“MacGregor Muster” at Harwich

21st Year Celebration “MacGregor Muster”, 24-27 August 2012 (Bank Holiday), Harwich Harbour, coast, and rivers.

NB: Change of venue from the Brief published in issue 76 of the Magazine & at the AGM due to the large interest already registered in this Landmark Event.

The Plan:

Meet at the Haven Ports Yacht Club (HPYC) Lightship (LV87) in Suffolk Yacht Harbour (SYH) on the Friday of the Bank Holiday August 24th for a Pimms Reception & Dinner at 6.15. for 7 p.m.

The Reception will be on the Top Deck with the Dinner in the “Trinity Room” on the Lower Deck. We can accommodate up to around 70 people for this Function so Members that are within driving distance who may not be able to bring their boat for the full Event will be very welcome to come for the Reception & Dinner only & possibly stay in a B&B. Cost of the Dinner including the Reception is £21 (Drinks with the meal extra, to be purchased at the Bar before Dinner starts)

The weekend will also include some special surprises for the MOA's 21st year!

One of the beauties of the Orwell & Harwich Harbour is the choice it offers especially for Groups of mixed experience some of whom may prefer to stay on inland waters. Having said that, the proposed visit to Arthur Ransome's Secret Water, properly known as Walton Backwaters, is only 2 miles down the Coast across Harwich Bay & there will be plenty of other boats to reassure novices.

Land based options:

The Suffolk /Essex coast also offers many other Family Tourist Attractions & the Event could offer non sailing wives/partners & children opportunities to enjoy whilst still meeting up with the sailors in the family in the evening e.g. Walton on the Naze, the Suffolk Coast, Woodbridge & Sutton Hoo as well as Norfolk, “Nelson's County” & the Broads. Some Members are considering including the Event as part of a Family Holiday on the East Coast.

Organiser: Stephen Hinde,

(other contact info in the full brief below).

For full details please download the full Brief (see updated info in following post)

This is the menu for the Friday night - choices required in advance:

Booking form, please complete and return to Stephen Hinde (see updated info in following post)

Harwich tide tables:


Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich

This is an update to the previous information, in relation to a buffet supper which has been arranged for the Saturday night, and must be booked in advance. Updated brief and booking form attached.

Even if you've already booked, please download these and return the new booking form as necessary.


For full details please download the full Brief:

Booking form, please complete and return to Stephen Hinde:

Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich

Hi All, Looking forward to seeing you all at the event.

On the Monday I will be sailing with Rick back to my home port in Tollesbury (on the Blackwater), over this weekend I'll look up the tides and post my proposed passage plan here for people interested in going with us.

the Blackwater is a great place for the Mac with its shallow draft and there are plenty of great places to explore, Tollesbury, West Mersea, Winvenhoe and Brightlingsea to name but a few!!

anyone with any questions about the area please do not hesitate to get in touch.

all the best


Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich

Plan for trip north on Monday 27th.

I am hoping to travel up the coast towards either Southwold or Lowestoft (Good entry for the Broads) and would be happy to cruise in company with anyone else interested in this trip.

This is a trip I have undertaken many times before and is relatively hazard free. Assuming that the weather forecast is reasonable the plan will be to leave Felixstowe at around HW (08.10 BST) on the 27th. The trip up the coast is relatively straight forward and we will have 6 hours of favourable tide. There is the option to bear away to enter the Ore about 2 hours after clearing Felixstowe or into the Deben about 50 mins. Both of these entrances should be straight forward but you will need a local up to date chartlet as the actual entrances have numerous sand bars which are subject to shifting. Passing the lighthouse at Orford Ness there are sometimes a few tidal overfalls on the ebb but these can easily be avoided either by sailing close to the beach (the water is quite deep close to the lighthouse) or by keeping a mile and a half offshore. I tend to leave Aldeburgh well clear due to the large number of lobster pots that are rarely very well marked. I would generally expect to reach Southwold about 7 hours after leaving Felixstowe which is around or just after local LW. This should not be a problem for a MacGregor as there is still about 1 metre over the bar at the entrance to the river. The visitors stage which about 1/2 a mile up the river can be quite busy but there is generally room to raft up. Both the flow and ebb in the river can be anything up to 6 knots but there is room to turn. There is a FREE launching ramp.
Continuing to Lowestoft will take another 4 hours or so if sailing as the tide will be against us. The approach to Lowestoft is straightforward but it is important to identify the relevant buoys off the entrance as there are sand banks in this area. You will need to request permission from the harbourmaster to enter the outer harbour. If masts are then lowered it will be possible to pass under the road bridge and continue up to the lock for Oulton Broad. The lock is operated by a man who will relieve you of about £12.00 to enter the Broads. There is a launching ramp just next to the lock on the Broads side which is as far as I know free to use (I have never been asked for any payment here). If you wish to cruise the broads for a while then a fee will be payable to the Broads Authority.

Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich

My Mac is moored near Norwich and weather permitting I was thinking about doing both directions via Lowesoft and the sea

I'll be solo and still fairly new to this sailing lark so I could trail down, sail back then return for the car on the train (only £14)
If you are coming back this way I would like join you.

