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White Bay

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Overview





White Bay is situated on the south coast of Ireland immediately within the entrance to Cork Harbour. It offers an anchorage off a secluded beach.

Set inside the neck of Cork Harbour, and on its eastern shoreline, it offers good protection from any condition with an easterly component. Safe access is assured in all reasonable conditions by Cork Harbour, one of the most easily approached and well-marked harbours in the world.



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Keyfacts for White Bay
HM  +353 21 4273125      info@portofcork.ie      Ch.12, 14, 16
Approaches
5 stars: Safe access; all reasonable conditions.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterNavigation lights to support a night approachRemote or quiet secluded locationScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity
Facilities
Pleasant family beach in the area

Last modified
May 30th 2017; suggest a correction?

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Now Force

Summary

A good location with safe access.

LWS draught

3 metres (9.84 feet).

Today's tide estimates

LW 02:12 (0.8m) HW 08:03 (4m)
LW 14:26 (0.9m) HW 20:16 (3.9m)
Now approaching Neaps

Swell today




Approaches
5 stars: Safe access; all reasonable conditions.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterNavigation lights to support a night approachRemote or quiet secluded locationScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity
Facilities
Pleasant family beach in the area

Last modified
May 30th 2017; suggest a correction?

Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 48.290' N, 008° 15.150' W

This is set in about 3 metres in the middle of the bay.

What is the initial fix?

The following Cork Harbour initial will set up a final approach:
51° 46.580' N, 008° 15.460' W
This waypoint is a mile out from the entrance and near the Outflow Marker Fl(Y) 20s. It is set on the alignment of 354° (T) of the Dogsnose leading lights that are situated on the east side of Cork Harbour entrance. This waypoint sets up an east channel approach but a vessel may alter course to and enter via the west channel.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore and approach details are available in the westbound Rosslare to Cork Harbour Route location or eastbound Mizen Head to Cork Harbour Route location sequence. Southern approaches may use either description.


Not what you need?
Try our Advanced Havens Search tool to find locations with the specific attributes you need, or click the 'Next', coastal clockwise, or 'Previous', coastal anti-clockwise, buttons to progress through neighbouring havens. Below are the ten nearest havens to White Bay for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line distance
  1. Crosshaven - 1.1 miles W
  2. Spike Island - 1.5 miles NW
  3. Ringabella Bay - 1.7 miles SW
  4. Aghada - 1.8 miles NNE
  5. Cuskinny - 1.8 miles N
  6. Drake’s Pool - 1.9 miles W
  7. Cobh - 1.9 miles NNW
  8. Cork Harbour Marina - 2.4 miles NW
  9. East Ferry Marina - 2.5 miles NNE
  10. Robert's Cove - 2.7 miles SSW
Ten nearest havens by straight line distance
  1. Crosshaven - 1.1 miles W
  2. Spike Island - 1.5 miles NW
  3. Ringabella Bay - 1.7 miles SW
  4. Aghada - 1.8 miles NNE
  5. Cuskinny - 1.8 miles N
  6. Drake’s Pool - 1.9 miles W
  7. Cobh - 1.9 miles NNW
  8. Cork Harbour Marina - 2.4 miles NW
  9. East Ferry Marina - 2.5 miles NNE
  10. Robert's Cove - 2.7 miles SSW
Alternatively the above can be ordered by compass direction or coastal sequence


How to get in?
Please use our integrated Navionics chart to appraise the haven and its approaches. Navionics charts feature in premier plotters from B&G, Raymarine, Magellan and are also available on tablets. Open the chart in a larger viewing area by clicking the expand to 'new tab' or the 'full screen' option.

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White Bay is situated immediately within the entrance to Cork Harbour and its eastern side. It offers an anchorage between a ½ and ¾ of a mile north of Roche’s Point. It is a remote location off a secluded beach.

Cork Harbour’s entrance is deep, sheltered, three quarters of a nautical mile wide and highly visible upon approach. The first mark will be the Cork Sea Buoy that lies five miles south of the entrance.

