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REPORTS AND PHOTOS FROM CLUB CRUISES

On this page you can read Clive's reports on the Owners Club Trips.

Below is the list of destinations. Click on any destination to skip down to that report.

 

The Boat Show Dinner 2013

The Sealine Owners Club held their 7th Annual Southampton Boat Show Dinner on Friday 20th September 2013 at The Grand Cafe in Southampton.

A staggering 154 attendees had a fun night at The Grand Cafe and enjoyed a superb three course dinner and later on Dancing the Night Away. As usual, the Charity Raffle this year was for The Hamble Inshore Lifeboat which relies on donations and Fund Raising Events throughout the year. A tremendous £1400 was raised by the generous attendees during the Raffle of some superb prizes. Thanks go to all the attendees whom again made this a growing succesful event.

It would not of been a raffle without our sponsors prizes that they kindly donated.
So, special thanks to:-
Raymarine,
Slam Clothing and for the Dressed Female manequin that got stripped naked during the raffle.
Motor Boats Monthly,
Motor Boat & Yachting,
Poole Quay Boat Haven,
Premier Marinas,
MDL Marinas,
Dean & Reddyhoff Marinas,
C'Quip & Onward Trading,
TCS Chandlery,
Nauteriors,
The hose pipe people with that new hose pipe that expands and shrinks after performing
The Whisky stand that always offer a free tipple during the show for their Whisky donation
Bursledon Outboards for a free service and winterisation.
English Braids.
Sebago,
Sunseeker,
Cummins Marine,
The Grand Cafe (our hosts) for their kind voucher,
PSP for the pens for your tables to write on the envelopes,

We have received so much great feedback from the attendees who thoroughly enjoyed theirselves on the night - so we will be back next year for our 8th Annual Motor Boat Club Dinner again on the last Friday of the Southampton Boat Show 2014.

What the forums said....

Here are some comments posted on the boating forums.

The brand may have moved to Germany but the fun remains in the UK, well done Clive and Vicky, a great night in the grand cafe

yep a great night, once again Vicky did a great job with the location, and Clive organisational skills, what could go wrong !!!! A great night.

Thanks again to Clive and Vicky for organizing a great evening - A first for us with you guys but defiantly not a last. By seeing many a sore head the following day around SBS a great night was had by all

A fantastic evening. Our first attendance. It won't be our last ! Food was excellent considering the numbers and the company exceptional.

It was realy my personal high light this year! First of all I have to thank you everybody for the very warm and fiendly welcome I feelt like in a big and lovley family. I'am sure I will book the next Dinner Party too

Click on the thumbnails to see larger images of the 2013 dinner

Paris August 2013

A terrific 2013 of Cruising with the Club saw four Motor Boat Cruises in Company be completed successfully. The Cruise in Company to Paris was filled with twelve participating Motorboats and one lead Boat depart the River Hamble bright and early at 05.00 a.m. on Saturday 17th August 2013. We needed an early start to dash across the Channel to our first port of call at Honfleur to out run some incoming bad weather from the West. The usual Radio checks completed and the change from “Sealine Fleet” to “Motor Boat Fleet” as our new fleet call sign was needed to welcome aboard participants from other brands of boat that had joined our Cruising Club. After negotiating the Shipping Lanes and rendezvousing mid channel with another couple of participants boats we were soon all berthed in Honfleur. Very soon thereafter, like clockwork the Fuel Tanker arrived and commenced re-fuelling the boats for our next morning’s leg to Rouen. Everyone enjoyed the ambience of Honfleur and much needed Beers and Dinner for all.

Sunday 18th was an early start from Honfleur to Rouen at 06.00 underway from Honfleur Lock to take the flood tide up to Rouen. One big Gas Tanker we had received permission from to overtake on route to Honfleur soon had the whole fleet enjoying the leisurely cruise up to Rouen. Our Marina for two nights was welcomed and the whole fleet were soon moored and re-fuelling again at the Marina’s self-serve pump. “Victoria” was taken off upon arrival by the Port Police to answer some questions to excessive wash on the way up but the Police soon stood down when they learnt it was not “Victoria” but cumulative wash from the whole fleet.. Two nights in Rouen meant a free day for everyone on Monday 19th to explore Rouen and do some retail therapy. Rouen Cathedral was the attention point after 10p.m. when an amazing 3D laser show bought the Cathedral alive.

