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.

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.

Weather is an increasingly dominating factor in this, the magazine’s second exploration of the lakeland waters of Zeeland in the southern part of the Netherlands. Few boats were inclined to take advantage of the Grevelingenmeer’s islands – indeed the sight of many yachts seeking the safe sanctuary of Brouwershaven was enough to convince us that we were best off exactly where we were, tied up in the southernmost basin close to the village square and its surrounding restaurants and shops.

Some crews instead exchanged twin props for twin wheels, pedalling bicycles as far afield as Zierikzee on the Oosterschelde, three hours away by boat but just 11km by road.

For the MBM control boat crews the extended layover provided ample opportunity for catching up on the few maintenance jobs that have arisen on this trip. In particular, the Broom 37 Vulcan came in for close attention as the stop solenoid on her starboard Sabre diesel was not working and the port engine was running warm, at least on the gauge. After solving the former (the relay and wiring loom had become dislodged and sawn in half by the belt pulleys) and checking the latter right through from intake to gearbox heat exchanger, we were pleased to receive the following poem penned by Antonia Leach:

Spock’s progress

You’ve heard of the solenoid system
Where Vulcan can orbit a sun
Where weeds caused the overheat symptom
And boating no longer seems fun?

Today Kim and Tom found the answers
And brandishing crimpers galore
Attacked our munched cable with gusto
Which meant we could put back the floor

So thank you so much for your efforts
To put our ship back on the map
And hope that signals the end
Of any more engine room…

Looking at the wind for this morning’s run to the barge village of Tholen, we too hoped that would be the last of any more engine room for the whole fleet. After traversing the length of the Grevelingenmeer, we would need to lock out onto the tidal Oosterschelde for the short stretch up to the large Krammersluizen lock complex, thence onto the wide reaches of the Volkerak before heading down the Schelde-Rijnverbinding canal.

Our wishes weren’t granted, for one engine on the new Sealine S48 Deucalion failed to start in a lock (due to a crimp on the main starter motor power supply coming loose), although it did at least prove that the shaft drive sportscruiser handled well on one screw. But everyone made their way safely in winds touching gale force at times. As we emerged from the Grevelingensluis onto the Oosterschelde, the view out to the main body of that inland sea, westward, was of a solid sheet of white water and had we been planning to go that way, the trip would certainly have been off. Even the mile or so that we travelled in the opposite direction between locks was noticeable for the spindrift blowing off the waves.

By mid afternoon, all boats were safely secured alongside the quays in the Gem Haven at Tholen. Our visit here last year was marked by a scorching and wind-less afternoon that gave the deserted area around the harbourmaster’s office something of the feel of a wild west town. Arrivals this year came exactly as rain marked its threat by great gusts before it dropped with vengeance. As a consequence, berthing was a bit of a trial for some and the mood was close to matching the cloud colour.

Once we checked the latest weather there were other worries too, namely the great collection of low-pressure systems located around us like Indian warriors at Custer’s last stand. At this stage we haven’t much of a clue when we can get the fleet home.

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).