Isle of Shepley round island race cruise notes.
Parking is available in free carpark on marine parade east of IoSSC. It’s best to park here & wheel the boat to the club on trolley as space at the club is limited. There is space to leave road trailers in this car park chained to the fence (bring your own padlock and chain), trolleys can be left on the beach. Get there early though, as the car park filled up. It is possible to drive up onto the sea wall (at the club) to unload but this entails queuing to enter and leave and while it’s well organised, once you are in the queue you are at the mercy of the people in front of you and it is probably not worthwhile.
Bring a trolley wheel for the front of the trolley if it is available as it helps wheel the boat along the road.
Note: due to overhead telegraph wires between the car park & the sailing club masts must not be stepped in the car park. Push the boat to the club first.
The beach at the IoSSC is steep & heavy shingle so help may be needed to drag the boat down the beach.
Safety arrangements for the event are very good. Plenty of rescue boats. A tally system is in place to confirm you’re off the water. Large fleet. Help was readily available for bringing boats ashore.
The channel between island & mainland (the Swale) is shallow & in places narrow. Particularly leading up to the rail bridge. This would be very difficult in a south or south-westerly. Event best tackled with a northerly or easterly.
Although registration in advance is slightly cheaper, we suggest this is not worthwhile as participation is really dependent on ideal conditions on the day.
Negotiation of the rail bridge requires coming ashore, capsizing the boat & walking it under the bridge. Help is on hand and arrangements explained during pre-race brief. Bring bailing bucket to help empty the boat after negotiating the bridge – don’t rely on self-bailers as the channel here is very narrow. We were able to tilt the boat using the trapeze wire and the first time we attempted it the boat stayed dry. However we fell foul of the tide and had to do it a second time and the boat filled up.
The tidal flow in this part of the channel can be very strong. Care should be taken as the wind is messed about by the railway bridge and the road bridge immediately adjacent to the railway bridge.
Make sure that you have food and drink for the race – there’s nowhere to stop for food, and it’s a long sail – check finish times from previous races, and look to the bottom of the finishing results.
Hot drinks & snacks (bacon butties) available at the IoSSC before & after the event. There is a chip shop on The Broadway in Minster on sea, which is on the way home.
Chart below sourced from the internet, but is not the track of the race, which starts and ends at IoSSC. Local knowledge is definitely an advantage. Pay attention to what others in the fleet are doing.
Isle of Sheppey Sailing club: http://www.iossc.org.uk/