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South Deep Anchorage in Poole Harbour

After sailing from the Isle of Wight we dropped the hook in the South Deep, an anchorage in the beautiful Poole Harbour.

After our first night we awoke to discover that we had swung into the middle of the channel! The wind had blown up to around 20 knots from the South West and this, combined with the outgoing tide, was pushing us into the channel. The charts clearly indicate not to anchor within the buoyed channel, and technically our anchor was outside of the channel, it’s just we weren’t! 😃

So we brought up the anchor which was absolutely covered in black, thick mud and huge clumps of seaweed. So much so that it was impossible to bring it up over the bow roller. It took around 10 minutes of attacking it with a boat hook to get it looking more like an anchor again rather than a blob of black gloop! Old clothes and a bucket of water are advisable if you are looking at anchoring in the South Deep!

Sunrise at the South Deep Anchorage in Poole Harbour

Anyhow we moved further up and dropped the anchor once again in position 50˚40.624N 001˚ 59.188W and sat back down for a relaxing afternoon. That was until low water came and this time we swung round the other way…very, very close to the shallows! The wind was still blowing around 20 knots and we were on springs. We draw just over 1.5m and had around 17m of chain out. Luckily we had the place to ourselves so there was no concern of hitting others, or them hitting us, but there was the concern of hitting the bottom. With just 20cm showing below us, we once again raised our blob of black gloop and moved.

Settling in for the night at 50˚40.601N 001˚59.242W we were happy that we were far away from both the channel and the shallows. However the next day the wind once again picked up and we were being pushed to the edge of the channel, though we were confident we weren’t actually in the channel! But soon the Harbour Master came knocking. We explained that we were fully out of the channel when we had dropped the hook but the wind was pushing us back out towards it, and he fully understood. He was cool about it, said we were close to being in the channel but didn’t tell us we had to move, just that we had to be cautious of not drifting further into it. We have a feeling the ‘tripper boat’ grassed us up and when he passed by again an hour or so later he seemed to deliberately pass unnecessarily close to us!

Later that night we were joined by 3 other boats, one of which anchored right in the middle of the channel 🤷🏼‍♀️

Sunset at the South Deep Anchorage in Poole Harbour

But, despite the swinging stress, the South Deep is beautiful. We were fortunate to have the place to ourselves for the first 2 nights, probably due to the fact that it was springs, and still relatively early in the season. The sunrises and sunsets were magical and the birdlife a joy to watch. The holding is good and our new Mantus worked a treat, it’s just a shame it’s so mucky when retrieving it – not sure if this has anything to do with the nearby oil field of Wytch Farm? Obviously being here on a spring tide adds to the drama so anchoring here at neaps would alleviate some of this anxiety. From what we’ve read this place can get very busy in high season so that too would be something to consider if you’re looking at coming here. But if you can get in, and you hold, and it’s not too busy, it is a real gem in the already beautiful treasure that is Poole Harbour.


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