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Technique Tips

Sailing at Stokes Bay - Tidal Information

By Steve Cockerill 30th September 2020

I have been shown current flow diagrams that sailors use to show strength and direction. They are generally confusing - especially for me. However, I have developed a set of rules for sailing and coaching on the South Coast that have stood me in good stead for 20 years. They are simple and require the sailor to use their observance at the same time to look for the changes that will influence the decision making.

Understanding the current flow at a South Coast Venue such as Stokes Bay is a key part in understanding tidal flow and tide at other coastal venues such as Hayling Island. You can work it out on the water in a snip if you remember the following thought process:

1. Current fills the South Coast from the West - so current flows generally Easterly as the water comes up the beach.

2. The flow starts to go out to the west - 2 hours before high water on the beach.

3. In fact - this early ebb (out) on the water can happen up to an hour earlier in the shallow water of the bay than in the deep water in the channel.

How you interpret this information is another story. I have written an article for Yachts and yachting about tidal sailing which I should drag out of the bookcase and put it in this blog - or perhaps on our hints and tips page.

I should add the same equation happens on the ebb. It ebbs going west - but about 2 hours before the beach reaches low water, the flow starts to come in. In fact this process can happen up to an hour sooner along the bay's edge than in the main channel.

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