It's better to soar with the eagles than scratch with the chickens

rick.jones's picture

Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich

Extra feature - RNLI at the Muster


RNLI Volunteers will be at the Muster offering their new "Advice Onboard" service to participants

This is a free, friendly, non-critical, one to one, confidential service. Depending on the level of interest, the Team will be at one or more of the marinas after breakfast. It takes one to one & a half hours per boat.

A number of Skippers have already expressed interest. For more details see this page on the RNLI web site.

If you would like to book a session during the event, please phone or email Stephen, who will make arrangements, ASAP (contact details are on both the brief and booking form attached to the first post above).

Rick Jones (Treasurer) 1994 Mac 19 "White Lightning", Isle of Wight

Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich - Pilotage Video

The Video Andy refers to above provides ideal pilotage for the Muster & I recommend it to all those coming who have not previously been to Harwich. It gives a very good pictorial view quite apart from the Pilotage.

Our numbers are currently 66 Members & Crew. We are near our limit for catering so if any other Member is thinking of joining the Muster please send in the Booking Form (downloadable from above) asap.



Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich

I woud'nt mind tagging along to southwold as well. (solo newb apart from some broads/river saling)

Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich

Follow this link for a pilot guide for the East Coast.


This was originally downloaded from visitmyharbour.com, pay their site a visit it is brilliant and the membership fee is really cheap considering what they offer!

Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich

Ahoy there,


It would be very helpful if those Members coming to the Muster who have not already done so could please send me their Booking Forms, completed with their Crew 's Menu Choices, RNLI option & cheques asap rather than waiting till the deadline.

Provisionally we now have 73 people - including those coming to the Friday Reception & Dinner only (18.15.hrs prompt for 19.00. hrs. - Don't be "Late at the Start") & 21 boats coming.

There is still room for some "Late Entries" but don't leave it too long.

Looking forward to seeing you all.


rick.jones's picture

Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich

Paralympic Flame at the Muster

A happy coincidence is the Arrival of the Paralympic Flame at Suffolk Yacht Harbour (SYH) on the Saturday morning 25th August at around 11.15.hrs, departing at 12.45.hrs. (see attached). The EAST Charity are hosting a Festival which will make SYH even busier especially round the Slipway area.

Please see this attachment for more information.

Rick Jones (Treasurer) 1994 Mac 19 "White Lightning", Isle of Wight

Swallows & Amazons' Voyage of Discovery

"Captain" Bill Millar is planning to make a Swallows & Amazons style "Voyage of Discovery" to "Secret Water" on the Saturday afternoon en route to Titchmarsh - on the rising tide!
Horsey Island & Skipper's Island (see Harwich Haven Guide website in the Brief) are the"Swallows Island " & "Mastodon Island" in the Book.
Hopefully other Boats will join Bill's Squadron.The Fleet will approach Titchmarsh Marina from the West. The overall distance is very little more than by the normal Eastern Approach & will not mean leaving SYH until after the Paralympic Flame has been. There should be a good chance of spotting Seals as well as lots of birdlife. It should be fun. I did it during the 1997 Event - with a full Crew of Look-outs!


"Going Foreign" at the Muster

Visit to a Sovereign Principality

Chris Harnan in "Alicia", his 35' Gaffer, plans to lead a Squadron out to "Roughs Tower", the WW11 Fort, seven miles off Walton, on the Sunday morning.
This fort is in international waters & was declared a Sovereign Principality in 1967 - see http://www.sealandgov.org
Obviously it will be weather dependant & iron genoas may be needed but it's an interesting & quirky location & hopefully a Task Force can be assembled with Alicia as the Mother Ship.

Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich


Do you have any information you can let us have regarding location of supermarkets in the area for provisioning?
Also, is there a petrol station not too far away from Levington for fuelling the boat?

Re: “MacGregor Muster” - Victualling & Fuel

Mike et al,

There is a Tesco "Extra" on the A14, Junction 55, at "Copdock & Washbrook" where the Northbound A12 merges with the A14.
All 3 marinas have Minimarts in the chandleries.
Fuel is available at SYH at marina prices.

Safe journey,

See you at the Muster.


Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich

I am planning to cruise around the coast north and south of Felixtowe during the week following the event and am happy to join in with others.
Raher than proceed into the Broads ( since they probably justify another visit) I plan to go North as far as Snape on the Alde (continuation of the Ore)Monday and then turn back to visit upper reaches of the Deben Tuesday pm. Wed all the way down to rvr Colne virtually to Colchester then next day to Blackwater. Friday back up to river Ore and Ipswich before returning for pull out Sat am at SYC.
This may be subject to an extra day birdwatching and exploring arord Orford so may not leave there till Wednesday..in which case Ipswich or Blackwater may miss out. Also possible for revisit to Titchfield.
Anyone wishing to join me will be welcome for any or all of this.
Does anyone know about petrol availability ?. I understand there is petrol at Orford and Brightlingsea and at petrol stations near Titchmarsh and Wivenhoe. so seems plentiful on Ore .

