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Route for return trip


New member
3 Oct 2005
In a plastic tub!
Reading what route some of the others took to get back has got me wondering.

On our way back we took the long way round and returned via Bembridge in order to catch the tide up the Solent back up to the Hamble. I've heard that trying to enter via the Needles against the tide is an exercise in frustration so I avoided that. As it turns out, my brilliant idea wasn't even that great, as the strong wind and waves from the SW pretty much cancelled out the tide anyway.

A few of you took the short route and went straight up the Needles. Was I foolish to go the long way round, probably adding a good couple of hours to the trip? What should I do when leaving/entering the Solent in the future?


Well-known member
26 Nov 2002
Royston Vasey
I forget the exact timings, but I seem to recall that we had to be at the Needles by about 1630 yesterday afternoon, to avoid going through against the tide. As you say, it's an exercise in frustration and, if the wind is F5 or more, it's an exercise in scaring yourself to death if the wind has much south in it. We only had to get to Lymington, so getting up the Solent against the tide wasn't really a consideration, but getting to Hamble might have taken quite a while, so it was probably swings and roundabouts.

As a general rule of thumb for someone moored in the Hamble, I'd say that anywhere north of St Vaast, leave the Solent via Bembridge, anywhere south of the Cherbourg Peninsula, leave via the Needles (conditions permitting). All points in between, flip a coin :).


Well-known member
29 Nov 2009
Even if the Needles might be a more efficient route, the knowledge that I'm heading for a big wide entrance that's usable regardless of weather or tide is a great reassurance to me. If I was based in Lymington or Yarmouth then I'd have to bite the bullet, but for Southampton I'd go via Bembridge every time.

How much actual difference is there to, say, the Hamble anyway? I'm not sure there's much in it.



Active member
28 Mar 2005
hampshire, uk
I had thought of the bembridge end of the iow but had a sw wind on Monday which would have been more on the stern so rolly for bembridge butt was a better angle for the needles, timed arrival for slack water or first of flood up to Hurst, had considered the north channel but the bridge gap at the needles was fine in a force5 without much tide, woulnt have done it in much more wind, once past the needles there was some shelter under the island shore in totland bay. Is it sacrilege to admit I ran the engine quite a bit to give more directional stability for the autohelm so I could check for shipping etc, nit sure if a Monday makes any difference but quite a lot of shipping out
. Glad I got across on Monday because today the wind was much more in the north and quite breezy in yarmouth. Up the medina now. Not allowed hone till swmbo has got rid of the decorators!