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Location spotlight: Yachting in the Solent

On England’s south coast, between the mainland and the Isle of Wight, the Solent is one of the world’s most famous yachting playgrounds. Running from Hurst Castle in the west to the Palmerston Forts in the east, it combines bustling nautical cities like Southampton and historic nautical towns like Cowes with quaint estuaries, multifaceted rivers and a range of delightful villages, bays, beaches and anchorages.

Indulge in world-class yachting events
As a region with an extraordinary sailing heritage, a variety of historic nautical destinations and a range of sailing conditions, from soft and sheltered to exposed and open, the Solent’s annual calendar of races and regattas is unlike anywhere else in the world – and one of its undisputed highlights is Cowes Week. If you prefer a show to a regatta, the Southampton International Boat Show is a traditional outdoor event with the largest on-water display of boats in Europe. Its infectious festival buzz has seen it become the UK’s favourite boat show and a traditional end-of-season celebration of all that is good about the marine industry.

The British Motor Yacht Show is another highly-anticipated event. Held in June at Premier’s Swanwick Marina, one of the most picturesque marinas on the River Hamble, this unique invitation-only event is designed to showcase the best of British motor yachts, whilst also enabling premium builders to exhibit their finest new boats to serious buyers.

Where to go cruising
The Solent provides such a generous mix of lively sailing towns and idyllic natural retreats that it can be hard to narrow down a favourite cruising itinerary. But with its position at the northern tip of the Isle of Wight, right at the heart of the Solent, the iconic yachting hub of Cowes is the saltiest of salty destinations and a very natural base for exploring the local highlights. Further west, Lymington is another intensely nautical town with scores of pubs, cafes, fish restaurants and chandleries.

If you enjoy the idea of joining the throng, the Hamble River is an elegant, usefully sheltered waterway with seven marinas, a range of lovely towns, villages, pubs, and countless sailing clubs. If you prefer a quieter, more intimate escape, Beaulieu River, which cuts up into the New Forest National Park on the mainland’s south coast, combines its natural loveliness with a fascinating shipbuilding heritage.

Newtown Creek is also a lovely place to stop. As a secluded estuary owned by the National Trust on the northwest coast of the Isle of Wight, it’s a great place to enjoy a tranquil anchorage among the abundant wildlife of the historic salt marshes. Back out towards the Needles, Alum Bay and Freshwater Bay also offer lovely opportunities for a scenic
anchorage. And if you want to step ashore for a bite, the Hut at Colwell Bay is a renowned beach restaurant that will happily ferry you ashore from your anchorage.

Princess Motor Yacht Sales in the Solent
Princess Motor Yacht Sales enjoys a deep-rooted presence among the Solent’s vibrant south coast boating scene. In addition to a well-established sales office at Swanwick Marina on the Hamble and a full-scale service centre at Saxon Wharf on the River Itchen, Princess Motor Yacht Sales also has a new office in Ocean Village Marina in the heart of Southampton, with easy access to Southampton Water.