Escaping with Escape Yachting!
Review of an Evening Cruise on the Solent with Escape Yachting - August 2015
Brainchild of Matthew Lawson and his partner David Ellis both expert yachtsmen and organisers, Escape Yachting based in Lymington is now in its fifth season. Escape’s niche is to provide really special yet also affordable, comfortable Solent cruises in spacious and well equipped yachts. For singles and couples as well as corporate groups, you'll be offered a glass of champagne on arrival, a leisurely cruise to an excellent on board lunch or dinner at anchor, followed by a pleasant sail back to Lymington.
Assisted by just one crew member (and of course the furling sails), skipper David’s courteous calm puts all the guests at ease, appears apparently effortless and belies the many decisions and activities involved in getting a yacht out of its berth from A to B and back again whatever the conditions and navigational hazards, whilst serving a top quality meal on board in the middle of it all. Apparently effortless - but only because of his expert command of the boat and his supreme professionalism. Full marks!
Sailing for all – no experience required!
The appeal of the Escape offering is across the board, and especially attracts people who’ve done little or no sailing (and don’t have sailing friends!) None of my fellow guests had sailed before (with the exception of a previous Escape cruise – see below). The discovery of how peaceful life under sail can be was a delight to all and was enhanced still further by the classical music playing in the background throughout the cruise.
Perfect for a celebration
Emma and Darren are a young couple from Devizes who were celebrating both their wedding anniversary and Darren’s birthday, and Emma had chosen Escape as a surprise for Darren who she knew had a hankering to experience yacht sailing. With the comfortable steering wheel in his hands (under David’s watchful guidance) it was obvious he was instantly smitten. They didn’t know the other guests but soon – helped by the welcoming and very civilised glass of champagne on arrival – everybody was chatting.
Victoria with her young daughter from Hertfordshire were on board for the second time in just a few weeks, this time having brought Victoria’s mother Stephanie as well. (They’d travelled by train to Lymington, an option which many guests choose.) Victoria’s job is totally full on and she’s also a single mum. Like many of us she really does needs to “escape” sometimes, preferably with her adored daughter too! She had already discovered on the first cruise, that a few hours onboard is her perfect recipe for instant and total relaxation.
Never mind the weather!
This summer cruising in sunshine has been a rarity, but escaping with Escape has surely got to be most relaxing if you have the sun beating down on you? Yet as it turned out it simply doesn’t really matter if it’s raining, and while we were sailing everybody donned waterproofs and chose to sit together in the cockpit - or out on the rail. Most of us chose to dine down below but that was no hardship: our delicious salmon pasta was cooked to perfection in a few minutes by David and Josh, we were warm and comfortable in the cosy cabin and as we chatted we were then served then with a delectable treacle tart and clotted cream.
Our benign looking seal observer - who watched us constantly from the moment we entered Newtown Creek until the moment we left - maybe wouldn’t have been on show had it not been for the rain.
It’s also about the thrill of the sailing itself of course. We had a fabulous sail in a fresh breeze back from Newtown to Lymington, with enough of a heel for everybody to experience that so special exhileration of being at sea under sail. Being passed by what looked like a ghost ship in the gloom making its way out towards the Needles made for an atmospheric climax. (It was apparently a Maltese cruise ship, unusually taking the westward route out of the Solent.
Continue the relaxation with a night on board!
When we said goodbye Victoria was planning to squeeze in yet another “Escape” with Escape before the school term begins and the nights draw in. With her family she was also in fact staying aboard for the night. She told us that at home she sleeps poorly, but had spent a night afloat after her first cruise, and knew that a perfect night’s sleep was almost guaranteed. Overnight accommodation is an optional Escape Yachting extra - and a great alternative to either a long drive home or arriving at your B&B after 10pm.
The beds had quietly and invisibly been made up before we docked, pristine and appealing. (It was Josh, obeying a command from the skipper which nobody else heard.) Next morning they would be vacating to The Haven Bar & Restaurant for breakfast in time for the yacht to be prepared for the next morning’s guests. Smooth operation!
Escape Yachting sets sail twice daily during the summer months from Lymington Yacht Haven.
Website – www.escapeyachting.com
Written August 2015