Recent news items

Arzal Lock Closures August 2017

Further to the notice here of closures of the lock into the River Vilaine at Arzal in Southern Brittany during July, the lock will also be closed, apparently due to lack of water, during the following dates in August:

  • 1st (Tuesday)
  • 2nd (Wednesday)
  • 8th (Tuesday)
  • 9th (Wednesday)
  • 16th (Wednesday)
  • 17th (Thursday)
  • 22nd (Tuesday)
  • 23rd (Wednesday)
  • 24th (Thursday)
  • 29th (Tuesday)
  • 30th (Wednesday)

Lock opening times, in English and French, are on the La Vilaine website here. or telephone 09 69 32 97. There is a waiting pontoon downstream of the lock with access ashore, but no water or power.


Red Diesel Use in Belgium

UPDATE: 06/07/2017 - RATS new advice to members - not to call into Belgian ports

RATS has heard of other yachts being fined as well as our CA Members informing us about their friend's plight. These friends have now told RATS in detail of their traumatic experience with the Belgian officials.

We have spoken again with our Belgian marina contact who can offer no reason for, nor why no warning has been given about the non-observance of the agreed 'understanding' of their position over UK yachts with red engine diesel.

The sudden change this year of their conduct and apparent random heavy fining for vessels having even residual traces of red diesel engine fuel, together with no guarantee of the Belgian officials adhering to the original RATS advice note, is unhelpful.

All of this has made RATS review the situation again. They have concluded that they must now raise their level of advice to Members not to call into Belgian ports.

In the meantime RATS will continue to monitor the position and post any further advice.

If Members have comments on, information or details about the Belgian actions, RATS will be pleased to hear from them and thanks them in advance.

Please see the updated document attached below for further information and advice from RATS on the use of red diesel when in EU waters.


Original posting 29/06/2017

RATS has just heard that a yacht, which had re-fuelled with white diesel, was in Nieuwpoort on passage back to the UK. It has been fined 500 Euros by Belgian officials for having traces of red diesel in the engine tank.

As the understanding for these last two years with Belgium, as outlined in the 'RATS advice, on red UK diesel' can no longer be relied upon, RATS is now suggesting to Members and other sailors that they may consider not sailing to Belgium.

If any advice is received that the original understanding is upheld of how the Belgian officials treat visiting UK vessels, RATS will publish an update to this note.

See the attached document for further information and advice from RATS.



Arzal Lock Closures July 2017

The lock into the River Vilaine at Arzal in Southern Brittany will not operate on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout July (2017) because of low water levels. Lock opening times, in English and French, are on the La Vilaine website here. or telephone 09 69 32 97. There is a waiting pontoon downstream of the lock with access ashore, but no water or power.


CA and MDL agree recruitment initiative

The CA has agreed a new recruitment initiative with MDL marinas. MDL berth holders will be able to join the CA at a discounted rate for their first year only, providing they sign a direct debit. This is similar to arrangements we offer owners’ associations, but with a larger discount.

For MDL it is a bonus they are very pleased to offer their customers. For the CA, it is an opportunity to publicise the benefits of membership to an audience of around 5,000 UK boat owners at no significant cost.

We look forward to welcoming those who take advantage of the offer and are sure they will find many reasons to stay.

Northern Boat Show 2017


The CA will be exhibiting at the Northern Boat Show being held in Liverpool from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 June.

We will be on stand Q24 - existing members come along to say hello, non-members come along to find out what makes CA membership so appealing to nearly 6,000 cruising boaters worldwide.

Organisers say there will be a spectacular line-up of power boats, ribs, narrow boats, sailing boats and marine businesses on show at Liverpool’s waterfront, all at the heart of the Mersey River Festival.

