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Thread: Ideas for coastal cruising canoe sailing grounds

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    Default Ideas for coastal cruising canoe sailing grounds

    After having read Margaret Dyes book on dinghy cruising I keep thinking that there must so many places to cruise with a sailing canoe and yet I seem to be stuck for ideas.

    I don't actually have much knowledge of our wonderful UK coastline as I have spent nearly all my holiday time in the last 40 odd years in Wales and occasionally in Cornwall and Devon. Many of the places I have been to tend to produce quite rough conditions. My visits to the Dorset coast being back when I was a nipper and I can't remember much about them.

    Therefore, assuming that I would prefer not to travel more than 4 hours drive from Dursley, in Gloucestershire, where are the best places for a coastal canoe sailing cruise of about 3-4 days?

    Steve C

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    The best cruising grounds around for sailing canoes are on the west coast of Scotland. A bit more than 4hrs from Dursley but well worth the drive. There are lots of estuaries and bays around the English coast but most don't provide the extensive cruising that Scotland can offer.
    The OCSG have a coastal meet at Tighnabruich at the end of August and some of us will be staying there the whole week. It isnt the best that Scotland has to offer but is still pretty good.

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    Nice thread idea... but how about you starting off with the places you HAVE found

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    Nice thread idea... but how about you starting off with the places you HAVE found
    Hi Greg

    I have many places over the years to enjoy the sea in a boat (often a kayak) but it has always been a muck about in one location. More often than not pottering around the rocky coves or surfing.

    Although I have enjoyed kayaking since I was a kid I only started sailing in 2007 after I finished building my Prospector and my first sail that was not on a lake was this trip http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...-Canoe-Sailing in 2009.

    Since that trip I seem to have done the Severn to death! and I've sailed my canoe at Saundersfoot, Amroth and Tenby (including out into Carmarthen Bay), The river Dart Estuary, Exmouth, and Start Bay in Devon. I've also paddled it on the Tidal stretch of the Tyfi and various locations on the coast in Pembrokeshire.

    However, even the best locations for cruising (particularly between Tenby and the Gower) involve crossing several military firing ranges. I was hoping to sail last year from Tenby to the Gower but gave up on that idea after various conversations with the MOD. Although they would allow us through it was not to be without some hassle.

    So come on Greg - inspire me please (I bet you can!)

    Many thanks

    Steve

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    Well I think the East coast, North Kent round to Norfolk, ought to have potential. It lacks cliffs, stacks, and arches; but it has lots of creeks and inlets, islands, salt marshes, and historic ports and towns. While I love the idea of going to Scotland and plan to try it sometime, realistically I'm not going to manage it all that often while I live down here. But this stretch of coast is within an hour of me and I'd like to start exploring it--preferably in company.

    I believe the DCA does have meets out this way. Perhaps I'll try and hook up with them once I'm a bit more proficient and have kitted out my canoe better for more exposed waters.

    It should be easily within 4 hours drive of you. But all that said, I haven't actually done it yet, so I can't claim 'you must do it' in the way someone who actually has could. (Also, I enjoy canoeing some of our fenland ditches, so you might say I'm fairly easily pleased scenically. ).

    But we've a holiday down to Cornwall in a couple of weeks so I'm hoping to have a go paddling and sailing on the Helford and Fal estuaries. (Delving a bit deeper into the book linked to below under Hilbre I see it also refers to a British Canoe Association meet on the Fal p60f.; I particularly like their idea of camping, which includes waiting for the piano to arrive and be properly set up, p65!)

    Oh, and another thought ... I would say the Dee estuary, North Wales and Hilbre island might make a good base for a bit of canoe sailing at some point. Has the OCSG not tried a meet there yet? Could one not persuade the Mersey Canoe Club to host one? (I have no connections with them, but I've relatives on the Wirral and used to walk across to Hilbre and recently read the article in the Gossip about a Historic Canoe and Kayak Association visit there--it looked most interesting: http://www.ocsg.info/content/2009/nov/page1.html .)

