Dinghy Cruising Notes

Cruising notes for our dinghy cruises. These are very good daysails.

Lymington to Bucklers Hard

Lymington to Alum Bay

Lymington to Newton Creek (New Inn, Shalfleet or meet with the Yacht Cruisers)

Seafarers to Lepe

Seafarers to Ashlett Creek (The Jolly Sailor PH)

Seafarers to Hamble River (The Jolly Sailor PH)

Gilkicker Point to Portchester SC

Stokes Bay (Diving Bell Museum) to Ryde

Stokes Bay (Diving Bell Museum) to Seaview (The Boathouse PH)

Stokes Bay (Diving Bell Museum) to Bembridge (Bembridge SC or Baywatch Cafe)

Stokes Bay to Wootton Creek (Royal Victoria YC)

Stokes Bay to Osborne Bay (meet with the Yacht Cruisers)

Tudor SC to Bembridge

Stokes Bay (Diving Bell Museum) to Whitecliffe Bay (Cafe)

Stokes Bay (Diving Bell Museum) to Southsea

Itchenor to Dell Quay (Dell Quay SC / Crown & Anchor PH)

Itchenor to East Head / Hayling Island (HISC)

Round Hayling Island (variety of launch points)

Technical Articles

Solent and English Channel Tides

Ten Solent Passages by Cliff Martin of the DCA Solent and reproduced here with permission.


Solent tides are complicated and sometimes enough to make a saint swear. Longer passages tend to either be fast or go wrong and become very time consuming and exhausting. Getting out of harbour during the late flood is often impossible. Getting into harbour during the ebb may be impossible or dangerous.

There is no cast iron guarantee with these passage suggestions but I have used them in the past to good effect and they generally work out. When planning, double check with a tidal stream atlas and remember when beating you might only manage 1.5 knots even in good conditions. With a fair tide of 1 knot this equates to 15 miles over a 6 hour period. With a foul tide of 1 knot you’ll only get 3 miles in the same time.


1 Chichester to Central or Western Solent

2 Warsash to Eling

3 Eling to Warsash

4 Warsash to Western Solent

5 Newport/Cowes heading East

6 Chichester to Bembridge

7 Bembridge to Chichester

8 Newtown to Chichester

9 Newtown to Warsash

10 Around Hayling from Cobnor

1 Chichester to central or western Solent

Leave 5 hours before high water. As you get out over the bar the tide will still be flowing east but will soon turn in your favour. Sail out at least as far as the Bar Beacon.  Head west. Keep towards the mainland shore for the best tide. Cross over at Gilkicker Point if going to Cowes or the western Solent. Tide runs fair for 8 hours

2 Warsash to Eling

Getting out of the Hamble in good time is critical to this passage which is otherwise straight forward. Leave Warsash 4.5 hours before high water. Sail out of the Hamble. The spit dries but you don’t have to go as far as the big cardinal on the shipping channel (check chart and tidal height). Enter Southampton Water and sail up to Eling. 

3 Eling to Warsash.

It’s about 8 miles down river to Hamble spit. In a reasonable wind with a fair tide this will only take a couple of hours but in a weak SE wind might take three or more. You need to be at Hamble spit at or before low water. In a fair wind it’s usually possible to blow back up the Hamble against the ebb, otherwise you might have to anchor and wait. Do not dry out! Sail up the Hamble to Warsash. The hard is available at low water springs

4 Warsash to western Solent

Leave Warsash 5 hours before high water. Sail out of the Hamble and cross over to Calshot. Sail around Calshot Spit. Head west keeping close inshore as far as Lepe spit. which dries but by the time you get there should have covered. Tide turns fair I hour before high water and runs for 6 hours.


Leave Warsash at high water, sail out of the Hamble, down Southampton Water and into the Western Solent. Tide runs fair for 5 hours. Tide will be ebbing when you reach the next harbour. Walking the boat into Newtown against the tide is possible, use the western edge of the entrance. Tidal streams in and out of Lymington are usually weak and can be sailed against.

5 Newport/Cowes heading East

Leave Newport 3 hours after high water. Sail out of eastern entrance of Cowes Harbour. Tide turns fair 5 hours after high water. If you are early, anchor over Shrape Mud. At (or before) the turn of the tide sail out into the Solent across to Gilkicker Point and head east. The tide will only run fair for about 4 hours and in light weather may turn before you reach Chichester. Entering Langstone or Portsmouth should be easy as the tide will be flooding. For Chichester you have two choices. Either through Langstone Harbour and under the bridge or through Chichester Harbour entrance. The tide continues to flood into the harbours until high water. After high water it ebbs slowly for 2 hours. After this the ebb sets in hard. The tide in the channel north of Hayling Island is usually the same direction as Hayling Bay. This channel dries on spring tides.

