Even Britain has a few spots that are suitable for enthusiasts and probably the most popular of all, for locals and foreigneirs alike is Solent Strait, a narrow channel in the south of the island separating the Isle of Wight from the mainland.
Sea & Coast
This thin stretch of water separating the Isle of Wight from the south of mainland England is known throughout the British isles as a great area for sailing and other water recreational activities. It also happens to be an important maritime corridor for commercial traffic, but the beauty of the landscape and the protection the strait offers from the open seas makes it perfect for enthusiasts.
As a testament to the beauty and uniqueness of the region, most of the shoreline in Solent is constituted out of protected estuarine and coastal habitats that make up a Special Area of Conservation. In the region there are also the New Forest National Park and the Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Catchy name, don’t you think?
The soil consists mostly of intertidal sediment, mudflats, sandflats and some marshlands. The whole estuary is a famous area where the British go sailing in their own back yard. The reason for this fame is the wild beauty of the landscape and the marine tradition of the region. Species such as harbor seals, grey seals, black-headed gulls, buzzards, little egrets and green woodpeckers make up but a small amount of the animal life that inhabits this natural paradise and that are strictly protected.
As mentioned before, the whole region is a protected area for numerous habitats both for animal and for plants. It’s worth taking the time to sail slowly through the channel and admiring the wetland vegetation, the shrubs of the saltpans, the dwarf trees and the large coastal plains of a bright green all year round.
And as far as weather goes, it’s a common known fact that the large number of water sports and sailing coming here are attracted mainly by the lovely sunny days which seem in abundance here, as opposed to other parts of Britain. However, during the winter months, fog and clouds manage to put an end to the people’s sailing enthusiasm. That’s why sailing is confined to the period of time between April and September.
Culture & History
Though today known mostly for its and touristic potential, Solent is full of ancient ruins that attest human presence in the region as far back as prehistory. There are also Roman and Saxon ruins higher up, proving that as the water levels rose, so did the settlements. Also, being a region of strategic importance, during the Middle Ages, Solent became a heavily fortified corridor, like in the time of Henry the 8th.
These forts can be seen to this day and provide interesting tourist attractions for the groups passing through here every year. There are a number of ports that cater to the British and foreign sailors and the most important and frequented are Hamble, Gosport and Portsmouth., essentially all Solent hot spots. Here, you’ll find marinas and the usual sailing infrastructure, as well as typical British small towns, a testament to the “Britain of yesterday”.
Seamanship & Experience
Though a truly beautiful and unique region, Solent can prove quite challenging not only to beginner but also to more experienced skippers. This is due to the unsual tides that are found in the region. The best way to sail through these waters is to always consult with the Marina and Coastguard Agency before setting sail. They will also offer you information on areas where sailing is prohibited or presents certain dangers.
Keeping that in mind, Solent is a paradise for enthusiasts and organizes a series of sailing related events throughout the year and even more water sport events. There are quite a lot of water sports clubs and yachting clubs in the region for further information. So all that’s left is for you to venture here to do a little sailing in the waters of the Atlantic.