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Portsmouth Island Circumnavigation

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 1:40 pm
by Mont
I've been thinking of paddling around Portsmouth Island for some time, could anyone confirm if this is possible (it looks okay from the chart). Has anyone done this and has any top tidal tips? ie when's good to leave to avoid adverse tides or running out of water in the middle of a mud bank.


Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:29 pm
by AllanJ

Yes it's done regularly. The main tidal gate is the bit alongside the M27. This dries (3m ish) so needs to be done towards HW but the bridge at Hilsea becomes impassable if there is too much water.

I've always done it starting at the ferry boat carpark on Hayling Island - mainly because I live on Hayling but it's also safer than the Eastney carpark and you have an easy place to launch at all states of the tide.

From there you've got an easy paddle to the start of the Hilsea channel - just watch out for vessels using Kendal's wharf. Follow the channel - you should aim to be doing this toward the end of the flood - sooner on springs so you can still get under Hilsea bridge. If you stop for lunch at Hilsea you can let the ebb start to give you an easy ride through Pompey harbour.

You'll need to cross over to the western side of P'mouth hbr as you must leave via the small craft channel. I'd suggest doing this where the Portchester and Fareham channels meet - then scoot down the western side of the harbour. Watch out for Gosport ferries. If you're doing this on a sunny summer weekend there will be *lots* of small craft traffic.

The small craft channel extends to No 4 port hand mark. At that point you might want to cross to the other side of the chnl. Lots of traffic so take care and don't hang about. Don't ferry glide - you'll get out of the chnl quicker going at 90deg to the flow.

By now the tide in the Solent will have turned (turns about 2hrs before HW) so hug the shore back to Langstone Hbr entrance.

I haven't done it for a couple of years so someone may have updates. I quite fancy doing it again so let me knwo if you'd like another paddler.


an alternative is to do Hayling and Portsea islands in one trip

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:34 pm
by GrahamKing
Did this one yesterday with Portsmouth & District CC (thanks folks!). It's a pleasant paddle in the sunshine, and Portsmouth Hbr is interesting. Fully agree about the tidal gate - we were on springs yesterday and arriving at HW-1 hour (if I remember correctly) we almost had to duck to get under the bridge. At springs, the ebb tidal stream at Portsmouth Hbr mouth peaks at 4.1 knots, and the flood tidal stream into Langstone Hbr peaks at 3.4 kn (and one of the paddlers with local knowledge assured me that those charted rates can be considerably exceeded). Having said that, we put on at Langstone Hbr Entrance at HW -3h20m and went clockwise, stemming the stream in the harbour mouth. Some of us had to work hard to get to the tidal gate in time. There's a slight stand at HW Portsmouth so if you miss the gate you'll have to wait for an hour or so, or do an unpleasant portage.

Be aware of the Tipner small arms firing range (unless you don't have enough holes in your boat already). The Small Boat Channel from No.4 buoy to Ballast Beacon is mandatory. There's a 50m exclusion zone around all warships and RN berths (100m around submarines and 150m around RN vessels underway). If you have VHF, maintain listening watch on Ch.11.

The website of the Queen's Harbour Master has loads of helpful information.

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 7:44 pm
by NeilG
Info here, here and here.

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 1:53 pm
by Mont
Cool - thanks for the info. Will put my tidal planning head on and get to work.


Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:00 am
by Mont
Managed the Circumnavigation last weekend - thanks for all the info from forum members which was invaluable.

We set off from Gosport (Premier Marina) on the flood tide for a clockwise trip aiming for high water as we entered Langston harbour. This gave us slack water down to our lunch spot on Hayling Island entrance. We bounced out with the tide with some impressive standing waves in the Langston harbour entrance, and paddled with the tide to the point of Southsea. From here, we pushed against the tide for the last 2nm back into Portsmouth harbour and our get off in Premier marina.

The eddy system in Portsmouth entrance is very impressive, the only hard part was the entrance and exit to the narrow section, however the recirculation eddy helped propel us back into Portsmouth harbour :)



Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:35 pm
by Mark Gawler
GrahamKing wrote:At springs, the ebb tidal stream at Portsmouth Hbr mouth peaks at 4.1 knots, and the flood tidal stream into Langstone Hbr peaks at 3.4 kn (and one of the paddlers with local knowledge assured me that those charted rates can be considerably exceeded).
The Portsmouth figure feels about right to me, but the Langstone figure feel low. The 3.4 Kn on the chart is on the flood tide, which is strange as the ebb tides in the area are much stronger. The tides take about 7 hours to rise and 5.5 hours to fall, the majority of the fall takes place in the last 3hrs as there is a hour long stand at HW.

Re: Portsmouth Island Circumnavigation

Posted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:10 pm
by PeterG
There are 1000 and one variations on this paddle, with a choice of routes in both Langstone and Portsmouth Harbours and along the sea front. Think about taking in one of the forts; Spitbank is barely off your course, Horsesands something of a longer deviation. Paddle inside Whale island to have a good look at the continental ferries. Lunch at Portchester Castle?

Re: Portsmouth Island Circumnavigation

Posted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:05 pm
by Mark Gawler
Hi Peter, it is one of my favourite paddles in the area, with the exception of the Hoesesands variation I have attempted all the one you mention, I didn't get out for long at Protester as I was a bit paranoid about being stranded in the mud. Fareham creak is a good diversion as well, I'm sure you've done that. Its good to do it in both directions as you see different things.