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.

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.

The boats assembled at Ramsgate yesterday (Saturday 28 August) having enjoyed mostly easy passages from bases as far flung as Hull, the Upper River Thames and the West Country, all thanks to a settled period of weather. It was a happy bunch of people that assembled in the Royal Temple Yacht Club for a briefing that promised more of the same.

The only worry was the possibility of fog but boats were troubled by nothing more than a summer haze that took visibility down to around five miles or so this morning. As anticipated, the sea was troubled by nothing more than an occasional ship wake all the way along our chosen route across the Dover Strait via the South Goodwin. And it remained smooth along the chosen inshore route along the French and Belgian coasts, even in the Passe de Zuydcoote.

Fastest passage of the day went to the Gillingham-based Fairline 36 Turbo Odyssea owned by David and Sarah Steward, who chose to run a more direct offshore route to today’s stopover at the KYCN club in Nieuwpoort, Belgium. Richard de la Rue’s Nimbus 26 Tanuche and Philip and Brenda Wheeler’s Colvic 26 Amalfi jointly shared honours for most sedate journey – both boats taking 10 hours for the 60nm run.

Given such a diverse fleet ranging in age from two weeks to three decades, it wouldn’t have been a surprise to the control boat crews if a few technical problems arose. But so far the fix count has been modest – a complete fuel filter change on a boat with rust and water in her tanks and problems with two domestic water pumps (one faulty motor, one open-circuit pressure switch).

Unfortunately, we have had to leave MBM’s Calm Voyager back in the Solent to enable work to be completed on her fuel tanks but we have borrowed a five-year-old Sealine 410 for this trip. Swapping the gear over, adding the extra kit that we carry for cruises in company and victualling the boat took up a very long day on Thursday, a story in itself. But we are rapidly becoming familiar with the 410 and particularly enjoying her roomy interior. The Autohelm ST6000 autopilot control head on the flybridge threw a fit this afternoon and the starboard engine alternator also stopped charging briefly yesterday, but we seem to have cracked both problems largely by the expedient of cleaning electrical connections.

As I write this, the cockpit door is open at 2200 in the evening and a small breeze is finally beginning to bring a welcome freshness at the end of a scorching day.

Tomorrow morning we move off again, along the Belgian coast and into the Westerschelde. We enter the Netherlands at Vlissingen and then travel along the short but slow Kanaal door Walcheren to the Veersemeer where Delta Marina at Kortgene will be our base.

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).