Mont Saint Michel

Anchoring and Drying Out at Mont Saint Michel


Really only suitable for centre board or lifting keel vessels and skippers with confidence in their tidal calculations and vessel, (Ideal for OVNI Yachts )

Strong tidal flows on both the ebb and the flood. On the flood tide the flow is initially in the many shallow channels but once those fill the tide then races across the dried-out area with surprising speed and power.

Anchor between Mont Saint Michel and Rocher de Tombelaine, approximately

2.5 Km to the north. Use Google Earth or other satellite images, together with charts, to check out where deeper channels may be, realizing that these may change over time.


Our exact anchoring/drying out location.

A huge area dries at low water as you can see from the green area on the chart


A closer view as to where we dried out.

Only a 1.5km walk to the Mont, or so we thought!!


Approach on a rising tide (Ideally a few days before spring tide) carefully tracking your progress and comparing charted depths with actual depths having allowed for the current rise of tide.

A Google Earth view of where we dried out.

An additional and useful tool to see where the river flows are. Be careful as these change over time.

We used Google Earth, Electronic Chart and off Course up to date paper chart to make a all round decision and plan.

It’s not often that you anchor at drying height of 9 metres.

As we entered the bay we turned on the tracking on our plotter, so as we could exit on the same route if needed.


This shows our track in and subsequently out of Mont Saint Michel.

The entry route is primarily Green and our exit to Granville in the red.

This chartlet provided by my Log Book app The green is sailing and the red motoring.


No shelter, only plan a visit with favorable light winds forecast and complete tidal information.



No facilities at all. This is a settled weather only anchorage severely restricted by the tidal range.


Good holding in primarily sand and some mud.

Allow plenty of scope to allow for the predicted rise of the tide once you re-float.

A second anchor with good holding power will help hold the yacht with its bow towards the expected direction of the flood tide. You can work this out by watching the ebbing tide as it exposes the channels. Of course, you may be aground by then in which case walk the second anchor out.

Seraphim, dried out with Mont Saint Michel 1.5kms in the distance


The CREW, covered in mud from our walk ashore.

Walk ashore once the tide fall allows for this. Be aware that there may be areas of soft ‘sinking sand’ mostly on the edges of channels and pools.


Walking to the Mont, the long way unless you fancied wading through the river.

The flood tide arrives with surprising speed and would easily sweep you off your feet if caught in knee deep water. Aim to be back on board while still fully dried out and with lots of safety margin.

We arrived back with a couple of hours to spare, which gave us the opportunity to inspect our hull, anodes, and scrape off any small sea life and generally re abrade the Copper Coat anti fouling.


An amazing place to dry out and visit the Abbey (buy tickets to the Abbey online and then use the ‘pre-booked’ queue for access, this saves an amazing amount of time, as other queues are massive. No charge for just walking grounds, ramparts,

streets, shops and numerous food outlets.

Seraphim dried out in the distance, as seen from Mont Saint Michel

Mont Saint Michel – a worth while visit and plenty of memories to last a lifetime.

Our experience

14th August 2023. We dried out at location 48° 38.737 N 001° 32.031′ W and then we attempted to walk ashore, approximately 2 Km directly to Le Mont. The river channels thwarted that plan as none of us fancied being deep in the mud or swimming the river and then getting muddy exiting onto the harder sand.

Instead, we walked ashore to the west of the river, walked to the bridge over the sluice and then caught the free bus to the Le Mont Saint Michel. That all took a lot longer than expected so it restricted the time we had to explore the abbey and the village.

Next time we would aim to anchor between Le Mont and Rocker de Tombelaine to the north and then be able to walk ashore more easily. This would however mean the yacht could easily be reached by other tourists walking around at low water on guided walks or on their own.


Naked Lady

Today, Seraphim was stripped even further. I drove down to Hayling Yacht Company, with the intention of adjusting fenders and lines before the oncoming storm. However, due to the tide being out, it was impossible to adjust the fenders that were tight between the dock and the hull. So I decided to start on the main sail.

