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Just a short hop by ferry from Gunwharf Quay in Portsmouth and its famous Royal Navy dockyard, Gosport has an illustrious military history in its own right. For many years home to an important military hospital, it has had five defensive forts overlooking Portsmouth Harbour over time that were designed to protect the port from invasion.
Today there is still an obvious presence of the military (just look across the harbour to see the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth or the other ships in the current fleet when in port) but the economy is geared more towards its marinas and that of a quiet suburb.
Have a poke around the marinas of Gosport today and you never know what you may see - home to world famous solo sailor Alex Thomson's Hugo Boss IMOCA 60 racing and training yachts for many years, and just across from the UK America's Cup team base - there is still a lot going on in this apparently quiet backwater!
You will likely be going to Gosport to get to Gosport Marina or Haslar Marina, that are home to many charter yachts, have all the services you require, and are easily accessed by train and ferry via Portsmouth Harbour train station and with good road links to the M271 and national motorway network.
Just a short hop across the river from Gosport is Portsmouth Historic Royal Naval Dockyard with its old warships, Admiral Nelson's HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and King Henry VIII's Mary Rose. The nightlife is excellent on Gunwharf Quay as is the shopping.
On the water there is a lot to do. Do you want to go on a luxurious skippered charter or bareboat? Crewed catamarans or motor yacht? The Gosport yacht charter fleet has these and more.
Heading out from Haslar Marina, Gosport Marina or Royal Clarence Marina on your Solent yacht charter you have easy access to the UK's favourite boating hotspot, the Solent. Out past Southsea's beach you can reach the relaxed and beautiful Chichester Harbour with its interesting wildlife and saltmarshes.
There's a lot to be seen to the west too. Cowes on the Isle of Wight is one of the world's most important sailing centres with a number of international sailing events through the year. You never know whom you could be rubbing shoulders with in its fantastic pubs after a fun day afloat - sailors of all walks of life spend time there! Do take a quiet pause at Fishbourne on the island - a respite from the hustle and bustle of Cowes!
As a crow flies to the south of Cowes (but remember the Bramble Bank that prevents you from sailing due south!) is Southampton Water and the River Hamble with its important marinas at Port Hamble Marina and Hamble Point. The pubs can be at least as buzzing as Cowes in the height of summer too!
West again you can see the beautiful Lymington and Beaulieu River, both highlights of what could be an excellent Gosport yacht charter.
By train: Gosport's marinas are a short walk from the Gosport to Portsmouth ferry. The ferry from Gosport terminates at Gunwharf Quay, a short walk from Portsmouth Harbour train station. This has direct trains to London and its international airports.
By road: Gosport is easily accessed from the M271 and has good links to the UK national motorway network.
By air: Southampton City Airport has good links to Europe and is about an hour by train from Gosport.
By sea: Portsmouth ferry port runs regular services to Spain and France
There are three major marinas in Gosport that are home to charter yachts. You can bareboat charter or take a skippered yacht charter on a catamaran, monohull sailing yacht or motor yacht out on the Solent with these as a base. These all have excellent marina facilities.
Max Length 35m (114 Feet)
Max Draught 4m (13 Feet)
List additional services: Shore power, water, laundry, WiFi, restaurants and bars, supermarket (nearby), boatyard, boathoist, chandlery, fuel
Max Length 30m (98 Feet)
Max Draught 3.5m (11.4 Feet)
List additional services: Shore power, water, laundry, WiFi, restaurants, shops and bars, boatyard, chandlery.
Royal Clarence Marina:
Max Length 18.2m (60 Feet)
Max Draught 4.5m (13.1 Feet)
List of additional services: Shore power, water, laundry, WiFi, showers, restaurant, shop and bars, boat ramp chandlery, boat hoist.
Over a seven or 14 day Solent yacht charter you can enjoy the best of the South Coast on your skippered yacht charter or bareboat charter, mixing some of the best yachting towns in the UK with quiet evenings at a mooring buoy watching the world go by.
The Solent - 7 days: Over a seven day Gosport yacht charter you can happily stay within Southampton Water and the Solent and take in the fantastic boating and sailing nightlife. Amongst the highlights are the Hamble River with its marinas including Port Hamble Marina, Cowes and Portsmouth's rival port, Southampton. Lymington, Christchurch and the Beaulieu River are in the New Forest, all connected with the fun to be had by a day's sailing on the Solent.
14 days - South Coast and Brighton: This is an opportunity to explore coastal delights like Chichester, Bognor Regis and the outermost point of the 14 day trip at the seaside towns of Brighton and its neighbour Eastbourne. The famous Seven Sisters cliffs are one of the stand out sights of the South Coast. Coming back in a few short days on your catamaran or monohull yacht, you can explore the Isle of Wight's sailing ports of Bembridge and Cowes.
The sailing season runs from late March to mid September on the UK South Coast, though you will see hardier types afloat throughout the year. There can be gales at any time of year, with Westerlies especially fierce through the Solent. In the peak boat rental season of July and August it can still be fun sailing, though the bars and marinas can be expensive and full.
Cowes Week? You will need to book well in advance, both marinas and mooring buoy moorings as well as restaurants and other hospitality! A motor yacht can be a good way to make new friends during this event too...
April and May: Westerlies prevail but you will often find warm days with brisk sailing conditions of a F4-5. Gales will come through earlier in the year, funnelling through the Solent and hitting F10-12 in gusts. This is Britain - expect rain!
June-August: In June there will be southerly and westerly gales at times but these tend to die out in July and August with the Azores High moving north and providing settled conditions and light easterlies. Expect temperatures in the high 20s C range with the odd few days at 30C plus. As ever, keep your oilies to hand as even in the height of summer things can change.
September-October: Grey skies and gales start to return. While often in the high teens Celsius in September with some great sailing conditions, the westerly procession of lows start coming up the English Channel and things can get a little uncomfortable by early October.
The main points to consider are what is your budget, have you got the necessary sailing experience and qualifications to manage the boat if it's not going to have a skipper, whom you are taking sailing, where exactly you wish to go and what will the weather be like on the proposed dates of your trip.
There are three major marinas in Gosport - Gosport Marina and Haslar Marina both have more than 500 berths while Royal Clarence has around 170. These are a short walk from the Gosport Ferry across Portsmouth Harbour with its transport links to London.
May to August is best for sailing, though the first week of August is Cowes Week and launches the peak sailing season locally where it can be difficult to get a berth or table at a restaurant!
You will typically pay 50% up front on booking the yacht hire and the balance on arrival. You will either pay a security deposit with your credit card on departure or can get insurance covering damage in advance. In some cases (such as the recent Covid situation) charter companies may be more flexible but this depends on the individual charter companies themselves.
If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16 or ring the coast guard on your phone if you have reception. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to or are on a mooring you will be able to phone a help line number given by the boat charter company.
You should consider do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter or boat hire before you book and where do you want to go along with what the weather will be like. Bring warm weather and cool weather clothing if it looks like the weather can be cool as well as warm and remember at sea it can be cool on most evenings.
If you want to sail without a skipper then you will need relevant qualifications like RYA Day Skipper/International Certificate of Competence (ICC)/ASA 104 Bareboat certificate or the US Sailing Certificate. For small 'day boats' or if you choose to have a skippered on board your yacht charter you typically don't require licences.