The Severn Estuary offers unlimited potential for those looking for an adventure. Sailing in this area of outstanding natural beauty really is a privilege and there are rich rewards for those who are brave enough to take on the second largest tidal range in the world and head beyond the regular sailing limits.
The River Severn has the second largest tidal range in the world, so day sailing from TSC needs careful planning, especially if you don't have an engine, as getting caught on the wrong side of the tide in a falling breeze is not much fun. That said, if you use the tides to your advantage you open up some fantastic day sails: Bullo Pill 15NM up river is achievable in a dinghy; or, heading South, a trip round The Holms islands, or to Cardiff for lunch, is within range of the cruisers. We suggest that you start with something simple and within your knowledge and capability, then get more ambititious as you build up your experience; it's much better to come back full of plans for the next trip, than it is to bite off too much too soon.
Where to start
If you are thinking about day sailing from TSC, a great starting point is Fergus Macgregor's guide, Day Sailing from Thornbury Sailing Club, which is packed with useful information and experience. There is a download button at the bottom of this page.
The size of the sailing area and the strength of the tide mean that it's always safety first. We recommend that you:
- make sure your boat is in good shape and you and your boat are equipped for day sailing
- carry adequate food and water
- do a good sailing plan, remembering that conditions on the water change with the tide
- read Fergus's guide (download below)
- ask for advice from other members
- consider going out in the company of another boat
- let someone on shore know of your intentions
- carry a VHF radio
As a cruising dinghy Skipper you must recognise the risks inherent in sailing and that you are personally responsible for any decision to sail and accept responsibility for any injury, damage or loss to the extent it is caused by your own negligence.
You do need to read the advice here and prepare thoroughly, also to wear clothing adequate to ensure you and your crew remain warm and dry throughout your proposed passages, and wear personal buoyancy of 50N or more. You must be capable of righting your boat in case of partial or full capsize and capable of swimming 25 metres in sailing gear. Obviously, you must undertake not to sail whilst impaired by alcohol or drugs, or otherwise unfit to sail.
Get the basics right and you'll find the challenge of day sailing from TSC almost unlimited and very rewarding.
Last updated 10:45 on 9 March 2022