Due to the superb design and use the Frederiksen ball bearing sliders and battens, it proved to be a long job. Each batten holder and sail attachment had to be unscrewed and disassembled. Although time consuming, this task isn’t performed often, and the benefits outweigh determents of disassembly. Once in use the sail comes down in seconds and effortlessly , even at the oddest of angles.

Once the sail and sail cover was removed,  I was motivated and there was no stopping me. Moving on to removing the boom vang and eventually the boom itself.

I was happy to have completed this before the imminent high winds and storm, predicted for the next few days.

Frederiksen Sail Sliders
Batten holder and ball joint to slide connector

After – Naked Seraphim

Seraphim Repairs and Painting

After spending the weekend in Yarmouth with Jacques, I decided to take advantage of a weather windows and afternoon high water, and take Seraphim to Sailing Yacht Company. This is where Seraphim will undergo repairs a repaint and have some solar panels fitted.

The sail from Yarmouth was exceptional, with favourable winds all the way. We slipped lines just before 0900 and were at our new temporary berth at 1330.

The entrance to Hayling Yacht Company is shallow and even with a lifting keel one has to be careful. When we entered at 1300 our depth towards the marina went down to 1.1m.

Tide times and heights
Entry route into Hayling Yacht Company

We were welcomed with open arms and allocated our temporary berth of C27. I should be here for a week or two, until Seraphim gets lifted for the repairs.

I went down the next day to remove the tender, head sail, sprayhood and small odds and sods. Even this took half a day, but slowly slowly catch your monkey.

Seraphim at her drying berth C27



Bembridge with Stella and Jacque

When I last visited Bembridge with Jacque and few weeks ago, he was so taken by the beauty that he told his wife, Stella. And so a trip was arranged, for all three of us the visit again.

Jacques and Stella arrive promptly at 1030, on the morning of the 2nd of June, and after a cup of tea, we slipped lines and headed up the Hamble and into Southampton Water.

Leaving the Hamble, with Hamble Lifeboat and SCM in the background
Stella at the helm

We set our sails and managed to tack our way over towards the Isle of Wight. Approaching Osbourne Bay, Jacque suggested that we anchor for lunch in the bay. As the time was approaching 1400 and we were rather peckish, we all agreed.

We anchored, under sail, in 4 meters of water, 2 cables off shore and 2 cables south of Norris, red lateral mark. The Spade anchor set immediately and it was fun doing it under sail and remembering the techniques required. Lunch was provided by Stella, a wonderful home made chicken pasta, with pesto.

At anchor at Osborne Bay

We weighed anchor at 1400 and with the lack of wind motored to our destination for the evening, Bembridge Harbour. We approached St. Helen’s fort at 1630, which was 2 hours of high water and made our way to our finger pontoon.

Arriving at Bembridge
Entering our home for the night

Having moored up, we had a few light refreshments and then made our way to The Brading Haven Yacht Club, where I had booked a table for us so days ago. We had a wonderful outside table, with fantastic views of the entire harbour and even a dinghy race at at club. The meal was good, and made better by the company and the fine weather.

Stella, Jacque and me at the Brading Haven Yacht Club

After our meal, and with the sun setting we walked back to Seraphim, via the beach overlooking the entrance and with Portsmouth on the horizon. The ambiance was amplified by driftwood fires, used as heating, lighting and bbqs, by what we presumed to be locals taking their families out. A fantastic end to a wonderful day.

Families enjoying driftwood fires at Bembridge
More Driftwood fires and cargo ships at anchor

Drying out in Ryde

It’s time to test out the true potential and one of the main reasons I bought Seraphim. With a lifting keel and the ability to lower the draft from 2.2 metre to 0.7 m, I decided on a trip to Ryde, accompanied by my friend Jacque.

The day before departure, I called Ryde a harbour, to check out accessibility and draw on local knowledge, always an invaluable asset. This was readily given by Shaun, the harbour master at Ryde. The main problem was the slitting on the right of the entrance, and the other advice was to not necessary stick to the buoyed channel. The buoyed channel, is primarily used to avoid the hovercraft and not for depth. I was advised to make my way from the end of Ryde Pier, and head straight for the entrance, which is what we did.

