the country’s most acclaimed restaurants. There’s plenty to entertain all the family with amusement parks LEGOLAND and Thorpe Park, the racecourses of Ascot and Royal Windsor and days out at Windsor Castle and Cliveden Gardens.
Windsor Marina is one of MDL’s little gems in a tranquil garden setting with a large river frontage for easy mooring. There’s a busy social programme run by MDL and lots to do in the neighbouring Windsor Yacht Club. The 175-berth marina is also home to the Powmak Pilates studio. With Pilates a favourite exercise of the new Duchess of Sussex, the Duchess of Cambridge and her sister Pippa Matthews, the practice certainly comes with royal approval.
Windsor town is just three miles away and packed with shops, bars and restaurants. Shopaholics can easily spend a day or two enjoying the fabulous brands and boutiques. The Windsor Royal Shopping Centre, located opposite the gates of Windsor castle is a converted Victorian railway station home to stores including Hobbs, Jigsaw, Jo Malone, bareMinerals and Links of London.
Almost 1,000 years old and covering 13 acres, Windsor Castle dominates the town and is an astonishing sight. It’s the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, not to mention a favourite residence of the Queen. Visitors can see the changing of the guard and take a peek inside St George’s Chapel where the royal wedding took place in May.
Bray Marina is a haven of beauty and tranquillity where members and visitors can relax on their boats amongst trailing weeping willows as ducks and swans paddle up and down. The 400 berth marina also has plenty to do on and off the water. The on-site Riverside Brasserie serves traditional British cuisine with a modern twist and is the ideal spot to enjoy the views of the marina. The Bray Cruiser Club, also based at the marina, holds barbecues, local and tidal cruises and family fun days and is a great place to socialise with other boat owners.
Bray’s reputation for fine dining is well known. Just five restaurants in the UK have three Michelin stars and impressively, two of them are in the village. The Waterside Inn, founded in 1972 by Michel and Albert Roux, is right by the Bray slipway. The Fat Duck, the pioneering restaurant from Heston Blumenthal, is a short walk away in the village, with Blumenthal’s 16th century inn, The Crown at Bray, a little further down the road.
There are many places of interest within a day’s cruising of Bray and Windsor. Upstream, the Thames is navigable as far as Lechlade. Between Windsor and Oxford there are several riverside inns, stately homes and gardens to visit, including Cliveden, with its extensive Italianate gardens and woodlands. Picturesque Eton and the charming village of Datchet also await discovery.
Penton Hook Marina
Penton Hook Marina in Chertsey, four hours’ cruise from Bray and Windsor, is the UK’s largest inland marina with 575 berths. It’s set in 80 acres and offers fantastic boatyard facilities including a 20 ton crane, trailer boat storage, storage ashore and two pump-out stations and has purpose built pontoons for narrowboats and Dutch barges. It’s also home to Penton Hook Yacht Club, one of the biggest on the Thames.
It’s ideally located for thrill-seekers big and small, with Thorpe Park just across the road. Rides in 2018 - not for the faint-hearted - include Derren Brown’s Ghost Train and the equally terrifying Samurai. If that sounds a bit too exciting, LEGOLAND Windsor offers a gentler day out, with carousels, a splash safari and the captivating Miniland. For a far more tranquil trip, visit the National Trust’s site at Runnymede, where the Magna Carta was signed in 1215. It’s a lovely spot for a picnic, bike ride or country walk.
Penton Hook Marina is also well-placed for a trip to London. In around six hours, you can cruise into the tidal Thames and into the heart of the city.
With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that lifelong boaters looking for a change of pace find a new home on the inland waters of the Thames. And with MDL’s Freedom Berthing programme, which offers complimentary stays at MDL’s 18 UK marinas and over 100 destinations in France, Spain and Italy, there’s plenty of exploring to be done. Visitors are welcome too and enjoy every seventh night free with MDL’s Cruising Club scheme, which is free to join.
Summer is officially here and a glorious season out on the water is underway. At MDL Marinas that means one thing – it’s time for our famous summer offers. There are great deals of up to 55% off across the group, up and down the Thames and along the Solent coastline.
If you’re not yet an MDL member, enjoy cruising some of the most beautiful coastlines and waterways in the UK from the country’s finest marinas with two months’ summer berthing from just £350.
If your boat is in need of a lift and scrub, our boatyards have come up with generous deals - up to £380 off - to make sure boats are gleaming for the summer ahead. Prices start from just £16 per metre for a lift, pressure wash and relaunch at Shamrock and Hythe marinas in Southampton.
For further details on the full range of offers available at MDL marinas this summer visit www.mdlmarinas.co.uk/offers.