Something for the Weekend

15th & 16th September

motorboat owner news

The 50th Southampton Boat Show is underway this weekend. Open until the 23rd September, the show takes place in Mayflower Park and has a huge temporary marina hosting approximately 330 boats. Throughout the weekend show visitors will be able to book a free ‘Try a Boat’ ride on a RIB or a motorboat upon entry to the show at West Quay (stand A101). For a second year in a row, the passenger boat, Ocean Scene, will be operating free 20-minute tours of Southampton Water from the show marina. Tours are available from 12 noon or 1pm, until 4pm daily. Out on the pontoons will be the usual array of boats, with several worldwide and UK debuts, such as the Princess R35, Jeanneau Merry Fisher 605 Marlin, Fairline Targa 43 Open and UK debuts from the Italian boat builder Cranchi, including the Z35. New features this year include a Harbourside Gin Festival, with brands such as Silent Pool, Salcombe Gin and Mr Hobbs Gin available at a pop-up garden, with live music and a Gin Lounge with ‘mixology masterclasses’ available (£30.50 each inc. show admission). The 1940s, 46-metre tall ship and film star, the Kaskelot, as well as the research ship, RV Callista, will be welcoming visitors aboard. The RNLI also have a lifeboat on the marina allowing visitors to get aboard and speak to its crew. The show is opening daily 10am-6:30pm and 10am-6pm on the last Sunday. Standard day tickets start at £15.50 for adults, with gate prices £21-£25 depending on the day you visit. Motorboat Owner readers can save up to £12 on gate purchases by booking tickets online. The exclusive ticket offer code, EPTO18JKB9, entitles readers to anyday flexible entry tickets priced at £13 when booking via the Southampton Boat Show website

Elsewhere, on the river Hamble, there are two used boat shows running concurrently alongside the boat show. The south coast broker and boat dealer, Why Boats, will be hosting its fifth Used Boat Show at Deacons Marina at Bursledon. Billed as ‘the largest event of its kind on the south coast’, it will be open daily 9am-6pm and a catalogue of boats for sale is available via the Why Boats website. Premier Marinas will also be hosting its 39th annual Used Boat Show at Swanwick Marina. The show will feature a display of pre-owned boats for sale through the marinas onsite brokerage offices, Ancasta International Boat Sales, Clipper Marine, Princess Motor Yachts, Sea Ventures and Sunseeker Southampton. The event will be open daily from 10am-6pm. Visit for details


RNLI named Official Show Charity for 50th Southampton Boat Show

10-day boat show to host two RNLI lifeboats on the marina

motorboat owner news

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has been named Official Show Charity for this year’s Southampton Boat Show and the 10-day show is set to host two lifeboats afloat in the show marina. From Friday 14th to Tuesday 18th September, one of the RNLI’s all-weather lifeboats, a 13.6-metre Shannon class, will be on display on marina berth M698, with an inshore lifeboat, a B-class lifeboat (Atlantic 85), replacing this on Wednesday 19th until the end of the show (Sunday 23rd September). Both lifeboats will be available for visitors to view and speak to its crew members.

Onshore, at the RNLI stand B028, show visitors will be able to get water safety advice and tips on staying safe at sea, view safety gadgets and try on a variety of lifejackets. Plus there will be lifesaving products available to win in daily giveaways.

Lesley Robinson, Chief Executive Officer at British Marine, comments: “We are delighted to be able to support the RNLI at Southampton Boat Show 2018 and promote the outstanding work it does to save lives at sea. As one of the UK’s most respected marine charities, its dedicated lifeguards, lifeboats and stations are a familiar and welcome sight on Britain and Ireland’s waters and its achievements can be seen across the world. We look forward to welcoming them and many of their crew to this year’s event.” 

Gareth Morrison, Head of Community Engagement at the RNLI, says: “ Southampton Boat Show is really important to the RNLI as it provides a unique opportunity to meet many of the thousands of people who take to the water each year and to talk through key safety messages, such as our Respect the Water campaign. Leisure activities on the water are great fun, but can also carry risks.  There were 65 yacht sailing and motor boating deaths in the UK between 2011 and 2015 and anything we can do to reduce that figure and help save lives is time very well spent.  The show is also a great way for us to engage with new supporters and for them to meet our incredible volunteers who do such much to keep our waters safe."

