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).

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).

After the flat water of the day before, it seemed almost unreasonable to be faced by waves of any nature but if you are going to encounter them on a motorboat, running with them downwind is the most comfortable way, especially as we had also planned proceedings so that boats were taking the tide along the fast-flowing Westerschelde and hence, could keep wind and tide together.

Many other craft were also enjoying the weather on the same day and there were enough yachts spotted on passage along the Westerschelde to fill a sizeable marina, as well as a large convoy of Dutch motoryachts running nose to tail. Commercial traffic for once was light with no sign of anything moving in Zeebrugge and not much heading to or from Antwerp either.

All MBM boats reached the sanctuary of Vlissingen’s harbour arm by 1400 in the afternoon, having departed at between 0715 and 1030 in the morning. Once inside the lock, it was time to get out of the seagoing mindset and adjust for the run through the Kanaal door Walcharen’s five lifting bridges. One Cruising Club member observed that there appears to be little co-ordination regarding the lifting of these as far as boats are concerned and progress is a stop-start affair. But the bridges’ primary function is to put traffic across the canal, not boats underneath and so rush-hour periods can be particularly slow as far as leisure mariners are concerned.

On our boat, no-one cared. A sign on a building in Middleburg said it was 30C, the blue skies tended to agree and we had all participants safely tucked up on the Dutch inland system.

Safely? Well, not quite. One boat unfortunately found an underwater concrete cap close to a barge pile with one outdrive and so we’re going to be checking out our skills at replacing Duoprops this morning. Once locked through onto the Veersemeer another seemed to take a rather strange course around the many (and sometimes confusing) marks that peg out the shallow bits around this inverted sausage of a lake’s many islands. And yet another arrived on one engine due to a leaking fuel union, but had the spares to deal with it afterwards.

That was just about the sum of the woes and everything else was good with the world. There are around 20 children and teenagers on this fleet and the sound of them swimming and whooping with the relief of arriving at Delta Marina near Kortgene on the Veersemeer expressed perhaps what those who chose to stay dry were also feeling?the holiday had now really begun.

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).