Marcy is the site of Lock 20, the highest point on the magnificent New York State Erie Canai (this has been made bigger since the first digging in 1825, from 54 ft. wide and 4 ft deep to 100 ft. wide and 14ft deep. Chambers 300 ft x 45 ft and 500 + 650 ft at Buffalo and Troy which are Federal Locks.) I had plans to move nearer to the sea but, observing the canal, realized I could go anywhere and still hunt and fish in the mountains.  My first boat was a Lyman 1953 clinker built wooden with 55 hp "Evinrude Twin" outboard.  I lavished her with white racing paint on hull and everything else with multiple coats of carefully applied varnish.  Trailered to the St. Lawrence River, did some Canadian places and Maine, cod fishing and camping with two kids and dog! Next vessel! was a 21 ft. fibreglass "Sportcraft", 140hp. Mercruiser, inboard/outboard drive. (Another company who went out of business building quality boats!)  Now I am stepping out! Down to the oggin via the Erie Canal and the beautiful Hudson River and out to Montauk - "The End" as the locals call it.  Two ways to transit - down Long Island Sound or along the south shore of Long Island for 100 n.m. Rough seas. (People since and now call me a 'Daft B—d!) On to my present vessel, my pride and joy, the" Salty Dog", is 29 ft. Albin 1987, a small trawler/lobster boat style, I have owned for 18 years and has kept me broke! Customized her. Lots of good wood, wheelhouse doors, etc., all varnished with many coats. My son (carpenter/joiner) says its "passable". 150 hp Cummins Turbo Diesel, 100 gallons fuel, 40 gallons water and 10 gallon holding tank. Top speed 12 kts @ 2200 rpm. Cruise 8-9 kt @1700 rpm. Radar, GPS, Depth Sounders, Wind, VHF/AM/FM/ Fog and Lound Hailer. 2000 watt inverter and big battery banks to give me 120V, so that I can run a good sized A/C Fridge. Nice galley with Origo alcohol stove. Electric oven. She also carries a selection of Traditional Jazz and Blues and a full bar! I usually navigate with charts and compass. GPS is handy to tell me if I am where 1 should be! When she’s bunkered, loaded and victualed and ready for sea, you name it and she’s got it. Just like the M.N. Over the years the "Salty Dog" and I have traversed the East Coast from Massachusetts to the Carolinas. Mostly single-handed. Been in extremis a few times! Right about now, you have probably had enough of this worthless shite I am writing, but I’ll finish anyway.
Emma Lucie ABs Alix & Donald! Wahinee Waves Osprey ll
  Tony Hayes
Salty Dog Moorby
Membersof the MNA Boat Club certainly have some interesting craft –  a good example of what I mean is Arthur Woodhouse’s  41 foot converted Mark 3 LCS (Landing Craft Support) now called “Wanderer” which was  built for the Royal Navy around 1942/43 -  All the details described below were provided by Arthur, but I assume that at least some of the kit has probably been removed by now – if not it  would probably be wise not to upset Arthur and to give Wanderer a wide berth!  She’s around 12 tons, including side armour over her wooden construction, carries (or carried)  a quarter-inch smoke mortar, two  ½” heavy machine guns and two .303 machine guns  - she carried a crew of eleven, with power  provided by two 130bhp Ford petrol engines.
Wanderer in 1944 Wanderer at Great Yarmouth 1955
Arthur Woodhouse
Tony & Pat Collins
I joined P&O Bulk Shipping Ltd straight from school in 1973 as a cadet, and after gaining my 2nd Mate's "Ticket" continued with them on their gas, tanker and bulk fleets until 1985. My wife, Pat, sailed with me for five years, signing on articles as librarian, secretary etc, but also completing her Steering Certificate during that time. Pat "signed off" in 1982 when she fell pregnant with our daughter, but thoroughly enjoyed the five years tramping the oceans. In 1985, I changed employer, becoming a Sea Fisheries Officer with the Scottish Government, rising to Master Mariner, and eventually into senior management at headquarters in Edinburgh. In 2011, I got the opportunity of an excellent early-retirement package, which I jumped at. Our boating career started in 1979 when we had our first holiday on "the cut" (the old boatmen's name for the canal system). We have holidayed most years since then, waiting for the opportunity allowing us to have our own boat. This happened in 2012, and we started looking for a suitable boat/builder. "Paws 4 Thought" was launched on 8th April 2014. She is a 60ft semi-trad narrowboat, built on a Tyler/Wilson shell, and fitted out to our own spec by Top Notch Boat Company of Cradley Heath. She has permanent berths for two, but we can sleep four at a push. We have retained our house in Scotland, but hope to explore as much of the canal system as we can, living aboard for 8-10 months per year. Although our base is at Fazeley (near Tamworth), we expect to be out and about most of the time. We have a blog of our adventures (including a real-time tracker). We are also happy to have other members join us for short trips. For website address and contact details please see members' directory.