We slipped lines at 0923 and causally entered the River Hamble and the raised sails and headed to our destination.

Jacque at the helm, leaving Universal
Tides at Ryde on the 15th of May 2021

We arrived at Ryde Pier at 1230, two hours before high water Ryde, and gingerly made our way towards the entrance. Depth dropped to 1.1m and we made notes of times and height of tide, to aide our departure, the next day.

Ryde Pier on the right and Ryde Harbour to the left of this picture

True to Shaun’s word, the entrance was indeed silted up and we had to stick as closely as possible to the green mark when entering, to avoid the build up of sand on our port side.

Ryde harbour entrance, with sand spit clearly visible on left of entrance.
The silted entrance to Ryde Harbour. A narrow and tricky entrance.

Once in the harbour, we reversed into our space on the visitors pontoon, and put Seraphim to rest in her new temporary home.

Reversing into our pontoon, with Jacque casually stepping off the stern.
Aerial view of Ryde Harbour. The blue mark show the visitors pontoon and approximate position of Seraphim.
Seraphim at her berth.
Almost no water

I happened to have friends , Monika and Marcin, who sailed to Bembridge the same day and we arranged to meet for a drink and lunch in a delightful pub called the Boathouse, in Puckpool, not far from Seaview. Needless to say they joined us for drinks on Seraphim after lunch.

Seraphim at sunset

The following day we have to wait for the tide to permit our exit, so we took the opportunity to take a walk through Ryde.

Our entrance route,now completely dried out
The hover port
Appley Tower
Appley Beach
All Saints Church
Art Deco hotel

It wasn’t until 1330, that we had enough water to venture out. The wind was a Force 6, which aided our turn out of our berth, but we had to be pretty careful manoeuvring through the exit of the harbour, especially as we had both the keel and rudder raised. We managed it without issue and had a cracking sail back to Southampton in squalls and F7 winds. Seraphim handled beautifully and the sail was exhilarating and a perfect finish to a perfect weekend.

Sailing back in a Force 7, fantastic

Honolee Launch

Another early start, as I promised Warren a hand with the re launch of his yacht, Honolee. I left home at 0540 and with a stop for fuel and breakfast arrived at Keyhaven just before 0800, for an 0830 launch, we were to be the first launch of the day. Needless to say, West Solent Boat Builders, were working to their schedule and not that of their customers. They had a small lifting keel yacht in their sling, trying to free a jammed keel with a sledge hammer. So we had a coffee and Keyhaven Sailing Club.

We were eventually launched at 0940and after the usual engine check and re fitting of lazy jacks were on our way and winding our way through the small, unmarked channel and towards the Solent.

Honolee, pre launch
I view fro Keyhaven Yacht Club, looking south towards the Solent
A quick hello from a local friend
In she goes, with Warren looking on in anticipation
On our way, with Keyhaven in the distance
The U.K. buoyed channel, with a string of yachts marking the way
Hurst Castle, partially collapsed and being re built
The spit at the entrance/exit
The Lymington ferry, leaving for the IOW
Me, preparing mooring lines
A perfect entry
And we’re in. Me stepping off
Lymington Town Sailing Club, where Warren is a member and where we booked our lunch stop.
1230. Our outside dinning area. Where we had a wonderful lunch of Chowder, smocked haddock on a bed of potatoes and spinach and apple crumble off course, downed with a nice bitter. Thank you Warren.

Portsmouth with Paul

I was very kindly invited by my friend Paul, to join him for a couple of days on Izzy Wizzy.

Izzy Wizzy at her berth at Gosport Marina

Views of Gosport Marina and Spinnaker Tower

I arrived at Gosport marina at 0830 and explored the marina and surroundings before meeting up with Paul. Our two Aircraft Carriers were in port and looked magnificent against the scenic and historic background of Portsmouth. It’s an amazing, magical city, steeped with history. The Historic Dockyards are a must if you visit.

