A busy pattern of low pressure systems has been throwing quite a breeze over the Grevelingenmeer, but the 26 motorboats of the MBM Club cruising fleet are on schedule and now located in the modern Port Zelande marina and holiday complex.

Breezes whistle for the MBM Zeeland cruise
A busy pattern of low pressure systems has been throwing quite a breeze over the Grevelingenmeer, but the 26 motorboats of the MBM Club cruising fleet are on schedule and now located in the modern Port Zelande marina and holiday complex.

Reviewing the past 48 hours we have to admit that the weather has been remarkably kind, despite a synoptic chart that looks more like a fingerprint chart.

Our al fresco group meal on the volley ball court at Herkingen Marina on Thursday evening (2 July 2001) was able to go ahead despite an odd sprinkling of warm rainwater early in proceedings. Close on 80 got together to eat using an impromtu camp kitchen made of 13 disposable barbecues and the evening was rounded off by Terry Hughes who, at our invitation, addressed a magnificent 9kg water melon as if it was of Highland ancestry. Terry and his wife Veronica had joined us in their boat Papa Dip, which these days can be found at Delta Marina, Kortgene. It has been good to meet up with them again and, with apologies to all Scottish readers of this website, the melon tasted all the better for his blessing.

It was only when events were safely at an end that a spectacular thunderstorm came flashing its way across the marina. The waterworks were over quickly, but lightning could be seen on the horizon for over two hours afterwards.

Yesterday (3 July 2001) saw the fleet take a lazy meander westwards along the Grevelingenmeer and amongst its various islands to its closed border with the North Sea coast. A brisk wind provided perfect yachting conditions, with many sailing craft making excellent progress under foresail alone. But although it caused no more than a popple on the water, there was little inclination for our fleet of motorboats to loiter and all made their way to our chosen stop of Port Zelande for the next two nights without exploring many of the meer’s often shallow backwaters.

Mooring in boxes proved to be an interesting exercise for some. ‘Boxes’ are moorings where you tie the bow or stern to the main pontoon but secure the other end to wooden posts, rather than fingers. Port Zelande offers kinder boxes than many, with more generous gaps between the posts and half-fingers jutting out from the walkway against which you can aim, but for those who have not encountered them before it still feels as though you need four crew (plus a couple to lift the fenders out of the way of the posts), at least as many ropes and a good dose of luck to make the perfect arrival.

A couple of scuffed gunwhale fenders aside, all cruise participants did a pretty good job of the exercise but judging from comments afterwards there were a few heart-in-mouths moments; squaring up to a couple of posts not much wider than your boat with 20 knots of breeze on the beam and aiming to make a landing on a small finger to windward was always going to be fun.

Despite their ability to provoke an adrenalin fix, once you get used to them, boxes seem a pretty good way of securing a boat; with ropes in all the right places there’s little chance of fender scuff and hence, those annoying little squeaks and twangs that wake you up when the wind gets up…as it did again last night.

Not that we are worried today (Saturday 4 August). The sun is managing to peek its way though clouds and there’s a general air of blob about this massive marina with its excellent range of modern facilities. Despite the proximity of the islands, there’s enough breeze to encourage most to stay where they are, take a wander along the dyke or walk around the marina to the large holiday village and swimming pool next door that also boats a well-stocked supermarket.

Tomorrow we take the shortest leg featured on any MBM cruise, the two mile hop to the town moorings at Brouwershaven.

MBM Zeeland cruise hits perfect weather 
A fleet of 26 motorboats ranging in size from 26ft-52ft and in cruising speed from 6-25 knots have made a successful start to the Motor Boats Monthly cruise in company to the Zeeland lakes of the Netherlands (29 July 2001).

MBM Zeeland fleet enters the Veersemeer 
A light southwesterly breeze tickled the transoms of 26 motorboats from the MBM Cruising Club as they departed from Nieuwpoort in Belgium heading north along a haze-shrouded coast yesterday (30 July 2001).

Lazy days in Kortgene for MBM Dutch fleet 
Yesterday (31 July 2001) provided a welcome break for the 26 boats of the MBM Club cruise in company to the Zeeland lakes of the Netherlands at Delta Marina, Kortgene (1 August 2001).

MBM Zeeland boats arrive in Herkingen 
After the scorching and benign start to the cruise, this morning’s livelier breeze called for a few moments of consideration before crossing the tidal Oosterschelde from the Veersemeer to the Grevelingenmeer (2 August 2001).

Breezes whistle for the MBM Zeeland cruise 
A busy pattern of low pressure systems has been throwing quite a breeze over the Grevelingenmeer, but the 26 motorboats of the MBM Club cruising fleet are on schedule and now located in the modern Port Zelande marina and holiday complex (4 August 2001).

Short hop and no police stop for MBM fleet 
There is not a shorter leg anywhere on a Motor Boats Monthly Cruising Club itinerary than the micro hop from the modern marina facilities at Port Zelande to the traditional town basin at Brouwershaven (6 August 2001).

MBM Zeeland cruise Day 12: weather dominates 
After a schedule change that saw the 26 craft of the Motor Boats Monthly Cruising Club fleet take an extra day in Brouwershaven to avoid torrential rain, all are now safe in Tholen despite F7 SW winds (8 August 2001).

MBM Zeeland cruise Day 13: strange tales of lock rage and sticking gearboxes on the way to Goes 
The wind dropped and seemingly every boat on holiday in the Netherlands dropped lines and moved, the Motor Boats Monthly Cruising Club fleet amongst them (10 August 2001).

MBM Zeeland cruise day 15: the wind arrives early and the fleet seek refuge in four separate ports 
The promised squeeze between a ridge of high pressure and lows to the immediate north have arrived earlier than expected; a 20 knot south-westerly and local gale warnings have lead to necessary diversion tactics (11 August 2001).

MBM Zeeland cruise day 17: ducking and dodging F7 winds 
Some crews on the homeward leg of the Motor Boats Monthly Club cruise to the Netherlands have taken to ferries and watched from a lofty height the effects of a 30-knot wind promoted by a low versus high squeeze; others are hedging bets for a return on own bottoms via various routes (13 August 2001).

MBM Zeeland cruise day 18: the great escape (pt 1) 
The weather is a drama queen, that’s for sure. From blowing old boots, the sudden transition to carpet slippers and a white veil was mostly welcome for the expectant boats of the Motor Boats Monthly Cruising Club fleet (15 August 2001).

MBM Zeeland cruise day: an update from the Dover Strait 
The scriptural statement that the first shall be last could have been written for displacement cruiser owners, but those on the MBM fleet have at least been blessed with calm seas and blue skies for their Channel crossing (15 August 2001).