Kingsbridge Estuary

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Under way
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:38 pm
Location: Kingsbridge
Boat Name: Countdown
Sail Number: 321

Kingsbridge Estuary

Post by storm » Mon Nov 02, 2009 11:43 pm


We have owned Count Down for just over one year now and enjoyed some fantastic days sailing her in the Kingsbridge estuary.

We live just five minutes’ walk down to the quayside where she is moored, nose end on in Kingsbridge, which means we don’t have to get our feet wet, climbing in and out of a tender to go for a sail, it’s almost like having the boat at the bottom of our garden and this luxury is offered to council tax payers in this area for a very modest sum per year. It’s incredibly sheltered being at the end of an estuary and so there doesn’t seem much point in pulling her out of the water for the winter; we shall go for a sail whether permitting instead.

Of course there is a downside to all this, the estuary is tidal and the water disappears like someone has pulled the plug out, but you are given 2hrs either side of high water during springs and 2½hrs at neaps and with a little careful planning the lack of water hasn’t stopped us sailing at least once a week since March. Actually full time work is the real problem … if only!!!

The first few trips up the estuary, resulted in a mad scramble to get to Salcombe, we discarded the estuary to leap across the bar into the open sea, because that is what I thought you had to do. Invariably there was little or no wind and a heaving sea, which detracted from the overall experience, and forced us back to the busy Salcombe waters. During the summer months there is usually a dinghy race weaving in and out of the ever increasing moored boats and with all the confusion, a blustery wind and the fast moving spring tides, Salcombe is not the ideal place to take a partner for her first few experiences of sailing, more a baptism of fire.

As we became more familiar with the tides and the water levels, we discovered the beauty of sailing in and around the estuary itself which has challenges all of its own. The wind direction is fickle, blowing down the open valleys into the creeks, sometimes being shadowed by the heavily tree lined banks, and suddenly gusting in the more exposed and open areas. The 5 mile stretch to Salcombe, the wonderful creeks to Frogmore, and the open area from Blanksmill creek to the Salt Stone, which is invariably empty of other craft, remind me of the Norfolk Broads, with Curlews, Herons and Redshanks adding to the overall experience.

I have sailed the Dart and most of the areas around Poole and the Solent, but I think the estuary in Kingsbridge is one of the most beautiful and yet still offers a challenge to even the most experienced of sailors.

Come and use the slipway at Kingsbridge or Salcombe and see for yourself, we would love to see a few more Swifts here.

Norman - Count Down
See Picture gallery - Storm

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