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Last weekend I was lucky enough to be invited on board the latest addition to the flotilla of boats offering trips on our beautiful River Dart. Vivere aka The Fizz Boat is the brainchild of Gaynor & David Ramsden who are on a mission to help people make memories, live life to the full and introduce them to the pleasures of popping the cork … something I am wholeheartedly in support of !!

David & Gaynor were seduced by the beauty of Dartmouth many years ago : David started his working life at the BRNC, the couple were married at the Dart Marina during Regatta in 2008 and had their wedding breakfast on board The Picnic Boat. One of Gaynor’s favourite memories of the town is walking down the Embankment the day after their wedding in the quiet of the early morning watching the river slowly come to life. They knew then that this was where their future lay.

David & Gaynor Ramsden

Getting The Fizz Boat off the ground has been a labour of love and a rather steep learning curve : as Gaynor says she now knows a lot more about boat mechanics than she did before! They have been keen to use local tradespeople along the way including Dartmouth Chandlery, Deep Blue Signs and Coverworks at Galmpton, and have worked hard to sample and source a range of local food and drink to serve on board – well I suppose someone’s got to do it …

We set sail on a rather blustery Saturday lunchtime but soon forgot about the choppy waters as the corks popped and the fizz flowed. Phil from Castang Wines in Looe was on hand to guide us through the range of Champagnes, Prosecco and wines which included an interesting and delicious sparkling Shiraz and a “not for the faint hearted” cider from Bollhayes in Exeter. We all agreed that the Sparkling Blanc from Sharpham was our favourite of the day (and not just because it was the most local) – although the armagnac liqueur Pousse Rapière was also a highlight.

A selection of cruises are given on their website, but as Gaynor and David are keen to make everything as unique and flexible as possible a number of add-ons and food options are available for each cruise. From Sunrise Sharing Boards through Mediterranean Mezze Platters to quirky Afternoon Teas I guarantee that you will find something to tickle your tastebuds. We sampled one of the Seafood Indulgence Boards together with a selection of local meats and cheeses and I think it’s fair to say that we were mightily impressed given that there were only crumbs left at the end …

Seafood Indulgence Sharing Board

Given that it’s a brand new boat one would have expected it to be looking good but as with everything it’s the small touches that make a difference. Cushions emblazoned with anchors and union jack bunting tie in with their red white and blue theme and even Gaynor was on-brand with her nautical scarf! We loved the silver fish platters and the champagne sink in the middle of the table designed to keep your fizz cool and it was nice to be drinking out of delicate tulip shaped glasses rather than plastic alternatives. Even the water carafes were designer …

As well as using the The Fizz Boat for celebrations, Gaynor and David are also keen for it to be thought of as an alternative venue for other occasions such as board meetings, corporate and networking events. They are already supporting the Dart Music Festival and running special cruises with local musician Nick the Fish and also hope to host special interest groups such as photography, painting and writing forums in the future. In addition they also plan to run Fizz Parties on dry land where they bring along their nautical props, boat bar, fizz wall, ‘Glam My Fizz’ Table and of course, the all important fizz to your own event.

Vivere means “to live” in latin, and it’s clear that’s exactly what David & Gaynor intend to do. They are hugely enthusiastic and full of passion for their new adventure and despite the cliche are obviously following their dream. And I for one wish them all the success in the world. Cheers to you both.


TRY IF … you want to cruise the River dart in style and make some beautiful memories

MDD LIKES … the “Glam My Fizz Table” idea, complete with Liquors  Syrups, Fruit, Sparkles and more …