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.


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.


MDL set for Bermuda as Land Rover BAR's Official Marina Partner

Posted: 8th March 2017

MDL Marinas, Europe’s leading marina operator and official marina partner to Land Rover BAR (Ben Ainslie Racing), is helping the team gear up for the 35th America’s Cup, which is destined for a climactic finale in Bermuda this summer. MDL has worked closely with Land Rover BAR to help set up their team base in Bermuda and has created customised pontoons, expertly designed to give swift access for the team and accommodate the crucial support boats.

Alongside the existing partnership, which has seen MDL Marinas involved in the Portsmouth Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series (the preliminary series to the 35th America’s Cup), as an official Engagement Partner, the marina operator has designed custom-made pontoons tailored to the racing conditions in Bermuda. Using innovative, industry-leading technology, the pontoon has the ability to rotate 90∘, which will allow Land Rover BAR to berth the boat in all wind directions and stay attached to the shore, instead of having to have the boat on a swing mooring. The pontoon was constructed in Southampton and has travelled 3,400 miles to reach Bermuda, where it is now undergoing trial as part of the team’s intensive training programme.

The extensive design stages were started at the beginning of 2016, with the pontoons being completed and shipped by the end of the year. They are now fully installed in Bermuda, ready for the summer competition to begin. The competition so far has been a high adrenaline cinematic whirlwind, gaining international attention and reaching a crescendo last year, with Sir Ben Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR winning the overall Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Japan, as well as the team’s home event in Portsmouth in 2016. 

Adrien Burnand, Head of Marketing at MDL Marinas, commented: “Open sea racing is unpredictable and fast paced, so implementing equipment which saves even a second can make all the difference. MDL Marinas has worked closely with the Land Rover BAR team in what has been a new but exciting challenge, and we can’t wait to see the pontoons in action this summer. The America’s Cup is the Formula 1 of the sailing world and it’s going to be an epic finale, both MDL and our customers are counting down the days until the action starts once again!”

James Stagg, Shore Team Manager, at Land Rover BAR, added: “The America’s Cup is all about looking at advances in technology to help gain a competitive advantage. We wanted to see if we could create a pivoting pontoon to enable us to berth the race boat in any wind direction to reduce boat loading times, so we came together with MDL Marinas to put this concept into motion. Together we’ve designed and built a tool which is tailored to the team’s racing needs and the finished product looks fantastic. It will all come down to the race days but it’s been brilliant partnering with MDL Marinas on this element of the campaign.”

To watch MDL's innovative pontoon in action, please click here.


Southampton Sailing Week

From 24th May 2017 until 29th May 2017

An action packed week to celebrate everything that is Sailing and Southampton!
 
Based in one of the world's top locations for sailing, the Solent and Southampton Waters which are home to world famous races, and Southampton Sailing week is here to celebrate all things sailing and encourage more people to enjoy the water.

With six days of sailing and water activities in and around Southampton waters and The Solent, come and join us for a celebration of Yacht Racing, Parade of Sail, Beat the Bank, Regatta Party and more!

The whole event will finish off with a Regatta Party on the Sunday night from 6pm in Oxford Street and Ocean Village Marina; keep an eye out for the wrist bands which will be on sale throughout the week.

MDL Marinas will be hosting special events at Shamrock Quay, Ocean Village Marina, Hythe Marina Village and Hamble Point Marina.

See more of what's going on when below and details of these events on each Marina's event page. 

Friday 26th May

Time

 

Ocean Village Marina

 

Time 

 

Hamble Point Marina

 

10am - 12pm

 

Banana Wharf - World's Biggest Coffee Morning with MacMillan Cancer Support

 

6pm

 

Ketch Rigger - Grease at the Open Air Cinema

 

 

Saturday 27th May

Time

 

Ocean Village Marina

 

Time

 

Hamble Point Marina

 

  

9am - 10am 

 

Pre-show breakfast at Port Hamble Marina's Banana Wharf

 

10am - 4pm 

Land Exhibition: 

  • Berts and Gerts crafts and vintage market
  • Maritime Archeological Trust
  • Tap It Brewing Co (new brewery in Southampton)
  • Royal Yachting Association
  • Sea cadets
  • SWAC (Southampton Water Actvities Centre)
  • Hendy - Honda Marine

10am - 5pm 

Land Exhibition:

  • Tesla cars
  • Kids' play area and fairground
  • Kids' farm
  • Segway rides with Solent Segway
  • Artisan's Market
  • Remote control boat racing
  • Wine tasting with Hambledon Vineyard
  • Beer tasting with Isle of Wight Distillery
  • August Race boat maintenance range and bespoke handmade luggage
  • Coalporter Rowing Event

 

Water Exhibition:

