The joys of sailing


What is it about seafaring that makes you so hungry? There’s the exercise and sea air of course – or the periods of inactivity during a long spell on the helm when endless cups of tea and chocolate biscuits are essential to crew morale.

Yachtsmen certainly like their grub and are becoming more and more discerning. The gentrification of coastal towns has led to a burgeoning of top-rate restaurants and it’s now possible to get a decent meal in most British ports.

And then there’s the food festivals. What better reason to set sail than to join a waterside community celebrating the sea’s bounty by eating a lot of it, drinking heavily and maybe having a dance.

Falmouth’s oyster festival is growing every year and comes highly recommended and other towns have similar events.

It’s unlikely you’d have sailed there this early in the season, but the Scallop Festival in Rye is another good example. There’s still an active fishing fleet and the scallops they catch are as good as you’ll get anywhere and can be bought within yards of where they are landed.

Pubs and restaurants throughout the town served these succulent shellfish during the ten-day festival in February. Among the events was the the Scallop Gourmet Dinner at The George in Rye . This Telltaler couldn’t make it for the dinner but was lucky enough to recently savour their superb scallops, as well as the local Romney Marsh lamb, and looks forward to sailing into Rye later in the season for seconds.

Isn’t that one of the joys of cruising – sailing somewhere and being able to stop to enjoy the local delights? And of course there are now all sorts of festivals including literary and arts.

Perhaps it would be possible to complete a round Britain festival cruise – hopping from jazz bash to crustacean carnival, book bazaar to fish fete.Telltale