Cruise aboard Betsie Jane
We have been the custodians of Betsie Jane since 2016 and much of the inspiration for the Deli was taken from our love for the bygone era that Betsie represents! Join us for a cruise along the stunning Upper Reaches of the River Hamble, starting from Cabin Boatyard in Bursledon and meandering through the beautiful and oft-forgotten rolling fields and woodlands that line the lesser known, quieter but stunning waters of this famous River. Running only at high tide we are able to reach the point at which the River splits into two and continues its journey further to the Quay in Botley and the Horse and Jockey in Burridge.
Our professional Skipper and Mate will take care of you throughout your cruise – we’re a small team so if you have visited our Deli in Botley you may well recognise the crew who will be taking care of you on the day. Don’t worry as before we opened the Deli all of us had extensive careers in yachting and boating covering over 300,000 nautical miles at sea between the four of us, so you’ll be in safe hands! All the catering for our cruises comes straight from our Deli and there is something really quite quintessentially British about enjoying an Afternoon Tea on vintage bone china on a traditional Gentleman’s Launch. For our evening cruises we swap the Afternoon Tea to one of our signature Mermaids Graze Tables for you to lazily nibble on as we watch the sun set over the River. On all our trips we offer a range of drinks including prosecco, tea, coffee and soft drinks.
Our covid-19 and weather promise
We will be offering our COVID-19 and Weather Promise for all trips in 2021. This means if we are unable to run your trip due to inclement weather, you are unable to attend due to national restrictions as a result of COVID-19, you are unable to attend due to yourself or a member of your party receiving a positive COVID-19 test result or being advised to isolate by the national track and trace service we will provide a full refund (or a rescheduled cruise should you prefer – subject to availability).
Hire of Betsie Jane
Book now for exclusive hire of Betsie Jane for up to 6 people (This is subject to and in-line with government restrictions. In the event the maximum number of people allowed to meet outside increases then the maximum number of people for your booking will automatically be raised to 8 people). The price includes exclusive use of Betsie Jane with her professional Skipper and Mate for one and a half hours, Mermaids Afternoon Tea for afternoon cruises or a Mermaids Graze Table for evening cruises, refreshments on board (including prosecco for over 18s – subject to a sensible drinking policy and for which ID will be required if you look under 25) and parking for up to two cars in Cabin Boat Yard.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you accept children on your trips?
We accept children aged 10 and over on our cruises if accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Can we bring our own food and drinks on board?
As a licensed vessel we are only able serve alcoholic drinks bought as part of our packages aboard Betsie Jane. We also ask that only food purchased as part of your booking is consumed aboard.
Do you accept dogs on board?
Unfortunately we are unable to accept any pets on board Betsie Jane
Is there a toilet on board?
Yes we have a sea toilet on board Betsie Jane. We do however recommend using the toilet ashore in the marina before departure as it’s a little more luxurious!
How easy is it to get on the boat? Do you accept participants with restricted mobility?
Participants will need to walk down a marina ramp and along pontoons to get to the boat. There are also two steep steps to get onto the boat and unfortunately Betsie Jane is not adapted to take wheelchairs aboard. If you would like to discuss mobility requirements for a trip aboard Betsie Jane please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss this further.
How far in advance can I book?
At present we are releasing dates for booking around 1-2 months in advance. This will continue throughout the 2021 season to the ever changing restrictions. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page to see when new dates are announced.
Do you run in any weather conditions?
Betsie Jane is a completely open boat, so we don’t run in weather conditions which might mean that you’ll get rained on or your food will be blown away! We will always call you the day before your trip to confirm it is going ahead and to discuss any bad weather forecast with you.
Are you COVID secure?
A cruise aboard Betsie Jane is naturally very COVID secure as you are outside throughout the voyage. Our professional crew will wear masks when in close contact or serving your table. We ask you wear a face mask as you board and disembark Betsie Jane. During the voyage our crew are stood over two metres away facing the opposite direction to drive and navigate the boat. As far as possible they will leave your group alone throughout the voyage. Within your group we ask that you consider coming with your family group or support bubble and if you are from two separate households you sit opposite someone from your own household as far as possible. Hand sanitiser is available on board and we ask that you provide a list of participant names and contact telephone numbers for all of your party in case we need to contact you after the voyage.
Do you offer gift vouchers? If I have an existing voucher can I still use it?
In order to allow us to manage bookings we no longer offer new gift vouchers for bookings aboard Betsie Jane. We will honour outstanding vouchers as best as we can within the current restrictions. If you have a voucher that was originally valid for use in the 2020 season its validity has automatically been extended to cover the 2021 season. We have some dates set aside for voucher redemptions for voucher holders with vouchers for individual places rather than whole boat hire so please contact us on email@example.com and we can confirm available dates for booking your voucher. Please note that we are only taking bookings around a month in advance at the moment, due to ever changing restrictions.
About Betsie Jane
Betsie Jane was commissioned by Lord Ebbisham and built by Saunders Roe at Cowes in 1938. Designed specifically to entertain guests she was one of the luxury powerboats of her era. On launch day such was the interest in the boat the local press were on hand to record the event.
During peacetime Betsie had a full time skipper, Frank Toogood, and was used by Lord Ebbisham to cruise the French canals and the Solent during the summer months. But it was not long until World War 2 broke out and Betsie was requisitioned and became known as HM Motor Launch Betsie Jane. During the war years Betsie was based at Culver Fort on the Isle of Wight and had a number of roles including escorting American ships into Portsmouth harbour and as a launch for the Commander in Chief for the Isle of Wight. Reputedly she was involved in the Dunkirk evacuation as Frank’s son Peter recalls his father’s stories of his trip to Dunkirk with Betsie Jane being used to tow smaller craft, but sadly official records from this time regarding Betsie Jane are very limited. We believe that towards the end of the war Betsie was also involved in a secret mission carrying surveyors who were laying the PLUTO fuel pipeline to the Normandy beaches.
After the war she was returned to Lord Ebbisham and remained in the family until his death in 1953. Since then there have been a number of owners, including the MD of Triumph motors. Sadly she was later found languishing in a state of disrepair in a field. Restoration was started in 1991 and finally completed around 2012. Fortunately many of the original fixtures and fittings have survived and have been incorporated into the restoration enabling Betsie to return near exact condition as she was originally back in 1938.