    Here is a 19th c. book about canoe sailing and camping, these pages about Hilbre: http://www.archive.org/stream/campin.../search/hilbre
    I should probably add that Hilbre today is a bird reserve and SSI, so camping there is probably discouraged. Nevertheless, I've seen sailboats moored there so if the weather was right you could presumably sleep aboard--and perhaps the Mersey Canoe Club would have further info ...

    Looking forward to reading others' ideas. I think this is an excellent idea for a thread, Steve.

    All the best,
    Ian
    Last edited by idc; 22nd-June-2011 at 09:02 PM. Reason: Bird reserve info & historical observation about camping with pianos

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    OK... I'm mentioning this with a note of caution... as I suspect you have the judgement to cope, but lots of others would not: my favourite haunt in Wales has long been St Davids (incorporating Solva, Porth Clais, Porth Gain and Ramsey sound/island) - but I don't think that area counts as a minor undertaking even for veterans of the OCSG!

    Crucially, in the right conditions, with a proper understanding of the tides and sensible planning... the whole area can be near-perfect... and it's a lot closer to you than the west coast of Scotland!

    I could explore that bit of coast indefinitely.... and if i turned up with a sailing canoe, sea kayak and something I could use in the surf (OK, and climbing gear)... I could find something outstanding to do in almost any conditions... but I'd not recommend under-estimating Ramsey Sound at full chat, or Solva on the tail end of a Force 8!

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    And another idea: what about Poole Harbour and all that cruising around Southampton and the Isle of White. That must be within 4 hours of you.

    Cheers,
    Ian

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    I think Dublin bay would be a good spot for coastal sailing, to the north you've got Bull island, round Howth head to the harbour, Ireland's Eye and even Lambay Island for the more daring, across the bay you can visit Dun Laoghaire and Dalkey Island.
    My wife has a house a few minutes away from Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club which is perfect for launching into the bay all I have to do is convince her we need a third sailing canoe stationed in Ireland!

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    Quote Originally Posted by idc View Post
    Well I think the East coast, North Kent round to Norfolk, ought to have potential. It lacks cliffs, stacks, and arches; but it has lots of creeks and inlets, islands, salt marshes, and historic ports and towns. While I love the idea of going to Scotland and plan to try it sometime, realistically I'm not going to manage it all that often while I live down here. But this stretch of coast is within an hour of me and I'd like to start exploring it--preferably in company.

    All the best,
    Ian
    If you fancy going for a sail out of Kings Lynn or Hunstanton sometime, I'd quite fancy a salt water sail over the next couple of months, though I'd rather fit some extra buoyancy first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamerpoint View Post
    If you fancy going for a sail out of Kings Lynn or Hunstanton sometime, I'd quite fancy a salt water sail over the next couple of months, though I'd rather fit some extra buoyancy first.
    Yes. I think I may do the same. But a bit of coastal sailing in company would be good.

    Ian

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    Quote Originally Posted by idc View Post
    Yes. I think I may do the same. But a bit of coastal sailing in company would be good.

    Ian
    I'd be very keen to join you too

    Steve

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    Poole Harbour! Big enough on it's own for a few nights camping and very safe for a tidal sailing spot!

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    There is a Local Meet on the Solent this weekend, based around the Beaulieu River. Details are on the OCSG website. There are a few keen coastal canoe sailors based around the Solent so it should be a good meet. It is not for novices but i am sure Steve would be welcome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve C View Post
    I'd be very keen to join you too

    Steve
    Sounds like we have a good party then. I should say, I'm going to be away much of this summer; so it is unlikely I'll find a spare day before September now. (Though keep me posted if you fix something up.) But that gives some time to get outriggers sorted.

    I don't know King's Lynn and Hunstanton at all well. Where does one launch? And would you just have a sail out and back along the coast, or would you sail to somewhere and have a shuttle?

    I love the idea of sailing the Solent--but apart from being a novice, I'm booked this weekend. Poole harbour, however, I *will* sail one of these days. My wife is madly keen on Dorset and Purbeck and we seem to visit quite regularly.

