Last week we were lucky enough to be invited down to Shamrock Quay in Southampton to ride some of the UK’s most unique Powerboating experiences. I’m not sure what we all expected, but it certainly went above and beyond any regular boating trip! The Honda 150 (a powerful racing machine) and the Jet Viper (a yellow giant that is the only one of its type in the UK) were the boats on schedule for the day, and we couldn’t wait to try them out!
As we arrived into the heart of Southampton, we had found the home of Saber Powersports just inside Shamrock Quay. After a stroll around to admire the boats in a rare spot of June sunshine, we were welcomed by the lovely Nadia, and our friendly skipper Tony. After some thorough health and safety briefings, our life jackets were strapped on and we were ready to go! They explained to us that we would be all aboard the Honda first, and the Jet Viper second in order to save getting the most soaked until last!
Saber Powersports are the UK’s only Powerboating provider where YOU get to drive, so the knowledge of this alone was enough to get us excited about hopping aboard! Rina took to the wheel first, and she looked a natural as she steered us out of the Quay full of boats. It was her job to guide us out to open waters where we could get some speed up and experience the white-knuckling speeds we had heard about. After a pleasant journey out to sea, Tony told us we had near perfect conditions with the water, as it was just the right amount of choppy. It was here where the fun really started, as our speed got up to around 40 knots (46mph!). Each of us had the challenge of steering through the waters and around the buoys like an ultimate Powerboating crash course! The unique dual control system of this powerboat makes for a totally safe (but totally thrilling!) experience, as you get the rush of driving at high speeds. Our skipper Tony sat beside us in the passenger seat guiding us with hand motions to either go left, right or straight on in order to navigate the boat. The speed and agility of this boat really are its highlights, so getting to drive it yourself just tops it off. Time really does fly when you’re having fun, as we each had 10 minutes behind the wheel but were left wanting more! As our time on the Honda 150 drew to a close, we took a detour into Ocean Village, the neighbouring port to admire the array of boats and architecture in the summer sun. This was a lovely way to wind down from the adrenaline fuelled hour!
Next up was the Jet Viper. With a 450 horsepower Hamilton Jet Drive, this Powerboat has ‘unmatched manoeuvrability’ as it can slide and spin through the water and is even capable of crash stops! This vessel can take out up to 12 people, seating 5 in the front and 7 in the back. The jockey styled seats intrigued us all, and as we jumped aboard into the front of the boat first, it really felt as if we had just boarded a theme park ride! As we set out for open waters once more, we prepared to get wet as the bucket jet propulsion system is capable of making a huge splash. Bundled in our waterproofs and goggles, we were all eager with excitement for what was to come. It goes without saying that you really must hold on tight for this one, as your skipper takes you on an ultimate thrill ride and aims to make a splash!
Tony let us know that sitting at different parts of the boat each provides a different experience in itself, so ensured us that everyone who rides the Jet Viper must try sitting at the front and back. Sitting at the front of the boat was my personal favourite, as the way the Powerboat propels you through the water really makes it feel as if you are flying! Sitting at the back meant you were much closer to the water and of course much more likely to get a splash! Both ends were just as thrilling as each other, and I never knew you could have two such different experiences on the same Powerboat. As we were in Southampton, there were huge cruise ships that were setting sail just beside us. Travelling so close to the cruise ship was an experience in itself, as we waved to the passengers on the top deck and Tony was sure for us to ride the waves that they created!
Overall, the two Powerboats provided totally different, but equally thrilling experiences. It’s hard to compare them or choose a favourite just because they are so different! It is 100% worth making a day of it and trying out both powerboats, as well as their Thunderbolt. With Rina being somewhat of a speed demon, I know we will be back soon!