Thursday, 1 September 2011

Sailing into relaxation!

A few weeks ago I set my self the challenge for one of my EADT 'Water off a ducks back' articles, to completely switch off from work and leave my "business hat" at home.

It timed in very well for my partner James's birthday weekend, so whilst doing some research on the internet I came across a The Salthouse in Ipswich. I have been there on a few occasions for some amazing dinners, however never stayed the night. To my surprise they were offering a sailing package in collaboration with their neighbours Viking Mariners also situated on the Waterfront.

I have never been sailing before and thought it would be a fabulous experience for us both to share.

After a blissful night in our Marina room at the Salthouse, which overlooked the beautiful harbor and featured a giant copper bath in the middle of the room, I started to feel very relaxed and James was thoroughly enjoying his birthday treat, especially as the food was so good. (He often uses his stomach to judge a stay!)

We had timed our stay perfectly for the Martine and Beer Festival along the Waterfront. It was great to be arose by the Parade walking by as we enjoyed breakfast in our room from the Balcony.

We also had the morning free to wander through the old rope making exhibitions, watch displays and even had the pleasure of meeting some pirates and hearing stories from the deep blue sea!

We could not waiting for our sailing trip to come around, it was booked for an afternoon sail starting at 2pm.

We arrived at the Viking Mariners shop and I was amazed to see such trendy, quality sailing items such as boat shoes, sailing tops, jackets. I usually shop in Crew Clothing and I have to say I was more drawn to the good hear than I am in Crew.

Once there, we met Chris who had been the friendly person behind the scenes organising my surprise sail. She had very kindly given us some waterproof clothing (just in case it rained) and introduced us to our Skipper Lee.

As I mentioned, we had not been sailing before so we had taken the precaution of some sea sickness tablets. I still had my hesitations and when I mentioned this to Lee, he immediately put us at ease and said we wouldn't need them.

Upon boarding the Catamaran 'Alchemy,' I was amazed by the size and luxury that greeted us.

As we pulled away from the harbor, James and I gave each other a look that said 'this is going to be fantastic.'

We also had on board with us a very lovely lady called Annie. I must say she really took care of us, bringing us lots of tea and biscuits and generally helping us to feel at ease and relaxed during our trip. I particularly got on very well with her, and it was nice to have her company whilst James chatted to Lee.

To my surprise Lee allowed us to sail the boat. The sailing part was quite easy however navigating the boat through the River traffic was a slightly different concern. Once ten minutes went by I felt I started to get the hang of it and felt more confident navigating through the traffic.

As I mentioned, James is very guided by his stomach, so when Annie brought our a plate of Chocolate Donuts and Carrot Cake, he was sold!

It was really lovely to enjoy the Coastal Suffolk Scenery  from the water, and I felt ultimately relaxed. It was also great to pass under the Orwell bridge rather than driving over it.

An hour or two past and the clouds darkened, as we felt a drop or two of rain and put on our sailing jackets, where most people would be disappointed we certainly were not as then, we really felt like we were sailing!

Shortly after we decided to hibernate in the cabin, where I was brought a nice cold glass of Rose wine in a snug little seating area.

The thing that I liked so much about the experience with Viking Mariners is that for four hours I felt like the boat was my home, we were given clear freedom to explore and could either sit back and relax or get involved as much as we wanted to.

We were sad to arrive back at the harbor but were buzzing for the next few days and stated immediately to each other how we would love to do it again with our friends. The great thing is the options that Viking Mariners have.

I was particularly interested in the Spa Day on the river that Chris was telling me about. They also do leadership team building days out, corporate and social days out and special celebrations like we had, so something for all occasions and as far as I am aware not many companies offer this?

I would 100% recommend anyone experienced in sailing or newbies like us to try an experience with the guys at Viking, you will not be disappointed!

To get in touch with them visit or to view the Salthouse website see