The Solent is a fantastic place to sail. One could say the Solent stretches from Portsmouth and the forts just south of Portsmouth to the start of the Needles Channel. Within this area there are numerous places to pull into port and explore, each with something different to offer. Two big ports, charming market towns, the bustling Hamble River, the beautiful Bucklers Hard up the Beaulieu River in the heart of the New Forest, anchorages positioned to let you watch the world go by. They are all within a stone's throw (short sail) of each other meaning you can visit several South Coast locations during your charter, making it popular for a day, a weekend or a week on a yacht.
There is also a huge variety of craft in the Solent. It is not uncommon to see high performance racing yachts in Cowes, oil tankers, fishing boats, day boats, sailing school boats, round the world luxury cruising yachts, round the world racing yachts, old gaffers, classic keel boats, kite surfers, windsurfers, big expensive power boats, smaller expensive power boats, sailing dinghies in Gosport, ribs of all shapes and sizes, cruise ships, a hoover craft and high speed ferries. All within a day. Yet the Solent does still offer peaceful hideaways to get away from it all.
There are few real physical obstructions to boats within the Solent. There is the odd ledge There is the Bramble Bank just to the north and east of Cowes but that is about it. There is a shipping channel one must be aware off and local bylaws that one needs to adhere to.
Solent tides are interesting, and it is necessary to have a good awareness of what the tide is doing at all times. Due to the shape of the land and the Isle of Wight the Solent gets 'double highs'.
Just beyond the Solent on the South coast there is Poole and Weymouth to the west, Bembridge, Langstone and Chichester Harbours to the East.