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’s Brixham Marina is pleased to be supporting one teenager with an epic challenge: 19 year old Ollie Crane is attempting to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and in doing so, enter the world record books as the youngest person ever to accomplish this feat.
Ollie, who hails from New Jersey in America, has been living and training in Brixham for the last six weeks, taking advantage of the free berthing provided by Brixham Marina to get out on the water and prepare for this monumental adventure.
Andrew Millar, Brixham Marina Manager, said: “We’re delighted to support Ollie by providing him with a free berth as what he’s aiming to do is quite remarkable and inspiring. He comes and goes at all hours, all the staff know him and wish him well. He’s become part of the team here at Brixham Marina and we’re all rooting for him!”
Ollie is taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, rowing some 3,000 miles from the Canary Islands to Antigua. Billed as the world’s toughest row, the challenge is expected to take around three months. Ollie will be facing a number of obstacles, including 40ft waves, capsizing, sleep deprivation, storms, saltwater sores and the risk of colliding with liners while he sleeps. Ollie also admits to getting a little seasick!
Commenting on the voyage, Ollie said: “I’m really excited, but very nervous. I’ve put in the hours of training, but I know it’s also going to be a huge mental challenge, dealing with three months of isolation and minimal human contact. For much of the crossing, I’ll be rowing naked to avoid chafing from the abrasive effect of salt water on my clothes. I’m going to miss my friends and family but I know they’ll be tracking my progress and cheering me on. I’d like to say a big thank you to Brixham Marina for their support over the last couple of months.
“I am using the challenge to highlight the work of Oceana, the largest international advocacy organisation in the world dedicated to protecting and restoring the world’s oceans on a global scale, and am hoping to raise as much money as possible for this worthy cause. I’m a keen scuba diver, and have seen first-hand the devastation that climate change, over-fishing and pollution have had on our seas.”
Ollie comes from a family of adventurers. His sibling’s achievements include climbing Mount Everest, cycling across Africa and hiking from Mexico to Canada. Ollie explains: “It’s a tradition in my family to take on a project before university. I found out about the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge when I was looking online for a suitable project. I have rowed for my school for the last four years, so this seemed like the perfect fit.”
Ollie will be attempting his challenge in a 23-foot custom-built ocean rowing boat, Homeward Bound, which has made one previous crossing with a two-man crew. The boat has a solar powered water maker to convert salt water into drinking water, but Ollie will need to carry enough dehydrated food for the journey. He will need to consume some 5,000 calories per day and will row in two hour stints before sleeping for two hours. Ollie will not have a support boat, but will be closely tracked by the event organisers and will have a satellite phone for emergency communication.
To succeed, Ollie will need to accomplish what very few humans have; in fact fewer people have rowed across the Atlantic than have gone into space or climbed Mount Everest. He will be following the same route Christopher Columbus took in 1492 when he first sailed to the Americas. If he completes the crossing, he will become the youngest person ever to row an ocean, taking over the coveted record from British student Callum Gathercole, who achieved this at the age of 20 in February 2016.
To track Ollie’s row, please visit www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com/race-tracker.
To learn more about Ollie’s adventure, please visit www.homeward-bound.com.
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.