If you ask anyone with a keen interest in sailing, you can bet they have heard of the Solent and the Isle of Wight. Separating the Island from the mainland, the Solent stretches 20 miles long and is one of the busiest stretches of water in the world, serving as a major shipping lane, as well as a hub for water sports.
Many people choose to head over using the excellent ferry connections but equally, many people like to make their own way over, sailing in by wind or the power of their motoryacht. If you have the nautical know-how, the Isle of Wight is one of the best places to sail to, offering a warm welcome all year round.
The most famous nautical town, Cowes is the mecca for all things sailing and is home to the Royal Yacht Squadron, founded in 1815. Known the world over for it’s racing heritage, the very first America’s Cup was held here in 1851 and is still the biggest race of the international nautical calendar to this day. The annual Round the Island Race attracts over 1600 boats in June, from amateurs to famous faces and Cowes Week itself is one of the UK’s most successful sporting events and has been held here in early August since 1826.
The fun doesn't stop on dry land either as Cowes town boasts a number of pubs and restaurants where you will regularly see those in red oilies mixing with those in civvies. Boutique shops sit next to well stocked chandleries and the local marinas have excellent facilities for visiting sailors throughout the year.
A perfect base from which to explore the west of the Island. Yarmouth is a historic port town, centering around a market square. Quieter than the eastern side of the Island, the west is beautifully unspoilt, but don’t be fooled, there are a surprising number of pubs all offering a welcoming drink. The town itself is postcard pretty with a grade II listed pier offering uninterrupted views across the Solent. You will find a number of independent shops and cosy coffee stops perfect for warming up and drying off in when required.
The Old Gaffers Festival takes place biannually and is a great spectacle to behold as classic gaff-rigged boats are raced along the shore, and can be seen dressed in multicolured bunting when moored up. Sailors are well catered for with many visitor moorings and good facilities. The festival returns in 2017 and is set to be one of the biggest yet - with plenty to do for anybody who enjoys having a good time - and especially those who love sailing festivals.
Bembridge, situated in the most easterly point of the Island, is a busy coastal village, considered to be one of the largest villages in the UK. The substantial harbour also houses the local fishing fleet serving the cafes and restaurants with their famous crab and shellfish. The centre is picturesque with a quintessential village feel just like its near neighbour seaview which is home to a keen dinghy sailing community. You will find all the amenities you need in as well as lively pubs and eateries. Bembridge has its own harbour office and is also home to one of the most photographed RNLI lifeboats stations in the country with its imposing launch jetty and architectural boathouse completed in 2010.
Ryde is a busy seaside town regularly referred to as the ‘Gateway to the Island’ and an ideal stop-off point for a family sailing holiday along the south coast. There are miles of excellent sandy beaches and shallow waters with activities pretty much as soon as you step off the boat including bowling and boating lakes.
With it's relatively small leisure harbour that dries out completely at low tide, Ryde enjoys views across the Spithead, a busy section of water where the Solent meets the English Channel, with large ships passing by. Complete with a Victorian pier, quintessential Esplanade and a great variety of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants, there is plenty to keep you occupied.
As well as these main Isle of Wight harbours there are some lesser known estuaries and havens that are well worth seeking out. Newtown Creek is a true hidden gem, a paradise for wildlife and owned by the National Trust which maintains a few visitor moorings. It’s the perfect stop to get away from it all. For the adventurous, Ventnor is located near the southern tip of the Island and has a small fishing haven which can accessed at high tide. But be careful to dodge the lobster pots that are dotted around the entrance. The county town of Newport has a popular tidal harbour, the quayside has good facilities and is just two minutes walk from the town centre. Island harbour also sits on the Medina river just north of Newport and on the way to East Cowes.
A visit to the Isle of Wight is always a magical experience made all the more memorable when you arrive on the wind.
For more information about the Isle of Wight, or to book a sailing based holiday, click the buttons below to start your search!
Number of results: 6
Leisure / Swimming Pool
Ribs and Power boat charter, based in Yarmouth Harbour, RIBS available for half hour or more. From April - September we have a RIB (fast ridged inflatable boat) operating half hour trips from the harbour to the Needles and back, the cost is £15.00...
We offer two types of trip, firstly the traditional cruise to view the Needles rocks, lighthouse, with spectacular views of the coloured sands of Alum Bay. This trip is also a must for those interested in sea-life / wildlife and photography and...
Ventnor Esplanade, VENTNOR
Sea Safaris and family friendly fishing trips.
High Street, WEST COWES
Our Osprey Venturer Charter is aboard a Cranchi Atlantique 50 flybridge. It can comfortably accommodate up to 8 people plus two crew members.
South Boats IOW are pleased to present a selection of unique vessels for hire that are perfect for personal occasions and corporate events.
Leisure / Swimming Pool
UKSA’s waterfront campus in Cowes on the sunny Isle of Wight is the perfect location for residential and non-residential sailing and watersports activities.