Tuesday 20th and another early cast off for the 1st Lock at Amfreville would soon have us Non-Tidal for the rest of our journey up to Paris. We approached the Lock at low water and the huge sides of the Lock chamber were very daunting. The Lock Keeper was very gentle with us as he flooded the lock. This whole day of Cruising would entail around 12 hours of helming to which everyone didn’t seem to mind. Very little traffic on the water and cruising along at tick over speed allowed everyone to enjoy their boats and the amazing scenery. Soon we arrived at our last lock of the day at L’Ilon around 7pm just before it was our official time for forbidden pleasure boat access through a lock!! However, a quick phone call to our Marina for the night had the owners of the Marina on the phone to the Lock to let us all through –perfect timing!! The taller boats moored on the River Bank just after the Lock whilst the remaining boats had sufficient clearance of their air draft to enter their Marina at Port L’Ilon for the night. We were all greeted by an outstanding Reception that had been laid on by the Marina owners in their clubhouse and shortly after the BBQ’s were alight in the marina’s picnic area. Everyone tucked in to the BBQ food and drinks were plentiful. The hardest part was navigating back to our boats on the River Bank in the dark after the B.b.q.

Wednesday 21st was a little later for casting off for our short cruise up to Port Cergy. A very hot day and again cruising at a leisurely slow speed and enjoying the scenery. The Marina at Port Cergy is run by the same owners of our previous night’s Marina and was pleasing to see Ann Duvinage and her husband Bruno awaiting our arrival at Port Cergy for a swift entry to our berths. Port Cergy is a Leisure Boat Port with relatively new pontoons and facilities. The Quayside consists of Restaurants and Bars making this a perfect place to stop and then commute into Paris on the Metro from Cergy station. The Marina had the ambience of being somewhere in the Mediterranean and is run by fellow Sealine Owners – Anne & Bruno Duvinage along with their operation of Marina L’Ilon also.

Thursday 22nd was a free day at Port Cergy for the participants to relax and enjoy the facilities and area where there was sailing, water skiing, swimming, cycling and exploring all local and in abundance. For some it was lazing in the sun at the well-known English Pub were some really cool Beers were enjoyed.

Friday 23rd and a reasonable early cast off from Cergy leaving two boats behind as they were too tall to Enter the Paris Arsenal marina. It was to be a very hot day so Biminis were up or, Umbrellas were out to shade from the scorching sun. A leisurely pace twisting with the River Seine up to Paris and passing all the famous landmarks and admiring the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame as we passed. Entry into the Paris Arsenal Marina had us juggling boat sizes around to make a swift entry through their Lock four times. Everyone safely moored in the near centre of Paris at the Bastille to enjoy the Ambience and sights of Paris for three whole days!

Monday 26th was re-fuelling day at the Paris Arsenal Marina and the fuel tanker promptly arrived and soon topped up the fuel tanks for our departure from Paris back to Port Cergy for our return leg. Back in to Port Cergy in time for the Football Match to be shown on the big screen TV’s in the English Pub whilst some skippers prepared their boats and engines for our leg back to England. Great food and a great evening had us underway on Tuesday 26th to Marina L’Ilon in great weather with the needed Bimini’s and Umbrellas deployed again. Several boats moored on the River Bank at L’Ilon for the night whilst the remaining fleet were again greeted by a Drinks Reception at Marina L’Ilon. Upon arrival, the River Bank vessels had found a superb Chateau for Dinner up high on the River Bank. The Chateau deployed taxi’s to collect us for a superb dinner and views stretching to Paris with the Eiffel Tower’s strobe light flashing away in the dusk.

Wednesday 28th was a relatively early start for our long sedate cruise back to Rouen where some boats would re-fuel finally for England. A leisurely night in Rouen and the last night for the amazing Cathedral Laser show. The challenge was finding transport back to the Marina after the laser show as the public transport finished earlier. A Police car was waived down and after a little translation they kindly sent us a taxi to get us back to the marina. Was a very good night!!!

Thursday 29th has us delayed a little while for the fog to clear in the Seine for our passage to Honfleur. The fog lifted to reveal another superb day of sunshine which made the slow cruise to Honfleur reveal some stunning scenery en route.

Friday 30th was a free day to enjoy Honfleur and re-fuel the boats that needed fuel to cross back to England. Our final group Dinner was held on Friday night with all participants in attendance. Of course we had some prizes to issue to each boat and some speeches of the trips events to be made during dinner.

Saturday 31st was market Day in Honfleur which was taken in by all as our departure was in the afternoon. This made for a leisurely day to be woken up by some slightly rough seas as we departed the River Seine into the English Channel. The sea state soon calmed as we crossed the shipping lanes which made an eventual pleasant crossing back into England. It was soon decided that everyone wanted to finish off the cruise with a farewell dinner at the Riverside Chinese at Swanwick Marina. A quick phone call had our tables reserved and a great night with dancing enjoyed which carried on to the early hours of Sunday morning. A great way to finish off a superb two week cruise of the River Seine to Paris.

Thank you to all the participants, their families and friends that made this Cruise so much fun and enjoyable. Special thanks to Aqueston for allowing Greg to volunteer and supply his services to the fleet and you may have gained an Uncle!!!!???