Paws 4 Thought
Tony & Pat Collins
Tony & Pat Collins
Walter Thomas
I started serving 7 years as a Shipwright apprentice in 1945 at Bristol.  My first foray into the world of boats was a 26ft Norwegian built and war damaged ships lifeboat, which was bummed from my employer and converted in partnership with a draughtsman apprentice.  We built a fore-deck and coach-roof and, as my wage was only around 15/- a week, I must confess that most of the timber and fittings were either bummed or purloined.  OOPS! Hope the statute of limitations has expired. We were racking our brains as to how we could acquire an engine, when it all became irrelevant.  I was informed I would be completing my indentures and, subsequently, my National Service on one of Elders and Fyffes “skinboats” and my partner in crime became a £10 Pom, so we sold the aptly named “Scrounger” for the princely sum of £20.  After 3 voyages and a falling out with the Mate, I was given a pier-head jump on a British Tanker Company vessel and stayed for 32 years as a Chippie and then as a C.P.O under the general purpose scheme. After retiring and nearly 30 years of testing my late Wife's patience with a multitude of hobbies, I decided to build a boat.  As the clinker and copper rivet method that I was familiar with wasn't possible single handed, I purchased plans from Selway-Fisher, lofted them in my sitting room, roofed part of my drive, welded up a building cradle with castors and went ahead.  The Barbara Anne now has spars, a suit of sails and basic electrics.   I am now slowly fitting out the small cabin.  A small outboard is the next purchase. At 83 I have also progressed from eccentric neighbour to man of achievement, still reasonably sane and occasionally sober. Regards Walter (or more often John.)
Please send YOUR contribution to us for inclusion here. Anything which may be of interest to other members will be welcomed.  For example: career details, anecdotes, current boat details (with photo if available), comments and opinions on the contents of the website etc.  Email Clive Edwards at:
Click on a name to view a member’s contribution:
James Hockey
One feature of the USA is that although the Coast Guard is a part of the US Military their stations tend to be fairly far apart based in major centres of population. To fill the gaps there is a subordinate civilian but uniformed ( by choice) organisation called the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. For website click here This is purely volunteer, self training, usually manned by holders of what is known locally of a 'six pack' ie a certificate to take out a boat with up to six passengers. Their duties include: regular checks on navigation marks; checking of safety equipment on boats, Providing training courses for local boat owners. They also act as a social club for the local boating community and is entirely self financing.
Swamp Lady Wanderer Today
SEAFARERS AFLOAT home of The Merchant Navy Association Boat Club
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Brian Long
This is “Arabesque” at Charfleet, just off Stangate Creek.  My wife Denise and I raft-up regularly with some friends most weekends.  I sail mostly single-handed as Denise is not the best heavy weather sailor, although she kept her calm in a 41knot south-westerly a couple of years ago, coming home from the east coast where we go for 3 weeks every year - Ipswich, Deben, Burnham.  I also love night sailing and sail to Ramsgate through the night and have done Dunkirk twice through the night.  We love Dunkirk, and now I am on a 2.5 day week, finishing Wednesday 12.noon, I am hoping to get to Boulogne, a trip my mate Peter has done many times. In the past, as part of the commitment to other sea farers, I have assisted Thames Coastguard.  Once, in response to a pan-pan when a yachtsman called up to say he thought he was sinking as smoke and water was filling his boat off the Clacton coast, I called the Coast guard to say I had experienced the same not so long ago.  They put me in touch on channel 68 and I talked him through to check his exhaust connection.  Sure enough it had failed, filling his boat with water and steam.  He was relieved and the coast guard thanked me, as he was happy to continue to Shotley.  I got a second call early evening. as I was on my way out to Charfleet, when a mayday went out as a gin palace had  lost all engine and was being blow onto the Forts in the River Medway.  I was first boat there and had to move quickly as I draw 1.70mts Fin keel.  I managed to throw him a line and towed him back to our fuel pontoon at Gillingham. Well that’s about my sail, been sailing for 45yrs now so I am an oldie -  62 this year.
