Probably the most significant event to affect our sport, the effective banning of British boats from Belgium should be calling the RYA to action. I CANNOT BUY ANY OTHER THAN RED DIESEL, therefore it's illegal for me to go to Belgium. From what I see, it's a slow-burner with various articles being published, for example the lead news article in this month's YM (March 2012), but not a lot else.
I really like going to Oostende; a really nice destination. The North Sea Yacht Club is fantastic, as is the famous Robert. And the moule-frite are to die for, even challenging the kebab and chips in Ramsgate.
However, I'm damned if I'm going to be caught up in a game of Fine the Yachtie by a bunch of Belgoid plods. Arguing with them is like wrestling a pig (pun intended). From my experiences with dealing with Belgian bureaucracy, they really do love it.
So now the issue has been forced, we're caught up in the mess that should be sorted out by our governments with the RYA screaming at them to sort it out. To quote from the RYA site: "We continue to lobby the Directorate for Taxation and Customs".
Great, in the meantime it's us the Yachties who are going to be caught in the middle.
So where's the advice that says KEEP OUT OF BELGIUM? What about a forced refuge there -- doesn't this contravene any international shipping laws? What about the RYA supporting vessels and owners who get fined?
What hacks me off is that it's only a gnats tadger away from the French and Dutch BANNING British boats from their shores. Then the whole issue of E-Borders becomes moot as we can't sail anywhere.
Quite frankly if the RYA doesn't get this sorted out, there's little point in sailing as a hobby and there's little point of the RYA.