A big “Welcome aboard” to our first timers into the Motor Boat Club, and congratulations to Paul & Jane on “Sea Jade” on completing their first Channel Crossing. Thank you to Flying High for supplying your boat for the leg to and from Paris and for the copious amounts of Bacardi and coke with ice and lemon!! And a special thank you to the entire Marina’s en route and their staff that looked after us. A very special Thank You to Anne & Bruno Duvinage for the Surprise Reception and Drinks at your Marina at L’Ilon twice!! And for your assistance, planning and accommodation at Port Cergy also.

2014 will hopefully see another four to five Cruises in Company which is in the planning and consulting stages so please check back for the 2014 Calendar of Events shortly.

Regards
Captain Clive and Vicky “Victoria”

Here are a few photos. Click on the thumbnails for larger images (7 to 20).

To see all the photo uploaded to photobucket Click on this link login is sealine_photos. Password is piccies

Guernsey, St Malo, Jersey & Cherbourg Rally. 25th May to 2nd June 2013.

The May Rally for a good long week away saw 12 Motorboats depart the Solent in perfect weather again for our first port of call at Guernsey on Saturday 25th May. A mixed fleet of Sealine’s, Sunseeker’s, Fairline’s, Princess and Bavaria took part in this week long cruise.

A leisurely crossing of the English Channel and a very smooth Alderney Race soon had us arrive at Guernsey. The necessary and compulsory re-fuelling commenced upon arrival and was executed very swiftly which then had us all moored inside Victoria Marina for a two night stay.

The first night was quite leisurely, but Sunday had seen the arrival of the local street markets which drew all our attentions to visit. Early afternoon had us all advance up to the Castle Cornet for a traditional “Vin D’Honneur” welcome from the Guernsey Tourist Board. Some superb views and complimentary drinks were enjoyed up in the Castle. A quick visit thereafter into the Cherbourg Yacht Club in the brilliant sunshine for pre-dinner drinks before dining in “Da Nellos” for the evening. An anticipated early night was adjourned as we partied away until the early hours of Sunday morning.

Monday morning had us all up early for the necessary high water at our next port of call at St Malo. Having to say goodbye at this early stage to four of our participants due to their work commitments meant they had to be back in the U/K Tuesday latest. However, full steam ahead for our passage to St Malo in slight seas and good visibility allowed us to arrive on time for our planned 09.00 a.m. lock into the central basin. Moorings were superb alongside the Old City Walls with sufficient power and water laid on for us. As the weather was superb it was agreed unanimously that we should have a BBQ in the evening, so the crews were summonsed to shop for local produce for the evening bbq’s whilst the captains enjoyed a few well earnt cold beers in the local hostelries. A great evening BBQ was enjoyed on the quayside adjacent to our moored boats finishing off with coffee and liquors in a local Café in the Old Town as the sun set.

Tuesday was a day of leisure in St Malo taking in the local sites and the many shops in the Old Town followed by the evening BBQ again for a second night. Tuesday evening bought us some slight rain and unfortunately one participant had left their dinghy in the water along with their lifejacket in the bilge. The next morning he was greeted with an inflated lifejacket in the dinghy as the rain water had filled his dinghy with several inches which was enough to set the lifejacket off.

To finish off Tuesday night we were summonsed and lead to a local watering hole just inside the City Ramparts by a participant. Having changed my decision to sample Pernod and water was not a good idea. The local bartender was enjoying our business so much that he made us a Mojito each on the House. Well, the next morning with a dry palate it is natural to drink some water – and yes the Pernod was re-activated and a hangover from hell.

Wednesday had us up and ready for an early Lock out of St Malo for our passage to St Helier, Jersey for another two nights. The seas outside St Malo were a little lively but soon we had navigated away from St Malo through the narrow channel and into the wide seas where the sea state became much more comfortable. We had an interesting passage to St Helier passing the Plateau Des Minquires on our port side. Not many boats on our passage apart from passing the Fast Cat that was proceeding to St Malo.

Again, upon arrival at St Helier it was time to purchase some more cheap diesel which was swiftly executed and in sufficient time to all get onto our berths in the marina. A leisurely afternoon in the basking sunshine was time to explore the town.

Thursday was a day of leisure in St Helier. We were soon aboard the open deck bus for a trip up to the Jersey War Hospital for a tour. After hopping back on the bus soon had the majority of the participants onto another bus for a guided tour of the Island. The evening held an arranged group dinner whereby some local guests from the Island joined us and a fellow Sealine owner from Guernsey was under tuition on his new F42 and travelled over to Jersey to join us also. A great dinner overlooking the marina and our boats as the sun set again was really surreal. Fortunately, there was a Night Club below our restaurant where we all adjourned to sample some local atmosphere.