  • Boat displays from MCC, TBS, Arcona, Inspiration, Marco Marine
  • Foldable RIBs and Suzuki engines with Steve Bruce SBS
  • 'Seafin' boat tours
  • Marine police boat tours
  • Urban Truant RIB ride marina tours of the Hamble

 

12pm - 1.30pm 

 

Parade of Sail 

 

5pm - 7pm 

 

After-show dinner at Port Hamble Marina's Banana Wharf with live music

 

2.30pm - 3pm 

 

House of Gallet Fashion Show

 

  

4pm - 6pm 

 

Music in the Marina

 

  

 

Sunday 28th May

Time

 

Shamrock Quay

 

Time

 

Hythe Marina Village

 

8am - 10.30am 

 

Yellow Welly - 'Sailors' Breakfast'

 

10am - 4pm 

 

Land Exhibition:

  • Anchorman - Fishing Charter trips and Simrad electronics
  • RNLI open day - boat and lifejacket checks
  • BBQ and food at La Vista
  • Freedom Berthing with MDL Marinas
  • Calshot Tower NCI (National Coastwatch Instition)
  • Quick Nautical Equipment - Electronic equipment and services
  • Flare amnesty
  • Hythe Fishmongers
  • Ice cream van
  • Coalporters Rowing Club

 

Water Exhibition:

  • Marina Tours onboard Alison MacGregor
  • Boat tour of Shamu, Sunseeker Portofino 53
  • Boat tour of Starfish, Atlantis 42
  • Try a canoe or dinghy with the Sea Scouts
  • Try a Jet RIB
  • HMS Medusa - 72' Restored 1943 harbour defence motor launch
  • Solent Coastguard

10.30am - 3.30pm 

 

Classics on the Quay

 

  

10am - 4pm 

 

'Living on-board lifestyle' experience with Inspiration Marine's Marina Boat open day

 

  

11am - 4pm 

 

Honda Race boat rides with Saber Power Sports

 

  

11.30am - 1pm 

 

Radio control boat racing

 

  

4pm - 9pm 

 

Drinks on the Quay FIFTEEN terrace

 

  
Southampton Sailing Week events

Nominations Open For This Year’s MDL Sail Training Awards

Posted: 8th February 2017

MDL Marinas is excited to open nominations for this year’s Sail Training Awards, which will see a group of deserving young people set sail in April on Ocean Youth Trust South’s sail training vessel, Prolific. These young people will be carefully selected for their exceptional accomplishments, or for overcoming adverse personal circumstances.

The winners will spend six nights living and sailing on the charity’s new acquisition and will become involved in all aspects of life on board, including hoisting sails, helping with maintenance, sailing the boat at night and cooking and cleaning with the rest of the crew. This is an unforgettable sailing experience, departing from and returning to Southampton in April 2017.

If you know a young person aged between 12 and 18, who you feel should be rewarded for their achievements or are an inspiration and support to others, nominations are open until Saturday 25th February. Anyone can make a nomination, from youth group leaders, teachers, friends or employers.

Past winners have included young people who have been outstanding achievers, as well as those who have been involved in voluntary work, those who have never had the chance to travel abroad, or have added family responsibilities. Winners will be selected from MDL’s UK marina locations in the South West, Dorset, Hampshire, Thames Valley and East Coast.

Dean Smith, Operations and Marketing Director at MDL Marinas, commented: “We’re delighted to welcome back our hugely popular Sail Training Awards. It’s always a difficult decision to choose the group of young people who will take part in this once-in-a-lifetime trip, however we’re looking forward to seeing the fantastic entries!

Over the past 29 years, the MDL sponsored Sail Training Awards have provided over 150 young people the opportunity to experience a trip on board the John Laing, something which has been life-changing for some of our past winners. This year’s awards will see the launch of Ocean Youth Trust South’s new vessel, Prolific, and those chosen for this exciting trip will be the first training team on her. We’re proud to continue to support Ocean Youth Trust South and the important work that they carry out.”

For more information and to nominate, please visit www.sailtrainingawards.co.uk.


London Boat Show Closes with a Royal Wave

Posted: 18th January 2017

As the 2017 London Boat Show comes to a close, we would like to say a big thank you to all of our new and existing customers who visited our stand this year! It was great to welcome so many members and visitors, we hope you had a fantastic time and enjoyed our hospitality, and we look forward to seeing you at one of our marinas very soon.

It was an action packed 10 days and our newly located, bigger stand was the perfect base to showcase our extensive network of over 100 marinas as well as our fantastic Freedom Berthing package, which proved very popular!

Many visitors enjoyed getting stuck in with our ‘Cleat Challenge’ and we will be in touch with our three winners to present them with a Henri Lloyd jacket for their fastest rope cleating time!

