Naked women? Encounters with German coppers? When the MBY team decided to take their nippy new magazine boat, the Nimbus 300R, from its birthplace in Gothenburg, to its new home in Lymington, they got a little more than they bargained for
Jo Mullen and Kate Brunel-Cohen re-live the epic journey which saw the MBY staff bonding over foul weather, Swedish, Danish, German and Dutch beer, and an infectious need for speed.
Events got off to an swift start as designer Ocke Mannerfelt demonstrated the 300’s capabilities by dashing round the waters off the Nimbus headquarters in Sweden, where the Nimbus’s two Volvo Penta KAD 300s produced speeds of around 42knots. Everyone who drove it was impressed with its agility and ease of handling.
However, the following day, the first leg of the trip, both boat and crew encountered some pretty ropey weather. Lester, skipper and MBY snapper extraordinaire, had hoped to make it as far as Copenhagen. But the crew (art editor Jason, office manager Sue, and myself) found ourselves slamming through waves 1.5m high that had been whipped up by an Easterly Force 5, then blasted by driving rain. Originally headed for the island of Arnholt we were forced to hug the coast instead, sheltering from the wind. After covering 90nm, soggy and uncomfortable, bruised and battered, we called a halt in Falkenberg, where we refuelled both ourselves and the boat (two beers – £9!), then fell asleep, utterly exhausted
The next day the weather calmed and the team made good progress towards Copenhagen until a heavy fog descended just as Prospector was entering a shipping channel. There were a couple of hairy moments as huge tankers loomed out of the fog at an uncomfortably close distance, and the emergency radar reflector decided to drown itself. Despite these mishaps the crew managed the 93mile hike to Copenhagen.
The next day, battling with high winds and rough seas, Prospector diverted round the north side of the Danish island of Mon, but finally reached the commercial dock of Nakskov in Lolland, Denmark. Here north-westerlies blowing up to Force 7 kept us holed up for an extra day. On the second night, looking up from their evening meal in a local hotel, we were rather startled find a naked woman dashing through the dining room (later the proprietor apologetically explained she had somehow escaped from the stag party next door).
After a day’s respite the team was fresh enough to contemplate the next leg to Cuxhaven – a stiff 169 miles. Cutting through Kiel Canal we encountered the first bit of sun on the trip and some enormous tankers. Just before reaching Cuxhaven we were hailed by a marine police vessel, and a large German officer leapt off a RIB to stop and fine us for entering the shipping channel. We were glad to end up in Cuxhaven with its welcoming yacht club. we had some time to explore its light-ship and wander round the town fleamarket on Sunday becaue Force 6 northwesterlies confined us there for a day, and had to wait another for a change of crew, with Ed (Tom) and News Ed (Kate) arriving on Mon eve.
Kate takes up the story
When Tom and I arrived in Cuxhaven, we couldn’t really see what all the whingeing had been about. The sun was out, the sea was blue and as we sipped beer on the Yacht Club veranda, we couldn’t help but pooh-pooh the stamina of the crew that had deserted the day before.
Even a slightly lumpy North Sea on Tuesday wouldn’t dim our enthusiasm and we readied ourselves for a beautiful day’s cruising. The short hop to Helgoland for refuelling (and just a few bottles of tax-free booze) seemed to pass without incident as Tom’s first stint at driving the Nimbus produced a healthy 26-ish knots.
Little were we to know that this was walking speed compared to the next eight hours of Lester-induced Warp Factor nine. As the skies got darker and the sea got choppier, the coastlines of Germany and then the Netherlands flashed past as we reached speeds of over 40-knots. After a very brief respite for lunch mid-North Sea, which reminded me of that Jim’ll Fix It with scouts eating burgers and drinking milkshake on a roller coaster, we sped on, our spines jarring and our fowlies thankfully doing what it says on the tin.
Lester, however, didn’t stop grinning until we tied up, exhausted at West Tescherlling.
Wednesday was a beautiful day and with an eventual midday departure, the mood of the crew was relaxed to say the least. We followed a fleet of stunning Dutch Barges along the channel and stopped for a lovely lunch (with a table and everthing!) at the top of the Ijsselmeer.
The afternoon saw some serious driving, with seas as flat as a dutch crepe and the Nimbus hitting speeds of 42 knots-plus. We were having so much fun we nearly missed the approach to our overnight stop at Volendam, but were lucky we didn’t as the Dutch seaside town is undoubtedly one of the loveliest places I, for one, have ever stayed in.
Jo and I had to catch an early flight from Amsterdam on Thursday and so a bleary-eyed crew found themselves leaving Volendam at 6.30am. The sun was rising, the seas were calm and a huge amount of joie de vivre soon woke us up and had the Nimbus flying once again.
We locked into Amsterdam and managed to tie up right outside the Central Station. And that’s where we left Tom and Lester to carry on their epic journey. The last we heard they were blasting past their original overnight destination of Calais and heading out into the channel. We’ll let you know when they arrive, but if Lester is grinning it will be sooner rather than later.
Watch out for Tom’s Nimbus update coming to the site soon.