Bryan Dillon
The following was received from Bryan on 30th August 2015: “I have just returned from Punta Arenas in Southern Chile where a group of local businessmen are trying to purchase from the Chilean Navy the former Iron Sailing Vessel  now hulked “ The County of Peebles”  in order to restore her. I was able to locate for them the original plans and original certificate of registration. At the moment they are still in negotiations with the Chilean Navy to be allowed to purchase the Peebles. They plan to build a pier around the hulks with a dry dock in the middle, so that the Peebles and the other two hulks have the dry dock built around them and then rebuild to Cutty Sark Standards.” This looks like a fascinating project which, hopefully, we will be able to follow through to completion.
Ron Ellison
Sailing   for   me   came   as   something   of   a   surprise   as   there   is   no   known   maritime   history   in   my   family.   In   my   early   twenties   I   was   looking for   an   outdoor   active   pastime   (I   hesitate   to   use   the   word   sport)   to   replace   the   golf   that   I   had   taken   up.   I   am   very   definately   not    a competitive   person   and   I   was   finding   golf   much   too   competetive   for   my   liking.   Those   of   you   that   play   golf   will   know   that   it   is   a   sport where   you   compete   against   yourself.   I   have   no   idea   what   put   the   idea   into   my   head,   perhaps   a   moment   of   madness   but   I   thought "what   about   sailing".   I   made   some   enquiries   and   came   across   the   Bosham   Sea   School   in   Chichester   Harbour.   I   booked   a   trial   trip   for a   week   aboard   their   45   foot   sloop   the   Tyree   3.   The   middle   of   July   and   the   weather   was   filthy.   However,   I   boarded   the   yacht   and   met the   other   beginners   and   the   skipper.   As   I   remember   there   was   a   public   school   headmaster,   a   Foreign   Office   diplomat,   a   French schoolboy,   an   Italian   Countess   and   me.   A   rather   surreal   collection   of   people!   However,   over   the   week   we   sailed   down   to   Poole   and back   and   the   weather   did   not   let   up   for   a   moment.   It   blew   a   hooly   and   was   cold   and   damp.   Despite   all   this   we   got   on   like   a   house   on fire   and   had   a   great   time.   I   was   hooked!   If   sailing   could   pull   such   wildly   different   people   together   this   was   for   me.   Not   only   that,   but   I got   my   Competent   Crew   ticket   on   that   trip   into   the   bargain. All   this   took   place   in   the   early   1970's   and   I   was   determined   to   find   myself a boat. In   the   small   ads   of   the   yachting   press   I   found   a   22ft.   plywood   sailing   cruiser   for   the   princely   sum   of   £900,   also   in   Chichester   Harbour. I   went   down   to   view   it   and   found   that   whilst   it   needed   some   work,   it   was   complete   and   even   had   a   brand   new   Seagull   outboard.   The deal was done and my sailing career was under way! For   the   first   year   I   confined   myself   to   sailing   the   waters   of   Chichester   Harbour   to   gain   experience   and   I   also   started   a   correspondence course   in   navigation.   I   had   recruited   a   friend   to   crew   for   me   but   he   was   not   a   keen   yachty   and   I   found   myself   sailing   single   handed much   of   the   time. The   next   year   I   took   the   bull   by   the   horns   and   put   out   to   sea.   Over   the   ten   years   I   had   that   boat   (I   had   renamed   her Thor) I sailed every nook and cranny of the Solent. By   the   turn   of   the   decade   It   was   time   for   me   to   broaden   my   horizons.   I   sold   Thor   and   bought   a   30ft   yacht   called   Dick   Hymas   (named after   a   well   known   east   coast   boatman   of   the   times).   With   this   boat   I   sailed   the   English   Channel   covering   the   Channel   Islands   and   the French   coast   from   Britanny   up   to   the   Bae   de   La   Sienne.   