Richard Milbourn, Event Director of the Northern Boat Show said, “We’re delighted that the Show has almost doubled in size this year with both a new dock and quayside being filled. The land exhibition is now on Salthouse and Canning Dock Quaysides with the boats displayed in Salthouse and Albert Docks. The overall vista will be amazing and the Show is unique for creating such a spectacle right at the heart of a city and Liverpool’s majestic waterfront. “

Visitors will be able to buy tickets to give them exclusive access to the boats on display on the pontoons with the Festival and lands exhibition free for all to visit. Early Bird pontoon tickets for access to the boats are just £5 per day (plus booking fee) or £8 if bought on the day. Tickets can be booked here.

Members, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to enter the Venice competition when you visit the stand - the competition closes at the end of June!


New DEKPA form in Greece

New regulations affecting all boat users in Greece have finally been put into place – and all must comply by September of this year or fear being fined.

The CA has been trying to clear up confusion over the replacement DEKPA– the document all boat owners must have stamped annually and carry with all ship’s papers. Despite months of asking for clarification by the Greek Directorates, nothing was forthcoming but the new document has at last been delivered to the Port Police and the process of implementing the new system has begun.

To obtain the new DEKPA boat owners need to present the following original documents:

  • Registration Document
  • Insurance certificate (in Greek)
  • Passport for every person on the registration certificate (this could be a problem for shared ownership yachts)
  • ICC or equivalent
  • Receipt for the €50 fee

A CA member, who shares a boat in the Ionian, said to get over the potential problem of all syndicate owners going to the Port Police office at the same time, they used a local yacht club, known to the office.

‘It was ridiculous asking for all owners to be present at the time of presenting all documentation to the port police,’ she said. ‘A local company took on the job for all 50+ boats in their care and the process was smooth and simple.’ Greece has finally agreed to the presentation of Notarised copies of passports for syndicated boats where members are not present.

CA member, Chris Robb, who has been liaising with the Greek authorities on behalf of all boat owners in Greece, warned: ‘While you may not get a query presenting your RYA Yacht Master certificate, the official line is that there must be an authorised explanation in Greek that the certificate in question has sufficient standing. Please just therefore get an ICC and do not risk it.’

He went on to explain: ‘The rules also say you must use the online Greek Tax system and if you have problems, you can get help from the Port office and the Citizens Help Bureaux (CSC). However, in practise the Port Police will either direct you to a local bank or the local Tax office – or the CSC in order to pay. You will then go back with the receipt to the Port Police and they will issue the new DEKPA.’

There are still some Port offices who have not heard of the new regulations yet, or have run out of forms, or who think that it’s only for over nine-meter yachts (seven meters is the requirement).

But there are potential problems even if you have had your old DEKPA already stamped this year. All boat owners MUST have the new form by September 26 this year -. And if they don’t, the new law states fines will be imposed.

Come renewal next year, the provisions of the Law requires everyone to have the new DEKPA stamped on the due date each year. There must be no lapses – again there are threats of fines.

Mr Robb said: ‘We have been informed that owners who cannot be there at renewal must employ an agent to act for them. This is wholly impractical and totally unacceptable.’

He went on: ‘We understand that many Port Police may just make you get a new DEKPA form – thus your “fine” will be €50. However there is no confirmation of this.

Mr Robb said he had asked for clarification on the following:

  1. What are the fines, and under what circumstances will they be levied?
  2. Would they allow – like Croatia – a discretion for Port Police to back-date the stamp when the owner is finally present?
  3. Is the re issue of a new DEKPA at €50 official policy for late renewals?

More than two years ago, the Greek government brought out a new law proposing a new Greek Cruising duty/tax.

Mr Robb explained: ‘There is no official information at all coming from the relevant Directorate as to when – or if – this duty will be collected. The only rumours we hear are that the Port Police have refused to collect it – but this is wholly unsubstantiated. We can but wait and see.’

He also warned that everyone needed to be prepared for a re-run of 2015 cash crisis and should carry some emergency Euros if the banking crisis erupts again.


London On-Water 2017

London On-Water

The CA will be exhibiting at London On-Water, "London's No. 1 On-Water Boat Show and Festival" at St Katharine Docks. We'll be on stand MQ11, right outside the Dickens Inn restaurant overlooking the marina - and therefore Tower Bridge - and next to Raymarine.

