Exhilaration was right word for my amazing RIB ride

Still the greatest - the Boys of ''66

SIMON CARTER: Southgate and Co have made us fall back in love with England

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Ahoy there, me hearties! Yours truly has taken to the high seas again.

Nope, not the Isle of Wight ferry this time, or even a makeshift polystyrene raft like the one I once used as a child in Fareham creek.

It certainly blew away the cobwebs and I have to say it was possibly the best quarter-of-an-hour I’ve ever spent

No, this was an adventure on the waters of the Solent on board a powerful RIB courtesy of Exhilaration boat rides based at Clarence Pier.

What a ride it was. Imagine the most exciting theme park ride you’ve ever been on and then visualise it being on the water, skimming the waves at breakneck speed.

I have to say I was pretty nervous beforehand. For one thing I can’t swim – a traumatic near-drowning experience aged six on Hayling Island put paid to that.

I did actually have swimming lessons at senior school, but still never quite mastered the breaststroke.

Captain Mark, who manages this family-run business, assured me I would be fine and that it would be great fun but with a strong emphasis on safety.

All the boats are equipped with the very latest electronic navigational, radar and safety equipment and are licensed by the Maritime Coastal Agency for both day and night passages.

The skippers are professionally trained and they even cater for people with disabilities.

But as I donned a very fetching luminous orange life-jacket and stepped aboard along with 11 other brave folk, I could feel my heart pounding 20 to the dozen.

We set off at a gentle pace, but that only lasted a few seconds before I was hanging on for dear life as we zipped over the waves.

Exhilaration is certainly the right word to describe this amazing water adventure.

We went from Clarence Pier to South Parade Pier to Spithead Fort and down to Stokes Bay, all in a breathtaking 15 minutes.

It certainly blew away the cobwebs and I have to say it was possibly the best quarter-of-an-hour I’ve ever spent.

They do longer trips and now I can’t wait to get out there and do it all over again.