Looking fwd to a good one. hope the weather will be kind.
Im keen to go round the back of Horsea Island w Bill Millar on Saturday on the Arthur Ransome cruise although I would point out that Swallows and Amazons was inspired by Lake District! On the Ransome theme I note that pirates feature quite a bit and on some trips Ransome arranged they all had to fly "Jolly Rogers"...so get out your pirate gear...aar, me maties!

Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich

The Walton Backwaters were the inspiration for "Secret Water" The Orwell and specifically areas such as Felixstowe and Pin Mill featured in "We didn't mean to go to sea" Pin Mill today doesn't look significantly different from the illustration in Ransome's book written in the 1930s. This was my favourite book as a child. :D

Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich

Ray and I would like to say a huge thank you to Stephen for all his hard work and effort in making the Muster a lovely occasion to celebrate the anniversary of the Club.

It was our first 'outing' with the Mac owners and although our 'Orinoco' isn't in the water, Stephen kindly arranged a ride for us on Bill and Jean's lovely 'Avocet'. So we were able to enjoy the experience of crewing in company and indeed having a 'go' in a MacGregor.

Thank you for that Stephen....as it was a truly super weekend.

We very much enjoyed everyone's company, especially our hosts, Bill and Jean who went out of their way to make us most welcome on board and once again...thank you to you both for that.

Ray was in his element back on board a yacht....it is where he is the happiest and it has given us extra impetus to get the 'Orinoco Flow' sorted.
Seeing different ways that folks have added to and adapted their Macs was also very interesting and Ray has come away with a ton of advice and ideas which he wants to put into practice on our own boat.

I would just like to add as well how good it was to see all the owners rallying to the aid of one of the boats which experienced some difficulty. How good and reassuring it is to sail in company ....that makes such a difference, being part of a Club like that.

Great weekend...thanks everyone.

Pauline x ;)

Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich

Arrived, back at work today exhausted after a 10 hour tack back to Tollesbury, but felt exhilerated after such a great weekend.

Thanks again to Stephen for organising such a great event and thank you to everyone for your great company and allowing us 'Non-Macs' to take part.

Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich

Just a note to say that members who was not able to attend this event missed a superb weekend.
I am a "newby" to the club having owned my boat for less than a year and I cannot thank Stephen enough for his great organisation and how everybody was so helpful in making this a memorable weekend.

There were a number of new or inexperienced members and we were all made to feel very welcome and came away better for the experience and I for one are looking forward to another Mac event next year!

I advise anybody with little or irregular sea experience to attend the Mac events and it will be well worth while.

The RNLI safety visit to my boat was also very useful , pointing out things which are not so obvious that needs to be corrected. Very well done to who ever organized them to be present.

Great weekend , good food and good boating!

Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich

Yep, great weekend. even the weather played ball.

Perfect for myself and Sara as this was out first real sail, let alone the on the sea. So well done Stephen for laying it all on so we could just enjoy.

We did so many saling/boaty "firsts" not least my personal dread of communicating via the radio!, but apart from getiing blasted by the horn from a cruise ship!, oh and tipping the Mac up on the trailor, (at least I know the balance point now :) by and large we got away with it, and had a laugh with good company in the process too. Till next time...

cheers, TOny, Sara

some random pics

Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich

A really splendid Major Mac Meet to mark the first 20 years of the Association!

Very many thanks to Stephen in particular and to the Committee in general for fine planning and organisation of the whole weekend including of course the Friday evening Dinner, even down to providing Party Bags for all vessels.

We thoroughly enjoyed it all and having Pauline and Ray as most generous and very knowledgable guests on Avocet made it all the more so. It is a delight to see appreciation from "new" folk.....we ALWAYS have fun at Mac Meets both at home or abroad. Sadly, the weather prevented a circumnavigation of Swallow Island, but almost certainly that saved some embarrassing cases of "stuck in the mud"!

We were pleased to be able to represent the Association at Maurice Newman's funeral at Barry Island on Tuesday. There was a good attendance of about 60 friends and family with sevaral mentions of his MacGregor yacht in the eulogies. Lyn and family appreciated the lovely flowers sent on behalf of the Association in sympathy and it was good to tell her that Maurice and Cyan were mentioned in memory at the Dinner party. Well done Roly.

Can we look forward to a 25th Anniversary?

Bill & Jean
Avocet 26X

Re: “MacGregor Muster” at Harwich

Its great to hear how much people enjoyed the whole event. Made particularly possible by the meticulous background work done by Stephen who deserves special commendation. However we all make the event by being friendly and supportive to each other so its good to hear of how this happened and how many people were helped to venture that bit further than they would normally have done because of the security of numbers. We all have hiccups and a few small disasters but we get through and generally have a lot of fun. It was good to have a chance to chat with a number of new members and I hope we meet again.
After the main event 4 boats including Aranah went north to explore the Deben and Ore and needless to say there were plenty of "Ar" and "Ah" moments.....more to follow in the mag.
Finally , thanks to Bill and Jean for representing us all at Maurices funeral.