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.

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.

I’m writing this onboard the Sealine 410 True Blue from a position north west of the Sandettie light vessel in the Dover Strait Traffic Separation Scheme. The log says 7 knots, the compass is swinging mildly between 315-320T in a light swell made up mostly of geriatric ship wakes and there are not too many ship movements to trouble the watch.

The Colvic 26 Amalfi is a grey blip astern, the Seamaster 8m Barrier Reef is a brilliant white blip ahead and all is just as it should be. The Nimbus 26 Tanuche has crossed the shipping lanes further to the west and White Rabbit, our Broom 10/70 control boat, will by now have overtaken her bound for Brighton.

The Birchwood Viceroy Pheran was last seen off Calais heading in the general direction of the attractive French harbours that can be found between there and the first port of call for our Normandy cruise in company next week, Dives sur-Mer.

For our part, although hardly designed for the role our borrowed Sealine 410 has adapted nicely to displacement cruising; as soon as our two compatriots are safe on the English side we’ll be blowing the soot off the turbos and making best speed for the Solent.

Tomorrow we move all the copious quantities of kit we carry off of True Blue and back onto Motor Boats Monthly’s Sealine F37 Calm Voyager. In many ways I’ll be sorry to part company with the 410 – it has handled everything we have asked her too and I have grown into her greater internal volume with ease. An additional sleeping area (aft cabin, forward cabin and curtained-off dinette) has been handy compared to the F37’s forward and midships cabin arrangement.

There have been a few technical bits and bobs to address and were True Blue my boat (there we go, alarm bells should be ringing on my behalf for anyone who has ever bought a boat) I would doubtless enjoy the tinkering required to put them right.

I thought I’d miss the F37’s bow thrusters and low speed engines, but all the 410 has proven is that such things, as worthy and useful as they are, had made be a bit lazy with handling. With 5 knots with both of True Blue’s Volvo Penta 63P diesels on idle ahead, no thrusters and quite a bit of windage, you soon learn to dust off rope tricks again and remind yourself to engage brain a little earlier. Once you do so, you discover a boat that handles as well as any of her breed around the pontoons. We even performed a halfway decent side tow in Breskens, size and the low torque grunt of the diesels both being a bonus.

I don’t know what sea lore says about writing about such things on the internet before sounding ‘finished with engines’, but perhaps I shouldn’t tempt fate. So that’s all for now, at least until the River Hamble.

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).