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.

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.

Boats that made the journey direct yesterday (Sunday 6 August) barely logged two miles, some of that within the marina at one end and in the narrow approach channel to Brouwershaven at the other. Others chose a longer route around various of the islands at the western end of the Grevelingenmeer, anchoring off or stopping on the excellent range of pontoons that are provided in various locations.

It was, again, top weather for sailing boats with a stiff breeze out of the west clearing away rain clouds from the night before and providing anything with canvas a good excuse to get the bow wave sizzling. Given a speed limit of 15 kilometres per hour for anything under power (just over 8 knots), many motorboat rabbits were safely beaten by the tortoises as they made their way around the lake.

Whilst in Port Zelande our Tinker sailing RIB was put to good use. The marina has at least as much water area within its confines that is unpopulated as it has for moorings and we put this fact to good use, dicing with gusty and sometimes fluky winds but somehow managing to remain upright, much to the disappointment of observers.

Another busy boat was the waterjet-driven RIB belonging to the water police. We had reasons for wondering whether they would show an interest in us.

Last year we had encountered a police boat on the Veersemeer that expected all British boats to be registered on the Dutch system for fast craft over 20kph (10.8kn). We in turn had been acting on Royal Yachting Association advice for all such craft to wear their British Small Ships Register or Part 1 Register numbers at 6in (15cm) height on each side.

As our ships papers were revealed there was then also a question raised regarding the fact that our helmsman’s licences weren’t recognised, a problem that could have resulted in a fine and expulsion.

A civilised but ultimately lengthy exchange evolved to the point where it was discovered that:

a) there was a new agreement for the Dutch to have access to the British registers and hence, to accept British numbers but it had yet to be ratified;

b) the Dutch police had never heard of the International Certificate of Competence (ICC) and were looking for British skippers to produce the defunct Helmsman’s Overseas Certificate of Competence (HOCC).

Within 24 hours the police agreed that as a) was going to be agreed eventually, somewhere, they would let us proceed as was, rather than march 26 skippers into the post office at Goes for paperwork before then leaving them with the task of finding the nearest Blokker (the Dutch equivalent of Woolworths) in a vain attempt to buy numbers.

They also took a photocopy of this author’s ICC to circulate to all police departments around the Netherlands! As a consequence, whilst I have no tendency towards illegal activity (other than the criminal quality of my writing perhaps), I have a particularly strong incentive to behave whilst in the Netherlands.

Thus you now understand why my eye zeroed in on the police RIB this year. They were seen never closer than at a distance, checking several craft and rapidly tracking down a local RIB that was speeding outside of the waterskiing zone just off Port Zelande. But so far this trip they have left the British boats alone. That in turn is certainly helped by participants on our cruise who seem to have been careful about speed and wash this year.

One thing that the police and ourselves were quick to agree on last year was that no-one wanted trouble; they wanted us to visit the Netherlands and we wanted a good holiday here. Hopefully all the glitches have now been solved.

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).