MDL Launches Official Partnership with Beds on Board

Posted: 15th September 2017

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 from today, with the full service scheduled for launch on 1st October 2017.


Young Sailing Talent Celebrated at 30th Anniversary Sail Training Awards

Posted: 15th September 2017

Six deserving young people who won a place on the 30th Anniversary MDL Sail Training Awards voyage will be officially presented with their trophies by Eamonn Feeney, Chairman of Ocean Youth Trust South, on Tuesday 19th September at 3pm (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 maiden voyage of its refurbished vessel, Prolific.

The MDL-sponsored awards, which have been running for 30 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 training yacht. 

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 30 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 30 years, MDL Marinas has given us tremendous support and, without them, we wouldn’t have our magnificent boat, Prolific, back in the water – so it was very fitting that they supplied so many of the young crew members for this voyage. 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.”

For more information, please visit www.sailtrainingawards.co.uk.


MDL Marinas and Ocean Youth Trust South Celebrate 30 Year Partnership

Posted: 27th April 2017

MDL Marinas and Ocean Youth Trust South have come together to celebrate an incredible 30 years of partnership, marked this month with the maiden voyage of the Trust’s new sail training vessel, Prolific. Young sailors from across the south of England took part in the intensive voyage, which included six inspirational young people who were chosen as worthy winners of MDL Marinas’ annual Sail Training Awards.

OYT 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 OYT 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.

Three decades later and the annual awards are still going strong. This year’s MDL winners included George Hopwood, Ciaran Robinson and Alexandra Corrigan, all from Hampshire; Adam Gianfrancesco from Surrey and Rachel Mosley from Torquay.

The maiden voyage of Prolific saw 11 young people in total take to the Solent for a rigorous four-day sailing trip. 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, said: “Everyone involved in the transformation of Prolific has been eagerly awaiting its maiden voyage, and it’s fantastic that such a worthy team of young sailors marked the first passage. Combined that this is our 30th year of partnership with OYT, the sailing was a truly special experience. Our Sail Training Award winners were chosen for their inspirational attitudes and commitment to supporting others. It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime trip for those selected, honouring them for their remarkable achievements at such a young age.

“Over the last 30 years, the MDL sponsored Sail Training Awards have provided over 150 young people the opportunity to experience a trip on-board John Laing, Prolific’s predecessor, something which has been life-changing for some of our past winners. We are proud to continue to support OYT South with Prolific and the important work that it carries out.”

OYT South Staff Skipper, Andy Viney, commented: “We had a fantastic group of young people for Prolific’s first voyage with the charity, and we were absolutely delighted to be joined by the MDL award winners on this memorable trip. For the last 30 years MDL Marinas has given us tremendous support and, without them, we wouldn’t have this magnificent boat back in the water – so it was very fitting that they supplied so many of the young crew members for this voyage.

“The MDL award winners are always highly deserving and inspirational young people and this year’s winners were no exception. This week has been a great start to Prolific’s sailing career and we are all looking forward to offering more outstanding voyages, in partnership with MDL, as the season goes on.”

Rachel Mosley, one of the young MDL sailors who took part in the voyage, added: “I want to thank MDL Marinas and OYT South for the opportunity to take part in the sailing trip. I thoroughly enjoyed the week and it's really opened my eyes to sailing. The experience has given me the opportunity to go back as a junior boson and learn more about the boat and how the sea staff look after it and keep it running. Thank you again for the amazing opportunity.”

Prolific was bought by the charity in 2015 and has spent eighteen months undergoing a refit and modifications, with close support and sponsorship from MDL Marinas, ensuring it would sail safely and effectively for young people aged between 12 and 25. Prolific provides the opportunity for all to sail onboard, from keen and competent young sailors looking for real adventure, through to vulnerable and disadvantaged people who might never expected the chance to sail.

To see Prolific in action please visit the following link: https://youtu.be/TQ2Elp8AJvw. Further information about OYT South can be found at www.oytsouth.org/charity.asp.


Ben Fogle Supports Oyster Project to Help Clean Up the Solent

Posted: 20th April 2017

Ben Fogle returned to the Solent today, to help Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) - the UK-based marine conservation charity – roll out its plan to restore the native oyster to local waters. The aim is to reintroduce 1 million oysters by the end of the year to help clean up the Solent, the strait that separates the Isle of Wight from mainland England and which once supported the biggest oyster fishery in Europe.