Cork Sea Buoy – LFl 10s position: 51°42.935'N, 008°15.601'W

Initial fix location The harbours principal features that first present themselves from the initial fix are the high bluffs of Dogsnose on the east side of the entrance, plus Ram’s Head, situated about 0.6 of a mile north of Weaver’s Point, on the entrance’s western side. On the summit of the Dogsnose, Fort Davis, previously called Fort Carlisle, will be seen with its notable enclosing double wall, immediately to its east, running down the face of the hill to the sea. On the opposite side of the harbour entrance Fort Meagher, previously named Fort Camden, will also be seen facing Fort Davis from the summit of Ram’s Head. One mile south southwest of Fort Meagher the ruined Templebreedy Abbey, with a spire, stands out conspicuously on high land plus a notable water tower with radio mast will also be seen close north of the Abbey.

On a closer approach, Roche’s Point’s distinctive white Roche’s Point Lighthouse and sectored light, will be seen on the eastern side. A disused signal tower and Roche’s Tower, standing about 410 metre to the east, also comes into view.

Roche’s Point - Fl WR 3s position: 51° 47.586'N, 008° 15.287'W

Roche’s Point light sectors are as follows: (Red. Vis.) Red shore-292°. White 292°-016° (84°).Red 016°-033° (17°). White (unintensified) 033°-159° (126°). Red 159°- shore.



At this time Weaver’s Point on the western shore will be discernible with 50 metres of high ground standing behind it. The surrounding land on each side of the entrance is relatively low. Once all these points come into view the entrance to the harbour that is situated 0.8 of a mile south of the forts, between Roche’s Point and Weaver’s Point, will be apparent.

Entry to Cork Harbour is straightforward in any weather, on any tide, night or day as there are no particular dangers for leisure craft. Simply pass between Roche's Point and Weaver’s Point, taking the western or eastern shipping approach channels. These channels are marked for the benefit of large ships to assist them pass a central shallow area called Harbour Rock that is situated in the middle of the entrance. Once past this area White Bay is on the starboard side of the entrance.

However it could not be said that the harbour has no dangers. The east side of the entrance has a pair of important rocks that vessels approaching the entrance from this side, particularly at high water, should make particular note of. These are the Cow Rock and Calf Rock that are situated beneath Roche’s Point and the rocks extend out about 200 metres to the south of the lighthouse. The conning tower like shape of the inner Cow Rock always shows but not so the outer Calf Rock. This is the real danger here as it is the outer of the two rocks and it covers; only drying to 1.4 metres at LWS. As such it is critically important not to cut into the entrance when approaching from the east as this runs the danger of colliding with Calf Rock. Although very difficult to pick out, the alignment 329.5°(T) of Christ Church spire, 4 miles within the harbour at Rushbrooke, and the east extremity of Fort Meagher on Ram's Head, as best seen on Admiralty Chart 1777, leads clear of Cow and Calf Rocks.

Western approaching vessels should make note of Daunt Rock that has 3.5 metres of water over it. These depths do not present any danger to leisure craft however as the rock frequently breaks in bad weather. It is marked by Red buoy Fl (2) R.6s, and lies 0.7 of a nautical mile south east of Roberts Head. Leisure craft may freely pass inshore of Daunt Rock where deep water will be found between Daunt and the shore. There is no need to adhere to the initial fix from the west and the shoreline may be followed up to the bay.

On rounding Roche’s Point the entrance to the harbour opens, and the three buoys marking Harbour Rock, a port, a starboard, and a north cardinal plus the corresponding marks off the eastern and western shorelines. These mark the approach channels that exist on either side of the Harbour Rock that lies in the middle of the entrance, just within Roche’s Point.



Harbour Rock is an extensive rocky shoal with depths varying between 10.7 to 4.4 metres, with the shallowest part being a rocky pinnacle near its northeast elbow. Although nearly in the middle of the entrance, and much in the way of large ships working in or out of the harbour, in reasonable conditions the shallow area that is Harbour Rock presents no obstacle to leisure craft. But in extreme southerly conditions the sea can break on the rock on a LW spring tide. At such times the marked channels should be used.

