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.
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.
As usual excellent service from the team at Hamble Point Yacht Charters. This must be about the 7th or 8th time and always great! Finally made a visit to Chichester and had a great time there and back. Technical problem with the boat in Cowes heading back but no big deal. All sorted out with Sea Start...
My go to charter company on the south coast for the past 15 years, very professional, their yachts are always well prepared. I'll be back in April and then again in October.
Having a charter option immediately available with Hamble Point Yacht Charters gave our client the confidence to purchase their first yacht. Charter Management reduced the financial risk for the client and I don’t think we would have closed the sale without the client having the reassurance of a charter income.
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 briefing process is always efficient and thorough so we get away quickly and we know support is available if there are any difficulties. The marina location is also a great plus, giving easy and quick access to the Solent with options to 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...