Having just spent the day with Alistair on his lovely Colvic Sailer 29, FREEDOM, I can wholeheartedly recommend 'Solent Sailing Days'.
Communications before the day was very quick and Alistair was extremely flexible in accommodating us at short notice whilst the sailing itself was superb.
Chichester Harbour is such a beautiful area and being quite new to sailing it was a great confidence builder to be out with such an experienced skipper. Alistair encouraged us to 'take the reins' as much as we were comfortable with and was happy to answer our myriad of questions on all things sailing.
In short, it was a wonderful day and a great way of gaining experience before taking the leap to buying our own boat. (Martin)
What a brilliant afternoon with Alistair! He kindly took us out on FREEDOM around Chichester Harbour and we were fortunate to have glorious weather for our sail. We were keen to experience the feel of this sized monohull as we were considering buying one ourselves and as inexperienced sailors we didn't really know what we needed to find out. Alistair welcomed us aboard and shared a wealth of knowledge and experience. He was calm, patient and gave easy clear instruction during the sail. We sailed around a group of racing dinghies and into some clear water where we tacked back and forth to get a feel for how the boat moved. It was a wonderful afternoon and we came away feeling very happy - thank you Alistair! (Toni)
Bareboat Charter 16th - 18th March 2020
Aptly named, ‘Freedom’ does what it says on the tin. In the midst of a pandemic and pressure to ‘self-isolate’ my partner and I cocooned ourselves into the Colvic Sailor and escaped to sea with a slight concern we may return lone survivors.. Whilst we were out the land dwellers dramatically fell into the seriousness of spread prevention of Corona virus and advised the cancelling of all public gatherings, closing of schools, gyms, businesses and most of London. “Do we go back?” we thought. A thought not laughed off as nonsense. Aside from our loved ones, we had all we needed at arm’s reach - Freedom being the first.
‘Freedom’, built like a tank but as nimble as a paper boat was kitted out with comfort and escapism in mind. Comfort at sea often comes in the form of trust. Firstly, trust that your boat can handle what it’s thrown into, whether that be a squall or the Wightlink Ferry. Secondly, trust that you and your crew can handle the boat and also trust that the owner hasn't missed something that you really ought to know about! On stepping below we found the cosy wooden carpeted interior solid and sound with not a squeak or a piece of chipboard in sight. She’s as dry as a bone and since Alistair (the owner and operator) refurbished her in 2019 he hasn’t had to pump a drop from the bilges. Could we handle her? Sailing through Chichester Harbour we found her as light as a feather, reacting quickly to fine movements on the tiller, winding us easily through the busy harbour. The tanned sails are simple to hoist and manage, although she’s not effortless to handle. Built in 1979, she is authentically ‘hands on’ and a little muscle and thought will go a long way. Alistair, the owner, sent info we’d need for the boat, the harbour and the Solent prior to charter and picked us up at Dell Quay for a thorough handover. He was on call for comms should we need him throughout and open to good suggestions. We slipped lines with full faith it was to be a fantastic trip.
And it was. With cool, virus free air blowing off the Atlantic and whistling into our clear sinuses we ventured off with sails full and pandemonium behind us. ‘Freedom’, being a shallow drafted bilge keel, gave us added freedom to sail to shallow areas and transit over Chi Bar at lenient times. The first night we dropped anchor close off of Seaview. Stringing the boom out to port we dropped a 'Flopper Stopper' in the water and slept soundly in quiet isolation. Beating up the Solent the following day in a force 5, Freedom was as balanced on the tiller as a Japanese cooks knife and on our downwind return under headsail she glided effortlessly at 6 knots along the North shore, past Gilkicker, Spit Sand Fort and through the submarine barrier gate.
Freedom stowed us away from the chaos developing on land. We were sound in knowing we could stay aboard her long term, charmed by her comfort and authenticity, her ability to sneak over the sand bars and her life preserving solidarity to stay at sea and out of plagues way! (J.L-J)
Skippered Charter 31-07-20
"We had a great day out with Alistair as a skipper!
Communication beforehand was prompt and helpful. Alistair checked with us what we wanted to get out of the day so he could tailor it, as much as the conditions allowed, accordingly. I found the service and offer very flexible.
We were keen to have a “nice day” and experience the local area and Chichester Harbour. Alistair “showed us the ropes” of sailing and involved us but also discreetly “left us to it”.
We did some sailing, saw some of the local areas, anchored, swam and did some fishing (no catch!) We had some bad luck with the weather which took a bit of a turn towards the end of the day but it didn’t dampen our spirits.Two adults and three kids, including teenagers, all enjoyed the day and would do it again!" (Helena)
Skippered Charter 11-08-20
My wife and a friend had a great day out with Alistair and Freedom yesterday. It was a blisteringly hot day with little wind but the harbour was beautiful and we managed a truly delightful swim. Freedom is well maintained and easy to handle with everything you would need for a coastal charter. Alistair is highly professional, responsive and a good communicator; arrangements ran very smoothly. He is also good company and gave us some useful guidance both on how to handle the boat and the intricacies of navigation around Chichester Harbour.
So overall I would highly recommend either a bareboat or skippered charter from Solent Sailing Days.
Thanks to Alistair and “Freedom” for our getaway week after many months of Covid confinement and cancellations. They gave us a wonderfully refreshing and relaxing week, blessed by good September weather and very decent winds. We enjoyed a very comfortable cruise down to Newtown and Cowes for a few days, and took Alistair’s advice on quiet, charming anchorages in Chichester Harbour itself. We have missed our sailing this year since we keep our own boat in Greece and usually spend many months on board, but we found Freedom to be a very sound, vice-free and well-equipped boat and Alistair runs a very professional and user-friendly operation. Altogether a wonderful escape to a delightful part of the south coast. We would heartily recommend it!