Haven location Once beyond Harbour Rock, take a central channel approach following the leading lights alignment of 034.5° that leads through the west channel. These are mounted on a set of white huts, at elevations of 11 metres and 21 metres, that stand close to the shore near the northern head of White Bay. Anchor according to draft and conditions in sand with excellent holding. Land on the beach by dinghy.


What's the story here?
White Bay is a beautiful anchorage set into the Cork Harbour entrance. It provides views of Cork’s Lower Harbour to the north, plus Roche’s Point Lighthouse and the outer Ringabella Bay coastline to the south.

This remote, secluded location is best known by rod fishermen and particularly those who like to harvest a night tide. Its best fishing is to be had in the deep water channel 150 metres out from the beach which is ideal for boatmen who want to try their luck. Flatfish, Bass, Codling, Conger Eels and Dogfish plus Rays are regularly pulled in here.

The anchorage also offers a unique opportunity to explore nearby Fort Davis. Originally Fort Carlisle it was renamed Fort Davis on its return to the Irish state in July 1938. This was in memory of Cork’s Thomas Davis, (1814 –1845) the revolutionary Irish writer and poet who was the chief organiser of the Young Ireland movement. Fort Davis corresponds with Fort Meagher, previously known as Fort Camden, at the opposite side of the entrance.
The two forts together, set on harbour entrance promontories, are dramatic features and they are positioned at the narrowest point of the entrance where they would have had most effect at closing out an enemy invader. These entrance forts were however a late Cork Harbour military construction.

The first fortifications were built to protect Cork City and were in and around the surrounds of the ancient metropolis. In the 18th century, fortifications were built on Haulbowline Island to protect the anchorage and the garrison town of Cobh. Fort Camden and Fort Carlisle were started around 1780 and constructed during the American War of Independence. Convict labour was used to complete the construction of both these forts and they remained there for decades afterwards, until finally at the end of 1867 the convicts were replaced by military and civilian labour.

Today the forts are known colloquially as "Camden" and "Carlisle", and not by their official titles. Since being handed over to the Irish military most of the installations have ceased to be used for military purposes and have seen little upkeep in the ensuing decades. Fort Meagher is now being renovated and cared for by local volunteers and enthusiasts and can be visited by the public on open days. It can be accessed by a walk from Crosshaven. Although less elaborate than Fort Camden, Fort Carlisle continues to be used by the Defence Forces for FIBUA training but is not secured and is in a neglected state. A visit to the site will prove absorbing to anyone who has an interest in military history as three centuries of military fortifications can be seen side by side – see video below.

From a sailing point of view White Bay offers visitors a beautiful secluded anchorage off an extensive white sand Blue Flag beach. It is also an ideal location for late arriving first-time-visitors to park up overnight to address Cork’s lower harbour in daylight. Although very well marked for night navigation, owing to Cobh’s lights and the vast amount of markers in the lower harbour area, first time visitors may find a night entry challenging. White Bay makes this an unnecessary challenge during easterlies, just as the Ringabella anchorage, immediately outside the entrance, provides a useful berth during westerlies. Beyond these outer anchorages casual anchoring in the lower harbour is difficult owing to the amount of unlit moorings that will be encountered in any useful anchoring location.


What facilities are available?
There are no facilities at White Bay. It has road access that connects to Midleton via the R630 from Whitegate. The beach has a car park that lies adjacent to the road leading to Roche’s Point and the pathway to the beach will be found in the left-hand corner of the car park.

Cork Harbour is a major yachting centre for Ireland and as such you can get everything you need inside the lower harbour area. The main concentration of services however is a couple of miles away at Crosshaven.


Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred to vessels at anchor at this secluded location.


With thanks to:
James O’Brien the Cork Harbour Marina owner and manager. Photographs with thanks to Philip Bowes, Cailin Deas, John Finn, Adrianna Acediscovery, Macq97, Guliolopez and Chris Murray.


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Please zoom out to see the 'initial fix' for this location.
The above plots are not precise and indicative only.














This very useful aerial overview of the Cork Harbour area will help visitors familiarise themselves with the harbour as a whole:




This-off-the shoulder amateur video provides an overview of Fort Davies / Carlisle.





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