Cruising

The club organises a number of cruising opportunities for members and guest boats during the season, these include local meetings on the river, weekend cruises and longer cruises and on occasions flotilla holidays. Plans, updates and progress are supported by a WhatsApp group. The group is in addition used to arrange impromptu sailing in company by members and allows members to offer invitations to crew. To join the group contact the cruiser class captain or email MCC_cruisers@email.com

Cruising Programme 2020

Sat 16 May – Local Day Sail
Early Bird Launchers

Sat 30 May  –  Spring Cruise
Start Medway – Bradwell

Mon 1 Jun –  Spring Cruise
End Bradwell – Medway

Fri 12 Jun  –  Gala

Sat 13 Jun  – Gala

Sun 14 Jun  –  Gala

Tue 16 Jun  –  Extended Cruise Holland
Tue 7 Jul  –  Extended Cruise Holland End (Latest)

Sat 22 Aug  –  Summer Cruise
London St Katharine Dock Start
Mon 24 Aug  –  Summer Cruise
Return to Medway

Sat 29 Aug  –  Day Sail
Red Sand Forts (lunch) then back

Tue 8 Sept  –  Local sail – Moorings to Harty Ferry (Stay night)
Wed 9 Sept  –  Local sail – Harty Ferry to Moorings (return via East Swale)

During the 2019 season 15 MCC boats and 3 Visitors have participated in:-

May - Local sail to Stangate Creek

Helped by favourable weather and good winds, we had an excellent sail from the Strand down to Stangate Creek, three boats rafted to provide a platform for lunch and a tender service provided by Latitude enabled everyone to assemble on the rafted boats for lunch, boat inspections, swapping of stories and plans for the season of those assembled. Boats attending were Freya, Latitude, Tamaki, Gigi, Take Five and Gothic.

June – Spring cruise combined with a longer cruise to South Coast

The first stop was to be Ramsgate after a rest day some boats would return to Medway the remainder head along south coast with the intention of spending a time in the Solent area. After the rest day two boats returned to Medway (Matariki and Take Five). Unfortunately the forecast started to change and the remaining boats spent some time weather bound in Ramsgate, weather settled again and the four boats (Freya, Niccone, Latitude, Tamaki) moved to Eastbourne, a short stop and we moved to Brighton. The weather deteriorated badly with very strong winds for several days peaking at 53 Kts in Brighton Marina. This rather unwelcomed extended stay at Brighton caused us to review the plans and critically examine the forecast weather for coming week. This showed a short break in the high winds but another extended period of high winds due in a couple of days. With the probability of once arriving in the Solent area being weather bound again the general consensus was to use the weather window to return to Medway. Although disappointing we get to do a bit of sightseeing. We had all purchased a Premier Marina Great Escapes ticket giving 5 nights for the price of 7. This did work for us in reducing costs, however we had planned to use most days in Solent marinas and not spend 7 Days in Brighton and Eastbourne, but that is sailing in the fickle weather of the UK.

June – Spring cruise combined with a longer cruise to South Coast

The first stop was to be Ramsgate after a rest day some boats would return to Medway the remainder head along south coast with the intention of spending a time in the Solent area. After the rest day two boats returned to Medway (Matariki and Take Five). Unfortunately the forecast started to change and the remaining boats spent some time weather bound in Ramsgate, weather settled again and the four boats (Freya, Niccone, Latitude, Tamaki) moved to Eastbourne, a short stop and we moved to Brighton. The weather deteriorated badly with very strong winds for several days peaking at 53 Kts in Brighton Marina. This rather unwelcomed extended stay at Brighton caused us to review the plans and critically examine the forecast weather for coming week. This showed a short break in the high winds but another extended period of high winds due in a couple of days. With the probability of once arriving in the Solent area being weather bound again the general consensus was to use the weather window to return to Medway. Although disappointing we get to do a bit of sightseeing. We had all purchased a Premier Marina Great Escapes ticket giving 5 nights for the price of 7. This did work for us in reducing costs, however we had planned to use most days in Solent marinas and not spend 7 Days in Brighton and Eastbourne, but that is sailing in the fickle weather of the UK.

Early July - The second local sail in company to Stangate

8 boats participated Latitude, Freya, Maeve, Take Five, Minxie, Matariki, Actinia, Kookaburra (guest boat). Some decided to go to Stangate on Saturday afternoon the rest joining on Sunday. Those on Sunday had a good sail down in pleasant winds with sunshine when we arrived. An excellent time was had with some quite elaborate catering from some participants.

Late July - Longer cruise to France

Immediately after the Stangate meeting a longer cruise was planned originally to Holland, however due to some concerns about red diesel issues in Belgium, plans were changed with some heading for the North coast of France and a little later Niccone and Latitude headed along the south coast and on return to Ramsgate had a hop up the east coast.

