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Old 25-01-2016, 09:11   #31
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Re: Winter harbor in UK or Norway

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Originally Posted by ausnp84 View Post
I'd normally agree with Dockhead, but there's a few items I thought needed pointing out here.

It freezes regularly on the south coast of the UK. There's photos on my blog of snow all over the boat and pontoons in Dec - Feb (Chichester Harbour - east of the Solent by 10nm). Add in the wind chill and general gloom / drizzle, and it makes for a pretty miserable time Dec - Feb. The UK is getting a very warm winter this year, as are we down in Atlantic Portugal. Don't count on it happening every year.


I've sailed Florida where the OP is located, and spent enough time in the Solent, and know which sailing community I'd rather be part of! Rafting in overpriced marinas (not so much in winter, absolutely in summer) where the weather is very iffy and the water cold enough to kill you in an hour, let alone dodging all the cowboy Sunsail racers who have no respect for others cruising... give me Biscayne Bay or anywhere in the Panhandle ANY DAY.

Falmouth would be my pick if you absolutely have to stay in the UK. Great pubs, slightly milder climate, there's life happening in town and London is about 4 hours away on the train.

n
Well, it's all relative, of course. The UK South Coast is cold in winter compared to Spain, or Florida. But it's very warm and very nice compared to the North Sea or U.S. Atlantic Coasts, not to mention the Baltic, which freezes solid.

We have a sprinkle of snow every two years, but it's never cold enough to require any winterization of boats in the water. This is my eighth winter here.

As to the crowding -- I certainly agree about summer -- very crowded, and very, very expensive. But winter is a totally different ball game.

Falmouth is lovely! It's warmer but wetter than points further East. There is a lot more to do and see in the Solent, however.
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Old 25-01-2016, 09:16   #32
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Re: Winter harbor in UK or Norway

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Originally Posted by Bertybuoy View Post
I love the Solent - was there for 10 years at Lymington Yacht Haven, but a few years ago moved to the Mayflower Marina in Plymouth and would never go back! Better cruising, half the cost, nicer people and superb facilities (especially if you need any work doping while you're there - no 'rip-off' tradesmen feasting like vultures on the 'boaties'!!
Both Lymington and Plymouth are lovely!

Plymouth is a substantial city so fair amount of civilization. It is however rather remote from London and airports.

Lymington has more culture than any other place in the Solent and is an absolutely marvelously beautiful Georgian town. If I were buying a land dwelling down here, that's probably where I would choose. It is, however, an hour further to London and airports, than Southampton.
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Old 25-01-2016, 09:18   #33
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Re: Winter harbor in UK or Norway

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Originally Posted by Clivevon View Post
Port Solent can take 10 ft draft - has taken up to 3.5 metres in the past - but berths that deep are very few and you would need to check well ahead to make sure they had space available. Here is the weblink:

https://www.premiermarinas.com/uk-ma...FcG4GwodL5kITg

Obviously there are lots of other options on the UK south coast and also on the east coast (essex, suffolk) but 10 ft draft would be much more of an issue there.

London - St, Katherines Yacht Haven is right by Tower Bridge & Tower of London. Lock Access only at high tide and not sure about draft there.

If you are that far north you could also check out Whitby in Yorkshire - home of Captain Cook.

The thing about Port Solent is that it is very developed so good for winter amenities, and leads on to sheltered sailing water and all the other delights of the Solent - all the other harbours.

Good luck and have fun thinking about your options!

Port Solent is built on a former trash landfill so is a bit remote from the urbanized parts of Portsmouth -- not pedestrian distance. Its a bit artificial but extremely well designed with every immediate need fulfilled. There are great restaurants, shopping and even a cinema.

The flip side of being far from the urbanized part of Portsmouth is that it is close to the wild, natural part of the harbor, so a wondeful place for dinghy cruising. Or fishing if you're into that.

