Selsey Bill March 2024: A Shipping Forecast Micro-Adventure Part 2

Following on from the Margate to North Foreland trip in February 2024, CKC had planned a trip in another Inshore Shipping Forecast area: Selsey Bill. Checking the forecast on Friday for the Saturday trip didn’t give us much hope:

“The Inshore Forecast issued by the Met Office at 0500, Friday 1 March…North Foreland to Selsey Bill, Southerly or Southeasterly 5-7, occasionally gale 8, veering West or Southwest, 4-6, rain or squally showers, good or occasionally poor.”

Some hasty re-arranging, meant that we were able to change the day of the trip to Sunday, where the forecast was much more to our liking: “Variable 3 or less, increasing to 4 at times, mainly fair, good.”

We arrived down at Bracklesham at lunchtime and found the car park full and partially flooded. Most of the cars seemed to belong to surfers or play boaters practicing on the small but perfectly formed waves close into the shoreline. After a short safety briefing we launched through the small surf one at a time, before heading East towards Selsey. The wind was very light (F2), the sea almost flat and the sun was out in the blue sky.

Towards Selsey Bill

The flow around Selsey is often turbulent, with waves caused by the tidal stream coming into an area of shallow water. We could see waves breaking on the Bill further out and with relatively calm water between there and Selsey we chose to paddle across close to land. Once over Selsey Bill we headed Northeast passed the Selsey RNLI station.

Selsey RNLI Station

There were lots of people outside the RNLI station singing to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of the RNLI in 1824. There has been an RNLI station at Selsey since 1861, but we’re not planning that they will need to use their two boats Denise and Eric for us today!

A bit further along the coast we spotted a shore based member of CKC and headed in for lunch near to the end of the holiday cottages. These cottages were originally railway carriages and have slowly been converted to houses, although a few of the originals remain.

Railway carriage house
Coming in for lunch
Lunch in the sun on a virtually deserted beach
View to Bognor Regis
Getting ready to launch

We had a quick lunch on a virtually deserted pebble beach before it was time to catch the tidal stream back to Selsey. The wind had increased slightly to F3 and was in our faces for the first leg back to Selsey Bill. But more importantly the wind and tide were acting against each other so the waves started to get a bit bigger.

Start of the return adventure

Around the Bill the waves picked up further (0.5m) and became more frequent (6s) making the paddling a bit more of a challenge.

Westward over Selsey Bill at High Water on Neaps

The winds and waves didn’t drop off for the return journey and we kept going until we arrived at Bracklesham. We had planned the trip to arrive well after high water to avoid the dumping surf that can sometimes occur at this beach. Even so, we went in one at a time so that the shore based club members could help each paddler out of the surf zone and then everyone could help the next person in.

Once safely on the beach, changed and boats loaded it was time to reflect on the trip. It was fun trip – enjoyable with some paddling conditions that stretched the group’s abilities a bit. So ultimately it was a very satisfying trip to have had some conditions and been able to successfully paddle in them, building our confidence for future trips.

Facebook Twitter Email

Comments are closed.