There are tons of brilliant places to learn to sail in the UK and abroad for sailing adventures. But, have you considered sailing or a boating course on the Solent? If you haven’t sailed there before, The Solent is the stretch of water between mainland UK and The Isle of Wight and runs from Hurst Point in the West, to Chichester Harbour in West Sussex, in the East.
1. The Tides
Although it’s not necessary to experience such a large tidal range, if you’re learning, it does make for great teaching and calculating the tidal heights here, will give you the necessary sailing experience you need to sail anywhere. If you get your calculations wrong, you could end up on a sandbank. The tidal range can be 4 metres and there is an unusual phenomenon of the ‘Double High water’. Learning how to deal with these tides is also covered in the RYA Day Skipper Theory Course.
2. Tidal Streams
Knowing the water’s movement is essential to sailing and motoring. The stream can move up to 4.5 knots in one direction. Getting the movement of the water right in your first sailboat is exhilarating, but if you get it wrong, it’s exhausting. Practising with an experienced instructor ensures you won’t forget to calculate the tidal stream before you set sail.
3. The Weather
It’s the UK, so don’t expect to be sunbathing, yet as far as British weather goes – The Solent is one of the best areas. The protection offered from the Isle of Wight gives The Solent its own little micro-climate, with a flatter sea. But, as all sailors know, the weather can be variable, with a wide range of weather conditions to enhance your learning experience.
When taking sailing courses, part of learning to sail is knowing what to do when you encounter traffic. There is no shortage of other vessels on this stretch of water. You will gain extensive knowledge about the collision regulations (rules of the road) on a course here and you are likely to encounter more traffic in one day than you would in a week in most of the other locations you may choose to train or sail. You will be avoiding tankers, cruise ships, fishing boats, and other yachts.
Learning how to pilot a boat into a busy port or harbour both during the day and at night can be the highlight of any course. But on The Solent, you have many ports and harbours to choose from such as Port Solent, so you will more than likely be navigating unfamiliar waters more than a few times on a sailing course.
There are many regattas, races and yacht trips that take place on this stretch of water from club racing to international regattas. You’re likely to encounter a fleet of yachts with their spinnakers flying for the finish line. The famous Isle of Wight’s Cowes Week is one of the longest running and largest regattas in the World.
7. Dramatic Scenery
There are too many fantastic places down the Hampshire coastline to mention, but to highlight a few you have: Hayling Island, The Needles, The Isle of Wight, Hurst Castle, and The Spinnaker Tower. You will also spot the stunning chalk cliffs and wooded headlands – perfect for a sailing weekend.
8. World Class Marinas
When you’re in need of a hot shower, good WiFi and a warm clubhouse or bar, you’ll never be too far away from a marina, such as Portsmouth Marina and Southsea Marina.
9. Beautiful Anchorages
There is a wealth of places to anchor for the night and feel like you are getting away from it all. Looking up at the stars on The Beaulieu River and the River Avon will make for an unforgettable experience. There are many creeks and rivers to venture up around The Solent and in Hampshire.
10. Ports and Towns
Busy ports, historic harbours and pretty towns such as Lymington and Hamble-le-Rice all await your exploration ashore. Emsworth Yacht Harbour is also one to visit.
Dates for RYA sailing practical courses, RYA theory courses, yacht lessons and tons more can be found on Bacchus Yachting’s website. If you have specific dates in mind or want to plan an event with a group of friends we can also cater to special dates throughout the year.