BLUE has partnered with MDL Marinas, Land Rover BAR and the University of Portsmouth to roll out the project across the Solent this April, which involves using a local team of volunteers to fill cages with 10,000 oysters, suspended underneath the pontoons of MDL’s marinas.

Ben Fogle, the broadcaster, traveller and adventurer who attended the University of Portsmouth and is a passionate marine conservationist, worked with a team of volunteers today to aid the process at MDL’s Port Hamble Marina.

Ben, who first became interested in marine pollution after rowing across the Atlantic, commented that his own experiences fuelled his desire to help with the Solent Oyster Restoration Project: “My experiences traversing the world’s oceans have opened my eyes to the scale of marine destruction. The humble oyster is an incredibly powerful ecosystem engineer, capable of filtering 200 litres of water a day and supporting marine life. Restoring the native oyster to the Solent would be another step closer to turning the tide against the large-scale degradation of our oceans, and giving something back to the UK’s inshore waters which provide us with so many benefits.”

Today, the first of many thousands of oysters were moved to permanent housing in unique cage-like structures, designed and built by MDL Marinas, which are prototypes that can be used in the future by other marinas and boat owners who wish to help to restore the native oyster. Volunteers are to lower these oyster-filled cages from the pontoons of four MDL Marinas; Hamble Point, Port Hamble, Sparkes and Saxon Wharf as well as the pontoons at Portsmouth University and the pontoon that MDL Marinas installed at Land Rover BAR HQ.

Dean Smith, Commercial Director of MDL Marinas said: “Helping to restore the native oyster population, an important part of the local ecosystem which removes pollutants and provides habitats, is one of many ways that the boating community can give back to the ocean and improve the local waters around us for our future enjoyment.”

The native oyster population in the UK has halved over the last 25 years, while globally an estimated 85% of oyster beds and reef habitats have been lost. The restoration of the native oyster will provide wide-ranging ecological and social benefits for the region over the long-term by helping to improve water quality, foster valuable habitats and re-establish an important strand of the economy on the South Coast.

Leading a coalition made up of fishermen, marine and local authorities, scientists and conservationists, BLUE seeks to significantly increase the population of native oysters in the Solent by 2020 with the long-term aim of achieving sustainable stocks and with the likely added benefit of  improved Solent water quality, ecosystems and associated benefits for local inshore fisheries.

Tim Glover, BLUE’s UK Projects Director explained the significance of the next stage of the Solent Oyster Restoration Project: “Last year we started this project with pilots at Land Rover BAR and the University of Portmouth’s raft in Langstone Harbour (monitored by scientists from the University) which showed that the technique of suspending cages of oysters under floating pontoons can result in healthy reproduction and low mortality. Now BLUE is ready to go a stage further. Our aim is to introduce up to 1 million oysters to the Solent over the course of 2017, mostly into protected seabed sites. We hope this five-year programme will have a transformational effect on the Solent in the long-term.”

Five Reasons To Restore Oysters to the Solent

  1. Oysters can improve water quality by filtering large volumes of water and removing some pollutants  (a single native oyster can filter up to 200 litres of water a day).
  2. Oyster beds provide a habitat and rich food source for marine life and can increase the productivity of the ecosystem.
  3. The restoration of oyster habitats could help to boost some fish populations  and improve catches for both recreational and commercial fishermen over the long-term.
  4. Alongside careful fisheries management it wi help to ensure a sustainable supply of oysters for harvesting in the long term - re-establishing an important strand of the economy on the south coast.
  5. Finally,  oysters provide a range of important ecosystem services that will help to improve the health of an entire waterway providing enhanced recreational and other social benefits for both local communities and visitors to the Solent.


Jo Grindley, CMO/CCO of Land Rover BAR said: “Sustainability is an integral part of our ethos and working alongside our Exclusive Sustainability Partner 11th Hour Racing we are committed to becoming the most sustainable sports team in the UK. With an opportunity to make a real impact on the ecosystem on our doorstep, in partnership with MDL Marinas, BLUE and the University of Portsmouth, we were delighted to host the first trial under our pontoon at our base in Portsmouth. To see the impact that can be made when key companies partner together is particularly exciting and we look forward to seeing the positive effect this project will have in the Solent and hope it will inspire others to take action.”

