As the seasons roll on and we embrace Spring, we thought we’d look at Spring Tides and their impact on yacht chartering and sailing.
The first thing to know about spring tides, is they have absolutely nothing to do with Spring!
What Are Spring Tides?
A spring tide or ‘springs’ is a higher than average tide, whilst ‘neaps’ refers to a lower than average tide. A spring tide occurs roughly every fortnight.
What Causes Spring Tides?
Tides are caused by the gravitational pull generated by the Sun and Moon.
As the moon orbits Earth, twice a month, the Earth, Sun and Moon are all in alignment – and this combined gravitational pull is what causes the larger surges of water, or ‘spring tides’ (image source oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/springtide.html). These dates coincide with the New Moon and Full Moon phases.
Seven days after the Spring Tide caused by the alignments, the Moon and Sun are at their least aligned points within the orbits, and therefore exert a lower combined gravitational effect which is when we see ‘neaps’.
Why are Spring Tides Important?
As a sailor, it is important to know when it is springs and when it is neaps. In the UK, the tide still changes direction every 6 hours (approximately), but during springs the tide is higher at high-tide and lower at low tide. Therefore, the tidal range is greater during springs.
In addition, for the water to flood to the higher high-tide and ebb to a lower low-tide during the same 6-hour window, it must flow faster during springs than neaps. In the Solent, the tidal flow is easily twice as fast during springs at HW+/-3.
If you are chartering a yacht, or planning a sail in the Solent, there are several ways in which spring tides can affect you, all of which can be addressed with sensible passage planning:
How to Tell When it is Springs and when is Neaps
Any almanac or tide tables contains the details of the times and heights of tides to help you plan your sailing on any given date. Often, springs dates are highlighted in red, and neaps in blue, although some will show symbols of the full and new moon, so you can work this out yourself. Alternatively, you can look at the heights and ranges of the tides and calculate when this is greater and therefore springs.
A top tip for Solent sailors, is that when it is springs, high-tide occurs at midday. So, if you arrive at Hamble Point marina at 6pm to a high tide, you can be sure it is a neaps tide.
If you are uncertain how to read the almanac, calculate tidal heights or would like additional practice at berthing in a spring tide, please contact us and we can arrange for a qualified instructor to join you on board for a day, or you can join one of our many RYA courses.
Just returned from a 1 week bareboat charter of Aeolus. The service through researching the options in October, where I popped in whilst in the area to view available boats, through the booking process and the charter itself was great. This particular boat may not be the newest on the water but is maintained to a high standard and allowed us a wonderful week crossing the channel to Fecamp and Honfleur before returning for a couple of days in the Solent. Nothing was too much trouble for HPYC and as a regular charterer around the UK and Europe the efficiency and quality of service delivered is appreciated, especially confirmation of the return of the security deposit emailed to me before I got home.
We sailed overnight to Alderney onboard Abraxas, which is a First 40.7. Initially in strong winds we made excellent progress and for the last couple of hours motored in no wind. This boat is good for passage making if you have an experienced crew happy to handle the large main sail.
Friendly welcome. All staff helpful. Relaxed atmosphere. Instructors gave clear explanations of safety equipment and how to perform tasks expected of crew. Very tolerant of mistakes made. Encouraged us to be more independent as the week went by to help build our confidence. Berthed in a number of different marinas each presenting different issues to consider when berthing. The whole experience was most enjoyable and I feel able to crew for other skippers. Excellent value.
The boat and equipment was in good order. We learnt a huge amount in a friendly and fun environment. I wouldn't hesitate to use HPYC for training or charters in the future.
We had a great charter of the yacht Appaloosa from HPYC. The boat was very clean when we boarded her, and was ready for us to board at the agreed time. The staff were very helpful and helped us straight away with any queries.....and my security deposit return was confirmed very quickly. I will definitely consider chartering from HPYC again!
When asked what they thought of HPYC and the day we provided for them: "Excellent"! Everything, as always, was excellent!
5 day solent area charter. HPYC were welcoming, professional, flexible and cheerful. We feel you may book here with confidence then relax and trust that all will be as you would wish.
Nice boat in fantastic condition even if it was quite old (2003). We enjoyed sailing in the Solent and the tips issued by Hamble Point Yacht Charters. We will come back.
I chartered a 32 ft with Hamble Point Yacht Charters for a weekend with a friend. the boat was good and Hamble point location is great to get out in the Solent quickly and and for a beer in Hamble at night. Staff at Hamble point Charter was very pro and friendly
The team had a great time on the boat. The staff were fantastic and very welcoming throughout the day. The mid-afternoon stop was also a welcome & pleasant surprise. The jet skis were fantastic, the food & drink were great too. We will most likely be coming again soon.
The yacht was in perfect condition. Josh made a great ship handover. Unfortunately, the modern yachts are no longer designed to be seaworthy. The self-tacking jib cannot be trimmed properly. But otherwise we had a great week. My crew was eager to learn and could take home many valuable experiences. I love the Solent and I'll definitely be back.
I was a bit apprehensive about doing my competent crew course .... I’m normally a feet firmly on dry land kinda girl but my trip thoroughly exceeded expectations! I went alone on an all women crew & quickly realised you are never alone on a boat.... we bonded very quickly over a refreshment the first night! I was kitted out with wellies & waterproof clothing & beds on board were chosen... surprisingly comfortable. I was amazed at the quality of food we ate ... proper full English breakfast to set us up the first morning .... which was a blessing in the wet & wind! Alex, our yatchmaster put us all at ease talking us through the course. I hadn’t realised we would moor beside such good showers every night altho I admit I didn’t shower every day ! 🤣 I learnt so much on the course, weather, wind, knots, helming, tacking, mooring! We dealt with fog, anchor chains, going up the mast (not normal!), man overboard (not literally!) & all the time Alex was very clear, professional & super friendly always encouraging us along the way. I can’t recommend Hamble point sailing enough, and a trip to the Isle of Wight.... I hadn’t realised how beautiful it was!
Thank you all for the well prepared Aeolus. Hope to charter her again next Spring and probably this autumn.
Hassle-free check-in with adjacent free parking about 50m from the boat so we could start enjoying our accommodation-only 2 night stay. Marina facilities are excellent, the location ultra-quiet at night, the boat was spotless, and essential start-up supplies helpful. We lucked out on weather with sun and shorts at the end of March by the Solent for the weekend. I highly recommend Alex and her boats for a stay on the water.