Solent tides - to and from Poole

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Solent tides - to and from Poole

Post by Airscrew »

Hi to all.

A very basic question, but I just want to buddy check with this forum.

I want to sail Hamble to Poole and back for a weekend.
We have a Centaur, where 5 knots is good, motoring 4kts and tacking 3 knots VMG.

I have been Gosport to Poole and back twice, non-skipper, on a faster boat at 6+kts over the ground, and we routed Eastbound South of the Island, and Westbound back through the Needles.

I would certainly want the shorter route of the Needles both ways.
In your experience, is there a state of tides over 2 days that would suit Poole and back over 2 days.??
Or do I realistically have to succumb to an extra overnight (Yarmouth or Keyhaven) heading west, against some (NEAPS) tide, and come back with the tide through the Needles??

I can do the Nav/maths, but purely in the interests of sharing, it would be good to hear of any personal experiences or suggestions.
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Re: Solent tides - to and from Poole

Post by Hillary »

At High tide there is a strong westerly tide increasing slightly an hour after high tide to a max of about 3+ knots then decreasing but still running west. 4 hours after high tide the current reverses and a weak flow starts running east the current strengthens until 6 hours after high tide its running east at over 2 knots. 10 hours after high tide its slack and then reverses to run west again. I would recommend Tide Planner from Imray which works with Imray Navigator and overlays tide information on Imray charts.

Getting the tide right can make a big difference in a Centaur as I can attest. If you head off at the right time you can make 8 knots :) if not you will make barely 3. On the day I bought my Centaur I got the tide right by accident and was swishing along at 7 knots past lee on Solent. For a moment I thought i had bought the fastest Centaur ever.... Then i remembered the Solent tide flows ;)

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Re: Solent tides - to and from Poole

Post by TyroSailor »

Definitely through the Needles Channel, or (better for Poole in a Centaur) North Channel. This means turning right once past Hurst Castle and leaving Shingles Bank to port (this does take you alarmingly close to the shingle beach off Hurst and Milford-on-Sea but it's quite safe, as the chart will show). Then to North Head starboard hand mark (also to port, obviously), then pretty well due west to Poole entrance via the East Looe channel. This cuts off a considerable corner and is the shortest route. Have nothing to do with the main channel from the south: it's a long way round and very busy at times.

As far as the tides are concerned, you MUST have the tide with you through Hurst Narrows and, a little less critically, through the western Solent and Poole entrance, otherwise you'll make no progress at all and probably end up going backwards! If you leave Hamble a couple of hours before HW Portsmouth, you'll have seven hours of favourable tide, which should get you through Hurst. The stream will then be against you across Poole Bay, where it's less strong, and you should arrive at the Looe Channel off Sandbanks during the flood, which will sweep you into the harbour, whether you like it or not. Look out for the chain ferry and for the large gravel bank to port just inside the harbour (which extends well to the south of the two large red buoys marking it, as I discovered to my cost last time I went in!). And mind the big jetfoil too.

Are you planning to go to a marina in Poole? They seem to be the most expensive in the known Universe, unless you know of somewhere more reasonable. I'd recommend anchoring in a quiet backwater somewhere, unless you want to see the town of course.

Coming back (I'm a bit hazier about this without my books at hand to refer to), if you take the last of the ebb out of the harbour and you have a decent breeze (not easterly!) you can pick up the flood outside and take the last of it in through Hurst. That's cutting it fine though, unless you have a north-westerly gale to help you along, and if you're too late you'll have to duck into Christchurch to wait for the next tide, or at least anchor outside. Alternatively, come out of Poole earlier and put up with the (weak) ebb against you most of the way, arriving off Hurst with the first of the flood. This will take you through, and carry you all the way home. The tidal stream atlas will be invaluable.

Having said all of that, I'd stop in Lymington both ways to relieve the stress of worrying about timings. (or Yarmouth if you like, but I prefer Lymington). You won't, I fancy, get into Keyhaven, as you'd be arriving (from the east) close to LW, although you could anchor or pick up a buoy outside.

I'd be surprised if you can make good 3kn through the water on a beat. That means sailing at 4.5kn, which is a push unless there's enough wind to make it uncomfortable. (But you may be a better sailor than I!) You'd have the tide as well, of course. But if you have to beat, I think you can forget doing it in a day each way - hope for a reach both ways!
Experience: That which would have been most useful five minutes before you acquired it.

Tyro (Centaur 1361)
at Southampton
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