Alternative to mile builder courses (Solent, SE and London)

If you’ve just completed a RYA qualification like Day Skipper or Competent Crew then you’re probably looking for a way to turn that knowledge into experience on the Solent and surrounding coastal areas.

Mile builder courses, often run by sailing training centres, are a useful way to gain experience on the water in a safe and organised environment.

However, they aren’t always the right choice. They are one-off courses so good for holiday adventures but less effective for building experience over a period of time, in a way that suits you.



Mile builder alternatives

Hamble and Lymington boat clubs

Boat clubs give you access to a fleet of boats (or occasionally one boat) for a yearly membership fee. They sort out all the hassle of owning a boat – like maintenance – and you really just need to turn up, cast off, and sail.

One of the main draws if you have just done a RYA qualification – or returned from holiday sailing – is they offer a supportive environment year round where you can build your confidence and skills in the Solent and surrounding coastal waters, and beyond.

Pure Latitude, with main bases in Hamble and Lymington, is a boat share club that offers flexible year-round access to a fleet of boats. They also offer 1:1 training and skill days, like ‘night sailing’, ‘strong wind techniques’ and the ever popular ‘Park it like a Pro’.

The club is popular with intermediate sailors looking to build skills, try new boats and improve their confidence. Members can also continue their RYA journey with the club.

Some boat clubs specialise in a certain type of boat. Premier Agapi Boat Club has a fleet of motor boats, although limited training options.

Flexisail gives access to one boat (more like fractional ownership) and is also a registered RYA centre, so you can incorporate training into your boating journey.



Joint ownership with other Solent sailors

Owning your own boat is expensive and requires a lot of work. It’s not something you do because it’s logical. You do it because you love the dream of boat ownership! However, if going full in as a boat owner is too intimidating you can share a boat in a number of ways.



You can own a boat with friends or buy someone’s share of an existing fractional-share boat. You usually split the costs associated with running the boat. You should have an agreement in place about when you can use the boat, how long for, how far ahead you can book, and so on.

There’s usually a bit of a crunch around high season when everyone wants the boat.

You’ll also need to decide contingency plans if the boat needs major maintenance and is out of action for an extended period. Ideally, you’ll also have protocol in place in case of disagreements between owners.



With a syndicate, you buy a share in a boat from a company. They manage and maintain the boat and charge you a fee. As with jointly owned boats, your use of the boat will depend on how much of it you ‘own’.

Managed syndicates mean less hassle for boat owners, because you don’t have to sort out maintenance. They can be a more expensive option though.

Rib Shack Marine, based in Southampton, offers a shared boat ownership scheme for motor boats.


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