Favourite Anchorages in the Solent
The latitude-longitude position that lies more or less in the middle for each anchorage is given. However, these are only intended to assist finding the right general area on the chart; they should not be taken as the definitive point for anchoring.
St Helens Fort(d40, 43.5 N; 001, 06.5 W)
A small number of local moorings can be found takeing some space off SeaviewThe Boat House (there are also a few visitors’ moorings), These are pleasant to visit, but can get busy in the narrow window when the depth is sufficient for yachts to enter and leave Bembridge Harbour
Priory Bay(50, 42.7 N; 001, 05.1 W) 001, 06.5 W).
It is possible to anchor pretty well anywhere in sufficient depth in Priory Bay Priory Bay has few obstructions beyond the odd lobster pot. These are peaceful and attractive places, well sheltered from W to S, and with a grandstand view of the big ships coming and going from Southampton and Portsmouth. The only disadvantage is that the ferries tend to create a bit of wash from time to time.
Osborne Bay(50, 45.4 N; 001, 15.1 W)
Osborne Bay is below the majestic Osborne House, where Queen Victoria used to holiday. A sheltered and popular anchorage for lunch and a swim
This gives good shelter in any wind with south in it, and is also reasonable in westerlies. The main problem is the number of other boats at lunchtimes and afternoons, though there is always room for a few more round the edge. However, it is excellent as an overnight stop, with good holding in most places (the few rocky patches are obvious from the chart), relatively weak tidal streams and an excellent view of the big ships rounding Brambles Bank. The shoreline is very attractive, but it all lies within the grounds of Osborne House so no landing is allowed.
Lee on Solent/Stokes Bay(50, 46.8 N; 001, 09.7 W)
lying to the W of Gilkicker Point. This is very useful in anything with north in it. Dropping anchor here for lunch is fun, and there are often dinghies sailing around to provide entertainment.
the main consideration is to avoid anchoring where you will interfere with the dinghy-racing activity during daylight hours. There aren’t any swinging moorings here, so if you pick one up it is probably one of the marker buoys for the day’s course.
On the other side from Yarmouth, anchoring here close to the Hurst Lighthouse, you can see the tide rush by. This makes a great breakfast stop on entering the Solent from the West, or after a night in Yarmouth.
This is not a safe swimming stop due to the powerful current.
Probably the top Solent anchorage is Newtown Creek. It has quiet beauty, is surrounded by nature reserves, offers near-perfect shelter from all directions, has pretty good holding and boasts an adjacent sandy beach for BBQs (just outside the entrance on the W side). To top it all, a pleasant run in the tender to Shalfleet and a 10 minute walk take you to The New Inn famous for its good ale and its excellent seafood. Landing or departure at Shalfleet is only possible in the top half of the tide.
Entry into Newtown creek is simple at any state of tide. Approach from the North keeping the correct side of a small port-hand buoy (don’t cut the corner if coming from the east) and line up the leading beacons on 130T; the front one has a ball and the back one a Y, so they align gunsight-fashion. There is also a pair of big wooden beacons, port- and starboard-coloured, that forms a goalmouth through which you must pass. Once through the goalmouth, turn to starboard towards the entrance which is much deeper than the approaches. Once through the entrance, the well marked channel bends to port, then you can choose between going east into Clamerkin Lake (6 visitors’ moorings and lots of anchoring space) or north up the Shalfleet Channel (18 visitors’ moorings but no anchoring space). It is debatable whether it is better to arrive at HW (allowing more manoeuvring room and a chance to sound out where there is sufficient depth) or at LW when many of the worst bits are dry. A favourite stop – either for overnight, or to or from Yarmouth. You can anchor here or, in low season, pick up a buoy. There is a small charge, but it is free if you are a member of the National Trust and have your card with you.
In low season you will only be charged for picking up a white buoy, and not for anchoring
The ‘red buoy’ marking the entrance has been changed to a small cardinal buoy, but the pilot books haven’t caught up with this fact.Newtown Creek
Alum bay(50, 39.9N; 001, 34.6W)
At far west end of solent is Alum Bay. Just off the "colured cliffs"( the sand is of a variety of colours) can be a good stopping place.
Inclined to be a bit " rolly" if an afternoon sea breeze against the ebb comes up , but this anchorage is popular and used on numerous occasions for an overnight stop before setting off across the channel in the early morning.( it gives you a good start for the 70 miles or so to Alderney.)
If the alum bay anchorage becomes too uncomfortable, you can move up to anchor behind the shelter of the beach at hurst castle
Steep to , here, so check your holding ground and lay out plenty of cable.
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