The Marconi cruiser fleet took a cruise to Holland between the 17th and 30th June 2017.
Report by Cheryl Cutmore
This is our first Summer Cruise without our dear friend and Cruiser Fleet Captain, Roger Camp. He is sorely missed and we were delighted that his wife Jackie Camp was able to join us for part of the trip. An enormous ‘thank you’ to Robin Good, Vice Fleet Captain, and his First Mate, Di, for stepping up and planning an amazing Summer Cruise to Holland. We saw some beautiful places and had some great experiences. Thank you also to Roy Bellord for the benefit of his experience and advice.
- Robin and Di Goode – Lucy B
- Roy and Margaret Bellord – Serupin II
- Mike and Cheryl Cutmore – Last Orders
- Jan and Pete Reay – Gem
- Andy and Chris Williams – Chemma
- Nigel Gilcrist and Nicola Read – Seremban
- Richard and Margaret Lee – Allure
- Bradwell – Ramsgate
- Ramsgate – Ostend
- Ostend – Middleburg
- Middelburg – Veers Meer Island
- Two nights
- Veers Meer – Zierikzee
- Zierikzee – Goes
- Two nights
- Goes – Middelburg/Flushing/Breskens
- To Ostend
- Ostend – Dunkirk
- Dunkirk – Ramsgate
- Ramsgate – Home Port
The following is a brief log of our journey, some of the experiences we had and entertainment. I have written a separate piece describing the places we visited.
Sat: 5.30am depart for Ramsgate from various home ports as some of us are now at Bradwell Marina and others from the Crouch. Arriving approx. 12.30. Those arriving alongside us joined us for G&T on Last Orders to celebrate (any excuse!). I actually wanted to show off my newly found ice making skills.
Excellent meal at ‘Bon Appetite’ overlooking the marina booked by Robin. Wonderful hot summer’s evening. After, we retired to The Royal Temple Yacht Club for a Passage Planning Meeting and a cheeky nightcap.
Sun: 9am Channel crossing and onwards to Ostend. Depending on weather conditions we were heading for a) Dunkirk b) Nieuwpoort c) Ostend. Fabulous conditions! HOT HOT HOT! Beautiful calm blue sea, a light breeze and the tide under us, we pushed on to Ostend. Arrived just as the sun was going down. We had the pleasure of encountering a number of porpoise on the crossing and thankfully not too many large ships.
Mon: Depart Ostend 7am arriving Middelburg 13.45. Locking into the Dutch canal system at Flushing to encounter locks lifting bridges traveling along the prettiest of tree lined canals. Allure came to a shuddering halt as the prop had been fouled by fishing net. Richard had to take a swim to free it aided by Roy. Luckily he removed the problem and caught up fairly quickly. We all sat in the shade on the quayside ‘borrowing’ cafe chairs. Later we had an excellent meal in the pretty town square. HOT HOT HOT!
Tues: Middelbury to Veers Meer – Haringvreter Island. Michael and I entered the lock and the far end of the run of bridges and tied off our lines neglecting to notice that the lines had to be loosened manually when the water lowered. Our fellow yachtsmen called to us to let off our lines but the one round the winch would not budge. Michael vanished below and returned wielding a knife to cut the line unfortunately not in time to prevent the winch from being wrenched from its holding and propelled upwards into the air at some velocity! Fortunately nobody was hurt apart from our bruised pride! We continued rather shaken to Haringvreter Island where we all tied up on a beautifully appointed pontoon. The Island was wooded and uninhabited apart from numerous wildlife including what we thought were very shy deer. Later we all enjoyed a BBQ when the ‘shy’ deer very soon became curious and by the end of the evening came right up to us to see if there were any pickings. It was a really magical and very special evening with a beautiful sunset sitting in the midst of the wild deer.
Wed: Woke up to a welcome cool breeze that did not stay for long and the temperature soon rose to it’s familiar blistering level (no complaints!) We all loaded onto GEM and went to the pretty little town of Veere for a look round and a spot of lunch. After Pete took us for a sightseeing trip round the Meer before returning to our births.
It was mega hot so we all decided to take a swim in the Meer accompanied by a fair few jelly fish! They did not seem to be of the stinging variety but were pretty revolting to the touch. We had all swam round from the pontoon into a small marina where we all struggled out of the water not wishing to have to encounter our slimy friends again! Nigel and Richard having blown up their tenders decided to have a race with extra power provided by their respective passengers, Nicki and Di. Lots of cheating and corner cutting went on! After drying off we all gathered again (including the deer that became even more familiar – not to forget their friend the seagull) to another BBQ and game of Frisbee. Another wonderful evening.
Thursday: Under Zeeland Bridge to Zierikzee. Lovely harbour overlooked by beautiful restored windmill. Girls went for a look at the market and drinks were had on the cafe outside until the skies opened and we had a summer storm. Torrential rain and thunder & lightening! Trapped us in the pub for a while.