For more information about BLUE, please click here.


The Countdown to the Rolex Fastnet Race is on!

Posted: 7th April 2017

A key event in any sailing enthusiast’s diary, the eagerly anticipated Rolex Fastnet race returns this summer for what promises to be a high adrenaline and action packed competition. Starting on Sunday 6th August at the Royal Yacht Squadron in West Cowes, the race will attract hundreds of yachts from around the country, all competing for the chance to win the coveted cup.

The intimidating 650 mile racing route is designed to push competitors to the limits, beginning at the Isle of Wight and sweeping the south coast to then battle the unpredictable Atlantic Ocean. Competitors will reach the renowned Fastnet Rock, which lies four miles off southwest Ireland and the route then approaches Bishop Rock and the Scilly Isles to port, before returning to finish off in Plymouth. Racing against the elements, the course is a true test of sailing skill and we can’t wait to see the action!

The Fastnet race is one of the world's oldest offshore races and, with such high volumes of competitors expected, securing a pre-race berthing spot close to the action will be hot competition and essential for racing preparations

We’re urging anyone looking for a location to berth before the race to get in touch early as we have fantastic spaces available at our south coast marinas, but we’re expecting them to be snapped up quickly. Ideally placed close to the start line, our marinas include Ocean Village, Shamrock Quay and Saxon Wharf in Southampton, as well as Hamble Point and Port Hamble, all ideally situated to ensure a smooth start on race day. For those wishing to relax after the race, Queen Anne’s Battery in Plymouth will make the perfect spot to unwind and debrief on the racing events.

Get in touch now to ensure you don’t miss out and, for more information about the Rolex Fastnet race, please visit: www.rolexfastnetrace.com.


Spring forward to the new season with our exclusive Freedom Berthing pack

Posted: 31st March 2017

We’re so excited that Spring is finally here, marking the start of another great season of boating. To kick off the new season, we’ve put together an exciting Freedom Berthing pack to thank you, our loyal members, for berthing with us, as well as introduce new boating enthusiasts to all that MDL Marinas has to offer.

We’ve included a host of gifts to get you started for the new season including, a tide table booklet to assist you with your UK cruising, and your choice of:

  • A set of 4 high-quality unbreakable clear wine glasses for relaxing at sea or in the marina.
  • A Royal Yachting Association (RYA) log book to record your travels.
  • Reeds Almanac 2017. Covering the UK, Ireland and the west coast of Europe from Denmark to Gibraltar.
  • The River Thames Book. Covering the Thames Barrier to Cricklade with the River Wey, Basingstoke Canal and the Kennet and Avon Canal to Great Bedwyn.


Along with a luxury hessian ‘bag for life’ to carry all of your goodies.

There’s also a host of exclusive benefits available for Freedom Berthing members in 2017/18, giving you access to over 100 holidays in the UK, France, Spain and Italy, fuel at cost so you can explore further, and free unlimited WiFi so you can stay connected all year round. We hope you make full use of your benefits this season and we’d love to hear about your adventures. Share your photographs to your social media using the hashtags #MDLRelax, #MDLEnjoy and #MDLDiscover.

With Easter just around the corner, and lots of ‘egg-citing’ events going on at our marinas, we thought it was the perfect time to collect your Freedom Berthing pack. So please pop into the marina office over the Easter weekend and you may even get an Easter treat!

There’s lots to look forward too…

Come and experience our marinas this Easter!


Be Part of Round The Island Race with First Class Sailing

Posted: 22nd March 2017

The Round the Island Race is a most spectacular event. It is a Race around the Isle of Wight. With over 1600 boats taking part, and around 16,000 sailors it is one of the largest yacht races in the world and the 4th largest participation sporting event in the UK.

Each year amateurs and professionals compete against each other in the Round the Island Race. It is one of the few sporting events where amateurs and complete novices can race alongside Olympic gold medallists like Ben Ainslie and around the world solo ocean racers like Alex Thomson. The Round the Island Race attracts interest from around the world and is covered in media from Japan to Brazil, Hungary to New Zealand.