Friday was a late morning departure for our passage up to Cherbourg which was our last Port of Call. Assembling outside of Jersey we were greeted again by the Fast Cat arrival from Guernsey. I’m sure by now the Captain of the Fast Cat ferry would have us all on first name terms after passing us so many times. We were then underway in perfect conditions with a large swell that was very comfortable and far different from the Solent Chop we are all used to. The compulsory calling in of Crab & Lobster pot markers was constantly bringing the VHF sets into life. Up to the Alderney Race which was flat calm allowed us to alter course early and traverse over to the coastline of France. A little choppy off of Cap De La Hague as the tide was ebbing into the Alderney Race allowed the skippers and crews to sample a slight choppy sea state of what the Alderney Race can be like but on a slight scale.

Our Arrival into Cherbourg had some boats already taken residence in our reserved berths, but we soon had each boat secured safely. It wasn’t until the next morning that it was found that Victoria had picked up the remnants of an old discarded crab pot line as she was reversing into her mooring at Cherbourg. After a quick inspection with an underwater camera a local diver was summonsed who never materialised until late evening after the offending piece had been removed. Fortunately, a Diving Boat had just returned to our pontoon and their early assistance was soon given. After about half an hour the offending rope was off of our props and the compulsory inspection for any damage was given the all clear by the lead diver. Thanks go to these leisure divers who would not take any recompense for their efforts although I did manage to persuade them to purchase some beers for their team.

Friday Evening was our Group Farewell Dinner at the Cherbourg Yacht Club along with some Prizegiving for our First Time Channel Crossers. A superb evening meal was enjoyed and whereby we could all discuss the weeks adventures we had experienced. As the weather had blessed us for the week it was agreed to depart Cherbourg a day later on Sunday for our cruise back to the Solent as the weather forecast was for slight seas and light winds. Thereby, Saturday was a free leisure day to enjoy Cherbourg for the last day of the holiday.

Sunday had us underway in the morning for our return passage home. Sea state was slight and good visibility. Approaching the Needles Fairway had the Coastguard Helicopter spot us all and decided to practise putting one of their crew onto Victoria and then take their crew member off. This livened up the passage and was a great finale to the weeks cruise.

Thanks to all the participants making this Cruise In Company another successful adventure and now looking forward to our next cruise to Paris!!! If any of you have photos of the Cruise then please send them to: clive@sealineownersclub.org so we can put them up onto the website.

Click on the thumbnails below to see the photos from Guernsey/St Malo. (21 to 29)

POOLE EASTER 2013

The First Sealine Owners Club Cruise of the 2013 Season has been underway during the Easter Bank Holiday.
 
Despite the weather and winds a close monitor of the forecasts lead us into Plan B for the trip so we could all get away on our boats. 
Last Year’s weather may have been Shorts and T-shirt’s but this hardy bunch of participants certainly didn’t mind donning layers of clothing for the weekend weather !
 
The initial plan was to leave the Solent for Poole on Good Friday 29th March 2013 with 19 Motorboats, and then on to Weymouth for Sunday and return to Lymington on Monday. However, despite the weather fourteen hardy Motorboats and their crews were ready to cruise.
 
Plan B was sanctioned to Yarmouth instead for Good Friday and venture into the famous Salty’s Restaurant for the Group Dinner the same evening.
A morning departure from Swanwick Marina and down to the Hamble River assembly point soon had us all underway.
Upon passing the Sealine South Coast Facility we observed a chap on the bank who we thought was Bird Watching but alas it was Ben from Sealine South Coast with his camera at the ready to get some photos of the fleet as they cruised down the River Hamble. 
Well done Ben for persevering with the cold and your camera.
We were now all assembled and ready to proceed at speed and give our boats an exercise which has been long awaited since last season.
A gentle run up to 20 knots to let the engines get up to temperatures and a nice relaxed cruise soon had us all moored safely in Yarmouth on the walk ashore pontoons.
Usually, a Pontoon Reception is held on our arrival for new guests to meet the other boaters but as it was cold a Reception was held in the Royal Solent Yacht Club.
A splendid Yacht club especially after their £2 M refurbishment had us all gather upstairs in the Bar with the excellent views over the Solent for a group gathering.
 
Later that evening the Group Dinner was under way upstairs in Salty’s who looked after us superbly all night.
Our group soon filled the restaurant and dined well followed by the compulsory dancing on the tables etc.
Well, not too many hangovers but one boat’s crew unfortunately went back to their boat for an afternoon nap and upon setting their alarm for what they thought was 7pm was unfortunately 7am the next morning !! They did miss a good night…..
 
