QB-Margate-Ramsgate

jeanette

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I have picked the worst day of the season to make a foray along the Thames Estuary to Ramsgate - 29th March. There is going to be a very low tide and it will be falling when I am heading towards Margate.

I have had a good look at the chart and (subject to wind conditions) a short cut to the Spaniard and the channel off Margate (can't remember what its called right now) seem to be perfectly feasible with 1.5 metre draft.

Any views on this? I know the Thames Estuary sand has a reputation for shifting around a lot. Is it common to find the soundings very inaccurate in that area (chart is July 2001)?

The plan is to leave the Medway at about 12:00, an hour or so before HW.



Jeanette
 

AndrewB

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You can get through this passage even at extreme low water springs with 1.5m draft. But you do need to be careful in places. Go round the Cheyney Spit just outside Medway by leaving the main channel around the no 6 buoy. There is a fair helping of old shopping trollies etc on this spit, so don't cut it too fine. Aim carefully from the Spile buoy to a point 1/2 mile south of the Spaniard buoy. The Kent flats are indeed flat and you won't run suddenly aground, but if you get into the shallow water on the Red Sands or off Warden point it takes patience to find your way out. The shallowest point of all is in the Gore Channel, mid way between E.Last and the Hook buoys. It goes suddenly shallow a couple of cables before you reach the bouys and has now only 2½m of water at low springs mid-way between them. Through that and you get into deeper water south of Margate Sands - a good few skippers relax and then run onto the sands! The final trap, and by far the most dangerous as it is rock, is Longnose Spit off North Foreland. A couple of red buoys mark it clearly, so just stand out to them. In summer there is a little N cardinal buoy closer in which, if you spot, you can use to cut in more closer.

Coming round N.Foreland, Broadstairs ledges are not too shallow but can cut up a bit rough in wind-over-tide. Finally, keep well out for the approach to Ramsgate, following in just north of the dredged channel. Beware a strong tide across the entrance to the harbour, yachts are lost on the harbour moles every year. Should you reach Ramsgate at extreme low water, you may find the entrance to the main harbour is too shallow. If you can see sand on the right hand side just inside the entrance, take it very slow. Call port control on Ch 14 and they will advise.

Your recent chart of the southern Thames Estuary will be OK except that as I mentioned, its now shallower at East Last. (The old Copperas channel to the south is now deeper, but is unmarked). Apart from Longnose, running aground is not that dangerous in this area except in a strong NE or E wind, in which case I would recommend a different route (or better still, going some place else).

PS Wave to me en route as I will be coming the other way!
 

jeanette

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Thanks. This is very useful.

I shall give Ramsgate a call because at the moment the plan says we arrive there LW - not good methinks!



Jeanette
 

AndrewB

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Its not a big problem because you can always just hang about in the outer harbour and wait for enough water in the entrance to the main (Royal) harbour. With 1.5m with care you can scrape in even at extreme low water springs, but I sometimes have difficulty with 2m.

There is a small amount of commercial traffic using Ramsgate, so calling Port Control is always a good idea anyway.
 
G

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Jeanette. Andrew is correct with his post. Pick up Medway No 6 and head for Spile then lay course to E.Last / Hook Spit as you approach Hook Spit will look like it's covering E.last. Leave Hook (Gn) to Stb by about 60 feet then turn onto 090 and head for S.Margate (dont be worried by Margate middle sand beacon its right on the sands, you should pass it 500 yds on your portside) Having picked up S.Margate, head for S.E Margate then onto the Longnose, beware here, because you have the Longnose Spit which is a cardinal mark VERY close to the longnose rocks, out a bit further is the Longnose (red can) then further out still is the Defusier Buoy (Cardinal) Aim for the Longnose. Then the only way I can describe it is to "Threepenny Bit" your way round the N.Foreland basically aiming for Broardstairs Knoll Buoy You are perfectly safe for depth if you stay at least 1 mile offshore. Contact Ramsgate port control on Ch 14 for permission to enter as you close the dredged channel. When inside the outter harbour you will see a green fairway marker, leave this to Stb and if it's LW aim for the west pier wall. You need to get very close to the wall (within 50 feet) then follow the wall along until you get through the enterance. Whatever you do don't be tempted to go through the middle of the enterance at LW or you will run aground. I have been so close to that wall that I could almost touch it? Best of luck and have a nice stay.
regards
Peter
(DTI Lic boatman, Ramsgate)
 

jeanette

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Thank you both for the advice - everything went well and it was a beautiful day too. Shame that the wind was on the nose and I had to motor a lot of the way.

I did get nervous at the entrance to the harbour but got in without any problems. Apparently, the entrance has been redredged recently and Port Control alledged there was 3 metres at LW on Saturday when I left.

J

Jeanette
 

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