All sorts of people take part in the race and you will see a huge variety of sailing boats. The race will be sponsored this year for the first time by Cloudy Bay and Cloudy Bay’s ambassador Ben Fogle will be taking part.

The Round the Island race this year is on 1st July.

The course is simple. Starting outside the Royal Yacht Squadron off Cowes on the Isle of Wight yachts race around the Isle of Wight leaving it to port. The finishing line is off Cowes. The sight of all these boats, particularly when running downwind with colourful spinnakers bellowing out is truly spectacular.

You can be part of the Race! First Class Sailing, based in MDL's Shamrock Quay, have entered two Challenger 72 yachts and have berths available. These yachts were built to race around the world, a feat they have accomplished twice. However, they are far from being stripped out racing yachts. They have a spacious saloon area and good sized galley, two heads with showers and everyone gets their own comfy bunk.

As part of the package with First Class Sailing you will join the boat on Friday 30th June for an on the water day of training in the Solent. At the end of the day you will head over to Cowes for an early night before an early start for the race itself on Saturday. After the race you will head back into Cowes to join in with the expansive shore side festivities. You will have a leisurely sail back on Sunday.

Whilst previous experience is very useful it is absolutely not essential. There will be an experienced professional skipper and mate on board to assist at all times. The people that join us for the race do so for a number of reasons: some want an exciting day/weekend out; some people want to see what racing is like – the race offers a taste of the thrill and excitement of close quarters yacht racing; others come to learn about racing and to experience what sailing a big 72 foot yacht is like.

For more details contact First Class Sailing on info@firstclasssailing.com, call 0203 006 3717 or click here.


Water Sight to See on the Solent!

Posted: 9th March 2017

History is set to be created on Southampton Water this spring as the city hosts a spectacular parade of sail.

Hundreds of craft, from one-man kayaks to huge luxury yachts, will take to the water to celebrate the first ever Southampton Sailing Week.

The action will begin at 11am on Saturday May 27 led by a Svitzer tug shooting plumes of water into the sky. Following close behind will be the larger of the participating vessels such as motorboats and RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats). Trailing them will be the smaller sail boats and dinghies, followed finally by canoes, kayaks and paddleboards.

As many as 500 different watercraft could take part as the parade spans from the Itchen Bridge towards Hamble.

Chris Rees, organiser of Southampton Sailing Week, said: “It’s a hugely ambitious project but one that we know will create a truly iconic moment in Southampton’s history. With the possibility of up to 500 different craft taking to the water on the day, we’re working closely with Southampton’s Harbour Master to ensure it’s planned with meticulous precision.”

Charter firm Sunsail is set to enter 30 yachts into the parade of sail and scores of berth holders at local MDL marinas have already pledged to take part in the event.

Adrien Burnand, Head of Marketing at MDL Marinas, said: “Southampton’s inaugural Sailing Week will be a fantastic celebration of the Solent and MDL Marinas is delighted to be sponsoring this event. The city has such a rich maritime history but many people aren’t aware of the variety of opportunities available on the water. This week will provide a fantastic occasion to raise awareness and get people out on the water, which what we’re always trying to encourage as a local marina operator.

“The parade of sail will be an unparalleled event for the city and is the first of its kind. Our local marinas taking part include Ocean Village, Shamrock Quay and Hythe Marina Village, and they will make perfect viewing spots for the water carnival. We’ll also be hosting an array of activities to get involved with, from water sports and leisure sailing, to music and BBQs. We can’t wait for the event to commence and welcome visitors, both who are new to sailing and our members.”

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture and Leisure at Southampton City Council said: “Southampton and its people have a long and rich history with the sea. It is currently the busiest Port in Europe, though its waters have brought industry, employment and enjoyment to our communities for centuries.

“I am really excited to help launch and support Southampton’s much over-due, first ever Sailing Week. I’m confident the planned parade will be a fantastic asset to the great events on offer and will bring all of Southampton’s communities together; from all ages, backgrounds, businesses to schools, so that we can collectively celebrate Southampton’s great maritime history and identity. I cannot wait!”
   
The parade of sail is open for anyone with a sea-worthy vessel to take part in. To register your interest or find out the best vantage points to watch from the shore visit www.southamptonsailingweek.co.uk.


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