The shelter it total behind the lock. I like it.
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Old 25-01-2016, 09:25   #34
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Re: Winter harbor in UK or Norway

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clivevon View Post
Port Solent can take 10 ft draft - has taken up to 3.5 metres in the past - but berths that deep are very few and you would need to check well ahead to make sure they had space available. Here is the weblink:

https://www.premiermarinas.com/uk-ma...FcG4GwodL5kITg

Obviously there are lots of other options on the UK south coast and also on the east coast (essex, suffolk) but 10 ft draft would be much more of an issue there.

London - St, Katherines Yacht Haven is right by Tower Bridge & Tower of London. Lock Access only at high tide and not sure about draft there.

If you are that far north you could also check out Whitby in Yorkshire - home of Captain Cook.

The thing about Port Solent is that it is very developed so good for winter amenities, and leads on to sheltered sailing water and all the other delights of the Solent - all the other harbours.

Good luck and have fun thinking about your options!
I forgot to mention St Katherine's -- the OP should definitely consider that.

Winter right in the heart of London, in the very shadow of the Tower Bridge!! It's much colder than the South Coast, although still warm enough to avoid any winterization. And you can't do much sailing, as it takes all day to get out of the Thames, and when you do, it's into the North Sea, which is not nearly as good for winter cruising as the Channel. But you're in London! By far the cheapest and best way to spend a winter in the great city.

Now some grumpy Brit will come on here and talk about how terrible London is, crowded, dirty, expensive, etc., etc.. Bullocks! London is magical; one of the world's great cities, with endless charms, and inexhaustible things to do. When you're tired of London, you're tired of life!
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Old 25-01-2016, 09:31   #35
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Re: Winter harbor in UK or Norway

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Originally Posted by ausnp84 View Post
Port Solent marina has a lot in the close surrounds but for a whole winter? Brighton has far more going for it, with better links to London.

n
If you're gay, then Brighton is the only choice!

If you are heterosexual, then Brighton is ok. It has the best connections to London by far, and the town has decent amenities. Downside is that there isn't really any place to go along the coast nearby. The South Coast is pretty bleak East of the Solent, especially for a deep draft boat. The Solent would be much more interesting, and you can do a huge amount of cruising without even leaving the Solent. In fact in 4 or 5 months you would be well challenged to visit all of the main harbors in the Solent and see all the principle sights. So incredibly dense rich and diverse that area is.
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Old 25-01-2016, 09:43   #36
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Re: Winter harbor in UK or Norway

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Originally Posted by Dauntlessny View Post
I had looked at all the options mentioned above.
Schengen became a big issue, so Norway and the Continent were out.

That left the UK and Ireland.

Waterford, Ireland wins hands down.
Cost for 6 months is LESS than 400 Euros.
Deep draft in river that keeps water fresh all the time.
People are the nicest I have ever met anyplace in Europe.
Dublin, Ryan Air and US flights are a bus ride away and the bus is a 5 minute walk from your boat.

You can not beat that ease of travelling in any other place.

email me if you want more info and I'll call you.

Richard in NYC
I would certainly second this choice or if you were considering on the hard for the winter. New Ross Boatyard just up the Barrow from Waterford and where our boat is wintering.
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Old 27-01-2016, 13:40   #37
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Re: Winter harbor in UK or Norway

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Now some grumpy Brit will come on here and talk about how terrible London is, crowded, dirty, expensive, etc., etc..
Grumpy brit reporting for duty

Whilst i wouldn't live there and certainly not for work, I would spend one winter there because as DH said there is so much to do and see, plus superb transport links to anywhere in the world. The Romans started London so there is over 2000 years of history and some rocks in a circle 2 hours down the road are even older than the Pyramids. The French, Spanish, Germans, Scots and Vikings have all had a go but only the Normans succeeded and built some nice castles.
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Old 27-01-2016, 13:56   #38
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Re: Winter harbor in UK or Norway

London sounded like a fantastic suggestion, but alas, St. Katherine's does not offer winter moorage. Too bad. Maybe we'll give Cowes a go. Is there still some life in that place over the winter, or is Dockhead the only resident???

Thanks, TJ
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Old 27-01-2016, 14:47   #39
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Re: Winter harbor in UK or Norway

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Originally Posted by TJ D View Post
London sounded like a fantastic suggestion, but alas, St. Katherine's does not offer winter moorage. Too bad. Maybe we'll give Cowes a go. Is there still some life in that place over the winter, or is Dockhead the only resident???

