And now the end is nigh

The fleet have a superb return crossing

Saturday 24th June

Day 15

Position – Brighton

After a leisurely start to the day, under sunny skies the MBM fleet began to leave Fecamp. Formanda again was the first to leave port, followed by Zanique approximately one and a half hours later. By 1200hrs Fecamp marina basin was empty of MBM boats and the Harbour Master came down the pontoon bid Calm Voyager a French farewell. Time Flies had gone ahead to arrange berthing in Brighton, Matt and Ray were aboard.

In the middle of the shipping channel Charles, aboard ‘Shade of Monaco’, reported to Calm Voyager that there was a vibration coming from one of his engines. It appeared that the boats performance wasn’t too badly affected and Charles was happy to maintain a good speed of 20 knots across the busy shipping lanes. Later in the day, Adam from ‘Harmonie’ dived under the boat and the problem was found to be a very small piece of fishing net.

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The shipping lanes were quite busy today. The MBM fleet came across three very large tankers, for some it was the first experience of how busy the shipping lanes can be, and just how fast these large ships can travel. One participant said afterwards ‘our motto is, when you’re faced with an intimidating ship; if you get to the stage that you’re thinking, or worrying about it, always go behind’. This a good lesson to us all, you must make your intentions clear very early on. Yes large ships carry a large wake, and the flatter water ahead of the ship may seem tempting, but what if your engine failed, or you pick up some net on your props causing a sudden loss of momentum? The tanker needs lots of water to stop, or even alter course. Both Calm Voyager and Princess 440 “AquaVit’ monitored the three ships on MARPA and found that all three were travelling in excess of 20 knots.

Claire and Neale aboard Calm Voyager ran with the majority of the fleet at around 25 knots, dropping back to 20 knots to escort Shade into Brighton and seeking out those last few photo opportunities along the way. After safely seeing in Shade, and the last of the faster boats, Calm Voyager lingered just of Brighton waiting for the last two boats, Formanda and Zanique.

At 1230 BST Time Flies arrived in Brighton and for the very last time on the cruise, Matt and Ray welcomed the fleet; assisting in fuelling and berthing. Berthing an MBM cruise fleet is no easy task. Boats are moored not only according to size and the order they arrive, but also bearing in mind their speed and what time they will need to depart the next day. Matt and Ray have been absolutely brilliant.

By 1600hrs BST the fleet was complete again. The day has been fairly un-eventful, and with the flat conditions and sunny skies everyone had a fantastic return crossing. Tomorrow the fleet will return to their home berths. Some boats will make for the east coast; others will make for the Solent escorted again by Time Flies and Calm Voyager.



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