Advice please, passage planning - Looe channel

markstirling

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I am planning my first long solo trip (Port Solent to Brighton) in my Jaguar 25. A trip I have made once before as crew.

With safety and inexperience in mind, should I go through the Looe channel, or round the outside? Would it be wise to split the trip in two with an overnight stop at Littlehampton?

What other hazards am I likely to miss until its too late?
 

Aardee

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Other than getting around Selsey Bill, it's not a difficult passage. We did it in one go last year on our Gibsea 302 (30') with two young kids on board - So effectively single handed. IIRC it took around 7 hours.

Highlight was a dolphin playing around the bow as we went through the Looe channel.

The channel itself is clearly buoyed and no great challenge (weather permitting).
 

cnh

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Coming from PortSolent means a fair trek to Selsey Bill. However, if you leave oin the half ebb, you'll have the tide down and out of the harbour, and then the flood past Selsey Bill. The Looe Channel is reasonably straightforward, but you do have to watch your nav here. You may end up with a bit of foul tide near Brighton, but you can minimise this by keeping inshore for the last few miles.

Nicholas Hill
 

phanakapan

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Done it a few times in a Macwester 26, twice singlehanded- and I'm not the world's most experienced sailor. I wouldn't recommend going into Littlehampton, it can be nasty/impossible at the wrong state of tide.
As others will no doubt say, try not to do it in poor visibility/night- mainly because of numerous lobster pots before, in the Looe channel and (it seems!) directly on your route between there and Brighton...

Caught a pot on our maiden voyage from Southampton to Brighton just before the channel- ended up going round the Owers at 1-2knots- turned a 10-12 hour journey into a 24 hour one!

Oh and I saw the dolphin between Street and Boulder bouys on 3 occasions; don't think it's still there though!
 

shmoo

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Last year on way back to East Coast from summer cruise we were heading towards the Looe from Bembridge, off which we had anchored, with F5/6 wind behind and a good strong tide in our favor. Were going like a train when it occured to me I still couldn't see the tiny buoys. They popped in to view, as always slightly later than expected.

I am not sure what we would have done if they handn't. There would have been no way we could have gone any other than more-or-less forward in that wind and tide. I don't think I would attempt it, in those conditions, without electronic nav aids that allow you to get nicely lined up from quite a way away.

Still, we made really fast passage time from Bembridge to Shoreham!
 

CraigB

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Just a word about coming in to Brighton at the moment - I haven't seen the dredger around lately and last spring low tide we saw a sailing boat grounded at the entrance - so keep well to the port side of the channel if you're coming in at low tide where we have no problem (drawing 1.8m). Also, don't be surprised if one or two lights are out - they never seem to all be working at once! Personally I'd agree about skipping Littlehampton and carrying on all the way to Brighton - it's not that long a passage.
 

oldharry

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Littlehampton has v little water at low tide in the entrance, though plenty once inside. The tripper speedboats that operated there in the 80s had castoldi jets which allowed them to operate in a few inches of water once up on the plane. They regularly had other planing craft trying to follow them in at LW - and coming to grief!
 

JREdginton

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Only advice I would pass on is not if it's wind over tide and it's blowing some and the tide is running. Kicks up summut rotten in the channel, it can deliver some spectacular standing waves.

As for seeing the mixon, well, you may see it first on west to east trip but do not forget what it marks and where it is, the ledge can be a very impressive sight at low water, all the gulls standing on water /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

This said, the Looe is a great time saver and really should not be any real trouble if you plan it right. It's also very satisfying when Boulder and Street pop up either side of you in the middle of nowhere.
 

VicMallows

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Below are some notes on a recent trip I prepared for our local club magasine which may be of interest.

>>>>>>

LITTLEHAMTON CRUISING NOTES

An interesting 'eastwards' destination either as a 'weekend' sail or as a staging post on the way to Brighton/Eastbourne. (not ideal for further east due to the tidal constraints).

We left Chichester Hbr about 2 hrs after low water (springs) to carry the tide through the Looe channel. It was a dead run (goosewinged) nearly all the way. Slight disturbance for about 100m east of Boulder/Street buoys, but nothing significant. A passage time of 3.5hrs meant we arrived on the last hour of the flood. The entrance is very easy to identify. Access is aprox +/- 3hrs for 1.5m draft.

BEWARE:

. Training bank on east side submerged above half tide but well marked with beacons.
. Very strong cross currents in entrance channel.
. Shoal shingle patch on west side directly opposite start of eastern pier (notices).

Arun YC to port, drying, only suitable for bilge keelers.
Town Quay to starboard. Deep water (we had min 2.8m at springs). Alongside pontoon berths for about 5 vessels, plus rafting at least 4 deep if necessary.

Individually metered electricity (£1 cards.. but quite likely to find unused units on meter).

Good showers etc in brand-new harbour building, but only 1 toilet/shower each m/f. Excellent security to the pontoons (but makes you wonder why it is necessary?).

Town has all requirements about 150m north, including good Somerfield at far end of high street. From pontoons turn south towards pier for fish&chips (choice of three); newspapers; funfair.

Arun YC has excellent meals (around £5 main course) and average bar. Good showers. If on duty their 'chugger' launch will ferry you across free. Otherwise about 20min walk over footbridge (though this was closed for repair when we visited with a free bus shuttle operating).

BERTHING COST (TOWN QUAY):

This is a big problem due to some uncertainty! Reading the notice boards I concluded berthing fees would be £10/night ... quite acceptable.....but then noticed another notice saying Harbour Dues were £8/day!! (though only £12/week or £42/year). £18 for one night would certainly be over the top for what's provided. When I went to pay, HM said there was a 'special rate' for the rally as we had pre-booked of £10........but he added that the 'normal' rate was £18. Unfortunately, this leaves me not knowing if I will consider using the port again. (Notice at Arun YC indicated visitor rate of £7.50/night . ... but again don't know about the Hbr Dues situation.

RETURN PASSAGE:

Forecast 4-5 increasing 6, NW veering W.

We started off intending to go back through the Looe. The sea was very lumpy and it was directly into wind. Decided to opt for the 'long' route out to the Owers. At least this gave us a decent sailing angle. Other boats in sight were doing the same. Very disturbed for about 1mile around the Owers with wind-over-tide, but then settled down and with about 2Kt tide had a fast beat to Chi. A real slog into Chi Hbr at half-ebb (1.5kts over the ground) before picking up a deep mooring for the night. (Saw several boats apparently going through the Looe with no problem. Another (very experienced) ECA member said later it was 'rather boisterous' around Street/Boulder but 'otherwise no problem'.

<<<<<<

Vic
 
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