Thanks, TJ
Limehouse do a winter deal, or did anyway. Close transport links and a good choice if you fancy a winter in London, also right next to the cruising association headquarters. I spent a couple of years liveaboard in St Kats before it changed hands, not again - just looked at their prices! Pity, used to be a fun place with a load of liveaboards. Little america coffee mornings
Winter, Limehouse or Brighton would get my vote up that neck of the woods. Stuff going on and decent transport links.
I'm currently living aboard in the south west bored with cabin fever in the constant rain with no easy way out
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Old 28-01-2016, 01:06   #40
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Re: Winter harbor in UK or Norway

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ D View Post
London sounded like a fantastic suggestion, but alas, St. Katherine's does not offer winter moorage. Too bad. Maybe we'll give Cowes a go. Is there still some life in that place over the winter, or is Dockhead the only resident???

Thanks, TJ
St. Katherine's don't offer winter mooring? That's news to me. It could be that they are full up, but they used to have a waiting list. Limehouse Basin would be another prospect, a bit further from town, but also feasible for a winter exploring London.


Cowes is very nice in the winter time. The tourists are mostly gone so the town is populated by a hard core sailing and maritime community. There are lots of restaurants, pubs, bars, decent grocery shopping, an excellent chandlery, an excellent ironmonger's, and every possible marine service you could ever want, so it's a great place for winter maintenance/repair/refit.

There is racing all winter if you're into that, you can spend the whole winter cruising the Solent and not run out of places to go.

You're on an island, so if you need an airport or a city, you have to take a ferry, but the Red Jet will get you to Southampton in 25 minutes at 40 knots, leaving twice every hour from a stage 5 minutes walk from Cowes Yacht Haven, and from there you can get to London or to any of the airports without difficulty.

The other coastal towns are also rather nice in the winter. Poole is a bigger city and has culture (biggest performing arts center in Britain outside of London). Southampton a bit gritty but also with some charms of its own. Lymington very beautiful and with quite a bit of life. Portsmouth (with Gosport) a real city with great museums and lots of things to do.


Pretty hard to go wrong in this area. But if I were you, unless I either (a) had a lot of work to do on the boat; or (b) really wanted to be sailing every weekend, I would probably go to London.
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Old 28-01-2016, 08:39   #41
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Re: Winter harbor in UK or Norway

Hi Dockhead,

Thanks for the info. We have been in touch with St. Katherines by phone. They don't do any kind of a winter package. It's a 3 month limit for visitors, or one has to do an annual agreement, for which there is a waiting list of course. They have put us on file to contact as their occupancy picture for the winter clears up. This is probably the most attractive option for us, so we'll keep fingers crossed.

It looks like most everyplace else on the Thames is too shallow for us. It looks like Limehouse is too shallow. I'll call them anyway, however.

Perhaps you can share some insight into just how much yacht traffic there is in winter going around from the Solent into the Thames. I was sort of under the impression that it would be pretty difficult to get around to one of the Solent marinas if we were to get kicked out of London in mid-December, for example. We don't mind some bad weather, but I don't know if I'm really up for running around that corner at that time of year. Is that something that's even done? I suppose the distances are not that great, so maybe it's not that big of a deal.

I was generally planning to not have to make any big moves over the winter.

You might remember that I make my living running a large fishing boat around on the Bering Sea in the middle of winter, so I have quite a lot of respect for the winter storms in those latitudes. I certainly wouldn't be willingly taking the sailboat out of Dutch Harbor in December. The GRIBs show wind speeds and frequency of gales in that area to be similar to what we encounter in Alaska.

Anyway, thanks for the info. I think that we're narrowing it down. We'll try for London if we can get in, probably either Cowes or the Haslar marina in Portsmouth if we can't.

