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Cruising Association's MedNet Goes Global

15th December 2010
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Cruising Association's MedNet Goes Global

The Cruising Association has just launched a new internet and email based net, which lets members cruising various regions of the world arrange meets, ask questions and receive answers about ever-changing local facilities and regulations.

It all started in 2000 as Mednet, a service for some 85 members cruising yachts and motorboats in the Mediterranean. MedNet 1 allowed one-to-one email communication but soon members wanted more, especially the ability to see the answers to other members' questions.

So MedNet 2 was born in Spring 2001, providing wider access to conversations. By Autumn 2003 MedNet 2 had moved to Yahoo Groups, but as membership increased mail traffic became too heavy for slow and expensive internet connections on boats. As a consequence MedNetLite was introduced for those with low bandwidth connections. By now 250 users were exchanging news about lay-up sites, marinas, restaurants, anchorages, provisioning, boatyards, itineraries and regulatory changes. But a good long-term record of all this data was missing.

So MedNet 3 was introduced in 2006, working as an email based forum within MyCA, the Cruising Association members-only intranet. There were still shortcomings. The system was passive, collecting e-mails and displaying them online. Inputs were only by email. By now, users had grown to 350, 10% of the Cruising Association's membership. Members cruising in other regions began asking for their own networks.

The time had come to upgrade so Version 4 was developed by a group of Cruising Association members with IT skills. This has just been launched for four regions; Mediterranean, Baltic, European Inland Waterways and 'Blue Water'. Members can join as many as they wish. They post and respond online, or by email. They can receive full or lite email messages or opt for no email, just tuning in online when they have Internet access. A full record of all these discussions is maintained online, making it easy to research topics and keep the Cruising Association's many members-only publications right up-to-date.

On MedNet recent discussions have included:
• The need for grey water holding tanks in Turkey
• The cheapest way of making cash withdrawals
• Marina costs in western Italy
• Recommendations for a rigger in Preveza
• How to watch British TV in the Med
• Places for winter storage ashore
It will be interesting to see the sorts of topics that the wider use of MedNet technology brings!

Published in Cruising
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