    Looking forward to the blog, Dave.

    Ian

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveS View Post
    There is a Local Meet on the Solent this weekend, based around the Beaulieu River. Details are on the OCSG website. There are a few keen coastal canoe sailors based around the Solent so it should be a good meet. It is not for novices but i am sure Steve would be welcome.
    That's kind of you Dave but I seem to have rather a lot of engagements and promises to see through with my kids at the moment. I shall be cycle camping this weekend instead of sailing.

    I have joined the OCSG but am still trying to line up my limited free time with one of the organised events. I'll have to try really hard to get to one of them this year or I'll have wasted my membership

    Steve C

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    What about a south of Scotland somewhere (anywhere) coastal meet after the summer hols have past, some time in September or October?

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    OK... I'm mentioning this with a note of caution... as I suspect you have the judgement to cope, but lots of others would not: my favourite haunt in Wales has long been St Davids (incorporating Solva, Porth Clais, Porth Gain and Ramsey sound/island) - but I don't think that area counts as a minor undertaking even for veterans of the OCSG!
    Hi Greg

    That part of the world is truly beautiful and very much a favourite of mine for family holidays - I know it quite well.

    A few years ago I paddled my Pyranha Acrobat 300 (yes those were the days!) out into the Bitches the day before the biggest tide of the year. I went out with two other paddlers (one being a guide from TYF in St.Davids) and got to see and play in some seriously big water. I've seen the Bitches first hand in full flow and certainly don't plan on sailing Green Bean through there!

    One the other hand, I agree that in the right sea state it would be superb. I do know someone that has sailed dinghies through the Ramsey Sound and he says it's fine as long as you know where you are going. I'd love to do it but I would prefer to crew for someone more experienced first.

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve C View Post
    What about a south of Scotland somewhere (anywhere) coastal meet after the summer hols have past, some time in September or October?
    Looks like a few of us will be at Tighnabruaich from ~26th August to ~4th September: the calendar's kinda crowded after that with Ullswater 17 - 18 Sep, then the Solent meet over 1 - 2 Oct (on out calendar) and the last meet of the season on Coniston from 21 - 23 Oct (half term, so maybe 21st-26th for us).

    Edit to add: I'd be up for a meet at St Davids next year if we can find a slot in the calendar. Ramsey sound at full chat in a sailing canoe would certainly be "interesting": fun in a sea kayak, but I'd need to work up to that one!

    My best paddling trips ever have been down that way: the surfing waves get all the attention... but the whirlpools in the sound a huge fun in a sea kayak... and my best paddling moment ever was on a wave on the south end of the island... when I noticed a dolphin/porpoise keeping station with me in the same wave! Gina's one and only sea kayak trip was there as well: sunfish, porpoise, baby seals and more all on one easy paddle!

    Some of the caves up the west side of Ramsey are stunning: we went in one old favourite may times, including once where we could get to a point where the sunlight was coming up through the water from a submerged opening - just stunning. Another cave, right on the north end, goes into the island a long, long way: navigable with minimal swell... but kinda canoe-sized and at the state of tide I recall, offering zero headroom even at the bottom of any swell, plus minimal room right or left!

    Roll on a return visit... though you can quite easily be there for 3-4 days and never get appealing canoe-sailing conditions!
    Last edited by GregandGinaS; 23rd-June-2011 at 10:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    you can quite easily be there for 3-4 days and never get appealing canoe-sailing conditions!
    That was my thought too Greg

    Steve

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    Just remembered -

    Weather permitting I shall be attempting to sail from Lydney harbour to Cardiff, then to Portishead and finally back to Lydney on the last weekend of August. This is a trip with Lydney yacht club so I shall have company on the water.

    This is a round trip of about 70 miles and the only trouble with this trip is that is so easy to get sea states that require a change of underwear ! and therefore the likelihood of a change of plan is not that low.

    Keeping my fingers crossed though

    I shall have the only sailing canoe on the trip unless any other adventurous canoe sailors are up for it ?

    Regards

    Steve

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