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103 Years - Established 1913

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The Manchester Cruising Association has been meeting regularly in Manchester since 1913. Originally a small group of friends getting together and sharing their interest in sailing, the MCA has grown and now has over 150 members. Bigger maybe but still very friendly and still devoted to sharing experience, knowledge and enthusiasm. Gone are the Reefer jackets and club ties, come down in your jeans if you want, You don’t have to be a boat owner either; If you’re interested in Inland, Offshore, Coastal or Blue-water cruising, you'll find more information and how to join us HERE. If you would like to come to one of our meetings as a visitor most are open to the public with no entrance fee.  Meetings are held usually on the second Thursday each month between September and May with the occasional social meeting during the summer cruising period.


Welcome to the
Manchester Cruising Association

“To they that go down to the sea in ships, a safe and speedy return”

The Association toast.

Next  Members’ Meeting
Thursday  -  12th of  May 2016
 7.30pm for 8.00pm start.




(Click for venue details)

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Commodore:    mancacommodore@gmail.com

   Secretary:    mancasecretary@gmail.com

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January 14
February 11
March 10

April 14
May 12

Christopher Smith
Jeremy Batch

Linda Crew-Gee
Vyv Cox

Meetings & Events for 2016

Members’ Talks
Liverpool to the Lofoten Islands
The Wild Atlantic Way of Ireland

AGM & ‘Hardanger to Helsinki’

A Transit of Albania

The Story of Navigation
Girls’ Guide to the Southern Ocean

Anchorages & Anchors / Cruising Greece
Cruising Tit-Bits & £5 Hot Pot Supper

Dave & Jeanette Hardy
Daria & Alex Blackwell
Terry McGaul

Sept 15

October 13

November 10 December 8

July 14

The ‘Boathouse’ Dinner - Sale Water Park     7.00 for 7.30pm

FEBRUARY 2016 MEETING                                The 1,440th meeting                               

The Story of Navigation

by Jeremy Batch

An incredible compilation
of facts

Jeremy’s talk outlined developments in 2 areas of Navigation throughout history. Firstly, the theories and observations which replaced outmoded folklore and intuitions.   By establishing the segmenting of the circle of vista, the Babylonians, using sections based on their block of 60 units, chose to divided the circle by an even 6 blocks giving rise to a total of 360 divisions or degrees which is still the standard used today.  Notation of the Cardinals came in conjunction with their observation of the Pole star being a fixed body and so their circle became divided into four segments of 90 degrees.

In Europe the Vikings for their part had developed a similar idea of 4 cardinals but had subdivided each 90 degree segment 3 further times to create a 32 segment circle of vista; a division and standard which is still used today but which doesn’t correlate with the division using 360 degrees..  The Chinese for their part were dividing the circle into 24 parts, a system which certainly would have given a good basis had they been using the 24 hour clock.   These were early examples of fixed standards in Navigation and when added to more recent developments such as the 24 hour clock, the Prime Meridian or Greenwich Meridian(decided upon by a convention in Washington in 1884) and Universal Standard Time.

Jeremy detailed the work of various individuals; Herodotus, Pythagarus, Euclid, Ptolemy and Hipparchus of Rhodes who were versed in such attributes as Mathematics, Geometry and Geography. They established such concepts as the circumference of the earth and the division of the globe into latitude and longitude.

     On the equipment side of Navigation, we were shown how early sundials took the Euclid’s principle of shadow direction and length to ascertain time, date and solar declination. Gnomonic lines showed defined patterns and the device took many forms. Later a device called a Kamal took the principles further and into the realm of portability, being able to find the declination of the sun, pole star and planets using a plumb line and perpendicular to establish the base horizon. This was used by Arab sailors and others around the Indian Ocean from the 9th Century AD up until the 15th Century AD. In Europe, a quadrant or clinometer superseded but all were hard to use on a boat in rough weather.   Development lead on to the Astrolade with some  versions providing diversity using a changeable disc system.   In the 16th century the ‘Cross-Staff’ emerged as a tool for ascertaining angles and was reputed to have been used by Ferdinand Magellen and his Portugese cohorts.  This cross-staff had a sliding element for fixing elevation readings from a scale marked on the central shaft.  In 1595 John Davis refined this with the Davis Quadrant or ‘Back-Staff’ used in reverse so as not to have the sun ‘blind’ the operator.  Other developments focused on quantifying other relevant factors such as boat speed and timing.  Henry 8th’s navy used a kit which was effectively a float on the end of a string which had spaced-out knots and a sand-glass timer. This gave them an indication of boat speed and historically gave us the term ‘Knot’ for one nautical mile per hour.  On the timing side, during the 18th century, John Harrison invented and produced a marine chronometer.

