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.

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.

It’s probably only around one in 10 MBM cruises that get badly hit by weather at the end of events to the extent that boats become spread, or left behind, in various venues. But this cruise is one of them and for the control boat crews it has proven a tricky but familiar task to make sense of often conflicting forecast information and the various wishes and priorities of participants. Fortunately there is a very fair smattering of good humour and shoulder shrugging amongst those holed up waiting for a weather break and those who have opted to leave boats behind for fairer days.

One lesson immediately hits home here at True Blue’s temporary base of Breskens: if you have to leave a boat anywhere, the Netherlands is as good a place as anywhere. Back-up services are often excellent and the prices encourage a layover with the prospect of a second later season cruise before returning home. It is also good to see extra features such as playgrounds for children, sensible and usually woefully absent in the UK.

Over the border in Belgium, the KYCN club in Nieuwpoort has also provided a very welcome haven, hosting five boats that managed to punch through the weather on Saturday and holding berths for the rest of us up until tonight, just in case we managed to follow on. As if to round off matters there today, MBM Club members were delighted to see a very familiar blue hull turn up on the fuel berth. MBM Club stalwart Paul Berger had surfed all the way from Dover in his Aqua Bell 33 at the start of a 4-6 week cruise of the Netherlands running solo. It seems strange to think of control boat Castaway running loose without a flock but we wish Paul the most relaxing cruise he will have enjoyed in Dutch waters for many a year.

Speaking of relaxing, the four slowest and smallest boats of our fleet accompanied by the Broom 10/70 control boat White Rabbit decided to take advantage of their size by working through the canal system from Ternuezen on the Westerschelde down through Gent and Brugges to either Oostende, Nieuwpoort, or Calais, depending on anticipated weather windows and, in the latter case particularly, air draught. Tonight White Rabbit, the Seamaster 8m Barrier Reef, Colvic 26 Amalfi, Nimbus 26 Tanuche and Birchwood Viceroy Pheran are on the outskirts of Gent, secure in a yacht harbour with crews ashore enjoying a restaurant meal.

In similar vein, the Bayliner 2855 Gwensley Four, a solitary MBM delegate in Zeebrugge, locked through into the canal system at 1200 today and made the KYCN moorings at Nieuwpoort by 2100 tonight. Some ‘local experts’ at Zeebrugge had tried to put skipper David Tansley off with tales of delays and low bridges amongst other difficulties, but the experience was a good one with the only delay being a one hour wait for the Zeebrugge lock and friendly assistance being offered along the way.

Here in Breskens it’s been a busy day for us on our Sealine 410 control boat True Blue. Following a morning of assisting with berthing and travel arrangements, studying weather reports and clearing up some office work, we then escorted the slow boat fleet to Terneuzen before running to seaward along the north side of the Westerschelde to get a real feel of the strength of the south-westerly. By the time we reached Vlissingen, the holes had started to open up and the short waves were touching 2m height in places with spume blowing off them. When the first green water hit the foredeck we had all the evidence required to scrub any thought of a late afternoon wind with tide escape for the remainder of our fleet here.

Instead, we returned to Breskens where we managed to fill one tank before the fuel ran out.

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).