Heading for the French coast (Freya and Kittiwake) first stopped at Ramsgate and linked up with two Boats from West Mersea Yacht Club (Clockwise and Matilda). The itinerary included Boulogne, Treport, Fecamp, Saint-Valery-en-Caux, , Dieppe, Saint-Valery-Sur-Somme, Dieppe, Boulogne, Ramsgate, return to Medway. On the return visit to Boulogne we met up with Lindsay and Ken on GiGI and enjoyed a splendid meal in one of the local restaurants. The second visit to Dieppe was due to late tides and a preference to return to Dieppe rather than attempt Boulogne in the dark. Dieppe was the only port to require Boat paper to be presented. It transpired that the purpose of this was to record boat length on the Dieppe database to ensure the boat was charged the correct berthing rate. Although Dieppe is a large town we found it to be a pleasant stop with good facilities and excellent access to the town for essential supplies and restaurants. Treport is basically a river with pontoons along the bank, depth is controlled by lock gates at the end, although a pleasant town it had a chaotic mooring arrangement, with no allocated places, we just had to find somewhere in a small visitors area, which turned out to be completely full, or raft alongside someone without restricting other river users.

Saint-Valery-en-Caux is a delightful small French town with interesting architecture, access is restricted by tide as the entrance completely dries out with a single lock gate opening HW +/- 2Hrs. The biggest navigational challenge on this trip was Saint-Valery-Sur-Somme, this is in a huge sandy bay, think Camber Sands but much bigger, it dries out completly, passage in is via a buoyed passage that changes frequently so is not on the standard charts. The pilot instructions are to leave from Safe Water mark (AT-SO) at 1.5 hrs before HW and follow the buoyed channel this takes 1.5 Hrs and you then arrive in at the pontoons on the river bank by the town at HW. Freya and Kittiwake both draw 2m and we can only get in on spring tides. It’s a lovely place but we could only spend 1 Night there, as we arrived on the falling cycle of spring tides. Fecamp is a place we have visited before a good marina with all tide access. We spent Bastille day here and were treated to a stunning firework display which we were able to enjoy from our boats, following the display a motor parade starts in the hills above the town and snakes its way down the hill side into the town. It is quite an spectacle for the eyes and ears with 3000 motor bikes of all descriptions slowly making their way through the town and round the sea front. Another attraction worth a visit is the Benedictine distillery which has a remarkable story with beautiful building, museum and gallery.

August - Summer Cruise

This year we were treated to the best weather for the summer cruise in many years. 8 Boats (Freya, Niccone, Take Five Gigi, White Silk, Moyana, Latitude, Rowan made the trip to Burnham Yacht Harbour. It was coincidently Burnham week, in the sunshine and warm weather we were able to explore Burnham and  enjoy the sailing. On the Sunday evening the group assembled in Swallowtail’s for dinner and  to discuss the various views of best time to leave on Monday. The return was, for most a motor sail, but in warm dry conditions. Freya arrived back early evening dropping the sails in Saltpan Reach as the light breeze faded away.

September - Flotilla Holiday

On September 6th Ten Friends, family and MCC members set off for a week flotilla Holiday on 3 boats, with Seafarer Holidays in Greece to sail around the North Sporades Islands in the Aegean Sea SE Greece. One of the islands is Skopelos best known for the location of the church in the Mamma Mia film, this however was not the reason for our choice of location. We were drawn by the billed, “Reliable sunshine and good sailing winds with flat seas along the southern side of the Islands. The temperature ranges from the low 20’s, with Moderate to fresh winds force 3-6, great for experienced sailors.” The location did not disappoint with great weather and some good sailing. We found it less crowded than the Ionian area that we have previously experienced. The disadvantage is the reduced availability of flights which pushes up the cost of flights to the area. We were treated to some lovely small harbours and isolated coves/beaches for lunchtime stops. Going in September the weather was warmer, so lunchtime swim with snorkel gear became a must do in the clear water. The most memorable stop came on the Sunday night when all the flotilla boats (8 plus the lead crew) rafted together at anchor and with a shore line astern in an isolated bay (Kyra Panayia), no mobile phone signal, internet or shore facilities.  After cooking dinner on board, all assembled on deck for drinks and at 22:00 in the still warm air under moonlight and a star filled sky, the lead crew raised  their mail sail and we all watched the film Top Gun, projected on the sail. A unforgettable night. We had many reasonable priced meals in small family restaurants. It’s a great sailing location with more to see, a second visit would recommended with no hesitation of using Seafarer again. Our flights were by Thomas Cook, we were aware they were in trouble from the media reports, although the service provide from staff gave no indication of this. Thomas Cooke went into administration 10 days after we arrived 

Cruising photo gallery (click on image to enlarge and view other images)