Looking out to Sea on Saturday Morning had us all looking at the current weather forecasts in the Marina Office.
This soon lead to a change of plan from just nipping over to Lymington for Saturday’s berthing to decide we could all leave Yarmouth safely for Poole.
Unfortunately, we had to vacate our berth by noon on Victoria to make space for Chris Evans of Radio 2 fame to arrive on his boat with his family.
 
The crossing to Poole was superb and amazingly calm. We could all open up our speed and all the boats performed well on the journey across.
It was only eventually a little choppy passing Sandbanks as we then had wind over the tide that was ebbing out of Poole, but then we were back down to the compulsory slow speed limit. 
In case Harry Redknapp was at home a courtesy blast on the horns was made as we passed his mansion by the chain ferry.
 
Again, all participants were soon safely moored in Poole Town Quay for the afternoon and night.
Poole Quay Boat Haven had been aware of our Rally descending upon them since last year and brilliantly organised our VIP berthing with superb berths. 
The only boat blocking all of our views to shore was a large Sunseeker 40 metre berthed opposite us.
Another participant joined the Rally at Poole as they are berthed locally and wanted to exercise their new purchase of a brand new Sealine F42 that was only delivered a few weeks ago. Fortunately, they could berth behind another F42 on the Rally which was quite impressive.
 
A free afternoon in Poole had most of the skippers nip off for a swift “Skippers Briefing” ashore to review the adventure so far whilst the Ladies shopped. 
A free Evening in Poole was enjoyed which had plenty of restaurants to choose from as Poole was quieter because of the cold weather.
Sunday Morning was a little more windy which was expected, so the departure was set for Noon from Poole.
This gave us time to relax and review.  One boat had lost its GPS fix on its plotters. Soon fixed after setting the Flybridge plotter to Slave and the Lower Helm plotter to Master had the GPS back on.
In the meantime the Easter Bunny had also now been to visit the participant’s and deliver the Easter Eggs to each boat.
 
Noon came and had us all underway from Poole for Berthon Marina at Lymington for the Sunday afternoon and Evening.
 
The passage from Sandbanks had most of us all leave via the Ship Channel up towards Old Harry.
As we had more pronounced seas we all altered course for the Needles to enter the Solent so that we had the seas head on to our bows.
A steady displacement speed made a more comfy ride for the passage and soon had us all re-group in Alum Bay.
 
The Pirates of the Solent were soon all moored safely in Lymington and had just missed Johnny Depp at his Local.
I’m sure the Pirate of the Caribbean would of loved to had met the Pirates of the Solent for an afternoon chat about adventures!!! 
A final Group Dinner was voted for and the choice for the evening was a Curry, especially as it was a participants Birthday to celebrate.
Happy Birthday Steve, and thanks Greta for organising the Indian Restaurant.
 
Monday saw us all depart Lymington for our home ports until the next Cruise in Company.
 
Many thanks for the great comments and feedback already received from the participants.
If any of you have photos of the weekend then please send them to: clive@sealineownersclub.org so we can put them up onto the website.
 

Photos will be here soon!

 

HALLOWEEN EVENT 2012

Despite the severe weather conditions during the Friday & Saturday most members managed a ferry ride from Southampton to Cowes on Saturday and enjoyed the afternoon either shopping or staying safe inside the many taverns! A superb night was enjoyed thereafter at the Cowes Tandoori which was a short walk from the Marina. It was great to see so many members come along and support the evening.

Seven Motorboats including "Victoria" rode out the storms in Cowes Yacht Haven after arriving on the Friday afternoon in readiness for the event. The arrival for mooring was okay as the winds were light, but not the Force 9 gusts that arrived the early hours of Saturday morning. Well done to: Connect Four, Margaret, Sir Henry, Slips Dream, Isha Coco & the new C48 from Sealine Intl.

With the winds from the North blowing straight into the Yacht Haven was not comfortable, so during Saturday it was prudent to send out an advisory message to the remaining participants not to set off which was disappointing. Just seeing a Yacht return to Cowes Yacht Haven Demasted a few hours later helped make this decision.

However, the awards for the Quiz and best Pumpkin Carving were conducted as the planned Best Cocktail trophy had to be aborted.

Some members also participated in the Quiz that Vicky provided which involved exploring much of the High Street establishments for clues. The winners of the "Quiz" were Connor & Vicky from "Margaret" A bottle of Champagne was duly despatched as their prize which was gladly accepted as it was their 1st night aboard their new "Margaret of Lincoln" along with Rick & Margaret O'Boyle the proud new owners.

The winner of the Pumpkin Carving goes to Anne Thomas of "Ocean Star" and is awarded on photographic evidence. This was a hard one to judge as so many people had presented their carving evidence too. A Sealine Jacket will be despatched to you Anne, well done.