Photo: Shannon Class lifeboat by Dave James / RNLI


Norfolk broker seeks legal ‘Rights of Passage’ advice after multiple bridge fails

Norfolk Yacht Agency takes action for Broads boaters

motorboat owner news

After a recent spate of malfunctioning bridges on the Broads, one Norfolk yacht broker is taking action to tackle the problem for the Broads boating community. Norfolk Yacht Agency (NYA) is seeking legal advice and with it financial backing to determine the Rights of Passage for boaters. In an address to all Broads boaters, MD of NYA, James Fraser, wrote “Our Summer of discontent with regard to the opening of the Broadland Bridges continues. The Haven Bridge has finally been repaired after some five weeks out of service, but Somerleyton & Mutford swing bridges continue to cause regular problems. The fact is that the cost of replacement is significant (circa £30-million per bridge) and the relevant authorities seem to have their head in the sand hoping the problem (we boaters) will go away. I am in communication with John Packman, CEO of the Broads Authority, who is in communications with Network Rail. However, these discussions have been going on for many years. I fear we may soon be faced with a situation where one or more of the bridges fail and remain shut for months or years. In order to understand the full legal position regarding Rights of Passage and right to redress, I would like to seek Barristers opinion on the matter. This is estimated to cost in the region of £5,000 in legal fees, so I am asking for your help.” James added that NYA is seeking pledges of up to £200 maximum, saying that they will not be taking any money at this stage, but the more who agree to help, the cheaper the cost per head will be when the bill comes. NYA has said it will underwrite any shortfall beyond this amount. James added “I cannot promise that this will solve our problems, but a full understanding of the current legal position will stand us in good stead and inform you of your Navigation Rights. A full copy of the Barristers opinion will be forwarded to all donors.” At the time of writing a rally fleet of 12 motorboats were stuck the wrong side of Reedham Bridge pictured, due to it being reported as broken. With a Haven Bridge opening booked, they were due to head out to sea, bound for the River Orwell on the Suffolk coast.


39th Premier Swanwick Used Boat Show

Premier Marinas to host 39th Swanwick Used Boat Show during the Southampton Boat Show

motorboat owner news

The south coast marina operator, Premier Marinas, is getting ready to host its annual Swanwick Used Boat Show this September. Back for its 39th consecutive year and running concurrently with the Southampton Boat Show, 14th-23rd September, the Used Boat Show will feature a display of pre-owned boats for sale through the marinas onsite brokerage offices, Ancasta International Boat Sales, Clipper Marine, Princess Motor Yachts, Sea Ventures and Sunseeker Southampton. The event will be open daily from 10am-6pm. Visit for details.


Why Boats Used Boat Show

South coast broker announces fifth used boat show

motorboat owner news

The south coast broker and boat dealer, Why Boats, has announced that it will be hosting its fifth Used Boat Show this September. Held at its Deacons Marina site at Bursledon concurrently during the Southampton Boat Show, it is being billed as ‘the largest event of its kind on the south coast’, and set to showcase 60 yachts and motorboats afloat and ashore. The show will be open daily 9am-6pm, 14th–23rd September, and a catalogue of boats for sale will be available via the website in early September.


CG66 out, SafeTrx in

App replaces voluntary CG66 Coastguard scheme

motorboat owner news

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has joined forces to reveal RYA SafeTrx as HM Coastguard’s new official voluntary safety identification scheme. RYA SafeTrx is a free app designed to improve safety at sea and, in an emergency, has the ability to call 999 and also pinpoint a casualty’s location. The app also alerts designated emergency contacts should you fail to arrive on time and automatically informs HM Coastguard of voyage plans, vessel and crew information and location. The SafeTrx mobile app and website now supersedes the HM Coastguard CG66 scheme and can be used free of charge in UK territorial waters. It is also recognised by maritime search and rescue agencies in Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Finland, Norway, Cyprus, South Africa and Australia.


Day 16 - West Country Cruise

The end is nigh. Fleet boats return to their home berths

motorboat owner news

Sunday 15th July

It was the last morning of the cruise, and a bright, clear and very still one it was too. As crews surfaced everyone was soon gathering on the pontoon saying their goodbyes. Control Boat, T L Sea was the first to slip and departed Portland Harbour, before holding station at the second waypoint for one final fleet photoshoot in the morning sunshine.

Left behind at Portland Marina was Broom 395, Dacelo who were heading off to their home berth at Weymouth Marina later. Hythe-based Parker 800 Moonshadow was also leaving later in the day and Bavaria S450 Coupe, Weeks Away were staying on a few more days at Portland.

At sea, conditions were once again superb with dolphins spotted by some. Once off the distinctive cliffs of Durlston (near Swanage), Windy Scirocco 33, About Time peeled away from fleet. Owners Bill and Karen were heading for the anchorage at Studland Bay for some bacon butties, while they waited for the tide at their home berth at Christchurch.

