Cruising in the European Region

I am delighted to be taking on the role of European Region Co-ordinator from the start of the 2019 season. I hope to continue and build on the work which David Haugh did in providing representation for this very widespread and diverse section of the Club.

Exactly half of our members with boats based in the European Region list their home addresses as UK or Ireland. I am one of this number and I would encourage all who base their boat abroad to maintain links, as I have done, with their “home” BOC coordinator with a view to participating in local UK social events.

With members’ boats spread across ten different countries, it is unlikely to be practical to organise rallies or formal social gatherings for the whole European region. However, our biggest numbers are in France (8 boats) and Netherlands (6 boats), so there is a possibility of arranging smaller gatherings in these two countries, in the course of summer cruises.  These could be organised jointly with UK based members taking their boats to Holland or France for the summer.

My personal boating experience started in France in the 80’s, taking advantage of the then new opportunity to hire family cruisers. In this way, Marjorie and I were able to explore various regions including Nivernais, Loire, Midi and Brittany, on one-week cruises with our young family.  In 2000 we first bought our own boat, a Broom 30, based on the Thames. Over the next few years we also gained coastal experience by cruising from the Norfolk Broads down to the Medway, going up river to the limit of navigation in Tonbridge as well as exploring other East Coast anchorages.

Having already visited South Holland on a short holiday cruise, we decided in 2010, to base our current boat, La Strega, in Strijensas, a very good marina between Willemstad and Dordrecht. Since then, we have cruised and over-wintered extensively on the Continent, reaching our present base, St Jean de Losne in France, in 2016. You can read more about our experiences and adventures in the article I wrote for the 2019 spring edition of Sweeping Statements.

Following the lead given by David Haugh, when he established the position of European Co-ordinator, I view my role as providing representation for European members on the BOC committee as well as facilitating exchange of information between members wishing to visit new areas, perhaps especially when crossing borders into other countries.  My own experiences over the last 14 years, since I first took my boat to Holland, have taught me that, even as EU members, rules, regulations and conventions could be very different from one country to the next. And that isn’t going to get any easier!

The web site and our magazine carry many features describing members’ cruising experiences.  Before setting out on each summer’s adventure you can search the index of cruising articles on our web site. There is a good chance you will find useful information about where you plan to go.

However, when it gets down to real detail and specific questions, nothing beats being able to speak to or email someone who has already been there. That is my justification for providing my “cruising CV” in this article. Over the last ten years I have written quite a lot about where we have been, what we have enjoyed and some of the less pleasant experiences too.  I will be very happy to respond to any questions, by email or on the forum. 

I look forward to hearing from you with any suggestions of how we can develop this regional role and improve on what we presently do for members.

Spring 2021 Postscipt:
Since writing this two years ago, and as a direct consequence of Covid and the restrictions it has brought to all of us, I have discovered the wonders of Zoom. Following on from the BOC committee decision to use Zoom for our regular meetings, we have organised two "virtual gatherings" of European members, giving me the opportunity to discuss issues affecting our region with many of you in a way I had not anticipated.
   You can read all about the outcomes from these discussions in the Cruising Advice section.  Feedback from those who joined the Zooms confirms my impression that this is a valued means of keeping in touch, one I intend to continue, though possibly post Covid mostly during the winter months when we are unable to get out on our boats




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