Click on the thumbnails below to see photos from the Halloween event.

A Message from Clive regarding the Southampton Boat Show Dinner

Thank you all whom attended the Boat Show Dinner on Friday 21st September 2012 aboard the “Princess Caroline” Cruise Ship.

An absolute sell out with 120 max Member Guests aboard the Princess Caroline for a Welcome Reception, 3 Course Dinner and a Disco to limber up to. Members from as far afield as Germany and Spain attended the Dinner Cruise, and a couple piloting his own Aircraft from Germany to Southampton Airport to attend the evening.

It was great fun walking around the Southampton Boat Show rallying up Raffle Prizes from Exhibitors for the Royal Marines Charitable trust. What was overwhelming was the generosity offered by the exhibitors, to which I believe we had practically a prize for nearly every attendee.

A staggering £1266 was raised on the night towards the anticipated £10,000 target which is being raised by a fellow Sealine Owner – Annette McHugh. More details on Annette’s conquest can be found here: http://www.justgiving.com/Annette-Mchugh Further donations for the Royal Marines are possible via Annette McHugh via the above link….

Shortly after the Raffle the Ships Microphone was requested by surprise by another Fellow Sealine Owner Mark Bird for a Proposal of Marriage to his Girlfriend Susan whom gladly accepted. May we all congratulate and wish Mark & Susan all the best for their future together.

NORMANDY TRIP AUGUST 2012

A fully booked Cruise to explore the Normandy Coastline and Museums in France. However, having to call the Cruise forward a day early because of incoming weather meant a few participants couldn’t join us.

Safely away from the Solent and heading to St Vaast in France was again perfect conditions and near flat seas that you could water-ski on. We all arrived like clockwork into St Vaast Marina. A beautiful picturesque Marina with plenty of quaint shops and bars surrounding the marina all within a short walk. On Sunday a mobile Spit roaster comes into town, so up early Sunday morning to order your meat requirements for lunch. Meantime an amphibious boat took us all from St Vaast across to the Isle de Tatihou which is a nature reserve and historic fortress island. After climbing the Fortress stairs from the 16th century to admire the panoramic views of St Vaast and the Baie de Seine was time to journey back to collect our Lunch from the mobile spit roaster. An afternoon enjoying our Pontoon Lunch party was soon time to all practise our navigational skills and nominate a participant to plot our route to our next port of Ouistreham for tomorrow.

Monday we were lead from St Vaast by “Margaret” to Ouistreham. We passed the Mulberry Harbour of Arrowmanches where the D-day troops could land much quicker during their Invasion of France. Next we were into the Ouistreham Lock and once through the Lock was a small marina for the night. It was soon decided to have a BBQ on the Marin’s lawns, so it was off to town for provisions. As it was so hot walking most of the bars were visited en-route. After a pleasurable evening b.b.q it was soon time to turn in for the night.

Tuesday needed us up and ready for the first bridge opening on our cruise along the canal to Caen. Amazing sites on the cruise of the Pegasus Bridge from the D-day landings and superb views of Caen as we approached. Once inside Caen was our Town marina for the next two nights. Plenty of surrounding Cafes and Bars overlooking the Marina, and also all the top name shops you can think of.

Wednesday was Museum day of the Normandy Invasions. After cycling to explore and locate the museum it was decided that the bus would be best for the participants visit. A superb visit educating ourselves on the Germans Invasion of Caen and the Normandy Invasions soon left us with appetites for dinner.

Thursday was time to leave Caen and head for Honfleur on the river Seine. Once in the lock at Ouistreham again and being top of the tide the conditions at sea looked superb. A quick call to announce this on the VHF had a prompt reply from a participant “I’ve heard that one before !!!” was soon to be true. After leaving Ouistreham and into the Baie de Seine the seas were becoming lively which meant we all had to track northwards out to sea for a couple of miles and then alter course for the Seine rather than just head straight for the River Seine. The journey became comfortable and soon the Lock at Honfleur was in sight. The lock was quite small but soon had us all inside.

Once inside Honfleur we had a large pontoon practically all to ourselves for the next couple of nights. Honfleur is an absolute gem. It’s quayside Restaurants, Bars and Coffee Shops soon had us booking a Group Dinner for the Saturday Night when Douglass Culverwell from Sealine was joining us. The Restaurant coped very well with us all and every meal was individually prepared and cooked which was most impressive and at a bargain price too! However, Friday was Re-Fuelling day and a Tanker of Diesel arrived dead on time to re-fuel us all for the journey home. Unfortunately, the Tanker driver didn’t take credit cards – only cash and that’s impossible to get over 1000 euros from a cash machine. However, agreement was made for bank transfer’s to be made to the fuel company when back home.