Paul, wanted to brush of the cobwebs, and we decided to sail to the Nab Tower, neither of us had been before.

We slipped lines at 0940 and couldn’t resist a sail pass by our carriers, which were both leaving for duties and exercises. The Queen Elizabeth to the South China Seas and the prince of Wales to Scotland.

Prince of Wales and Queen Elizabeth

View as leaving Portsmouth

We then motored out of Portsmouth, which is always filled with much emotions. One cant help thinking about the centuries of activity in this extremely important Naval base. Glimpses of memories flooded back to me of my first visit in 1969, when I was only 9, on a school trip, “Little Ealing Junior School”

We had a mixture of sailing and motoring to the Nab Tower, passing the Solent Napoleonic Forts.

One of the Napoleonic Forts

Nab Tower

Lunch on the go, extremely delicious, infarct I thought it was home made

Paul, reversing Izzy Wizzy into her berth

Royal Clarence

Light snack and beer at Arty’s , Royal Clarence Marina

We returned back to Gosport at 1545 and relaxed with a walk to Clarence Marina for a pint and snack, before returning to Izzy Wizzy, for a relaxing evening with a wonderful meal presented by Paul.





Wootton Creek

After being in Portsmouth for a few days and seeing both the Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales, I had a notion to see them departing Portsmouth harbour. After checking the Portsmouth VTS website, I discovered that the departure of the Queen Elizabeth was schedules for the 1st of May at 1550.

The evening of the 30th of April, I texted some new friends, ” Monika and Marcin” and asked them if they were interested. They immediately agreed, now the decision was on which boat??

Their yacht, “Spellbound of Narnia”, is based in Southsea, which has a cill gate, and restricted access times, whereas, Seraphim, at Universal is only minimally limited at extreme low water during spring tides. And so, it was decided to go on Seraphim.

I drove down to Universal at 0600, stopping en route to get provisions for or trip. I later found out that Monika had made a chicken cassoulet. So we had plenty of options.

Seraphim at her berth in the early mooring of the 1st of May

Monika and Marcin promptly arrived at 1000, and after showing them around Seraphim, doing a safety brief and having some coffee and cake, we slipped lines at 1105.  We gently made our way into the Hamble river and upstream into Southampton Water.

Monika, Marcin and me, in the River Hamble having just left Universal.

Surprisingly, the wind picked up and as we entered Southampton Water we raised Seraphim’s sails and entered the peaceful world of wind and waves.

As we crossed the Solent and neared the Isle of Wight, we noticed the ferries entering and leaving Wootton Creek. I reminisced the last time I had been here, several years ago in Yaga. I suggested we change our plan and go into Wootton Creek for lunch. The reasoning was that waiting for the Queen Elizabeth would mean we would come back close to low water and that’s without any delays.

So we started our entry into Wootton Creek by approaching the North Cardinal mark and then following the buoyed channel. We made it just before the ferry started to make here way into the channel. We moored up at the end of the visitors pontoon at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.

In the channel, approaching Wootton Creek

The club was open, indeed this was their first day of serving lunches outside. We decided to forgo our onboard delights and refreshments and partake in a helping of Fish n Chips on the terraces of the club. Such beautiful views and peacefulness, and people milling around, almost made one forget the Covid crisis.

Wootton Creek, as viewed from The Royal Victoria Yacht Club

Seraphim, at her berth – Royal Victoria Yacht Club

After lunch, we slipped lines at 1526 and made our way back, predominantly under sail, to Universal marina. Arriving back at 1840 we reversed Seraphim into her berth. Marcin stepping of the stern, attached our stern line to the dock cleat, whilst I powered forward and brought Seraphim gently into her pontoon.


Sailing back, with the Fawley chimney in sight

A surprise when entering Southampton Water – The Queen Mary II

Monika at the helm, having fun

Having settled Seraphim in, it was time for some light refreshments of beer and wine and discussions about our trip and sailing adventures in general.

