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
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.
The boats assembled at Ramsgate yesterday (Saturday 28 August) having enjoyed mostly easy passages from bases as far flung as Hull, the Upper River Thames and the West Country, all thanks to a settled period of weather. It was a happy bunch of people that assembled in the Royal Temple Yacht Club for a briefing that promised more of the same.
The only worry was the possibility of fog but boats were troubled by nothing more than a summer haze that took visibility down to around five miles or so this morning. As anticipated, the sea was troubled by nothing more than an occasional ship wake all the way along our chosen route across the Dover Strait via the South Goodwin. And it remained smooth along the chosen inshore route along the French and Belgian coasts, even in the Passe de Zuydcoote.
Fastest passage of the day went to the Gillingham-based Fairline 36 Turbo Odyssea owned by David and Sarah Steward, who chose to run a more direct offshore route to today’s stopover at the KYCN club in Nieuwpoort, Belgium. Richard de la Rue’s Nimbus 26 Tanuche and Philip and Brenda Wheeler’s Colvic 26 Amalfi jointly shared honours for most sedate journey – both boats taking 10 hours for the 60nm run.
Given such a diverse fleet ranging in age from two weeks to three decades, it wouldn’t have been a surprise to the control boat crews if a few technical problems arose. But so far the fix count has been modest – a complete fuel filter change on a boat with rust and water in her tanks and problems with two domestic water pumps (one faulty motor, one open-circuit pressure switch).
Unfortunately, we have had to leave MBM’s Calm Voyager back in the Solent to enable work to be completed on her fuel tanks but we have borrowed a five-year-old Sealine 410 for this trip. Swapping the gear over, adding the extra kit that we carry for cruises in company and victualling the boat took up a very long day on Thursday, a story in itself. But we are rapidly becoming familiar with the 410 and particularly enjoying her roomy interior. The Autohelm ST6000 autopilot control head on the flybridge threw a fit this afternoon and the starboard engine alternator also stopped charging briefly yesterday, but we seem to have cracked both problems largely by the expedient of cleaning electrical connections.
As I write this, the cockpit door is open at 2200 in the evening and a small breeze is finally beginning to bring a welcome freshness at the end of a scorching day.
Tomorrow morning we move off again, along the Belgian coast and into the Westerschelde. We enter the Netherlands at Vlissingen and then travel along the short but slow Kanaal door Walcheren to the Veersemeer where Delta Marina at Kortgene will be our base.
More news tomorrow.