Saturday was our departure day from Honfleur back to England. Problem!!!! 120 Boats want to leave Honfleur the same time as we need to for the tide. Apparently there is a Regatta in the Seine. Being British and courteous we do not panic. Simply cast off and into the Honfleur Lock all rafting and squeezing in gently, then we look behind and from nowhere is a basin full of all sizes of boats. 2 seconds later the Lock Keeper announces free flow and opens the Lock’s outer gates. We are all still secured in the lock whilst every other European is now trying to squeeze through. No problem, nice and gently we all manage to depart the lock safely into the Seine. Once on our way the seas are slight leading for another perfect passage back to England.

However, we still have Saturday night so all decide to rendezvous back in Port Solent for a final group gathering and long awaited Indian Dinner.

Click on the thumbnails below to see photos from the trip to Normandy.

HOLLAND TRIP JUNE 2012

The Cruise started as planned from Ipswich to Vlissingen with participants from the South Coast and East Coast. A slight swell which was easily handled by the boats meant we had a pleasant crossing over to Holland. Our first night was in Middleburg, and after a long journey the Middleburg Yacht club as usual made us most welcome and kept us fed and watered all night. The Yacht Club was so excited to see us English Folk as Sunday was the Queens Jubilee, the Yacht Club exchanged National Anthems.. Sunday was enjoyed in a local hotel that lent us their reception bar and lounge to enjoy the Queens Jubilee on large screen TV’s.

Tuesday, was a short cruise to Delta Marina at Kortgene on the Veerse Meer. The weather was good so we held our own Pontoon Jubilee Celebrations between the boats and dressed accordingly with bunting and regalia. Courtesy pedal bikes were available at this marina so we all grabbed a bike and ventured into the town for provisions. Great bikes but being Dutch there are no brakes, you have to back pedal to stop which took some getting used too!

Thursday, was another short cruise to Goes. Goes is at the end of a non-tidal canal and is quite historic. It is a great ambience among the old buildings of Goes to moor your boat. The Harbour master was superb as usual although he might have been on something stronger than us!

Saturday, we departed goes for Willemstad. Lively conditions made negotiating the several locks en route quite fun. Safely moored in Willemstad for 2 nights.

Sunday the town came alive with live music at the Town Hall and a tractor rally descending into Willemstad. Also it appeared to be the Herring Season! There is an abundance of Herrings, so much that whatever bar you visited was complimentary Herrings in various flavours to snack upon.

Monday was a leisurely cruise to Rotterdam City Marina via the Spui River. Sun Shining and not too much traffic on the water until Rotterdam. A few large Barges to negotiate and pass including a modern style amphibious coach which looked amazing crossing the ship canal! Yes, again more Herrings wherever you go!!!! However, Rotterdam gave some participants the time to take the train to Amsterdam for the day and some crew changeovers via Rotterdam Airport.

Wednesday we left Rotterdam for Tholen which is now part of the downward leg heading for home. A few more large barges to negotiate and steer clear off until we were past Dordrecht were eventually a little further we could all open up our boats and clear the cobwebs for a while. Tholen has a small friendly family run Marina, and just in time after our arrival to find a bar to watch the Holland v Germany football game. Now, as being guests of Holland we all wore some Dutch regalia to support our host team for this match.

Thursday we left Tholen bright and early for Dunkerque. Quite a long day ahead and many miles to Dunkerque we all agreed to stop off at Breskens marina for a re-fuel and to leave one participant’s boat at Breskens for their journey back to Lowestoft. Again, upon arrival the Dutch Customs wanted to board “Victoria” for a routine check. All in order and after re-fuelling we headed off for Dunkerque. Radio silence was kept whilst cruising through Belgium as we didn’t want to wake them to come and board us over the recent red diesel issues. Safely past Belgium the seas where starting to liven up with the forecast incoming storms, so we all decided to carry on over to Dover and take shelter. Safely into Dover now meant four nights of taking shelter until the storms passed so we could continue back to the Solent.

Eventually, on the Monday it was all agreed to leave Dover for the Solent. That was until we had to divert into Newhaven and take shelter of another storm quickly upon us. Tuesday morning was flat calm and made for a gentle smooth passage back to the Solent.

Overall, a great adventure and fun. Others have a lot more stories too!!!

Click on the thumbnails below to see photos from the trip to Holland.

ST KATHERINES DOCK TRIP MAY 2012

There were 32 avid boaters ready to descend upon St Katharine’s Dock Marina in London but we ended up with 23 boats. Unfortunately because of the severe rains prior the Non Tidal Thames was so high that not one boat could leave their home berth because of strong currents and low air drafts. I heard the non-tidal Thames was even flowing up to 7 knots which made entering a Lock unthinkable.

