Enjoy easy sailing at Plymouth

PUBLISHED: 10:14 02 September 2014 | UPDATED: 10:14 02 September 2014

Sailing off Plymouth on Pure Escape

Sailing off Plymouth on Pure Escape


CHRISSY HARRIS discovers how to enjoy sailing without the expense of buying and maintaining a boat

Jane loves being able to pick up the boat and goJane loves being able to pick up the boat and go

As a family, we’ve often strolled past Plymouth’s Queen Anne’s Battery marina, picked out our favourite boats and pretended they were ours.

Some of us go for the glossy-looking powerboats, others plump for the small speedboats, while most of us point straight at the yachts.

So it was with some excitement when we found ourselves heading for a morning out on one of the family favourites – a beautiful 37ft-long sailboat.

Pure Escape, as she is known, is part of a business that provides more- affordable-than-owning access to a fleet of boats in UK locations, which now includes Plymouth.

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For a monthly fee, people can sail what they want, when they want, and not have to worry about pesky mooring costs and all the maintenance that seems to go hand in hand with boat ownership.

“I’ve never had the sort of money to buy a boat,” says Jane Gimpel, who signed up to Pure Latitude when it started in 2008.

“I loved sailing as a child but that was about as far as it went. Now we can come down here, pick up the boat and go. There there are no running costs or hassles and you get all the benefits. I love being out on the water. You can’t help but lose your troubles and feel that life is ok.”

Certainly being out on the open water is very good for the soul – especially when Jane has brought along homemade quiche and cake for us all to enjoy.

The sun was shining, the sea was calm (my sea legs aren’t great) and there was just enough wind to power us out into Plymouth Sound and back.

But the trip must be even sweeter when you know you can simply moor and go at the end of it all.

“That’s what people enjoy about it,” says Martin Gray, who founded Pure Latitude after taking the leap from a high-flying career in telecommunications.

“Owning a boat is hard work. Running and mooring a boat like this for a year costs over £10,000 and that’s not including your initial outlay to buy a boat like this, which will be about £150,000. And there’s the heavy depreciation of over £10,000 a year.”

It’s enough to make you seasick. The £500 a month fee to sign up to Pure Latitude suddenly doesn’t seem quite so bad, if you’re keen to get out on the water.

“The other thing,” says Martin, “is many people have got the money to buy a boat but don’t have the time to use it. You’ve got to leave it sat there - you can’t use it every day. Then you’re going to the same place each time you want to sail and you feel guilty if you go somewhere else on holiday because you should be on your boat. This gives you a choice and access to variety – that’s what it’s about.”

Pure Latitude has 16 sail and powerboats on offer in the Solent, the East Coast and the Thames but recently arrived in Plymouth to make the most of the city’s perfect location.

As we sit aboard Pure Escape in Queen Anne’s Battery marina, jazz music drifts through the air from the Barbican’s Jazz and Blues Festival and colourful flags from the yachts taking part in the world-famous Solitaire du Figaro race flap in the breeze.

“I’m really impressed with Plymouth,” says Martin, who lives in Hamble, Hampshire. “I didn’t really know much about it until we brought the boats down but it’s a brilliant sailing location.”

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