An absolute highlight of the show was a visit to our stand from Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, where we shared industry insight and discussed MDL’s ongoing evolution. The show also saw two of our marinas recognised in the Marina of the Year Awards, which was a fantastic way to close another brilliant London Boat Show.

We are already looking forward to the Southampton Boat Show in September!


Let Us Help Make It Your Best Christmas Yet!

Posted: 14th December 2016

Our marinas will be a hive of activity once again this Christmas and we’re looking forward to welcoming you to our very own winter boating wonderlands, with plenty of Christmas cheer, minced pies and mulled wine for you to enjoy.

The marina teams have been busy ensuring your boats are kept safe and sound for winter and our boatyards have certainly been busy, with many of you taking advantage of our fantastic winter offers.

In addition to minced pies and mulled wine, keep an eye out for our festive Trolley of Treats, which will be making the rounds with lots of goodies! As in previous years, a number of the marinas will be running a ‘Decorate your Boat’ competition with prizes for the best dressed, so dig out your sparkly lights and tinsel and help us light up our marinas during these dark winter nights.

At Cobb’s Quay Marina you can enjoy the return of our charity Christmas wrapping service, where you can have all of your Christmas presents wrapped for a great cause. This was a big hit last year! We’ll also be hosting the Festive Afloat Illuminated Boats competition, which is a great chance for our boat owners to dazzle us with their fairy lights rigging skills – the most festive boat will win an exclusive prize! Then, to top it all off, there will be a fantastic New Year’s Eve party to zoom you into 2017, when we start the partying all over again.

Ocean Village Marina will have drinks, snacks and a Santa bag in the Dock office on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th December, so ensure you pop in and see the team and join them for a glass or two.

We’ll be getting all festive on the Thames with Bray, Penton and Windsor marinas serving up mulled wine and mince pies right through to Christmas Eve. In addition, Woolverstone, Brixham and Chatham Maritime marinas will be giving out awards for best decorated boats and Chatham will be hosting its Christmas laying up Fish and Chip supper – a must attend event!

There’s still time to take advantage of the Christmas raffle at Hamble Point Marina to raise money for The Stoke Association, and on Friday 16th the marina will be celebrating national Christmas Jumper Day, which we hope to see you joining in with! And, don’t forget to attend the Christmas Quiz at Northney and Sparkes marinas on the 17th.

What’s for certain this Christmas and New Year is there’s lots going on and our teams would be delighted to welcome you and your friends and family to help make sure it’s your best Christmas yet. Please don’t hesitate to give our team a call if you are planning to visit or need any support getting your boat ready for winter.

All that’s left to say is a big Happy Christmas from everyone at MDL!


MDL Marinas Set to Exhibit at its Biggest London Boat Show Yet

Posted: 13th December 2016

MDL Marinas, Europe’s leading marina operator, is looking forward to exhibiting at the 2017 London Boat Show in January, where they will be showcasing their extensive, ever growing network of over 100 European marina destinations.

This year’s MDL stand will welcome an impressive fresh design, situated next to the Which Marina? stand, and perfectly located for berth holders to explore MDL’s new, exciting network of destinations.

The Show will see the return of MDL’s fantastic ‘Cleat Challenge’, a true hit at the 2016 London Boat Show. Those participating will have the chance to win one of three Henri Lloyd jackets by competing for the fastest rope cleating time! Furthermore, MDL will be running a competition to win a year’s free berthing at any of their stunning UK marina locations. Simply visit stand FO15 at the show to be in with a chance of being the lucky winner.

MDL’s annual berth holders enjoy access to a unique Freedom Berthing package, the most comprehensive on the market, which includes a variety of rewards such as complimentary stays at other marinas in the UK, France, Spain and Italy. Discounts on boatyard services, fuel at cost and free super-fast WiFi are also included in this exclusive package.

Adrien Burnand, Head of Marketing at MDL Marinas, commented: “We look forward to exhibiting once again at London Boat Show on our fantastic new stand! The 10-day Show always promises to be a great opportunity to meet our berth holders and welcome many new faces to MDL Marinas. 2017 is going to be an exciting year, with many plans set to launch and we look forward to kicking off the year in London. Come and meet our friendly staff who will be on hand to help you plan for an exciting season ahead!”

The show promises over 300 exhibitors showcasing thousands of boats, products and brands, the latest in technology and innovation, alongside world debuts and product launches. Visitors to MDL’s stand will have the opportunity to join MDL’s Cruising Club, giving members the chance to visit any of MDL’s UK marinas and stay every seventh night absolutely free.

To book tickets, visit the official London Boat Show website www.londonboatshow.com. Don’t forget, MDL berth holders are entitled to receive a preferential rate - please ask at your marina office for further details.


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