However, Wednesday 2nd May was the 1st flotilla to depart the Solent for London. A 3 day leg being to Ramsgate, Chatham and finally St Katharine’s Dock. 9 Boats set of from the Solent for a superb run up to Ramsgate for the 1st nights leg. The skippers did prefer to find the Ale before finding the Fuel at Ramsgate, but then after 7 hours behind the helm I couldn’t blame them ! A superb meal for skippers and crew was enjoyed overlooking the Marina. Early start on Thursday to ensure all the boats were re-fuelled and engine checks concluded before departure for Chatham. The lead boat “Victoria” needed to be in Ipswich the same day to rendezvous with the North Coast participants already there.

A departure from Ramsgate was tried by all skippers but Force 7 conditions and the notorious North Foreland to negotiate? It was soon a Shout on the VHF that we should all turn back to Ramsgate as the 9 feet waves almost a beam were not to be contended with. Some returned and stayed another night in Ramsgate until the next morning, but Victoria carried on to Ipswich – soon to be asked permission by a couple of boats for an escort to North foreland so they could carry on to Chatham. Fortunately, when they had rounded North foreland which is a short distance from Ramsgate the seas were behind them and waves now down to 1 foot which made a safe comfortable passage to Chatham.

Victoria carried on to Ipswich at a slow 11 knots and arrived to greet the Participants from the East Coast as far away as Reedham, Lowestoft and Brundal. A skippers briefing concluded for these guys followed by a superb dinner with Bill Griffiths the M.D. for Sealine and an early night.

Bill had arrived at Ipswich to take a new C48 to St Katherine’s and to share the adventure with us all.

Early rising saw 10 Boats and crew depart Ipswich Lock at 05.00 a.m. to catch the flood tide up to London. En-route we were to rendezvous with the Ramsgate fleet and the Chatham fleet opposite Sheerness. Now all the previous month’s planning should orchestrate into order as all 3 fleets descend upon our rendezvous point.

Voilà, all 22 Boats managed to rendezvous opposite Sheerness to later be escorted by “HMS Ocean” the Royal Navy’s Largest Vessel on her journey to Greenwich where she was moored to provide protection for the forthcoming Jubilee Celebrations and her exercises in “Olympic Guardian”. A superb ambience and History of the River Thames whilst navigating up to London was enjoyed by all Slow speed and no passing of HMS Ocean still allowed us to arrive at St Katherine’s Dock for near High tide.

Once into the Marina basin at St Katharine’s dock an evening reception for all participants was held by Sealine International at The Living Room Bar & Restaurant. Dancing into the early hours saw early risers the next morning for a venture over Tower Bridge to the famous Borough Market for the compulsory Bacon Sandwiches for breakfast. The Saturday was followed by a venture into the Bentley Showroom in Berkley Square to explore their range of cars whilst some continued onto the Shopping Spree and Theatre journeys. Sunday was the local Go Karting “Sealine Challenge Cup” Race. There were many trying hard to win this Challenge cup which meant many heats and plenty of peddle to the metal fun. The Go Karting was in electric Go Karts as the venue was an indoor centre, but what was amazing was we were racing up and down on two levels!!

Monday was departure day for most to cruise back to their home ports. Fortunately, good weather permitted these participants to enjoy their journey home.

Click on the thumbnails below to see photos from the trip to London.

CHERBOURG EASTER 2012

17 fellow Explorers set off from the Solent for the 1st leg to Cherbourg in perfect conditions on Friday 6th April 2012. Flat calm seas there and back.

Two “Soloists” = John with Jazzbo S29 & Rick with Margaret S34 enjoyed their conquest of crossing the channel and back single handed. It’s amazing devotion from these guys who won’t miss a trip!

Everyone enjoyed the Evening’s group dinner in the Cherbourg Yacht Club on arrival.

As usual, the Fair was back in town in Cherbourg for the Easter holidays. So, after dinner a perusal of the fair followed by the Bumper Cars Knockout Challenge and “Let’s see Cherbourg Upside Down” on the super-fast big dipper.

Saturday was a Group leisure day. Some ventured to St Vaast in Taxi’s for lunch whilst others stocked up on Wine and Cheese.

“Victoria” had a visit from the Douanes Francais to check her paperwork and everything was fine. But, all the other participants were nowhere to be seen!!! which allowed them to pass inspection by the French Customs.

The Casino in Cherbourg beckoned some avid boaters for the night. Must say, they did come back with a smile!

St Vaast was aborted because of the incoming low pressure, so a dash was made back to Lymington for the Sunday night.

Crossing the Channel back to St Vaast was again perfect conditions and arrived in Lymington before the predicted storms arrived.

Thanks’ to Berthon Marina for organising berths for us all at so short notice.

Click on the thumbnails below to see photos from the Easter 2012 trip to Cherbourg in France.


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