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Sailing, Boat & Yacht Experience Days & Gifts

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Sailing: Everything you need to know

Take your love of watersports to the limit with a sailing experience voucher.

Choose a trip on a RIB for a fun and safe guided harbour tour and a quick blast in open water: tickets are available for various locations, including the River Thames, and you can pick up additional vouchers for the kids too.

For a thrilling sailing experience on the Solent, try a powerboat: choose between two different experiences. If you choose the Offshore experience, you’ll be trained up on a special beginner circuit before taking control of your craft and racing it yourself! For a hovercraft thrill, try our hovercraft flying voucher. Hovercraft experiences are available for one or two people: these agile little craft are designed to nip back and forth on the specially-designed Hover Track, taking on different terrains as they fly, and reaching a speed of 40mph.

Just use your skills to stay on course! Hovercraft flying takes place in Kent or Leicestershire, and you’ll share the day with a group of fellow hover-botherers. The good news is that kids from the age of 12 can have a go, and no experience of hovercraft flying is needed to take part. Hooray!


Q: Perfect! I am renowned for my buoyancy. What are we talking here?
A: We have a huge range of water-based fun to bring to your attention.
Q: I am enthralled. Give me a brief overview.
A: Everything from insanely adrenaline fuelled extreme activities such as powerboats, hovercrafts and RIB riding to the more sedate and scholarly events, such as basic sailing techniques and yacht handling.
Q: You truly run the gamut. Where should I head towards, other than ‘not inland’?
A: Our boaty and sailing fun occurs at a variety of water locales such as the Thames, the Solent and other large wet places.
Q: And what can possibly stop me embarking on a whole slew of these enterprises?
A: It utterly depends on what you choose to do. For the more extreme activities, there may be age, height and weight restrictions as well as certain medical conditions it’s probably not best to have. And for the hands-on sailing, there will be a certain amount of physical exertion, so if there’s anything you are not sure about, get in touch with us or the supplier.
Q: But I am buying this for a boat mad friend. What should I pick?
A: No experience is necessary; all the basics will be shown to you by our highly trained, highly tuned skiing experts. Whether you want to have a bit of a go for the first time or brush up on existing skills, it’s pretty great either way.
Q: What if I get out of breath by opening a packet of McCoys?
A: Don’t panic. If you’re buying this as a gift, we always recommend you buy a voucher, which allows the recipient to make the final decision on the nautical adventure they choose. And remember that you can always swap the voucher for free if your recipient isn’t totally delighted.
Q: So I should just turn up at the docks in my sailor suit and shout ‘who wants to get salty’?
A: Please don’t. Rather you should book well in advance for your boating experience. Some are seasonal, so there’s a limited window when they are available. If you’re after a particular day, or having trouble, just ask us.
Q: And what about children, can anything stop them fulfilling their marine dreams?
A: It depends what they want to do. There are things like the Thames RIB experience directly aimed straight at children. With other activities, there may up age limitations, so check the small print on the description page or just contact us if baffled.
Q: And what if God suddenly decides that this isn’t for me?
A: I’m going to assume that you are talking about weather. Obviously these are all outdoor pursuits, often on the choppy waters of the ocean, so if there are any major squalls, eddies or Perfect Storms, it may be postponed. Always check on the morning of your activity to make sure it’s good to go ahead and if it is postponed we will reschedule.

Fun Facts

  • 1. The earliest representation of a ship under sail appears on a painted disc found in Kuwait and dating between 5000 and 5500 BC. It is not known if it proved to be the inspiration for Bruce Willis boating drama Striking Distance.
  • 2. The first boats are presumed to have been dugout canoes, developed independently by various Stone Age populations, and used for coastal fishing and travel. And, if the Flintstones are to be believed, usually powered by foot.
  • 3. The earliest seaworthy boats may have been developed as early as 45,000 years ago, which is when the habitation of Australia occurred. Or as it was known then ‘That big place with the kangaroos’.
  • 4. The Age of Discovery was a period from the 15th century and continuing into the 17th century, during which European ships travelled around the world searching for new trading routes. And accidentally finding places like America, if I remember my O’Level history.
  • 5. Sailing made its debut at the 1900 Paris Olympics and, with the exception of 1904, has been present in every games since. Unlike Boggle, which has been constantly ignored by the IOC.
  • 6. The most successful Olympic sailor of all time is Denmark’s Paul Elvstrom. He won the first gold medal in 1948, and was still competing in 1988 at the age of 60. Oh the things he must have experienced over all that time. Except he didn’t because he was sailing all the time.
  • 7. A sail works in exactly the same way as an airplane’s wing, creating lift to propel the vessel forward. But it’s far less dramatic if that principle suddenly stops working.
  • 8. In the 2003 Russell Crowe epic Master and Commander, the sound of the wind was created by a wooden frame rigged with one thousand feet of line and set it on the back of a pickup truck which was driven at 70 miles per hour. Which explains why films cost so much money. Why bother just recording wind when you can do something complicated with pickup trucks and frames?
  • 9. In sailing, port indicates left, while starboard is right. Many remember this with the phrase ‘There is no PORT LEFT in the bottle’. Which works better than ‘You made a RIGHT mess of that STARBOARD’.
  • 10. Kon-Tiki is a Norwegian documentary film about the expedition led by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl in 1947. It is currently the only feature film from Norway to have won an Academy Award. And they hold the record for coming last in Eurovision the most times. I think I like Norway.