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Belgium Cruise – June 2018

26 June 2018

The start to our Belgium cruise was not the easiest to organise.  With the Haven Bridge out of action & limited moorings available in Lowestoft, it took several phone calls to put things in place.  The Mutford Lock were good enough to put 13 of our 14 strong fleet through in one day, the 14th managed to slip under the Haven Bridge at low water on Friday afternoon.  By 1900hrs the whole fleet were moored at the Royal Norfolk & Suffolk Yacht Club & enjoyed the usual hospitality provided by the Lowestoft based club.

The following morning the fleet departed the yacht club basin at 0545hrs for the passage to Oostende of nearly 100 miles.  The weather forecast was for south westerly force 2-3 but picking up to force 4-5 in the afternoon on the Belgium coast, hence the early start.  A few early mechanical issues on a couple of boats requiring engineering assistance from our support team lost us about 45 minutes but eventually the fleet ran well.

By the time we closed the Belgium coast, the wind had freshened considerably and was picking up a short chop giving a bouncy ride and covering the boats & flybridge crews in salty water.  The fleet took it in its stride and locked into Oostende at around midday (UK time) and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon.  On Sunday evening all of the 43 crew members met at the Boltleje Restaurant in town for a very enjoyable meal, drinks and much hilarity and we were very well looked after.

On Tuesday most of us took the train to the very pretty town of Brugge for sightseeing and shopping.

We left Oostende on Wednesday for Middelburg in Holland.  We locked out and made the 30 mile passage to Vlissingen lock and then up the Middelburg channel.

Middelburg is a picture postcard town with lovely moorings just outside the town centre and a super, historic yacht club opposite the moorings.  Some of the fleet spent two nights here and some three before all meeting up again at Delta Haven Marina on the Veerse Meere at Kortgene.

All the crews gathered once again for a meal at the marina restaurant.

We moved on the following day to Roompot Marina on the Osterschelde in readiness for an early morning start for passage across the North Sea on Sunday.

The crossing was uneventful and the fleet ran really well at around 18 knots arriving i Lowestoft at around 1030hrs.

Getting back onto the Broads, well that is another story, with both Haven Bridge and Mutford Road Bridge out of action as I write on Monday afternoon, only two of our 14 strong fleet are back on the Broads, the rest moored in Lowestoft awaiting news!

 

5 responses to “Belgium Cruise – June 2018”

  1. Mike & Nanette Charville, Nigel & Belinda Scottow says:

    Hello everyone, we are enjoying a beautiful sunny evening in Lowestoft such a bonus at the end of what has been a fabulous week! Thank you all, weve enjoyed your company and lots of laughter. We very much look forward to meeting you all again soon. Special thanks to James, Mark and Chris, as ever, sharing your time and expertise, oh and helpful support back to the boat on a couple of nights!!! With fond wishes Mike, Nanette, Belinda and Nigel

  2. Tom & Sheila Carrington says:

    Many thanks to James, Mark and Chris for your help and support on our fabulous cruise to Belgium / Holland.
    Thank you for the wonderful company of our lovely boating friends, can’t wait for the next time we are out on the seas together.
    Love from Sheila, Tom, Luke & Bec

  3. Gerry Watson, Ian & Debbie says:

    I hate to say this but we’re nearly in Brundall. We have been soooo lucky. Thank you all from Captain Watson and his Crew for a fabulous, fun packed week. Look forward to partying with you all again soon xx And a special thank you to James and Speedo, without you two this would not be possible and we’d be too scared to do this on our own. Love from Seasalt Xx

  4. John and Valerie Nicholls says:

    Thank you James Mark and Chris for your care and attention throughout the whole trip especially Speedo coming to the aid of Queen V in its hour of need !
    Bruge was an absolute delight and we would love go back one day .
    We must all individually or collectively put pressure on the powers that be responsible for maintaining the bridges and locks in Norfolk and Suffolk to up their game and make the waterways fit for purpose ..
    The Norfolk Broads is a vital part of the economy for businesses involved in the boating industry and we must support all concerned especially NYA who deserve our loyalty and commitment during this stressful time

  5. David Phillips says:

    A huge thank you to James and the NYA team. We thoroughly enjoyed our first trip to Belgium, even though we were one of the fybridge teams that got a little damp! As always the arrangements for our arrival were ‘spot on’ with boats being given moorings to fit. We absolutely love Holland so the decision to move on there was welcomed. All too soon the trip was heading home and the embarrassing experience of bridges not working, which was in complete contrast to the efficiency of Belgium and Holland. Even then James used his NYA influence and kept up the pressure on the authorities until matters were resolved and we got back to base (it just showed he wasn’t going to abandon us even though the trip was officially over). We have one complaint! The week seemed to go by so quickly, we could have stayed so much longer.
    Yet again we have developed our experience and heartily recommend the cruising club to those who would like to extend their horizons. The camaraderie of the whole group together with some memorable social events makes the occasion very special. David and Carol Phillips

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