If you’ve ever thought about owning a boat but haven’t been sure how to go about it — or don’t want the responsibility of maintenance – now is the time to jump into a new club based in Hampshire.
The Lymington Boat Club, launched last month by the Yacht Havens group, offers unlimited boating on three vessels to a select number of members, all at roughly the same cost of annual mooring fees in its highly popular marina on the south coast.
The Yacht Havens group successfully trialled a boat club scheme from its marina in Plymouth last year and as popularity of the Lymington Club grows, boats will be added. For a fixed annual fee of £8000, members pay only fuel costs when they want to pitch up to take their boat out for a spin. The three boats available this year are the Mistral Gemini 650 RIB with Suzuki 140hp outboard engine; a Bora Merry Fisher 695, a multi-use cruiser with Yamaha 150hp outboard engine; and a Diablo Axopar 28 T-Top with Mercury 300hp outboard engine.
All three vessels take six passengers and can be supplied to users ready with anything from a luxury picnic, fishing kit or watersports kit including SUP and wakeboards — all bookable via an online app. “Membership will be capped at just five per boat because ensuring members can book the day they want to go out is imperative to the success of the club,” explains Jonathan Cook, Yacht Havens group marketing manager. “Members can also only book a maximum of two sessions in advance, as well as one ‘golden ticket’ per year – a full day’s booking that can be set for a birthday or Bank Holiday, for example. We want to make sure there’s always a boat available for when members want to get out on the water — and once we’ve reached our cap and closed membership, we’ll expand the club giving users access to more boats.”
Just a hop over the water to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, the market town of Lymington is phenomenally popular with visitors at weekends and in the summer. Lymington is just under two hours’ journey time from London —accessible via mainline rail from Waterloo with one change at Brockenhurst — or via the M3/M27 then a pretty drive through the New Forest.
The club is open to anyone over the age of 25, and for insurance purposes, members must have their RYA Level 2 Powerboat qualification — though if you want to join, and don’t have yours, Yacht Havens can do a course with members onboard the boat. There are no maintenance or berthing fees, breakdown cover or wintering/servicing or cleaning costs (with the associated headaches) and adult lifejackets are provided with each boat. Members can add a spouse or family member as an extra driver — provided they are RYA qualified — for £1000 per year. You can take the boats around the Isle of Wight and as far afield as Chichester or Poole.
After a day on the water, hand your lines to the Yacht Havens crew and head straight up to the marina’s Bar & Restaurant (havenrestaurant.co.uk) — Lymington’s most popular watering hole and eatery.