From outgoing coordinator Don Walker: A keen sailor for many years, my wife, Marjorie and I bought our first motor cruiser in 2000. Five years later we upgraded to our present craft, a Broom 33 named La Strega. Since 2010 we have moored her on the continent and cruised extensively in Dutch, Belgian and French waters.
Our current base is St Jean de Losne on the river Saone, in Burgundy. Sitting at the point where the four main routes from Northern Europe converge, we find this an excellent starting point for our summer cruises. It is also a natural staging point for boats en-route between the Channel and the Med, with access to full boat repair services, so a good place for “bumping into” people.
With members’ boats spread across ten countries, I see the European role as different from that of UK based Co-ordinators. There are likely to be limited opportunities for social gatherings or cruises in company. I think of the Club as an information exchange for members. Personally when planning cruises, I look at the web site to look for any members with boats based along my intended route. I will then try to make contact and I would encourage others to do the same.
A phone call, exchange of e mails, or maybe an enquiry on the web site, can allow us to exchange helpful local information and perhaps arrange to meet up along the way. France and Netherlands, the two countries where we have most members, offer the possibility larger gatherings, perhaps even joining UK based Broom owners on summer cruises.
I am happy to help members wishing to visit new parts of Europe where I have personal experience, or put them in touch with someone else who can. Local knowledge is particularly valuable when crossing borders into unfamiliar countries.
I have found over the last 16 years since we first visited Holland, that even as EU members, rules, regulations and conventions can be different from one country to the next. Brexit has added some new requirements for UK based craft on first entering an EU port. I don’t claim to be an expert but if you contact me I will do my best to assist or point you in the right direction.
For more general information, I recommend searching the BOC web site
Our twice-yearly magazine carries many articles describing members’ cruising experiences. You can search the index of cruising articles and there is a good chance you will find someone has written about where you plan to go.
My role includes representing European members at the BOC committee, so please let me know of any issues you wish to raise. I welcome suggestions as to how we can develop this regional role and also ways in which the Club can improve the services we presently provide for members.