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.
We can recommend Hamble Point Yacht Charters on all points. Marvelous service, good price, great boats. An absolute winner!!
Just finished a fabulous week in the Solent with two friends. The chartered boat was in very good condition, considering she was quite elderly. Being the end of the season there were a few scratches on her hull, which were pointed out by the staff. However, the interior and engine were in first class condition, everything was ship shaped and worked. Bembridge then Yarmouth back to Buckler's Hard, finally returning to the Hamble. Winds mainly from either S or N of F3/6, just perfect sailing. Certainly, in the future, hope to repeat this experience with a very well run organised Charter.
Thank you for everything, certainly hope in the near future to charter again, and pleased to recommend the efficient way your organisation works
We charter regularly from HPYC and always find the boats are clean, well maintained and properly equipped. The handover and breifing process is always efficeint and thorough so we get away quickly and we know support is available if there are any difficulties. The marina locatioin is also a great plus, giving easy and quick access to the Solent with optoins ot go east or west depending on the tides. All of the team at HPYC are very friendly and helpful and we really appreciate the great service they provide.
Thoroughly enjoyed the week. Four days sailing with Leigh as skipper; made up the itinerary as we went along - across to Cowes then down to Lulworth Cove and back. Several of us have sailing experience but did not have the experience to navigate the tides and currents of the south coast. Leigh was brilliant - quickly got us doing all the work within our own abilities and his knowledge and experience was exceptional. Knew his stuff. Great fun and pretty good value for money all once you divided it up between the seven of us. Not quite enough storage for all the beer however...
Very efficient and friendly service, quick and slick handover and return. Communication with Alex was very good, both by telephone and emails. I’d never sailed a Gib Sea 37 before but Viola is quick under sail and motor, very noisy in tick over as was pointed out at the handover but equally quiet with a few revs, in fact almost ‘electric’ quiet one crew member remarked. The heavy kick to port in astern can be used to good effect when close quarter manoeuvring. Plenty of electronics ( I brought charts with me but didn’t need them, the plotter at the helm was great ) All in all, Viola was a credit to you and I wouldn’t hesitate to charter her again... Although I do like the look of the Halberg Rassey on the next berth ! Perhaps next year? Many thanks Alex and the team.
We had an excellent weekend on board a 36 ft yacht, Aeolus, chartered from HPYC. The boat was in great condition, fully equipped with no problems at all, Booking, collection and returning the boat all went very smoothly and the staff were all super friendly and efficient. Hamble Point Marina is also a really nice spot and a great place to start out from. HPYC will definitely be our first choice for our next charter.
Had another amazing week sailing thanks to HPYC. The team here are so friendly; Alex, Josh and Dave are a really credit to the business - nothing seems to much trouble and we shall definitely be visiting again next year. Here’s to hoping we have another mid 20’s heatwave.....please.
When asked what do HPYC do really well... 'Presentation and quality of yachts on offer together with friendly and helpful staff, willing to be flexible and to accommodate client's wishes.'
We were let down extremely last minute by a chartering company for a hen do. With just 3 days till the big day I started getting a little panicked! I had no need to! I spoke to Karen in the office who was extremely helpful! She went away to see what she could do, not only did she come back with a skipper and a boat, she was also able to provide everything and more, that we were due to have on the original booking. She also beat the price! We went out on the southern comfort with josh who had given up his afternoon off to take us out. Josh was amazing. Very funny and a great sport when it came to a bunch of crazy hen women! Thank you so much for all of your effort and going above and beyond for us. This was the best hen do I have been on due to all of your help
We chartered a boat with Karen, at very ,very short notice after a previous company informed us that they had doubled booked and were cancelling us. Karen was amazing & did everything that she could to get us booked in and keeping us informed all the way. Well what a blessing the cancellation turned out to be. Our skipper Josh was open ,friendly, informative and fun! The weather was extremely hot and he had 7 (well behaved)women to contend with. The trip was for my little sisters hen day, as we all love a boat trip this was a 'must' for part of her day. the boat was beautiful, clean and stocked with drinks and a lovely buffet, we were allowed to 'take the wheel' for a while and Josh didn't mind the constant questions that we bombarded him with. (if he did he was a gentleman and didn't show it). Everyone had a wonderful trip over to the Isle of Wight and back and I cannot ever say thank you enough for the smile on my sister face for the whole trip , when she kept saying 'I feel like a Wag & this is so much better than a pottery painting class. hahaha! Well we will definitely be back (if they will have us).
We chartered 2 boats which were both fantastic - skippers were relaxed and friendly and encouraged some of the more inexperienced among our group to have a go on helm, which resulted in a fantastic and participative day for all on board. We were blessed with perfect conditions for sailing, a truly amazing day on the water.
Dealing with Hamble Point Yacht Charters has been a great experience. The whole team are very professional. We took 2 boats out onto the Solent with 24 clients to experience a day’s sailing. They had an exhilarating time and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The offices are conveniently located with ample parking. They are also situated very close to a restaurant who provide excellent crew meeting facilities with great tea, coffee and bacon rolls – I will be using Hamble Point Charters again
Just an email to say thank you very much to the whole team for all their hard work on our corporate event last week. Another fabulous event on Seafin this year and we were very spoilt with the weather! We always receive so many compliments about the day from our guests. The food was fantastic and the staff are always great year on year. Looking forward to next year already!