About Bitternes Afloat

About Bitternes Afloat

The Purpose

Over the course of one week around the Easter holiday, expect to take your understanding of sailing to the next level, get to know people that share your interests, eat loads of cake, experience stunning scenery and find God in a new and exciting way.

Bitternes Afloat brings together young people from across the country to learn to sail on the Norfolk Broads and learn more about Christianity. Our formal worship and study time comprises of a short bible study with crew called ‘Morning Divisions’, ‘Evening Quarters’ which are fun worship sessions that feature activities and a gospel presentation, and ‘Cabin Clubs’ that small discussion groups held on the boats.

The Sailing

Based on the Norfolk Broads, we spend the week on a fleet of yachts that are between 25 and 34 feet in length and are crewed by between 5 and 8 people. Each yacht has an experienced skipper and a mate who supervise the cruise members as they live and sleep on board. (The boat crews are mixed gender during the day and are reorganised into individual gender for night time.)

In addition to the larger boats, we use a half decker, skippered by a qualified sailing instructor, to give crew an opportunity for a more hands on learning experience.

We base our cruise at near South Walsham Broad, from which we sail to a different destination each day, returning back most days in the late afternoon. Although we try to spend one night away at the stunning Horsey Mere!

And Also

The Skippers of Bitternes Afloat

The team is what makes Bitternes Afloat a success. All are volunteers, and all give up time to serve the young people.

Our Shore Crew provides hot meals at South Walsham village hall – we start with an awesome breakfast and return for a rewarding meal.

Our Mates are junior leaders, each having experienced time on the cruise as a member and demonstrating the skills and values needed for the role.

Our Skippers are all experienced and qualified sailors, with some being RYA qualified Instructors. Sailing aside, all have a heart to serve God through leading the young people in to new adventures.

Our Exec. We have some wise men and women that serve both on the cruise as Skippers and Shore Crew and in the Exec to provide leadership and administrative functions to make sure that the week is enjoyable for each member.

We consider a safe holiday a fun holiday, and take the safety of the young people in our care seriously. Life jackets are compulsory for all cruise members. A number of our leaders have valid first aid qualifications, we provide an annual review and we have a nurse with us on hand if required. We also operate a Child Protection Policy which includes the requirement for all leaders over 18 to have been checked through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) as well as providing suitable references.

Our Origin

The ‘Bitternes Afloat’ name reflects it’s origins in the Parish Church in Bitterne in Southampton.
The Cruise was started over 60 years ago for the Boys’ Bible Class in Bitterne Church. Over the years it has changed and refined itself to meet new challenges and needs. Throughout it has remained true to its original aims of providing an adventurous sailing holiday dedicated to promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


If you are interested in finding out about attending either for yourself or for someone you know, we will be delighted to hear from you. Please contact us.