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Poole Harbour - October 2015

by mlines » 04 Oct 2015, 19:31

It has become part of our "tradition" to go to Poole harbour at the end of the season for a final blast. During the summer months Poole has a speed limit for safety reasons which is lifted from October to March as the harbour is quieter. You are still expected to keep it reasonable and also obey the limit through the harbour entrance by the ferry.


We try and co-ordinate the visit with the Classic Motorboat meet (CMBA) but this year we could not do this as James' shifts did not permit this.

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As has become normal, we launched from Rockley Park. This time it was the Hobie owners club meet so the car park was full of RV's and plastic boats. We eventually got onto the slipway and launched. The harbour was flat calm like a mirror if a little grey with the mist and cloud. It was to stay like this all day with the sun unable to completely clear the cloud. At least this also meant there was little wind to chop up the sea,

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Once clear of the boats it was throttle up and off we went. Every year we have a sort of mental checklist of activities we want to do in the year. Having done the main river activities at Henley, overnighted at Mercury and been out to Yarmouth that left a visit to Christchurch Harbour on the list. With it flat and windless we set course for Hengistbury Head.

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by mlines » 04 Oct 2015, 19:34

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Then it was back across the bay to Studland for lunch and a swim. The water was still warm enough for a quick swim (in a wet suit)

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by mlines » 04 Oct 2015, 19:37

​And then it was throttle open to head for home and call an end to our season!

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Ans so the 2015 season ends for us
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by Ianfs » 05 Oct 2015, 10:40

Fabulous write up and pictures Martin.

There's a vid you made somewhere, I think I might have seen it on Facebook, you had heaved too, put on your shades (very cool) turned round and counted 321 go with hand signals to James who smashed open the throttle and BAM!!! ......excellent. :D
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by mlines » 05 Oct 2015, 11:55

You mean this one? Just a short clip of much more video to come.

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by Ianfs » 05 Oct 2015, 12:22

Yes that one, brilliant, made me smile again. :D
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by ChrisH » 05 Oct 2015, 15:36

Martin, whats the situation with tides and depth there.
Do you have to know where you can and can't go?
Is it complicated?
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by mlines » 05 Oct 2015, 16:55

Chris

Its pretty straight forward, you could have tagged along at the weekend.

Once you have got the principle in mind that just because you can see a large flat area of water between you and your destination you may not actually be able to go in a straight line, then you have it sussed (and this applies to boating anywhere.

Tides in general: There is a strange double high tide, this is really a benefit as it means the harbour has a high tide + high slack water for longer than most places

Poole Harbour: Clearly marked channels which are dredged for large vessels as it is a commercial harbour. No problems in the channels at all. Out of channel it gets more interesting. It can be very shallow (I think there is a statistic that the average depth across the harbour is 3 inches!). You can progress out of channel on rising tides and many do. Around the islands it can get shallow and we tend to not go around there on a falling tide. In the past we have followed sightseeing vessels around the island as its an indication of depth.

Wareham River: Lovely sheltered trip on a rising tide. Fish and Chip shop at the end point. In theory it has enough water for our style of boat at most tides but we would not risk it on a low.

Easterly Wind: The harbour suffers in easterly winds with some long fetches in the harbour itself and large waves at the harbour entrance.

Rockley Slip: (where we launch from). Very little water at low tide but is still deemed an all tide slip but perhaps not for our boats. Better described as a three quarters tide slip. Car parking is restricted and lots of spectators who give opinions. Narrow channel which MUST be adhered to, it is well marked. In spring tides at mid tide the water races across the end of the slip (both when rising and falling). Do not be put off by this text, it is actually not a bad slipway.

Cobbs Quay/Davis yard. Two slips. Cobbs Quay is all tide and I think Davis is 3/4 tide. Cobbs is expensive. Be aware that there is a narrow channel across Holes bay and you cannot cut corners even slightly (can you James!). The bend that catches everyone out is on the exit of the marina.

Baiters: "e-bay" slip. Jetskis and small fletchers launch from here as it is cheap. However you have to walk your boat and trailer out 100metres to get any depth.

Speed limit from April to September, enforced by harbourmaster boat and jet-ski.

Just outside of the harbour is another sandbank with the channels (East Looe and the main channel) do not get tempted to rush across it to the open sea, stay in the channel.

On one side of the main channel is a training bank of rocks, submerged at high tide, again do not cut across.

Christchurch: Sand bar across end of harbour with a marked route which must be adhered to. Markers are removed in winter meaning you end up bouncing on the sandbar wondering where the channel is :)

Dont let this all put you off. Its a great place to visit and have a play. Its not difficult, just have a look at a chart first so you can picture everything in your mind.
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by mlines » 05 Oct 2015, 16:58

P.S. we are now finished for the season but we try to get a first trip in Poole at the end of March (just before the speed limits re-appear) so keep an eye open for us going again. The speed you see in the video etc. is just this specific time of year.
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