With a few knots of spring tide underneath them, soon the fleet was entering the Needles Fairway. At the last waypoint, at the rather tidal-turbulent Hurst Narrows, crews were soon saying their goodbyes and signing off with control boat, T L Sea on the VHF.

Once all the Solent-based boats had logged safe arrivals with control boat T L Sea, making best use of the east-going tide and the mill-pond conditions, the Essex-based Sealine S28 continued on out of the Solent and onto Brighton and then Dover to refuel, before stopping overnight at Ramsgate, logging 178 miles in one day. By the afternoon of the next day boat was back on its home berth.

It has been a fantastic two weeks for boating and the weather could not have been better. Old friends were reunited and new friends met too, all sharing some very special and magical boating memories. Upon asking crews what their favourite port was, two common answers were given. It seems many had a real soft spot for the tranquil Mylor, but it was stunningly beautiful Fowey that came out on top. Until next time, happy boating.

PHOTO: Fairline Phantom 38 Portunas and Princess V39 Gîte off the Beaulieu River, western Solent


Day 15 - West Country Cruise

The MBO Fleet move to Portland Marina

motorboat owner news

Saturday 14th July

Crews awoke to a bright, very still morning in the Salcombe Bag. All was quiet and very calm with the sound of a cockerel in the distance. At 7am the boats bound for Brixham departed and an hour later the rest of the MBO fleet snaked out of the colourful and spectacular Salcombe Harbour.

Conditions were superb. Seas were flat, with a barely negligible wind. Running towards Start Point, the high cliffs topped with lush green fields looked stunning and the sea sparkled in the morning sunshine.

Dolphins were spotted while crossing the millpond-like Lyme Bay. However, a rather ominous grey mist lie ahead and, upon nearing Portland Bill, the fleet was enveloped by localised band of fog. Giving visibility no less than 1 mile, boats were able to continue on at a good, slowed pace and upon turning north, passing the east side of the Bill, skies cleared and the landscape was basked in sunshine again.

Triumphantly the fleet entered historic Portland Harbour and headed towards Portland Marina, the last official overnight stop of the West Country Cruise. By 1pm the fleet was assembled along the southern side of S pontoon leaving an afternoon to explore. A nice hot shower was on the agenda for many with crews traipsing across the impressive, huge marina to the facilities. Keen walkers, Penny and Steve of Gîte walked to Tout Quarry where they discovered 38 fascinating sculptures carved out of Portland stone. The friendly marina staff came around to the boats delivering ice creams to all the participants, a blessing in the scorching conditions.

At his last briefing, Cruise Leader Neale, detailed the return passage to the Solent. The fleet will depart at 7am to make best use of the tides through the Needles channel and Solent.

PHOTO: Sealine S38 Jazzbo & Princess V39 Gîte


Day 14 - West Country

A day of rest in Salcombe

motorboat owner news

Friday 13th July

There was a lazy lie in for the MBO fleet at Salcombe, a rest day for exploration and relaxation lie ahead. After yesterday’s saga with the Salcombe fuel barge it was still necessary for some to refuel, control boat TLSea included, and, in the strong tide, three boats untied from the rafted fleet and refuelled.

Those who had in-built generators were suffering from the weed being carried up and down with the strong tide. Generator raw water filters were getting clogged with the weed and shutting down, with one ‘all-electric’ boats impeller breaking. Unfortunately a replacement could not be found in Salcombe’s only chandlery, but the crew onboard were supplied with kettles of boiling water and power from portable generators for the rest of their stay.

The town of Salcombe was busy in the sunshine and with many sales in its boaty boutiques, such as Henri Lloyd and Joules, crews hit the shops.

In the sunny calm conditions, a couple of fleet boats departed Salcombe today. Sealine F42/5 Tipzee Turtle left for Brixham to fuel, before moving on to Torquay to visit relatives. Parker 800 Weekend, Moonshadow also moved to Brixham in search of parts for non-functioning sea toilet, which not something that you can really be without whilst on a non-walk-ashore visitor pontoon in the Bag at Salcombe.

In the evening Neale detailed the next day’s move to Portland Marina. The majority of the fleet will be departing at 8am, with several fleet boats leaving earlier, at 7am, and diverting into MDL’s Brixham Marina for fuel, before rejoining the fleet at Portland. After the briefing many had dinner reservations and were carried off by Salcombe Harbour Taxi into town.