After a refreshing G & T on Gem we went to the square to have dinner on one of the restaurants that boasted ‘best’ mussels. We made our choice and we’re rewarded with an enormous bucket of fresh new season mussels. Totally delicious!!! After we had a group gathering to plan the next few days.
Friday: 10.30 for Goes – Beautiful town harbour surrounded by pretty traditional Dutch terraced houses with stepped gable houses. Drinks on board Allure before group meal in steakhouse selected by Robin. Mine was great. Enormous plate of ribs for a starter and a delicious burger to follow. Some others portion sizes were not so good but good atmosphere and friendly staff. A rather good bar/pub was discovered on the way back to the boats. Singing, dancing and much merriment. Needed further exploration tomorrow!
Saturday: Rainy day was not to deter us! We decided to do some stocking up of provisions and made off to the supermarket with a plan to meet up in the afternoon for a Crazy Golf challenge! Before golf we took a look at the delightful ‘De Werf’ with the marina bar where your helped yourself and paid by leaving your money in an honesty book. A delight!
After we went for an exciting round of Crazy Golf. There were some very challenging holes!! It absolutely poured with rain the whole time but undeterred we fastened our wet weather gear and carried on! The score cards varied massively but it was great fun. After we consoled ourselves with delicious hot chocolate drinks – chocolate chips given separately to stir into the hot milk yourself. After a meal on board we all met up at the ‘Party pub’ that had been discovered the night before and all joined together for plenty for singing and dancing. Some of the songs were in English and we knew them others were in Dutch but we weren’t put off and joined in all the same! Another great evening.
Sunday: Goes to Flushing. It was decided not to stop at Middelburg but to push on to Flushing. Too many bridges and locks!!! Lucy B and Seremban went on to Breskens but the remainder of us had enough and ducked into Flushing where there were good showers, and lovely little restaurant and most importantly diesel. It had become very windy and Allure and Last Orders did some spectacular mooring bouncing off a few posts!! No damage done though – surprisingly. Harbourmaster was HM and Chef! After a busy time directing boats into moorings he had to rush back to the restaurant and cook dinner for everyone.
Monday: 5am start for Ostend after night of tummy problems!!! It was quite lumpy but rain and wind cleared and the sun came out again to welcome us into Ostend. Gem for drinks then all off for a chicken dinner. A speciality that had to be experienced. Half a chicken each and fresh bread. We samples other delights of Ostend namely the delights of McD! Early night after an early start.
Tuesday: Bruges for the day. 15 minute train journey from Ostend. We started with waffles with fresh strawberries and ice cream sitting in a cafe on the square. Belgian waffles were a very fitting start to the day. We decided on a city tour bus trip. This was ideal for the time we had available followed by a boat tour so we experienced Bruges from all angles. A very beautiful city with marvellous architecture. We then had the tourist special lunch of mussels or an excellent beef stew. This was followed by purchasing a great deal of chocolate that we all claimed was bought for our families!? Meeting in Bar of Royal North Sea Yacht Club to decide what we should do tomorrow.
Decision made to for an 8.30 start for Dunkirk.
Wednesday: Off we went at 8.30 for a very bumpy passage to Dunkirk! And a slight run-in with a rather large ship meandering into Dunkirk. We decided it had the size/weight advantage and let it through. Arrived Dunkirk 13.00 bedraggled from a sudden ‘welcoming’ downpour! Unperturbed Di invited us all aboard for a cheese and wine party. We spent a marvellous afternoon drinking eating and exchanging yarns. The party concluded with enough time to have a quick freshen up and then we made off I find a restaurant that served mussels. The old favourite was closed so we chose L’edito that had been recommended to us. It was great. We all then retired for the night ready for our Ramsgate passage tomorrow.
Thursday: 9.30 we were off. Forecast indicated not so good on leaving with a chance of rain but improving about 13.00. Indeed it was very grey and a little bouncy and dark rain clouds swept through fortunately missing us. We all safely navigated the shipping lanes and the sun shone. We were all very pleased and made lunch and relaxed looking forward to an easy run into Ramsgate. How wrong we could be! One minute 9 knots of breeze the next 26!!!!!!! All I can say is the last leg of our passage was ‘interesting’! We all pretty much surfed into Ramsgate and were very happy to have arrived in one piece. Last Orders, Gem and Chemma all managed to get mainsail halyards caught round radar reflectors so Chris was sent up the masts to unravel – what a hero! Margaret and Roy invited everyone on board for drinks before heading off for fish and chips.
Friday: We all said our farewells and congratulated Robin for his good planning and ourselves for completing the course and departed 8.30am start for home ports. All said a prayer for good conditions. Our prayers were answered with a stunningly beautiful clear blue start. The day continued to go well. Everyone was a little undecided as to which course to take back over the sandbanks but there was plenty of water and no need for concern. We attempted a little sail but the wind dropped, a few threatening clouds were gathering and we did not want a repetition of yesterday’s experience. Arrived back at Bradwell approx. 17.00. We finished our adventure with a very welcome dinner with Jan and Pete in The Green Man.
What shall we do next year?