View Full Version : "Secret Anchorages"
I cannot understand the desire of many of the UK yachting magazines to run a series of articles about "secret anchorages".
Doesn't this destroy their very quality? Certainly a couple we use regularly have become positively overcrowded in the last couple of years, having featured in print.
Anyway they are almost always in the relevant pilot, so why not just let everyone explore, and in due course those that are really interested will find them - and have a lot of pleasure doing so, without being directed there by a magazine.
Keep them "secret" I say.
What a wonderful post! I heartilly agree with every word, especially let them discover them, makes it all the more wonderful for the discoverer!
I heartily agree. Luckily, two facts keep them from being even more over visited:
1. My experience of sailing in other people's yachts while conducting Yachtmaster exams is that most don't carry any sort of pilot book beyond the almanac, and
2. The modern yachtie is a gregarious beast and cannot stand being without the facilities offered by most marinas.
If you have found a crowded "secret anchorage" have you noticed how it seems to empty with the approach of dusk?
I guess this sort of copy is a regular, quick, easy and very cheap page filler.
,,,,,, if you have a favourite spot that you wish to keep quiet first anchor round the corner or up a less atractive creek. Then when you have attracted the usual crowd of "that must be a good spot Mildred" types you sneak off to your first choice,,,,,,
Vertue 203, Patience
There are no secret anchorages left on the South Coast. They were all discovered in the 1930s and described at length in books such as Adlard Coles's. Likewise the West Country. Yet we still have articles extolling the delights of such as Newtown Creek and that famous secret anchorage up the Lynher, described in every pilot book, where it really is possible to find yourself alone when the retreating tide has cut off access for another six hours or so.
Truth is such as Newtown Creek are no longer (never were) secret, but can still be secluded in mid winter and even mid week in high summer. I remember rowing up to the top of Clamerkin as far as the ranges where I found a clinker dayboat tucked up in a creek on the left bank where an elderly couple were brewing up on a primus prior to spending the night under canvas. Half a mile away the creek itself was fillig up with Fairlines and Sunseekers, while all the visitors' moorings were taken long before.
For shoal draught cruisers there are sccluded anchorages aplenty. For the deeper of draught I'd suggest a safe anchorage is more of a priority. Thaat means a nice mooring, for there is no safety in numbers where anchorages are concerned when wind veers and tide turns at midnight.
The secret of course to anchorages is to pretend you are on your own, a trait that the English (British) have perfected over the centuries. Witness any bank holiday beach with its tented enclaves and families all pretending they are the only ones within miles. And who wouldn't admit (secretly) that watching your fellow (yachts)man is not entertaining; the vicarious pleasure in seeing other people make the kind of mess you alone thought yourself capable of. And occasionally a display of effortless seamanship.
You can't blame the editor because stories of this sort make good reading, especially during the long winter evenings ahead when your feet are in front of the TV but your mind is out there somewhere with the tides and mudflats. But Cornishman has got it right. Most sailors don't like to stray too far from the marina, or their wives and kids don't which might be nearer the mark. Years ago I was involved in a survey concerning the visitor impact on Box Hill. Despite the huge numbers of cars, impact was negligible because the percentage who walked further than 50 yards from the carpark was in single figures, or nearly so. I imagine the same thing happens in lonely anchorages. It's only the real adventurers who dare to remain after dark. Thank Heavens!
,,,,,,, but better described as not mainstream?
Lachingdon Hole, Goldhanger Creek, Thirslet Creek? All within a couple of miles of each other on the Blackwater, all(in the right wind) cozy spots even with 4ft 9in draught. all deserted when the crowds brought up by Osea Pier are pitching, rolling and fending off.
Mind you, I feel pretty safe mentioning them. People just don't seem to like places that seem to be in 'open' water, even though an hour after HW the banks seem to rise up and surround you.
Vertue 203, Patience
Even on the south coast.
Places like Hurst Castle Spit, Chapman's Pool, Cawsand have become very popular in recent years. At the same time many of the old yacht anchorages, particularly those used by yachts without auxiliaries while waiting for the tide, have become all but forgotten. The changes are sometimes hard to explain. For example, the once popular anchorage behind Beer Head is now rarely used, whereas the really exposed one at Lyme Regis has opened up.
Look at old pilot-books. The first edition of the Shell guide suggests a number of places that are no longer included. Wilson (last published in 1975?) has a whole range unmentioned by Macmillians. But the old places are still there. And they are still sometimes marked on charts.
In the last three years, we have anchored overnight in at least a dozen such places along the South Coast where years ago we would have expected to have company, but now are deserted.
I could show you a few in the Westcountry which are in no pilot books - but I'm not going to!
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