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English Riviera's Brixham – A World Class Sailing Hub in Devon

PUBLISHED: 19:01 24 July 2012 | UPDATED: 21:39 20 February 2013

English Riviera's Brixham – A World Class Sailing Hub in Devon

English Riviera's Brixham – A World Class Sailing Hub in Devon

Brixham has proved a magnet for nautical adventurers since it recently became the starting point for the Round Britain Experience, offering sailors of all levels the chance to circumnavigate the British Isles on board a luxury yacht.

Brixham has proved a magnet for nautical adventurers since it recently became the starting point for the Round Britain Experience, offering sailors of all levels the chance to circumnavigate the British Isles on board a luxury yacht.

Already noted for its world-class marinas, stunning horse-shoe shaped bay and busy racing calendar, the 12 week circumnavigations now offered by Brixhams South West Marine Training (incorporating Torbay Sea School) are putting the English Riviera firmly on the map as an important sailing destination.

I joined the Round Britain Experience for the Newlyn to Dublin leg of this amazing voyage. There were four adventurers on board plus our skipper Duncan Brignell who provided friendly and professional guidance so the crew members could learn at their own pace and according to their own previous experience. I joined, rather fortuitously, just as Richard was serving dinner (the crew take it in turns to provision and cook).

The others had already had some expert tuition prior to the trip one lad, David aged 19 was working towards his Day Skipper qualification and the two others, Steve and Rich were on a fast track Yachtmaster course. I joined in with the nightly flashcard puzzler, which was brilliant for mastering lights, buoys and rules of sailing.

The 45-foot Brixham-based Bavaria yacht, which is called Round Britain Experience is supremely comfortable with a cabin apiece. My stern cabin even had private ensuite - sheer luxury! We were kitted out with life jackets and harnesses and later that evening set sail for the Isles of Scilly.

Having done a fair bit of sailing out of Brixham, up and down the coast of Devon and Cornwall, I had often wanted to head for Scilly. Its about 35 miles from Newlyn and took us around 10 hours, sailing into St Marys and anchoring at Porth Cressa, a quiet bay opposite the main harbour. A perfect spot, beautiful, calm and tranquil.

Next day we headed round to St Agnes, a quite idyllic and impossibly picturesque island, the sea a startling azure colour and the beaches pristine with fine white sand. After a great barbeque on the beach we sailed on next morning.

Our next stop was in the stylish Cornish fishing harbour of Padstow with its quaint inner harbour and tidal lock gates and its Rick Stein influence. We had dinner on board but I managed to grab a quiet glass of champagne at a little wine bar by the harbour that had outside bistro tables (very French).

Next morning we set out for the next leg towards Dublin. This was a journey of 180 miles but we had already settled into a comfortable watch system of 3-hour watches at night and 4-hour watches during the day, which worked really well. I was expecting to be cold and tired but the weather was warm and the sea state surprisingly calm. We were joined by large pods of dolphins that frolicked and splashed alongside the yacht on and off for most of the trip and we even saw some puffins.

Having sailed past Dublin Bay and the green island called Irelands Eye, we entered the delightful harbour of Howth where my leg of this wonderful journey ended. The Round Britain Experience continued on towards the Isle of Man and further north. I had a wonderful time but to complete the whole 12 weeks would be the experience of a lifetime. I think that this is why the Round Britain Experience attracts men and women of all ages and from all walks of life.

Brixhams South West Marine Training manages Round Britain Experience as well as offering a wide range of RYA Sailing Courses, both practical and theory plus Powerboat and Motorboat Courses. They offer Mileage Builders from South Coast trips between Brixham and the River Thames, to Channel Island weekends and Scilly Experiences.

You can also charter yachts or book One Day and Weekend Sailing tailored to your needs. There is a choice of Brixham, Dartmouth or Torquay for points of departure. A day sail may take in Berry Head, Thatcher Rock, Oddicombe, Paignton, Goodrington and Broadsands whilst a weekend sail may take you as far as Salcombe. Corporate hospitality is also a popular option.

South West Marine Training Partner, Neil Penman grew up on the English Riviera and spent his teens mucking about in boats until joining the Royal Navy as a Marine Engineer. On leaving he worked as Chief Sail Instructor for the Royal Navys seamanship centre in Plymouth and then as Chief RYA instructor at Dartmouths Britannia Royal Naval College. As well as leisure courses, the company offers the STCW Commercial Qualifications required for superyachts, fishing vessels and merchant shipping.

To find out more visitwww.southwestmarinetraining.co.uk

South West Marine Training LLP, Brixham Marina, Brixham Devon TQ5 9BP


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