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).
… It's in good food and good company. Which is why we've brought you a list of restaurant offers, from across the network, to help make sure you've got your Valentine's Day plans covered.
Whether you want to make the most of having your boat within walking distance of the restaurant or fancy a romantic jaunt along to another one of our marinas using your free visitor nights, here's what's going on around MDL Marinas…
Port Hamble Marina, Hamble, Southampton - In the heart of the marina, Banana Wharf adds a touch of the exotic to the Solent waters. With a special Valentine's Day menu, be sure not to miss out by contacting them here.
Hythe Marina Village, Hythe, Southampton - From February 13th to 17th La Vista at Hythe is offering a special menu; even for those who can't make the day there's still opportunities to make the most of time with your Valentine… Book today!
Ocean Village Marina, Southampton - With a host of restaurants there's something for all palates, from Bacaro's Valentine's Day Tapas to Southampton Harbour Hotel's Jetty with a four-course meal, bubbly and entertainment, and not forgetting Banana Wharf's a la carte menu. Click on the links to see what's on offer!
Chatham Maritime Marina, Chatham - The ever-popular Ship & Trades is a short walking distance from the marina and is offering couples a romantic meal for two with delicious specials, a glass of bubbly, a single stemmed rose and romantic setting. If this sounds like your idea of romance contact them to find out more.
Hamble Point Marina, Hamble, Southampton - Overlooking the marina, and with a great choice of food and drink, Ketch Rigger will be offering a Sunday carvery if you're short of time during the week, book on their webpage here.
Of course, many of our marinas have fantastic restaurants in their nearby towns too, our marina teams can make great suggestions, so be sure to ask if you want more ideas!
On top of our incredible locations and fantastic restaurants and bars, find out more about the other benefits to Freedom Berthing and membership. Or if you're thinking about joining us, you can get a quote today!
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.
At this year’s Southampton Boat Show, MDL revealed its new Platinum membership package for the magnificently transformed Ocean Village Marina.
The marina has been undergoing an extensive redesign and refurbishment since 2015, as part of a five-year investment strategy set to be complete in 2020. The latest chapter in its £3.5 million transformation was the opening of the five-star, luxury Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa.
The 85-bedroom hotel has been designed to emulate a super yacht and is ideally positioned on the edge of the promontory projecting into the marina. It boasts a spectacular rooftop destination bar, as well as the award-winning Jetty restaurant, which offers panoramic views across the Solent.
The MDL Platinum package marries together our unrivalled Freedom Berthing package – which includes complimentary stays at over 100 marina destinations, free WiFi and fuel at cost – with full membership to the hotel’s luxurious spa and gym facilities. This includes indulgent treatments, a hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room and relaxation areas. Additionally, all Ocean Village Marina members will be able to enjoy discounted food and drink in the hotel’s restaurant and bars. An exclusive concierge parking service is also being introduced, along with brand new state-of-the-art, pontoons being installed.
Dean Smith, Commercial Director at MDL Marinas, commented: “We were delighted to launch our new Platinum membership package at Southampton Boat Show. The regeneration of Ocean Village Marina is truly remarkable and we were thrilled to unveil its ongoing transformation with the opening of the luxurious Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa. The marina is positioned in the very heart of the maritime city and epitomises its cosmopolitan personality. Ocean Village is now one of the most desirable five-star marina locations in the UK.”
The work at Ocean Village doesn’t stop there though; the modernisation of the pontoon berths will be complete by the end of the year and the marina is also being configured to accommodate much larger yachts, creating easier access than ever before for all boat owners.
Dean continued: “Ocean Village embodies our ultimate marina experience, marking a new era for MDL Marinas which champions not just sailing but the plethora of associated leisure opportunities, from wining and dining, to retail therapy and spa days. With the enhanced five-star offering, we are encouraging people to secure their berths as early as possible to avoid disappointment.”
Find out more about the Ocean Village Marina Platinum Package.
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!