I   had   the   good   fortune   to   have   a   crew   of   expert   dinghy   sailors   with   me   for these cross Channel trips. With them I also sailed Southern Ireland in chartered yachts. In   the   early   1990's   I   had   the   opportunity   to   study   for,   and   take,   my Yachtmasters   exams. This   while   my   career   was   on   temporary   hold due   to   the   complete   collapse   of   the   building   industry   where   I   worked   as   a   surveyor.   During   these   times   I   joined   the   Ocean Youth   Club as   a   volunteer.   I   sat   on   the   London   committee   for   a   while   and   took   up   sailing   as   afterguard   on   their   large   yachts   to   gain   experience sailing   70   and   80   foot   boats.   I   did   this   for   about   ten   years   before   I   gave   it   up   as   it   was   getting   to   be   hard   work.   I   was   no   spring   chicken by this time. I   had   by   this   time   sold   Dick   Hymas   and   was   without   a   boat   of   my   own.   Being   again   single   handed   and   getting   on   in   years   I   decided   to change   to   motor   boats   and   for   a   few   years   I   had   an   assortment   of   small   vessels   which   I   sailed   around   the   Solent.   I   had   moved   to Ryde   on   the   Isle   of   Wight   where   I   kept   the   boats   in   the   beach   front   harbour   there.   Chief   amongst   these   boats   was   a   Peche Promenade   of   21   feet   which   on   one   occaasion   I   sailed   across   the   Channel   to Alderney   and   Guernsey   for   a   few   days.   That   was   quite a   trip   and   the   locals   were   somewhat   surprised   to   see   me.   Small   as   it   was   that   boat   was   a   good   sea   boat.   In   2002   I   sold   it   to   an   airline pilot   who   was   very   keen   to   have   it   as   he   was   an   enthusiastic   angler.   I   bought   a   7.5   metre   sports   cruiser   that   had   been   offered   to   me brand   new   at   a   very   keen   price.   I   named   it   Zambezi   and   took   it   by   road   to   the   south   of   France   where   it   now   lives   providing   me   with   a practical   and   affordable   Mediteranean   holiday   base.   I   have   done   some   cruising   in   it   around   Golfe   de   Lion   but   mostly   use   it   as   my sunshine   home.   How   long   this   happy   state   of   affairs   is   going   to   continue   is   not   certain   due   to   the   Brexit   vote   but   I   am   reasonably   sure that   a   deal   will   be   done   to   allow   Brits   to   stay   in   Europe   and   Europeans   in   the   UK.   In   my   view   it   would   be   far   too   difficult   an undertaking to make all the millions of ex pats move back to their respective home countries. In   2010   I   retired   from   work   and   moved   to   the   Norfolk   Broads.   I   bought   myself   a   Wilds   Carribean   from   the   Nancy   Oldfield   Trust   who had   been   using   it   as   their   wheelchair   boat.   They   are   a   charity   that   provides   boating   enxperiences   on   the   Broads   for   dis-abled persons.   The    boat    was    basically    empty    save    for    a    "drive-in"    bathroom    and    a    store    cupboard.   This,    I    thought,    was    an    ideal configuration   for   me   to   fit   out   as   a   cruising   yacht   tailored   to   my   design.   It   was   completed   the   following   year   and   I   renamed   the   boat Zephyr.   She   now   lives   in   Horning   Village   Marina   where   I   spend   several   months   of   the   year   on   her.   I   have   taken   her   on   one   long cruise   around   the   Broads   and   up   to   Norwich,   which   was   fun   single   handed   in   a   10   ton   boat.   The   lower   reaches   of   the   Broads   rivers are quite tidal but with some careful planning I managed the trip without misshap. All   in   all   I   think   I   have   been   very   fortunate   to   have   had   such   a   diverse   and   often   exciting   sailing   career. As   I   said   at   the   beginning   of this   article   I   have   no   idea   what   put   the   thought   of   sailing   into   my   head   but   I   am   very   thankful   for   it.   Long   may   my   life   on   the   water continue.
Zambezi Zephyr Para Handy