Lymington Yacht Haven
King’s Saltern Road
Tel: 01 202 313607
Have you ever wanted to be the captain of your own ship and sail along the Solent for an afternoon? Yes, I thought so. Well now you can without all the cost of owning your own yacht.
We recently found ourselves down in Lymington Yacht Haven where Escape Yachting is based. On a perfect Sunday afternoon (they sail in the mornings too) we sailed out into the Solent. The trip lasted about five hours.
After a little safety talk we donned our life jackets and had a sip of Champagne (you get a glass when you get on board). Our boat was a 34ft sail yacht with an engine, they have larger craft and can accommodate parties of up to 10. So we chugged out under diesel power and soon after the sails were hoisted then it was up to the weather. Fortunately a steady breeze moved us along nicely.
The boat was captained by a qualified professional who was very experienced with the local waters, the great thing about these trips is that you can if you want get involved with the sailing. My 15-year-old son was steering the boat for over an hour. There is quite a bit of traffic on the Solent not least the Isle of White Ferry so concentration is required. He coped admirably and really enjoyed his time as ‘captain’.
If like me you just want the world to pass by at a gentle rate and do very little that’s fine. Just sit and sip your Champagne until it’s time drop anchor. The chosen spot for the food, whether it be lunch or supper is just off The Needles, the famous landmark jutting from the sea with its prominent lighthouse make a perfect backdrop.
The food cooked freshly in the tiny kitchen was pretty good. We had olives and crisps to nibble on then a plate of freshly cooked pasta with smoked Loch Fyne Salmon and fresh dill and a pleasing fresh salad with dressing. Eating outdoors certainly improves one’s appetite, we scoffed it all up pretty quickly. A few more drinks later and to my surprise a warm pudding of treacle tart with clotted cream appeared. This was also hugely enjoyable.
You can either buy your drinks on the boat or order in advance through the website, as you might wish to get something special. Speaking of which this would make a brilliant Father’s Day present or birthday celebration for the man of the house. Imagine the glee on his face when you tell he can go sailing with food and drink off The Isle of White without the usual high cost of ownership of charter.
They say that a boat owner has two really exciting days, the first is the day they buy their boat the second is the day they sell it. It is undoubtedly an expensive hobby owning a boat but that’s the other really neat thing about our afternoon sailing. From only £99 per person it’s a bargain if you consider the cost of owning a boat but if you are only a few or even a couple and on that day there are not many bookings you might have the boat to yourselves (with your qualified professional as well of course as well) which makes it even more exclusive and fun. We drove down but you could just as easily get the train and then hire the splendidly named Twizy electric car to pootle down to the harbour.
It is a super day out for the whole family as well as couples or groups. In fact I was rather pleased that we were sailing as a family as M (who is not one of life’s natural sailors) took the boat back to its moorings to help calm her stomach, it is said that concentrating on the horizon helps enormously. I must say that the sea was extremely calm and pleasant to navigate it really is that M is one of life’s natural landlubbers.