PHOTO: MBO fleet in the Bag at Salcombe


Day 13 - West Country

The fleet make the move to Salcombe in the most stunning sea conditions

motorboat owner news

Thursday 12th July

The leisurely afternoon departure allowed crews to explore their surroundings for a bit longer. The crews from Gîte, Portunas and Just The Tonic ventured upstream by dinghy to 'That Cafe at the Quay' at Mixtow for breakfast. Others took the opportunity to get into town for one last look around, use facilities and to top up with fresh baked goods and pasties for lunch.

During the morning, Neale was helping the owners of Bavaria 450 Weeks Away with their non-functioning generator, the diagnosis being a faulty fuel pump. The boat will leave Fowey for Plymouth in search of new batteries, the part and catch up with the fleet at Portland Marina.

Before long crews were making preparations for the passage. The crew of sportscruiser, Windy Scirocco, About Time were taking their full canopy off. There was no need for Neale to assess the sea conditions for this passage, outside were flat seas and a clear blue skies, it was superb. 1pm came and one by one the fleet passed by the sun-drenched colourful facade of the town and it's rocky fortified entrance, out to sea.

Despite some sea mist in the distance, upon exiting Fowey, the fleets destination was in sight, the Salcombe peninsula could be seen on the horizon. Once again MBO Claire was travelling aboard the fastest boat of the fleet, Princess V39 Gîte, kindly the owners Penny and Steve allow her to be first in to provide fuel and berthing instructions. The fleet dodged many badly marked fishing pots on route, some were oil cans and others were buoys being dragged beneath the surface by the tide.

As the beautiful peninsula drew closer it got cooler for those travelling with canopies down, with many reaching for extra layers. As with the westbound passage, a mist once again shrouded the high cliffs, and under a now cloudy the fleet boats crossed Salcombes notorious Bar and snake up the entrance in mirror conditions. The harbour was very busy with a large sail racing fleet darting in and out of the many swinging moorings.

Much to MBO Claire's dismay, and despite being informed of the fleets arrival, the idependantly run Salcombe Harbour fuel barge allowed one fleet boat to fuel before promptly closing. Salcombe has always being a vital spot for fuelling (should the weather change) before the passage home to the Solent, sadly this will force many to divert into Brixham before heading across Lyme Bay and on to the next stop of Portland Marina.

The fleet was assembled in rafts on the visitor pontoon in The Bag. Soon tenders were being launched, Harbour Taxis were being hailed and crews were off exploring the town.

By late afternoon the fleet was basking in hot sunshine. Everyone enjoyed peaceful tranquil evening in the Bag. In the windless conditions you could only hear the sheep bleeting on the surrounding hill sides. It was stunning.

PHOTO: Broom 395 Dacelo and Sealine SC35 Muddy Duck


Day 12 - West Country

Fowey is on the horizon for the fleet

motorboat owner news

Wednesday 11th July

Crews awoke to a blanket of fog shrouding Falmouth harbour. A quick check of the NCI Fowey webcam, and luckily the fog appeared to be localised. At 6am visibility had improved in the harbour and the Control Boat, T L Sea slipped and proceeded out of Falmouth Harbour to have a look at the sea conditions. Around 45 minutes later, Cruise Leader, Neale reported flat conditions between Falmouth and Fowey. It was a go.

With a few last minute top ups of water, the fleet was underway between 7-7:15am. Overhead the now overcast sky looked threatening but the conditions were absolutely flat. The fleet encountered a lot of pot markers on passage, some well-marked, so less so, but everyone was also keeping their eyes peeled for dolphins.

By 8am the first boat, Princess V39 Gîte was entering Fowey Harbour. The fleet had been allocated visitor pontoons 1 and 2, and berths were found on the pontoons, with a couple of boats fuelling at the Fuel Slip on the Polruan side when the tide allowed.

With everyone settled on the pontoons, offering spectacular views of the town, it was time to explore. Tenders were launched and water taxis were called. With the sun finally making an appearance, crews were able to see Fowey in all its picturesque splendour. Paul and Jane of Sea Jade took a car to visit nearby Polkerris and had lunch at Sams beach cafe.

At 4pm the fleet was re-joined by the three larger Isle of Scilly boats who also had fantastically flat passage. At the evening briefing Neale detailed the next passage to Salcombe. An afternoon departure at 1pm will give crews a bit more exploration time in Fowey, and sea conditions permitting, the fleet will be arriving at Salcombe (moorings in The Bag) from 3pm onwards.