A plethora of other developments ensued particularly after World War 2 when the Kempner giro-compass was improved, commercially promoted by Sperry along with Inertia Measuring Units. Satellites produced and delivered the deployment of Navigation systems based on a reversed aspect of the Dopler Shift principle.

Dr John Ponsonby proposed a Vote of Thanks to Jeremy on behalf of the MCA members present.

                                                                       Roy Conchie

with Linda Crew-Gee

MARCH 2016 MEETING                                The 1,441st meeting                               

A Girls’ Guide to
the Southern Ocean…

It was, if anything, a motivational talk to show how a diminutive lady, inexperienced in sailing matters, could overcome her fears and uncertainties including that of dying to achieve that ambition and find an ‘inner peace’. She signed up with a Dutch company that organised charter trips using three classic tall ships for a voyage from Auckland, New Zealand, to the Falkland Islands via Cape Horn. Her ship was the ‘Tecla’, a 99 year old cutter-rigged ketch which at 24m84 waterline length was the smallest of the three. Originally built as a herring fleet fishing boat, she was crewed by four professional sailors and 9 ‘trainees’ ( five males and two females) who manned the boat literally with 2 professionals and 3 trainees on watch at any one time. Mixing slides with film footage we were shown around the boat and almost felt the conditions of the seas she encountered on a voyage that lasted 31 days and covered 5000 miles as they passed through 11 time zones. As you might expect, conditions were rough to very rough with an average wind speed of 25 knots made worse by there being no shelter on deck, hand steering at all times and the sheer weight and unmanageability of the heavy sails when changes were necessary. They were allowed to learn by their mistakes, were not shouted at, and quickly fell into a routine of ‘eat, go on watch, sleep’ as complete exhaustion took its toll. They survived various storms both in the Pacific Ocean and after rounding Cape Horn – the earlier one even causing damage to the boat and after passing through Drake’s Passage they were forced to heave to for 36 hours before making landfall in Port Stanley. What had the voyage taught her? “To be” (as opposed to do) in tune with nature; to fel at one with elements of nature; to enjoy the vast expanse of nothingness; to overcome personal fears in order to achieve a life-long dream but which on returning to terra firma leaves a hankering for more sea adventures.Questions followed about cost, navigation and wildlife. Alan Street proposed the Vote of Thanks for the MCA.
                                                                          Roger Cleland.

Linda realised a dream when she joined Tecla’, a traditional Dutch tall ship, for a voyage from Auckland across the Southern Ocean via Cape Horn to the Falkland Islands.

Wild weather, hard physical work & odd mishaps notwithstanding, the voyage fulfilled her friend’s parting blessing:-
“May the ocean be beautiful, awesome and kind.”
Girl’s Guide to the Southern Ocean was not a talk in the scouting tradition but an account of the fulfilment of a lifetime’s ambition which stemmed from a childhood experience of rough seas among the Croatian islands of the Adriatic

A Transit of Albania
with Christopher Smith

January 2016 MEETING                                The 1,439th meeting                               

Two of the best known Mediterranean cruising grounds, Ionian and Croatia, are separated by 150 miles of Albania. So Christopher would like to know why he met only six other cruising yachts during his two weeks in Albanian waters. Is it the mines (6,000 destroyed in 2013), the lack of yacht-friendly harbours or just the reputation?

   Christopher started by briefly outlining the extent of his travels in his 34 foot Jeanneau Espace 1000 in and around the Black Sea and the Adriatic Coast since his retirement five years earlier and outlined what attributes he considered essential for cruising in those waters – a full bimini; white decks; a long gangplank to cope with the particularly high walls of Albanian harbours; a readily available stern anchor; small tender; solar panels; a fridge and as swimming platform for ease of access back on board. He invited the audience to add to his list from their own experiences. Using the pilot guides, 777 (an Italian pilot of harbours and some doubtful anchorages); the Imray Adriatic Pilot and Cruising’s Captain’s Mate, he set off for Albania from Corfu mindful of the dire warnings of the coast being heavily mined despite official denials to the contrary. They did encounter evidence of mines and other defensive military hardware but sticking to buoyed channels produced nothing untoward.

ALBANIA – Hit or Miss was a comprehensive visual presentation by Christopher Smith with the occasional revelations from his partner and fellow sailor, Cocky Taaman.

From Christopher’s slides we immediately saw the contrast from the over-crowded marinas of Corfu and Croatia to deserted harbours in Albania as his journey progressed northwards up the coast. Paperwork formalities of entry and exit papers from different harbours were somewhat haphazard and could even be expedited with help of a beer or two.

