The 22 cruisers of the Motor Boats Monthly fleet enjoyed a relaxing morning at Dives-Sur-Mer before hopping along the coast just a few miles eastward to neighbouring Deauville today (22 August).

MBM Normandy cruise day 4: hopping from Dives to Deauville
The 22 cruisers of the Motor Boats Monthly fleet enjoyed a relaxing morning at Dives-Sur-Mer before hopping along the coast just a few miles eastward to neighbouring Deauville today (22 August).

The night before most of the crews in the fleet had joined with a large crowd of locals on the nearby beach to celebrate the 57th anniversary of the liberation of Dives-Sur-Mer by the allied armies during World War II. The climax was a firework display of the kind that lets you think it is over, only to start all over again. It could scarcely have been noisier when the commemorated events took place, although the atmosphere was a lot safer for the 2001 version.

MBM’s editor Jake Kavanagh later discovered that the liberating armies had marched east hereabouts and immediately wondered if that meant we had more celebrations to look forward to in the days ahead as we head in the same direction.

There was an après party feel to the pontoons this morning and breakfast appeared on aft decks and in cockpits at various intervals between nine and eleven, depending upon when crews summoned the energy to raid a nearby baker.

There was no great hurry because Christopher Loyer, Port Guillaume’s friendly harbourmaster, had warned that we should leave around 45min or so after the gate opened at 1115 before attempting departure. There were two reasons: it would allow the initial flow in of the big spring tide to settle down and it would also provide more water in the harbour; depth between props and the muddy bottom had been quite tight for those boats who had chosen to moor stern to the pontoon. Port Guillaume is due to have its five-yearly dredge this coming winter.

Most boats simply had the nine-mile hop to Deauville in mind; given settled and sunny conditions the balance chose to anchor off the several beaches along the way and take a swim. Having used the Seine estuary area only for the purpose of getting up the river itself in recent times and hence, only really looked at the industrial Le Havre side, it was a pleasant surprise to be reminded what a pretty stretch of coast lies close at hand to the west.

Once in Port Deauville, the modern marina on the starboard-hand side of the twinned towns of Deauville and Trouville, boats rafted on the long visitor pontoon and then took fuel in situ from a road tanker laid on by the marina staff. The price was 5.30FF/lt, the equivalent of that paid at Cherbourg and cheaper than the 6.00FF/lt charged at Dives (although the tanker driver had to be paid in cash).

Taking fuel here in Deauville saved us the long-winded task of using the diesel quay at Le Havre; the staff there have always been helpful but the solitary pump has a very slow filler and payment often requires an ascent up a very long ladder.

Tonight, the lights of the Deauville casino are flashing in the distance and the sounds of a band are carrying across the water from one of several nearby restaurants. Tomorrow we take a full day here before embarking on a short hop to Le Havre.

Another boat has Le Havre as a destination tomorrow, but it will be a much longer trip. The VDL Pilot 44 Sapphire Rose has now had her turbocharger fixed and an electrical niggle corrected (see MBM Normandy cruise day 2 & 3). Owners Michael and Brenda Sturman will be casting off from Lymington Yacht Haven at 0600 and hope to be at Le Havre by 2100, a long day by anyone’s standards. We’ll be out off the French coast to see them in with Calm Voyager.

MBM Normandy cruise day 1: weather stops play 
The ongoing march of lows across Britain may possibly have saved the English cricket team but this fit of depressions has left the 26 craft on the MBM Cruising Club fleet stumped, at least temporarily, in its bid for French waters (20 August 2001).

MBM Normandy cruise day 2 & 3: on a high and nearly on schedule 
Two elements of the Motor Boats Monthly Club cruise in company to Normandy have today (Tuesday 21 August) performed something of a pincer movement to link up with an advanced scout at Dives-sur-Mer, making a fleet of 22 craft out of the original 26 due to take part (21 August 2001).

MBM Normandy cruise day 4: hopping from Dives to Deauville 
The 22 cruisers of the Motor Boats Monthly fleet enjoyed a relaxing morning at Dives-Sur-Mer before hopping along the coast just a few miles eastward to neighbouring Deauville today (22 August).

MBM Normandy cruise: days 5-7 full report 
In a cruise of contrasts, the participant boats of the Motor Boats Monthly Club Normandy fleet have enjoyed a short coastal hop to Le Havre, a long river run to Rouen and a day off, all in scorching temperatures (26 August 2001).

MBM Normandy cruise: days 8-11 full report 
The Motor Boats Monthly Normandy Cruising Club fleet have now achieved all intended harbours on the itinerary, albeit in slightly different order, and are currently lying in the picturesque Normandy town of St Valery-en-Caux, much to the great interest of local residents (31 August 2001).

MBM Normandy cruise day 12-14: full report on the homecoming 
All participant boats on the Motor Boats Monthly cruise in company to Normandy are safely home in UK ports after enjoying a two-night stay in the secret haven of St Valery-en-Caux (3 September 2001).