After the briefing the MBO team had organised a pontoon party and barbecue. A whole host of barbecues were fired up with everything from sausages, burgers to steaks cooked up and devoured. Football fans were also kept in the with the World Cup, England v’s Croatia, action with a television set up on the back of T L Sea. It was a lovely evening with the harbour sparkling in the sunshine.

PHOTO: Strike a pose. Mamma Mia-esque photo of the ladies on the bathing platform of Sealine C48 Just the Tonic


Day 11 - West Country

The fleet spend a bonus night in Falmouth

motorboat owner news

Tuesday 10th July

Overnight a Force 6 caused the boats at Mylor and Port Pendennis in Falmouth to buffet. By daybreak the wind had dropped only ever so slightly, and when T L Sea departed on its reconnaissance mission at midday, the sea conditions in the waters outside of the harbour were far from suitable for a passage to Fowey. Cruise Leader, Neale, aboard the Sealine S28, reported steep waves which had prevented him from powering up over 9 knots. On arrival back in port the fleet was stood down for the time being. The forecast was for the wind to drop, so the plan was for T L Sea to go out again mid-afternoon to check the sea conditions. Despite the overcast skies, crews took the opportunity to venture off and explore the town what could be one last time.

T L Sea departed the harbour again at 3pm. Inside the harbour the wind was dropping off nicely and the sun was breaking through, but unfortunately the sea conditions had not improved, consequently the passage to Fowey was called off. So the fleet would spend an extra night in Falmouth. The two boats at Mylor, Sea Jade and Jazzbo, were really happy with the decision to stay in such a beautiful place, and the rest at Port Pendennis were already making dinner arrangements for their bonus night.

Weather permitting, the plan for tomorrow is for the fleet to depart on masse at 7am. Water tanks were topped up and electrical items were charged up in preparation for being out on the mid-river pontoons at Fowey. The three larger boats at Tresco (Isles of Scilly), Tipzee Turtle, Weeks Away and Just the Tonic, are hoping to rejoin the MBO fleet for the one night at Fowey.

PHOTO: Mike from Moonshadow with Tim and Tally from Portunas


Day 10 - West Country

Crews enjoy a rest day exploring Falmouth with some making a break for the Isles of Scilly

motorboat owner news

Monday 9th July

There was another warm and bright start for crews. It was a fantastic day to explore, shop and stock up ships stores.

In the morning cruise leader, Neale, received word from Mylor Yacht Harbour and the three larger boats of the fleet, that they would be making for the Isles of Scilly and St Marys today. Crews updated Neale later saying that it had been too bouncy and exposed at St Marys, and that they had moved to buoys on the eastern side of Tresco, where it was more settled. The boats intend to re-join the fleet at Salcombe.

Two loads of washing was on the agenda for the MBO team. Claire and Neale came directly from their home berth in Essex, leaving Wednesday 26th June, aboard Sealine S28 T L Sea, clocking up around 320 miles so far.

At 12:30 Annie from Moonshadow had organised a tour of the Falmouth RNLI station. Eleven crew members from the fleet boats, Portunas, Gîte, Dacelo, Moonshadow and T L Sea were shown, by an enthusiastic guide, around the station and over its two boats, a £3m 42-tonne Severn-class all weather lifeboat and a 32-know B-class Atlantic 75 inshore lifeboat powered by twin 75hp Yamaha outboards. The tour of the Severn class lifeboat left many wide-eyed and several got to sit in the helm seat, which was likened to the helm position of the Starship Enterprise. The wheelhouse has suspended seats that each occupant dials in their weight for the seats to operate. The boat also has a 12-person casualty area with no windows below the wheelhouse floor and a portable diesel pump that can be dispatched for instances of taking on water. When the tour had finished and whilst the crews were exploring the RNLI shop, a shout went out and soon the crew were racing towards the station, donning their heavy gear and powering off in the inshore lifeboat.

Karen and Bill of About Time walked about 8 miles from Port Pendennis Marina to the beautiful white-sandy beaches at Maenporth. Stopping off on the way for lunch at a café and a refreshing swim.

Cruise leader Neale was helping fix the generator aboard Broom 425 Jomima. The generator will no doubt be needed at the next two ports, where there will be no electric available on the visitor. Neale was able to fit the necessary part fitted, which was delivered to Weymouth, so it was now up and running.

The cruise is now into the second week and the fleet will now make its way east, back along the West Country coast towards the Solent. The next stop east will be Fowey, where the fleet will take up position on one of the mid-river visitor pontoons. These have no electric or water, so it will be a case of charging up all vital bits of equipment and topping up water tanks for the 2-night stay. The plan is for a radio announcement at 12 midday, with a view of boats departing on the 20-mile passage at 12:30pm.

