www.under-sail.eu © Wolfgang Seul
The Solent separates the Isle of Wight from the rest of England. It is one of the busiest shipping areas in the world. Strong tidal streams and various navigational hazards require solid planning and pilotage.
Have a look at the screenshot below, taken from the Tablet-PC application Fleetmon for tracking AIS signals. As you can see there is quite a bit of activity going on. Careful lookout at all times is required, particularly when navigating close to the precautionary area in the middle of the Solent. The large cargo ships and ocean cruisers manouver through this area when entering or leaving the port of Southampton.
The racing community is very active here as well. On summer weekends it can get busy.
For practical RYA courses the Solent is an excellent playground and I always thoroughly enjoy being there.
Even when the conditions get rougher, you can always find a sheltered spot to practice. The skills you will learn here will help you grow. You will benefit from it anywhere in the world, where ever you might go in the future.
The Clipper round the world race is widely known. Here we sailed past one of the Clipper crews that was training in the Solent before they went for their long journey to circumvent the globe.