Set Sail for Happiness Aboard Snark
By Richard Jones
Studies have proved that there are many health benefits living near or even on water.
Thankfully, as an island, or collection of islands, we have no end of stunning beaches and coastlines, inland waterfalls, lochs, rivers and canals, meaning that you are never far from those favourable ‘blue spaces’.
Unsurprisingly, with people spending extra time enjoying the outdoors during the pandemic, there was an increase in boat sales and boating holidays.
After all, what is better than surging through the waves, watching a pod of dolphins leap out the water, tucking into a delicious dinner on deck under a blanket of stars, and learning how to navigate and operate a vessel?
If this all sounds like your cup of tea, then Snark Sailing Holidays’ brand-new Round Britain Jubilee Voyage ticks all the boxes.
Running from June 1 to September 13, the tour begins and ends in Plymouth.
It visits all four nations and there are various legs (between five and 12 days) that guests can get involved in – whether they are interested in the Scottish Lochs, the Irish Sea, Pwllgwaelod bay in Wales, Great Yarmouth, Lindisfarne, Whitby Abbey, the Avon gorge or the White Cliffs of Dover.
You can choose a wilderness cruise and explore remote beaches, picturesque ports, and secretive wildlife; or pick a cultural cruise and visit a museum, join in with a whisky tasting, and delve into local markets.
All-inclusive guests will enjoy beach barbecues at sunset, cliff-top walks with spectacular views, swimming in the refreshing sea, museum and gallery visits, and join in with local gigs and festivals.
And you can get involved in the sailing of Snark as much as you like – if you just want to relax, you can chill with a book on deck, sketch or photograph the stunning scenery, or keep watch for for wildlife and landmarks.
Paul Jenkins (skipper) and Qiao Feng (first mate) built the interior of Snark – a steel-hulled, spritsail sailing barge, more commonly referred to as a Thames Barge – themselves, everything from the plumbing and joinery to the carpentry and rigging.
Snark is not only their hobby, but their full-time home, and they created Snark Sailing Holidays in 2018 to give people the opportunity to escape from their everyday lives and immerse themselves in a different world.
Previous sailing practise is not necessary and their guests are encouraged to take a digital detox, to focus on the present, share time and conversation with a new group of people, and discover a little about themselves on route.
Snark, which gets its name from the mythical beast in Lewis Carroll’s poem, ‘The Hunting of the Snark’, an allegory for the pursuit of happiness, is licensed to carry 12 passengers and three crew, but Paul and Qiao generally only take eight guests overnight, and just six on longer trips.
Paul is a qualified skipper with more than 35 years’ experience. He is also the chief mechanic, boatbuilder, emergency rigger, creative cook, and a brilliant storyteller. Qiao is the first mate, and as well as her sailing credentials is a certified yoga and meditation teacher.
Recently, they have been upgrading Snark, creating three new cabins within the main hold, plus a deluxe ‘Owners’ cabin for guests wanting to travel in style.
All those on Snark can expect underfloor heating, a fully equipped modern kitchen, plenty of windows, clever storage options, a large bathroom with a hot shower, a comfy lounge area, and a well-stocked library.
All meals are provided, but guests can also try shucking fresh oysters, dining at award-winning establishments, and popping into a café when anchored at a port.
Responsibility and sustainability as a small business is also very important to the couple.
They support local initiatives, growers, and fisher people, as well as re-using water, recycling whenever they can and using the engines as little as possible in favour of wind.
So, hop on board the barge for one or more of the legs of this special journey and sample the very best of British.
Remaining legs on Snark’s Round Britain Jubilee Voyage:
Wed, 22 June Thames – London to Great Yarmouth (5 days)
Thu, 30 June Anglia – Great Yarmouth to Whitby (7 days)
Sun, 10 July Northumbria – Whitby to Edinburgh (7 days)
Wed, 20 July Herring Coast – Leith to Inverness (7 days)
Sat, 30 July Scottish Lochs – Inverness to Belfast (11 days)
Sat, 13 August Irish Sea – Belfast to Caernarfon (7 days)
Tue, 23 August Cymru – Caernarfon to Cardiff (8 days)
Sat, 3 September West Country – Cardiff to Plymouth (10 days)
For more information on Snark Sailing Holidays, go to www.snark.limited or call 01962 841411