PHOTO: Crew tour aboard the Severn-class Falmouth Lifeboat


Day 9 - West Country

Isle of Scilly passage is cancelled but this leaves plenty of time to explore Falmouth and its beautiful estuary

motorboat owner news

Sunday 8th July

An eerie damp mist shrouded Mylor in the early hours of the morning. Unfortunately the weather prognosis was not good for the passage to the Isles of Scilly. With the wind picking up in the early hours to a NNE Force 5-6, showing at the Lizard and Lands End, the passage for the 7 boats going was cancelled. A stiffening north-north-east wind is something you wish to avoid in the low lying islands. It was of course disappointing for crews and the team over this middle weekend, but it left a couple of days to explore the beautiful Falmouth Estuary.

What with Mylor Yacht Harbour expecting a large fleet of Swallows today, the MBO team set about finding out what crews wanted to do. Moving to one of the marinas near town was the preference for most, but being a hot and sunny Sunday this could prove tough. There was some space available in Falmouth Haven found almost immediately and a couple of boats moved around there, enabling them to start their exploration of the town early on. Several of the larger boats wished to remain at Mylor and these would be condensed down on the visitor E pontoon where they could stay for one or the two full days/nights.

The adventurous crews aboard Fairline Phantom 38, Portunas and Parker 800, Moonshadow set out to explore the estuary in the stunning hot Sunday weather. Moonshadow anchored in the tranquil quiet of the upper reaches, while Portunas anchored at St Mawes where they would stay overnight. From Mylor, the crew of Sealine C28 Just the Tonic took their tender up to the sun-drenched and rather popular 13th century waterside pub, the Pandora Inn for a spot of lunch.

Meanwhile another berth was secured at on Port Pendennis long alongside A pontoon, which soon lead to 4, then 7 berths for fleet boats rafted, this was thanks to the departure of a rather large 46-metre superyacht built at the Port Pendennis Shipyard next door.

With the town just a matter of yards away with the lure of Cornish pasties, cream teas and boat-ique shop sales on in the high street, crews were soon off exploring the town. But boy was it hot.

The harbour was busy in the summer sunshine and what with the north wind, the rafts at Pendennis were buffeting gently. Everyone is looking forward to a lie in and another full day of exploration in Falmouth tomorrow. If there is space, a few of the boats at Mylor will be joining the rest at Pendennis tomorrow.

PHOTOS: Split ends. 7 boats at Port Pendennis Marina


Day 8 - West Country

The fleet make a stunning and strategic move to Falmouth

motorboat owner news

Saturday 7th July

Crews awoke to a beautifully bright and still start at Plymouth Yacht Haven. At 7am Cruise Leader Neale announced that it was a go for the passage to Falmouth, and soon after the fleet began to snake out into Plymouth Sound and out to sea, with control boat T L Sea bringing up the rear.

Upon exiting past the breakwater the first boats to leave encountered a pod of 30 or so Common Dolphins and slowed to watch them. It was an incredible sight, but to the annoyance of crews, the dolphins proved quite elusive to capture on camera.

With the sun glinting off the turquoise-coloured calm waters, the fleet made its way towards Falmouth. In the superbly flat conditions, the temptation to ‘open up’ was there for many, and boats such as Windy 33 Scirocco About Time were unleashed at 30 knots, albeit momentary.

Soon the Falmouth entrance was in sight with the Saint Anthony Lighthouse to the east and the mound topped with Pendennis Castle to the west. The fleet proceeded to fuel before making its way to be assembled in rafts on the visitors E pontoon at the rather beautiful Mylor Yacht Harbour. The marina was bathed in sunshine, it was very hot.

For many was a good opportunity to launch their tenders and explore their new surroundings. For some the heat was unbearable and the temptation of the water was too much, with several lifejacketed crewmembers swimming off the bathing platform of the boats. Crews also ventured off to the local village and store at Mylor Bridge for supplies. The crew from About Time were lucky enough to be chauffeured back to Mylor Yacht Harbour with their supplies by the very kind store owner in his Mercedes convertible.

In the evening a briefing was held on the pontoon which was followed by a pontoon party. Tomorrow, weather permitting, the plan is for 7 fleet boats to make the 60-mile passage the Isles of Scilly and St Marys. The other boats will remain in Falmouth and explore the area. The Scilly fleet will be departing from 7am.

PHOTO: Fleet boats Broom 425 Jomima, Parker 800 Weekend Moonshadow and Broom 39 Dacelo.