6 Chichester to Bembridge

A slightly tricky one this, as you often can’t get out of Chichester until high water and the tide turns off Bembridge Harbour entrance 3 hours later. In reality you’ve got 4 hours to make an 8 mile crossing mostly with a fair tide before it gets really awkward but the harbour entrance dries on a big spring and no one goes in or out within an hour and a half or so of low water. There is very often a calm area about a mile off Bembridge. This includes the shipping channel and sailing across may not be possible. The big ships move fast and can’t stop but can and will (normally) alter course to avoid other boats. Large ships bound for or out of Southampton will carry a local pilot who is familiar with these waters and the leisure boats which use them. It’s a good idea to leave a sail hoisted while crossing so ships can see you from a distance. Once the ship is within about half a mile they may not be able to see you at all. 

7 Bembridge to Chichester

Another tricky one. The tide runs fair over low water. See Chichester to Bembridge for extra information

Leave about 4 hours after high water making sure you don’t dry out in the harbour approach. Sail to Chichester with a fair tide. Enter Chichester with a fair tide.


Leave Bembridge as early on the flood as you can get out. The tide will initially be fair but will turn foul part way across and attempt to sweep you west. Keep as far east as possible. If it’s a very slow crossing you may not be able to get to Chichester until the ebb has set in and you might have to wait until low water. If you can’t point Chichester then going into Langstone and under the bridge is an option. 

8 Newtown to Chichester.

A very common error with this passage is to dry out at Shalfleet and be unable to leave on time. If necessary move the boat before hand into deeper water.

Leave 1 hour before low water. The tide going up to Chichester will only run fair for four hours so it’s important to make sure either you’ve a reliable fair wind or go for a stopping off point. Wootton Creek is the obvious place and you’re going to be stuck there for 6 hours over high water. If you leave Wootton early with a fair wind and head for Chichester or Langstone it will most likely still be ebbing when you get there. If the wind is from the south and any more than a force 3 the entrance will most likely be choppy or dangerous. If it doesn’t look good heave to and wait. Enter Chichester with a fair tide

9 Newtown to Warsash

As above but enter Southampton Water and sail up to Warsash. Tide runs fair for 7 hours then stands for a further two

10 Around Hayling from Cobnor


Leave Cobnor 2 hours before low water. Sail out at least as far as the bar beacon. The water will be very thin. Head west. The tide will be against you but not excessively strong. Be aware how far out the east Winner extends outside Langstone harbour. Enter the harbour. It’s OK to cut through the moorings inside the entrance but regain the channel as soon as possible. Follow the channel up to the bridge. Note the red and green marks on the bridge to show the best water. Beyond the bridge the water will either be very thin or the tide against you. You’ll be fighting the tide all the way down the Emsworth channel but don’t cut across Pilsey Sands until you have reached the moorings. Follow the racing marks across Pilsey Sands. Regain the Chichester Channel and sail up to Cobnor with a fair tide.

Anti clockwise

Leave Cobnor at high water or a little before (the tide may still be flooding). Sail down the Chichester Channel, across Pilsey Sands, into the Emsworth Channel (where the tide may be against you) and along Sware deep. At some point along the north of Hayling Island you will probably lose the tide which will run fast under the bridge once it gets going. The top of Langstone harbour can be slow but once you approach the dredged channel the tide will turn in your favour. Sail down and out of Langstone harbour. (Don’t attempt this in a southerly wind of more than F4) Sail out beyond the east Winner and cross Hayling Bay. It will now be near low tide so beware of thin water. It’s normally OK so long as you leave the bar beacon to port. Tide turns in Chichester entrance about 5.5 hours after high water. Follow the marked channel up to Cobnor.


From Ged in CodySC

Lymington to the Medina including an overnight stay. 

Pick a day when the low water is about 11am. Leave Lymington an hour before low water, taking the last of the ebb tide out of Lymington, to aim to be at the tide direction change at the LTSC Starting Platform. Sail to Cowes entrance on the fair tide, take all day, stop for lunch somewhere, be at the Cowes entrance no later than 16:30. Make your way on the flood to the upper reaches of the Medina. For the return passage, leave in the morning at high tide, taking the ebb down the Medina, out into the Solent and get to Lymington before the ebb starts, which is about noon the next day. 

Recent Posts

Chichester Harbour Daysail – Sunday 18th July

The forecast was for glorious sunny and hot weather, but light winds. With the prospect of a nice sea breeze due to the warm weather, six Cody sailors headed down to Chichester harbour for a sail from Itchenor to see where the wind took us. The one thing that was predictable was the tide. A late morning low allowed for a sail (or a possible drift) out to towards the harbour entrance and back with the tide.

David Gradwell and new member James fresh from the Level 1&2 training course at Frensham sailed in the Clubs shiny White Trio. Keith and Louis in a Sport 14 and Anna and Simon in Simons not quite so shiny Brown trio (was originally red once before it got a sun tan!)

Due to the hot weather the road to east head was packed and so was the carpark at Itchenor but we just got the last few car park spaces, phew! It was a relief to finally get on the water after a very hot time setting up. The sea breeze kicked in nicely on cue and it was a lovely sail. We stopped at the Hayling sailing club for lunch which was very pleasant and then sailed out of the harbour not quite making it to the bar with the wind dropping and tide turning, before returning on a broad reach back to Itchenor. It was a nice day out, Chichester harbour is lovely, and it was good to see the Club white trio have an outing and enjoy the sunny weather. Itchenor is a good place to launch but best to get there early on a weekend in summer with good weather.