The buildings lining the harbours also revealed the typical high rise flats that are so common in communist countries though behind this façade lay even less inspiring properties. From Sarande, Vlore (the main port), Durres up to Shengjin, the journey passed through a number of deserted and attractive anchorages and on a cold winter’s Manchester evening the stark contrast of blue skies and azure seas gave us glimpses of the attraction of warm water swimming. The two towns that stood out were Durres with its remains of a Roman amphitheatre and Shengjin rapidly trying to be a holiday town and to exploit its long beach. Beyond Shengjin, Montenegro and the gulf of Kotor proved so different.  Questions were asked on the people and the service they received, language difficulties, currency, wind strengths and charts and tellingly the fact that Christopher and Cocky cruised back to Greece by-passing Albania on their return journey.
Our MCA President, Dr Stuart Thompson, proposed a ‘Vote of Thanks’ on behalf of the members present.
                                                                                              Roger Cleland

The Hon. Secretary’s Minutes of the previous meeting
can be seen by clicking HERE!


The MCA mid-summer Dinner
at the ‘Boathouse’,
Sale Water Park
Thursday July 14th

Once again we’re organising an informal get-together
with an excellent dinner at the
Boathouse Restaurant
(formerly Deckers!)

It’s on Thursday, July 14th & we meet up at 7.00pm for a meal at 7.30pm.
There’s no set menu, there’s no ticket price, You don’t even have to book!
Just turn up and order what you like from the extensive Boathouse menu.
You can spend as much or as little as you like, it’s as simple as that.
And like all MCA do’s, it’s not a couples event.
So do come along for lots of boating chat!
Members’ Guests are welcome too!

Junc 6

M33 2LX

The requirements for a good anchorage - wind direction, swells and currents, seabed, selection from the chart where the pilot is inadequate or conditions change. Anchor designs, past & current, how they behave on the seabed, what catenary does and doesn't do, kedges, snubbers & chain.

Anchorages & Anchors

Cruising Greece
with a camera.

Booking Now!!

May Meeting Hot-Pot Supper
only £5 per head
Hot-Pot followed by Apple Pie & Cream
(Vegetarian option will be available)

We’ve already got lots of names for the Hot-Pot Supper on May 12th but the more the merrier!  Do book by telephone or email if you didn’t make the April meeting.
The cost is being subsidised at only £5 and that’s for guests & visitors too! The May meeting is one of the best attended meetings of the year so do come along and have a chat with other members and share your cruising plans for the forthcoming season!
You must book in advance for the meal but you can ‘pay-on-the-night’.
You can attend the meeting without booking but food won’t be available unless you booked it !!
(We have to give precise numbers to the caterer)
email addresses on the ‘Contact’ page - Deadline May 7th!

Please come along, bring a guest if possible,
all are welcome!

Rear Commodore Nigel Partington will give a short presentation on

Man Overboard!!!

What to prepare and what to do in a scenario we never believe will happen to us!

plus ‘Boat Handling in Montevideo’
a special presentation by Geoff Meggitt

APRIL 2016 MEETING                                The 1,442nd meeting                               

An Evening with Vyv Cox

“Anchorages and anchorsby Vyv Cox who kindly stood in at short notice to plug an unexpected and unavoidable gap in our programme proved once again how a talk can be authoritative, detailed and interesting without blinding the audience with science. Vyv took us through the various aspects of anchoring from selecting the right spot, the choice of anchors available, their likely performance on differing seabeds, the role of the kedge anchor and the effect of the chain on the anchor’s efficiency.

The talk was illustrated by charts of anchorages, diagrammatic likely changes with different wind directions, photographs of pitfalls to avoid and idyllic places both at home and in Greece plus underwater photos of anchors at work and the effects of the possible movement of the chain when the wind changed direction.

His analysis of the properties of various types of anchor whether originals or copies was thorough & balanced and the graph illustrating holding power was particularly convincing. He explained how important it is to set the anchor firmly by exerting considerable loads on it under engine power at about 2500rpm rather than just dumping it and hoping for the best. Vyv ended the first part of the talk by illustrating the use of the kedge anchor set in various positions and that of a snubber on the chain to add elasticity to any movement on the boat caused by waves or swell. Questions were asked about swivels, the use of rope versus chain, trip lines and the deployment of a small float to indicate the anchor’s position.

The second part of Vyv’s talk – “Cruising Greece with a camera” traced the Cox’s extensive cruising around Greece following their move from Italy in 2007 to the Ionian Sea to be followed in subsequent years to the Aegean, Corinth Canal, Sporades, Cyclades and Dodecanese. Many of the places visited were linked to anchorages previously mentioned but there were also beautiful shots of wild flowers and spectacular views from their forays ashore. Vice Commodore Mike Ousbey gave the Vote of Thanks.

Roger Cleland

Deadline - May 7th