LEGENDARY round-the-world sailor Mike Golding has opened new “five-star” facilities serving one of the world’s few privately-owned estuaries.

Mike visited the Beaulieu River following the completion of a £400,000 complex housing showers and toilets for mooring holders and visiting yachtsmen.

The new building also boasts a fully-equipped launderette - a vital service for people who have spent days or even weeks afloat.

Mike, 57, said: “When we were training round the world race crews we stopped at all the marinas in the Solent area and always judged the venue by the quality of the facilities. These on the Beaulieu River are outstanding.”

The ceremony at Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour was hosted by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, chairman of Beaulieu Enterprises, which operates the picturesque waterway.

He was joined by his sister, the Hon Mary-Montagu Scott, who is commodore of Beaulieu River Sailing Club and has overseen the prestigious project.

She said: “This is part of a programme of investment in the river, with a new approach for modern times.”

A Beaulieu Estate spokesman said the decor had been inspired by the New Forest.

She added: “Heavy oak doors, portholes bearing the Beaulieu River emblem, underfloor heating and luxury fittings complete the contemporary interior.

“A cosy seating area where people can warm up after a chilly sea voyage is complemented by artwork from entrants to the annual Beaulieu River photographic competition.

Harbourmaster Wendy Stowe added: “We have listened to our customers and provided new facilities that have a unique and natural charm.

“The building offers five-star touches, a relaxing place to read the paper, and sleek modern services.”

The opening ceremony was followed by a raffle in aid of the Southampton-based Jubilee Sailing Trust, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Mike Golding, one of the few yachtsmen to have raced around the world non-stop in both directions, was a popular choice to open the new building.

The Warsash-based sailor led the Group 4 team to second place in the British Steel Challenge in 1992–3 and went one better in 1996-7, winning the BT Global Challenge with a new team of amateur sailors.

In 2006, while competing in the Velux 5 Oceans yacht race, he rescued fellow Hampshire sailor Alex Thomson in the Southern Ocean.