Dates: Thursday 8 June through Sunday 11 June 2017

Venue: St Katharine Docks, London

We'll be running a shuttle between CA House and the show throughout the weekend, departing every hour from CA House starting at 1100, with the return shuttle departing from St Katharine Docks hourly from approximately 1120. There will also be a barbecue at CA House midday until early evening and a voucher for a free drink for all going to CA House, which will be open all weekend.

Come along to say hello, enjoy the show, visit CA House to partake of the barbecue and a free drink and, if you aren't already a member, find out why nearly 6,000 cruising boaters around the world are!

Members can get free tickets, allowing access to the marina pontoons and land displays - details can be found here. If you wish to take up the invitation for free tickets, you should RSVP here, using the SGI code: CRUISING.

Members, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to enter the Venice competition when you visit the stand!

Revisiting the Dubhs Ridge

CA member Howard Steen has made a short but inspirational documentary film, which you can watch below, featuring two old friends on a sailing trip to revisit the scene of a mountaineering adventure of their youth. The project was three years in the making and, in addition to the fantastic cinematography of the West Coast of Scotland where their new adventure took place, has a strong human interest aspect based on the personal determination of a friend to keep enjoying the outdoors through sailing despite a serious long term disability.


Poole Harbour Boat Show 2017


The CA will be exhibiting at the Poole Harbour Boat Show taking place from Friday 19 May through Sunday 21 May.

Entry is free. There will be a marina full of boats and more than 200 exhibitors. The CA stand, QS08, will be on the quayside - existing members come along to say hello, non-members come to find out more about the CA and the benefits of membership!

Members, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to enter the Venice competition when you visit the stand!

Get yourself and your boat kitted out for the new season - we will have CA-branded clothing and CA burgees on sale as well as almanacs (buying these at boat shows will save the cost of postage).


CA Lobster Pot Campaign

Update 26 April:

Lobster pot petition entangled in election preparations

We have been told that all petitions on the government website will close at 1am on 3 May because of election purdah. While we will be able to post our petition again following the election, the votes cannot be transferred, so we must begin all over again.

Our campaign for better marking of lobster pots and fishing gear has received an enthusiastic response from sailing folk and the stories are pouring in for our evidence base. We have had a most encouraging reply from the Chief Executive of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations offering to work with us. The number of signatories as at 26 April stands at 5389. We have clearly struck a chord.

We said we were in this for the long haul, so we will certainly be reposting our petition as quickly as we can. We’ll let you know as soon as it is live and hope you will sign it again and once more encourage friends, family and other contacts to do the same. Watch this space!

Original news from 12 April:

Join our campaign to make lobster pot markers safer for small craft.

Some of you may have read the letter our President, Judith Grimwade, sent to Yachting Monthly on the subject of lobster pots and fishing gear and the way it is marked. They awarded her a prize!

Poorly marked lobster pots and fishing gear are the most difficult and unpredictable hazard facing coastal cruising people.

Fishermen, too, report the loss of expensive gear as a result of entanglements. These encounters could even be life-threatening. In one year alone the RNLI dealt with 295 incidents of fouled propellers. Most CA members say they would try to sort the problem out themselves so this could be a fraction of the actual number. One lifeboat station said 25% of their call-outs were purely from boats caught up in fishing gear.

We think it is time for everybody with an interest to work together to find a solution, particularly one that is cheap and practical for our fishermen. With this aim, the CA hopes to secure a government consultation about the effectiveness of the current guidance and the merits of enforceable regulations for the whole of the UK.

The MCA tells us that the same issue was raised at recent meeting of the UK Safety of Navigation committee. RATS member, John Lansdell and Ian Wilson will attend the next meeting of UKSON in May.

The CA has posted a petition on the No 10 website and hope you will sign it and encourage others to do so. We have the support of our patron, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, and are canvassing other stakeholders and the yachting press.

Please tell your friends and family about our campaign and get them to sign. If you have personal experience of this problem, please let us know. We are keen to build a body of evidence to support the campaign for change. Email: