Henley Royal Regatta is undoubtedly the best known regatta in the world and is both one of the highlights of the summer sporting calendar and the social season. It attracts thousands of visitors over a 5 day period and spectators will be thrilled by over 200 races of an international standard, including Olympians and crews new to the event.
Staff and berth holders at MDL’s Bray Marina will be on their best behaviour this Sunday, as they welcome a very special royal visitor into the marina.
The ornate 94-foot royal barge, Gloriana, will be making her way along the River Thames from her summer moorings at St Katharine Docks to the marina, where she plans to berth overnight before heading on to Henley Royal Regatta the following morning.
As a special honour, the ceremonial barge will fly the Bray Marina flag upon reaching the final lock in recognition of the marina’s hospitality. During the evening, local residents are invited to join berth holders at the marina, to see the royal barge for themselves. Visitors can enjoy a bite to eat at the marina’s on-site restaurant, Riverside Brasserie, for a meal with a royal view.
Mike Gates, General Manager - MDL Thames Marinas, said: “We are all very excited about the arrival of Gloriana this weekend. She is a beautiful barge and it is a real honour to welcome her back to the marina. We were lucky enough to host her ahead of Henley last year and are delighted she will be returning this year. This is a great opportunity for people to see the barge up close and enjoy a brush with royalty.”
In 2012, Gloriana led a pageant of more than 1,000 boats to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. She is the first to be built for more than a century and is decorated with gold leaf and ornately carved – harking back 200 years when kings and queens travelled by water in style.
Boat owners across the UK will be able to enjoy some fantastic offers, thanks to a range of great discounts on boat care and berthing packages from MDL Marinas, giving owners the opportunity to ensure their boats are in top condition for the summer ahead and sample the MDL experience.
During July and August, boat owners can enjoy MDL’s ‘Summer Afloat’ offer of two months berthing for just £499 (inclusive of VAT) for boats up to eight metres, at any one of ten MDL marinas.* Participating marinas include Mercury Yacht Harbour on the idyllic River Hamble and Ocean Village Marina in the heart of Southampton.
What’s more, the ‘Summer Afloat’ gives boat owners the opportunity to benefit from a secure pontoon berth with fresh water and electricity during the prime summer months from a choice of MDL’s beautiful locations at a fantastic price. This package also includes free car parking and free trailer storage at the majority of sites. A full list of participating marinas is available at www.mdlmarinas.co.uk/summer-afloat.
In addition to the summer berthing offer, MDL’s boatyards along the south coast, in the West Country and on the River Thames are offering great discounts on hull scrubs and storage throughout July and August. Boat owners can enjoy special offers on lifting and pressure washing at many of MDL’s leading sites, as well as storage ashore for a specified period. Prices start from just £15 per metre for a lift, hold, pressure wash and re-launch at Queen Anne’s Battery. Furthermore, with each boatyard offer booked, boat owners will take away a voucher of 20% off a winter lift & storage at participating MDL boatyards between 1st October and 22nd December 2014.
Dean Smith, Operations and Marketing Director at MDL Marinas, commented: “We’re delighted to be offering these substantial savings on boat care and berthing. We are constantly striving to add value for our customers and to help them make the most of their time on the water. Our summer berthing offer gives boaters the opportunity to cruise some of the best coastline in the UK, spending more time boating and less time towing and launching.”
For further details on the full range of offers available at MDL marinas this summer please visit www.mdlmarinas.co.uk/summer-offers.
* Available for boats up to 7.5 metres at Queen Anne’s Battery.
MDL Marinas’ Bray Marina recently celebrated the reopening of its on-site restaurant under new management. The Riverside Brasserie has significantly strengthened its offering with a brand new menu, new head chef and new outdoor-dining area, as well as an all-new interior.
With years of experience working at top London restaurants, Head Chef Marek Gryz will be treating diners to a range of dishes from the restaurant’s exciting new breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Dishes range from lighter lunchtime options, such as swordfish niçoise salad, to evening fine dining options including 30-day-aged sirloin steak and confit of bellied pork.
MDL berth holders and river users can also take advantage of the restaurant’s new ‘Hamper Collection’ service, which allows boaters to pull up alongside the restaurant and collect a picnic from the quayside before heading up the river.
Restaurateur, classically trained chef and industry expert, Roger Payne, is behind the redevelopment. He said: “The new Riverside Brasserie will be a British restaurant par excellence that is welcoming and accessible to MDL berth holders, tourists, passers-by and private parties. We are confident that the Riverside Brasserie will swiftly become a top-rated establishment with an excellent reputation.”
Mike Gates, General Manager of MDL Marinas’ Bray Marina, said: “The Riverside Brasserie looks fantastic and offers diners a relaxed environment in which they can enjoy their surroundings. We’re sure our customers will be delighted with the new menu and thoughtful touches like the ‘Hamper Collection’ service.”
Six deserving youngsters who won a place on this year’s MDL Sail Training Awards are now back on dry land, after setting sail from MDL’s Ocean Village Marina on 16th April for six days at sea.
The MDL-sponsored awards, which have been running for over 20 years, offer admirable young people - carefully selected due to their exceptional accomplishments, or for overcoming adverse personal circumstances – the opportunity of a lifetime aboard a training yacht operated by Ocean Youth Trust South.
Joining a team on board the ketch 'John Laing' were Callum Archibald, 14, from Basingstoke, 13-year-old John Bratherton, from Fordingbridge, Erin Sutton, 14, and Jodie Beckham, 13, both from Totton, Oscar Perkins, 13, from Brixham and 15-year-old Robert Jelley from Romsey.
The 230 nautical mile trip saw this year's MDL award winners first heading for an anchorage in Studland, from where they motored into Poole on the Friday evening. Next morning they had a fabulous sail round the south of the Isle of Wight on a glorious day, ending up in Haslar. They sailed to Cowes for lunch, came out, anchored an Osborne Bay and planned a final pilotage exercise up to Southampton. RYA Start Yachting certificates were awarded to all participants.
Eamonn Feeney, Managing Director at MDL Marinas, commented: “We’re delighted to welcome back our Sail Training Awards winners following their exciting journey. This really is a once-in-a-lifetime trip for the young people selected, rewarding them for their achievements or inspiration and support to others.
“Over the years the MDL sponsored Sail Training Awards have provided over 140 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. We are proud to continue to support Ocean Youth Trust South and the important work that it carries out”.
One of the scheme’s recent success stories is 17-year-old Toby Hunt from Bognor Regis who was one of the lucky winners selected to take part in last year’s trip, and has since been busy working as a volunteer, assisting Ocean Youth Trust South with its winter refit of ‘John Laing’. In addition, Toby has been working hard as a volunteer trainee Bosun for the 2014 trip and is looking to become a volunteer member of the sea staff for the future.
The six young winners from this year will now be invited to attend the PSP Southampton Boat Show, where they will be officially presented with their trophies at the MDL stand by the owner of MDL Marinas, Lord Iliffe.
Nominations for next year’s awards will be announced in December 2014.
For more information please visit www.sailtrainingawards.co.uk.