Day 7 - West Country Cruise

Crews enjoy a rest day at Plymouth Yacht Haven with a dinghy safari and gin distillery tour

motorboat owner news

Friday 6th July

A fun and not-so early start awaited crews this morning, as the MBO team had organised a breakfast dinghy safari upstream to Plymouth Yacht Haven’s sister site, Yacht Haven Quay with its nautically-themed café, the Mess Room. At 9am a line of dinghies assembled in the marina in the sunshine and those who did not have a dinghy, or less able, boarded MBO Control Boat, T L Sea for the very short 0.8nm passage upstream. There was a high ratio of Torqeedo electric engines in the dinghy fleet, with four 1003 travel outboards fitted.

Tying up to the outer pontoons, crews received a very warm welcome at the Yacht Haven Quay drystack and sat up on the Mess Room’s roof terrace in the sunshine devouring a yummy breakfast (a full English for most).

Exploration of Plymouth’s sights and the Barbican was on the agenda In the afternoon. In addition, Tally of fleet boat Portunas had organised a group tour at the Plymouth Gin distillery at 3:30pm. On the tour crews learned about the history of the distillery, the botanicals that are used to make it and, at the end, were able to taste two of the products, the original 20% proof Plymouth Gin and its Sloe Gin. The distillery produces 33,000 litres of gin a week, 40 weeks of the year. It was £6 per person and this includes a G&T or miniature from the bar at the end.

With the necessary Volvo Penta part delivered, Cruise Leader Neale fixed Tipzee Turtle at Queen Annes Battery marina, ready for the passage tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning the fleet will make for Falmouth. The plan is for a 7:30am departure to make use of the tide again.

PHOTO: Group photo at Yacht Haven Quay for the dinghy safari


Day 6 - West Country Cruise

The MBO fleet make Plymouth

motorboat owner news

Thursday 5th July

At 5:45am, just as the sun was rising above the Brixham breakwater, MBO Control boat T L Sea slipped its berth to assess the conditions for the mornings passage to Plymouth. An hour later Neale reported smooth conditions up to Start Point with some residual swell around the point towards the mouth of the Salcombe Estuary. He also reported seeing a dolphin in the fantastic conditions. It was a ‘go’ and by 7am fleet boats were filing out of the harbour breakwater bound for Plymouth.

In the sunshine the fleet rounded Berry Head in incredibly smooth conditions with the crew on Princess V39 Gîte spotting a porpoise. Travelling towards Start Point the coastline was a pretty patchwork of green coloured of fields and places such as Slapton and Hall Sands were easily identified. By the Start Point lighthouse the fleet were beginning to encounter the sloppy swell that Neale had described. With only slight adjustment down of speed needed, it was short lived. Once off Salcombe, the swell had subsided and an eerie blanket of cloud shrouded the cliffs to the west of the entrance. This remained the case for the journey across the bay towards Plymouth, with crews just able to make out the shape of the high and undulating coastline.

Whilst off Salcombe the crew on Sealine F42/5 Tipzee Turtle reported a problem of water entering the engine room. The problem has diagnosed as a split hose, so the particular engine was shut down and the boat proceeded on on one engine at 7 knots shepherded by control boat T L Sea.

Soon enough the mighty Plymouth breakwater came into view in the now bright sunshine. By 9am, one by one boats entered Plymouth Sound and were heading east up the River Plym to Plymouth Yacht Haven. Fuel was on the agenda for most, with boats fuelling at the Yacht Haven and also at Queen Annes Battery. Soon all the fleet was tied up at the Yacht Haven. Tipzee Turtle, escorted by Neale aboard T L Sea, made their way into Queen Annes Battery where there is a Volvo Penta dealership. Shortly afterwards, the part needed was ordered for the next day.

The 40-mile passage had been fantastic and crews had the rest of the day to explore new surroundings. Many chose to chill out on their boats, while others took the regular-running Mount Batten Ferry over to the Barbican for exploration and sustenance.

The fleet will spend two nights at Plymouth Yacht Haven before moving on, weather permitting, to Falmouth. Tomorrow being a rest day, the MBO crew have organised a dinghy safari up to Yacht Haven Quay (Plymouth’s drystack) and its nautically-themed, Mess Room café for breakfast.

PHOTO: Sealine C48 Just the Tonic


Day 5 - West Country Cruise

The fleet make the Devonshire fishing harbour of Brixham

motorboat owner news

Wednesday 4th July

There was an early alarm call aboard MBO Control Boat T L Sea and by 04:30am Neale had slipped and was heading out of the harbour to assess the sea conditions for the 50-mile passage to Brixham. An hour later he had made good progress, rounding Portland Bill and was heading across Lyme Bay. With some residual chop traveling south past Portland, Lyme Bay was flatter by compassion and the call was a ‘go’. Tide plays a crucial part for this particular passage and Neale timed it so there was favourable tide all the way.

