Ever dreamed of setting sail on holiday — but felt like a cruise isn’t your thing?
The thought of spending a fortnight, cooped up with a cast of hundreds in a luxury liner, ﬁlls me with cabin fever.
However, I do enjoy being on the water and when Nicols boat hire offered the chance to captain my own vessel, I dived right in.
The comp any offers a range of modern, well-kitted out boats which allow you to cruise at your leisure on the prettywaterways of France, Germany or Portugal.
My previous sailing experience extends only as far as hiring a canal boat and bobbing around Adlington for the day with a small group of friends.
So Iwas a bit apprehensive about manning onewith my partner Ben for a whole week whenwe signed up for a trip to Brandenburg in Germany.
Perusing the suggested routes suitable for sailors without a boat licence, I gulped when I saw there were locks involved.
“Are you sure thiswill be okay?” I asked our helpful Nicols rep. “I don’t really have a clue what I’m doing...”
“It’s ﬁne,” he replied. “They have lock-keepers in Germany to help with the locks, don’t worry.”
And so we found ourselves a few weeks’ later on a jetty in Neuruppin, an easy 1 1/2 hour train journey from Berlin, getting to gripswith the basics of sailing.
There was a lot to take in on the short brieﬁng we had from a friendly chap at the Neuruppin Boothaus base, but fortunately Ben got to grips with the steering and manoeuvring pretty quickly— leaving me to be the cabin girl who scurried along the side of the boat to tie it up when mooring.
The actual sailing part was straightforward enough, with the wide, quiet lakes in Brandenburg affording plenty of space for leisure travellers to amble along comfortably and take in the views.