Good sailing, TJ
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Old 28-01-2016, 08:58   #42
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Re: Winter harbor in UK or Norway

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Originally Posted by TJ D View Post
Hi Dockhead,

Thanks for the info. We have been in touch with St. Katherines by phone. They don't do any kind of a winter package. It's a 3 month limit for visitors, or one has to do an annual agreement, for which there is a waiting list of course. They have put us on file to contact as their occupancy picture for the winter clears up. This is probably the most attractive option for us, so we'll keep fingers crossed.

It looks like most everyplace else on the Thames is too shallow for us. It looks like Limehouse is too shallow. I'll call them anyway, however.

Perhaps you can share some insight into just how much yacht traffic there is in winter going around from the Solent into the Thames. I was sort of under the impression that it would be pretty difficult to get around to one of the Solent marinas if we were to get kicked out of London in mid-December, for example. We don't mind some bad weather, but I don't know if I'm really up for running around that corner at that time of year. Is that something that's even done? I suppose the distances are not that great, so maybe it's not that big of a deal.

I was generally planning to not have to make any big moves over the winter.

You might remember that I make my living running a large fishing boat around on the Bering Sea in the middle of winter, so I have quite a lot of respect for the winter storms in those latitudes. I certainly wouldn't be willingly taking the sailboat out of Dutch Harbor in December. The GRIBs show wind speeds and frequency of gales in that area to be similar to what we encounter in Alaska.

Anyway, thanks for the info. I think that we're narrowing it down. We'll try for London if we can get in, probably either Cowes or the Haslar marina in Portsmouth if we can't.

Good sailing, TJ
Yes, our weather in terms of gales and winds is about the same as Alaska. We do sail in gales -- most Channel sailors will not cancel a trip because of an F7 and for some even F8. But the distances are much less, so it is pretty straightforward to move during a weather window and get whatever weather suits you. From the Thames Estuary it's basically three day sails to the Solent -- Dover, Brighton, and home. The only downside is most of our bad weather is SW, so you can be fighting headwinds.

To answer your direct question -- there are hundreds of yachts in the Channel in the winter time. Channel sailors are a hardy lot, and many of us sail year-round. A winter cross-Channel to France is also absolutely feasible, and great fun (also cheap wine and stinky cheese). If you make friends at one of the yacht clubs, you can get a little winter rally together. Have a look at St. Vaast in Normandy -- great place for an "oyster cruise".

The Dover Strait is a funnel so should be avoided in F7 or more, and for God's sake not in wind against tide. Otherwise, just sail like you would in Alaska -- avoid strong wind over tide situations, beware of sea state changes when going from deep to shallow water in a gale, etc. You'll be just fine over here if you have experience in Alaska. We have more ports and more shelter (a lot more ship traffic, however).

Besides Cowes and Haslar, consider:

* Any of the Hamble marinas other than Hamble Point -- Port Hamble, Universal, Swanwick (which is the former ancient Moody boatyard). The Hamble is just lovely with a wonderful sailing scene and every possible service. Great place to potter around in the dinghy.

* Port Solent up at the top of Portsmouth Harbour.

* Berthon in Lymington


I guess my top 2 in the Solent would be Port Hamble (because of the lovely village of Hamble just next to it) and Cowes Yacht Haven. Berthon in Lymington is also very lovely if you don't mind somewhat longer transit time to London.

In the Solent avoid IMHO:

1. Lymington Yacht Haven. Vast boat parking lot far from civilization.

2. Hamble Point. Far from civilization, exposed, soulless.
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Old 28-01-2016, 09:05   #43
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pirate Re: Winter harbor in UK or Norway

Check out Galleons Reach opposite The Dome.. lock in/out and a DLR stop right outside..
Have not been there since delivering a boat there in the late '90's and it was a building site still.. but a possible..
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Old 28-01-2016, 09:06   #44
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Re: Winter harbor in UK or Norway

To give you more inspiration, this spot is a day sail from the Solent:

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Old 28-01-2016, 09:22   #45
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Re: Winter harbor in UK or Norway

Ok, inspiration complete.

We're looking forward to having a look around over there. It will be our first time sailing in Europe.

Boat's named 'Rocket Science' by the way. Light blue hull, looks a little like a faster version of a Sundeer. Coffee's on us if you see us someplace.

TJ
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