By 6am most boats had departed Weymouth Harbour and were dodging the lobster pots passing the historic Portland Harbour. The rising sun was casting beautiful colours on the coastline.

As the fleet made its way steadily across Lyme Bay, clouds gathered overhead making it quite a gloomy passage with sloppy following seas and some rain. By 8:30am boats were beginning to file into the rather wet Brixham harbour, with Claire and the marina staff directing to berths and taking lines.

It had been a long gloomy morning but luckily by midday the sun was breaking through and crews were able to see Brixham at its best. Many ventured off into town while others walked east to take in the scenery at Berry Head. Penny and Steve of Gîte discovered the fascinating Brixham museum which they highly recommended. With a bewildering choice of fish and chips establishments in the Brixham, you can guess what was on the lunch and dinner menu for most today. Bill and Karen walked around the headland to the little anchorage (with ice cream shop) of Churston.

To get back on schedule, the fleet will spend one night in Brixham and will depart to Plymouth tomorrow where it will spend two nights. It will be another early departure which will see boats arriving in Plymouth between 9-10am.

PHOTO: Fleet boats departing the Weymouth Harbour pierheads


Day 4 - West Country Cruise

The fleet remain in Weymouth for another night due to weather

motorboat owner news

Tuesday 3rd July

The MBO fleet was awoken early morning by a strong easterly wind blowing into Weymouth harbour. The water clopped against hulls, boats buffeted, fenders squeaked and ropes tugged. A grey start to the day followed but despite the gloom crews were out making the most of what may be their last morning in Weymouth.

However, with no sign of the wind relenting, and a reported Force 5s gusting 6s at Brixham Marina itself, the planned early afternoon passage to Brixham, was called off. The fleet would remain in Weymouth for another night and look at the next tidal window to get around Portland Bill and across Lyme Bay. 

By late afternoon the wind was gradually dropping off as predicted and the sun made a welcome appearance. At 6:30pm Cruise Leader, Neale detailed plans for an early morning departure to Brixham. Weather and sea conditions permitting, boats will be departing from 6am. In readiness, Weymouth Marina berth holder and MBO cruise participant boat, Broom 395 Dacelo, departed through Weymouth’s lifting bridge, bound for sister Dean & Reddyhoff marina, Portland. Tomorrow it will join the MBO fleet for the first time for the passage to Brixham.

Later that evening, with England winning on penalties in their World Cup knockout game against Columbia, a wave of cheers and celebrations could be heard across the illuminated harbour. Soon after it was followed by a short-lived but heavy rain shower. After an exhausting football game for those who watched, alarms were set and crews turned in for a much quieter night in Weymouth Harbour.

PHOTO: Broom 39kl Dacelo departing Weymouth Harbour


Day 3 - West Country Cruise

A day of rest and refuelling for the fleet

motorboat owner news

Monday 2nd July

Today was a day to rest and refuel at Weymouth. From 8am onwards, one by one boats slipped out from their rafts and proceeded further along the quayside to refuel from the arranged Quayside Fuels tanker.

In the hot sunny conditions, many crews took the opportunity, around the refuelling, to explore the town, its picturesque harbour and hit the shops. Weymouth beach was also on the agenda for many too, particular those with dogs onboard and proved perfect for cooling off. Penny and Steve of Princess V39, Gîte, walked to the Lodmoor RSPB bird sanctuary, which can be found at the northern end of Weymouth beach. Bill and Karen from Windy 33 Scirocco, About Time walked the Nothe Fort peninsula towards Portland and followed the disused railway line, the Rodwell Trail, back to Weymouth. Fleet boat Parker 800 Weekend, Moonshadow proceeded around into Portland Harbour and the Portland Sailing Academy, where owner Mike had arranged a lift out for a quick hull scrub in preparation for the next passage.

At 6:30 a briefing was held on the pontoon and here Neale detailed the next move to Brixham. If the weather allows, the plan is for boats to depart Weymouth Harbour from 1pm onwards. After the briefing crews were welcomed onboard fleet boat, Sealine C48 Just The Tonic for gin tasting. Owner, Darryl is a gin connoisseur and carries a variety of gins in bottles of all shapes and sizes.

PHOTO: Briefing and Gin tasting next to Sealine C48 Just the Tonic