The Thames Estuary and East Coast of England offers excellent cruising with many interesting rivers, harbours and anchorages to explore and enjoy. With no crowds of boats or people and few big marinas it offers a place where you can get back to essentials and enjoy sailing and exploration in peace and tranquillity.

A rich maritime heritage is evident throughout the region where the River Thames and its tributaries have provided the arteries of trade for centuries.

Even now the Thames is a vital shipping route and yachtsmen have to navigate with care – but just a short distance away from the main channels there are quiet waters and secluded anchorages amid wildlife reserves.

Elite Sailing’s base at Chatham is an excellent starting point for a cruise of this region – and highly convenient for anyone travelling from London or the home counties (just 45 minutes by train from central London or 20 minutes from the M25 at Dartford, with free parking and excellent facilities. The River Medway in Kent is still an active commercial port and the scenery is a mix of Napoleonic forts and power stations contrasting with salt marches and bird sanctuaries. But it is an excellent, sheltered cruising base where you can sail in almost any weather and reach anywhere in the Thames estuary in a day’s sail. To the north lies the gentle Essex and Suffolk coasts with the rivers Crouch, Roach, Blackwater, Colne, Orwell, Ore and Deben. To the south and East lies the North Kent Coast with anchorages in the Swale on the way along to Ramsgate and the Dover Strait. France, Belgium and Holland are a day’s passage away.

Skippered Charter

All of our yachts are available for skippered charter for any period from a weekend to a week or more. The sailing yachts available are Jeanneau 35’s and a Bavaria 46. Prices vary with season and the party size and requirements. It could be local sailing, a tour of the East Coast or a trip to France, Holland or Belgium. Just call or email to request a quotation.

Bareboat Charter – ‘Spirit and Spitfire’

Spirit and Spitfire are identical Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 35s with comprehensive inventories. They are both available for weekends, complete weeks (7 days) or mid-week sessions.


  • 6 berths in 3 cabins plus 2 saloon berths
  • Slab Reefing Main and roller genoa
  • Blown Air Heating
  • GPS, Plotter and Radar, Windlass, Dinghy and Outboard

More details here.


Low Season High Season (Apr – Sep)
7 Days £1690 £1900
Weekend £725 £800
Mid-week (Mon – Fri) £965 £1100
Two Day (mid week) £660 £660
Security Deposit £2500 £2500

Booking Deposit: 50% on booking. 50% at least 6 weeks before the start date.

Cleaning:   Clients are asked to leave the yacht clean and tidy with all equipment properly stowed.  A basic cleaning charge of £50 is payable with the charter balance.  This is sufficient for a final clean and sanitisation prior to the next course or charter.  If the yacht is left in poor condition charges may be levied to cover additional cleaning.

Sailing Area

Standard: Tidal Thames and tributary rivers and coastline of UK between Lowestoft in the North and Dover in the south and up to 12 miles offshore.

Qualifications Required

  • Skipper: EITHER: At least 3 years sailing experience in command of a similar type of vessel plus Day Skipper Theory and Practical OR: RYA Coastal Skipper Theory and Practical course completion certificates (or a Yachtmaster Coastal or Offshore Certificate of Competence).
  • Crew: The crew must include at least one person with knowledge and experience equivalent to Competent Crew.

In case of doubt please send us a summary of your sailing experience and qualifications and we will advise you if they are acceptable.