Sailing into 2021
Published 22:48 on 30 Nov 2020
With the promise of a coronavirus vaccine on the horizon now (or, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson described it, "the distant bugle of the scientific cavalry coming over the brow of the hill,"), we can begin to dream of the travel adventures we'll be able to enjoy in 2021. But even if you're not quite ready to contemplate travel abroad yet, it's easy to enjoy a sense of escapism on board a boat, even on the shortest trip.
Living in Cowes with my family, we'll often sail just a couple of hours along the coast to the Island's Newtown Creek for an overnight stay in the waters surrounding this peaceful National Trust bird sanctuary. Beaulieu, Hamble, Gunwharf Quays, and Hurst Castle all make easily achievable day-trips from the Isle of Wight, and the experience of dropping an anchor or mooring anywhere new - for lunch, a swim, walk ashore or sleepover - makes a short stay feel as refreshing and uplifting as a holiday further afield.
Whilst there are some incredible sailing adventures to enjoy in all corners of the globe, the UK boasts some spectacular sailing, with world-class on-shore facilities and magical wildlife to look out for, as well as fantastic conditions and an almost year-round sailing window. Want to see dolphins swimming alongside your yacht? Head for Devon and Cornwall's western coastline where these naturally playful creatures regularly leap out of the water in the wake of sail-boats, showing off their acrobatic skills and racing to out-swim a wind-powered boat. Long for white sandy beaches and idyllic island-hopping? The beautiful Isles of Scilly ticks both these boxes (although sailing around the Scillies is recommended for experienced sailors, given the sometimes challenging conditions). Or follow in the footsteps of the Swallows and Amazons and sail round Lake Windermere in the Lake District. Both the East and West coasts of Scotland offer exciting sailing with breathtaking views of Scotland's dramatic scenery and wildlife, as well as the opportunity to explore some of its 790 islands.
But whether it's a day trip or a two-week charter, sailing can give you a sense of adventure and freedom like no other activity. Start planning your 2021 adventures now!
*Bearing in mind existing Covid-19 restrictions and health advice, it's easy to maintain social distancing on board a boat and, of course, being outside in the fresh air makes sailing one of the safest pastimes you can enjoy. Even down below, when you go into the cabin or galley area, the high levels of ventilation on a sailing boat keep the risk of passing on respiratory infections exceptionally low. Take some hand sanitiser with you for enhanced hygiene, and you can relax and enjoy your sailing.