Our passage

A most pleasant day and it just goes to show that changing plans can be rewarding, and exciting, an in many way better than the original one.




Beaulieu Revisited

Today is brighter and warmer than the previous day. Indeed, it’s tee-shirt weather. Our plan was to take a trip up stream, on the river Medina, and to the capital of the Isle of Wight, Newport.

But, all plans change and Ed decided to stay on for another day and we both decided to return to Beaulieu. We were going to have another attempt sailing towards the village as I was disappointed that I backed out on the first attempt.

We booked our lock exit for 1130 and had to be ready by 1115 for instruction from the marina. Promptly, at 1115, the marina radioed us. We were instructed to slip lines and make our way towards the lock. This time it wasn’t free flow. We entered the lock and were thrown bow an stern lines, by the marina staff. Once locked in, the water emptied and we dropped some 2 metres to the level,of the welcoming river Medina.

Entering the lock
Ed being thrown a line
Leaving the lock. You can see how shallow it is by the grounded red buoy.
A glance back and a fond farewell to Island Harbour

We motored downstream crossed the Solent and to Beaulieu. Passing Bucklers Hard, we continued upstream, for our second attempt at reaching Beaulieu village. This time I was braver and more determined. Passing the point we had reached the day before, the depth kept decreasing and the river narrowing. However, this time my resolve prevailed and after a few more bends we reached the village and could see traffic crossing the small road bridge, that prevented any further progress, well that and the fact that we were running out of depth.

Objective achieve – Beaulieu Village and the road bridge.
A very happy me, with Beaulieu village and road bridge in the background

Goal achieved, we headed back downstream, and to Bucklers Hard. This time we had a very private berth on C9. Another meal and refreshments at “The Master Builder” beaconed.😊⛵️

Chart showing the Beaulieu river, not the green area near the village. green indicating drying area.
Chart showing the depths as one approaches the village
Tidal heights for the day. The air pressure was 1027, standard air pressure is 1013, so we would have had less water than indicated on the charts and tidal curve.

20th April 2021 – Universal to Bembridge

Today is another sailing day, this time with Jacques, a friend from my Ealing days, who I met again in 2009 by sheer coincidence. I re met him, hen I was returning to my then home berth at Town Quay marina , Southampton ,and had a noticed a motor boat next to me. This time someone was one board. At a closer glance, they looked familiar. After mooring we had a chat and discovered that we knew each other from the 1980’s. Some coincidence.

Anyway, back to sailing. Our plan is to sail to Bembridge, my favourite place within the Solent area. We slipped lines at 0855 and motored downstream, through familiar sights along the Hamble and into Southampton Water and the eastwards towards Bembridge.

Within the hour we raised sails and turned off the iron maiden. The silence of our surroundings was, as usual wonderful. We sailed towards Horse Sand Fort and as we approached put a tack in. The tack got us through the channel and we soon passed No Mans Fort. A couple of more tacks and we were in sight of St Helen’s Fort and the approaches to Bembridge.

No Mans Fort
Bembridge beckons

We dropped sails and engined our way towards the small buoys marking the Bembridge approaches. We were on low water neaps , and this was the first time I had entered this channel on low water, only made possible by my beautiful lifting keel beauty, Seraphim. The depth went down to 1.5 metres, but with the keel lifted and only drawing 0.7 metres, it was not a problem.

By 1330, we were moored up and having a beer on deck. Later that afternoon I showed Jacques a little of Bembridge, taking a walk to the other side of the harbour. We walked to the beach, where we were going to dry out. We didn’t attempt this, as we were on neaps and didn’t want to risk being neaped.

Seraphim at her berth at Bembridge

Our walk back took us past Bembridge Sailing Club and Brading Haven Yacht Club, both of which we visited for a pint or two. Then back to Seraphim, where I prepared a homemade Tuna and rocket spaghetti.

Next time I will beach Seraph8m here
Bembridge Sailing Club
View from Bembridge Sailing Club
Jacque, with wine and Tuna spaghetti

Lovely day, great company and in one of my favourite places.