The river bank at Chepstow is a busy and interesting place, especially during the season.
There are realistic speed limits on the Wye. Please adhere to them to avoid danger and damage to the river margins and craft moored on the steep banks.
The area boasts the second largest tidal range in the world. In the River Wye, the tidal pattern is radically affected by fresh water levels, wind and barometric pressure. Because of this, mariners need to be aware, particularly, of the possibility of a reduction in the effective clearance beneath electricity cables and bridges over the river.
Chepstow (off the town)
H.W. Avonmouth + 20 mins
L.W. variable but approx Avonmouth + 1 hour
DRIES OUT EXCEPT MID-STREAM
Tidal/River flow rates on the ebb, at Spring Tides: Summer...............8 knots
On the flood: Summer..............6 knots
(There may be no discernible flow on the flood, if the river is swollen badly upstream)
RIVER ENTRANCE (BEACHLEY).......................................Mean Spring range 12.5 metres.
Free tidal charts may be obtained from www.easytide.ukho.gov.uk/easytide.
Moorings and Facilities
The club has a pontoon which is available 2 hours or so before and after H.W. at Chepstow. Those wishing to stay for more than an hour or so, will need to contact the Club Moorings Officer, or another officer.
The soft river bank slopes at a steep angle, so fin keel craft will need to take a line ashore from the masthead, and watch progress over the tide.
In any event, craft alongside the Pontoon should not be left unattended for any length of time. The Boat Inn is adjacent to the Pontoon (open from 11:00), where good food, coffee, telephone etc may be obtained.
There is a dedicated floating Visitor’s Mooring, check availability with the Mooring’s Officer. Please seek local advice before attempting to moor on the bank, pick up a vacant mooring, or use the dock. Anchoring is not advised without good local knowledge.
Chepstow town has most of the facilities you are likely to require. Fuel, (not red diesel), and victuals can be obtained from Tesco. Water is available from a Hydrant near the dock. There is no Boat Chandlery or electricity.
There is a small slipway about 14 metres, or a little more; incline 30 degrees, muddy below H.W. +/- 1 hour. The slipway has flood defence gates, which are kept locked. If access is required, please make prior arrangements with the Mooring’s Officer.
PILOTAGE: Imray chart C59; Admiralty chart 1166; O.S. Pathfinder map 1131
If you set out from the Avonmouth area, or perhaps you have used the pool at Portishead to await a suitable tide, shortly after half flood, with a westerly wind, or under power, you can safely make Chepstow in good time. To make life easier, aim to arrive at Chepstow about 1 hour before H.W. Try to let someone know that you are coning. Night-time passage is not recommended unless you have good local knowledge.
You will have spotted the Second SWIM cm (M4) road bridge before reaching Avonmouth. The channel beneath the bridge is recognised as running under the longest un-piered section. The leading marks at St Plum are not easy to see from this distance.
Set out from GM Bllly(port hand, off Denny Shoal), keeping Portishead astern, aiming at the channel under the bridge. Check progress regularly, but at 5 knots or more, at this stage you should only need to make small corrections to your steering. You will begin to feel the tidal stream more as you approach the shoots between the Lunar Shoots hem The lighthouse on Chilton Rock will now be a good front marker against the shore. You can use ‘eyeball’ transits along this stretch to check your progress. The waters swirl about a bit as you approach the bridge (and will continue to give you an interesting ride until you are past Charston rock).
Having passed under the bridge, two more solid beacons guide you past Old Ian's Had to starboard. The stream splits at Charston rock, so you will need to be positive early on about which channel to take. Unless you are bound for St Pierre, for the easiest channel, leave the lighthouse to port. (See Chepstow and District Yacht Club notes on www.cdyc.co.uk). Clear Chilton Slldl with clearing bearings off the mun Down at St Pierre. A magnetic course, then, of about 035 will guide you towards the entrance of the River Wye.
Once the approach is made, the general rule will be to tend to the starboard side of the mid-water line of the river; (the Wye is not a busy river, but you may come across a sand dredger or water skiers). The charted clearance of the electric power lines across the entrance to the Wye is 18 metres, (see notes on tides), but if you are worried, keep to the Beachley (eastern) side of the catenary for a bit of extra clearance. There are tracts of M.O.D. land at Beachley. The nearby road bridge (M48) crossing the Wye should not be a problem.
The last obstacles before Chepstow are the rail and road bridges (A48) just below the town. The construction of the rail bridge means that clearance in the channel is down to about 3.5metres (M.H.W.S) but there is extra height over to port near the west bank if your air draft is critical. Once clear of the rail bridge, the road bridge presents no problems.
You have now arrived in Chepstow. The pontoon is on the port side, adjacent to the BOAT INN. Stout mooring lines will be needed.
A SMALL DONATION TOWARDS THE UPKEEP MAY BE LEFT BEHIND THE BAR AT THE BOAT INN IF POSSIBLE THANKS.