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Whitecliff Bay

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Overview





Whitecliff Bay is located on the south coast of England, on the Isle of Wight and close southward of the island’s easternmost point. It is a bay with high cliffs and a popular beach off which it is possible to anchor.

The bay makes a tolerable anchorage in offshore winds from southwest round through west to northwest. However, akin to most of the island’s south-eastern bays, it is subject to an uncomfortable roll that tends to wrap around the headland and then enters the bay. Daylight access is straightforward at any stage of the tide as there are no outlying dangers but it is important to stand well off the ledges at the foot of its cliffs at either end.
Please note

Keep a sharp eye out for lobster pots that are prolific in and around the shoreline.




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Keyfacts for Whitecliff Bay
Facilities
Shop with basic provisions availableShore based toilet facilitiesHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the areaBus service available in the areaShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Note: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
2 metres (6.56 feet).

Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
3 stars: Tolerable; in suitable conditions a vessel may be left unwatched and an overnight stay.



Last modified
August 24th 2018

Summary

A tolerable location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Shop with basic provisions availableShore based toilet facilitiesHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the areaBus service available in the areaShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Note: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration



Position and approaches
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Haven position

50° 40.169' N, 001° 5.556' W

This is in the middle of the bay on the two metre contour.

What is the initial fix?

The following Whitecliff Bay initial fix will set up a final approach:
50° 40.020' N, 001° 4.610' W
This is set in deep water about a ½ mile out from the centre of the bay. Steer a course of about 290° T from here leads into the centre of the bay.


What are the key points of the approach?

The entry and the run-up thorough The Solent and Southampton Water are covered in
The Solent and Isle of Wight Route location coastal description.

  • Advance on the centre of bay from the southeast keeping well clear of the headlands.

  • Sound in and find a position with sufficient draft to anchor off.



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 Whitecliff Bay for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line distance
  1. Bembridge Harbour - 0.9 miles N
  2. St Helens Duver - 1.4 miles N
  3. Priory Bay - 1.5 miles N
  4. Sandown Bay - 1.7 miles WSW
  5. Seaview - 2 miles N
  6. Ryde Harbour - 2.8 miles NNW
  7. Ryde Roads - 3.4 miles NW
  8. Wootton Creek (Fishbourne) - 3.8 miles NW
  9. Ventnor - 3.9 miles SW
  10. Stokes Bay - 4.4 miles NNW
Ten nearest havens by straight line distance
  1. Bembridge Harbour - 0.9 miles N
  2. St Helens Duver - 1.4 miles N
  3. Priory Bay - 1.5 miles N
  4. Sandown Bay - 1.7 miles WSW
  5. Seaview - 2 miles N
  6. Ryde Harbour - 2.8 miles NNW
  7. Ryde Roads - 3.4 miles NW
  8. Wootton Creek (Fishbourne) - 3.8 miles NW
  9. Ventnor - 3.9 miles SW
  10. Stokes Bay - 4.4 miles NNW
Alternatively the above can be ordered by compass direction or coastal sequence


Chart
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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How to get in?


Whitecliff Bay is located just north of Culver Cliff about a mile south-westward of Foreland, the easternmost point of the Isle of Wight, and two miles southwest of Bembridge. It is a popular sandy bay overlooked by a prominent 75 metre high chalky cliff. It is serviced by two seasonal cafes on the shoreline and has two holiday parks, tucked back on to the high ground above the beach, that are accessed via steeply sloping concreted tracks.

Whitecliff Bay almost entirely dries and has a limited amount of clear ground to anchor in. This pushes the anchoring area out about 350 metres from the shore where it can be subject to a role that wraps around Culver Cliff. But its 50 metres to 75 metres high cliffs afford tolerable shelter in moderate offshore winds well out of the tidal stream.




Convergance Point Culver Down with the conspicuous Yarmouth monument, the bright chalky Culver Cliff and Whitecliff all combine to make a conspicuous seamark from all directions.




Initial fix location The initial fix is set in deep water about a ½ mile out from the centre of the bay. From here steer into the centre of the bay on a course of about 290° T whilst maintaining a watch for strong tidal cross-sets that occur here. Stay well away from the southern Culver Cliff end of the bay as the Whitecliff Ledge reef, the outer part of which dries at low tide, extends nearly 350 metres from the base of Culver Cliff.

The bay is about 700 metres long and lies in a southwest-to-northwest direction. It terminates on its northern side at Black Rock Ledge that should also be given a wide berth.




Haven location Charts of the bay cannot be entirely relied upon as a large rock-fall in the recent past has altered the bottom contours somewhat. It is best to sound around carefully before selecting a position with sufficient draft to anchor. The helmsman should keep a sharp eye out for swimmers off the beach. Holding is moderately good in a mixture of sand and shell with rock.
Land by tender on the beach.


Why visit here?
Whitcliff Bay acquires its name from its chalky headland that rises to over a hundred metres in height and separates Whitecliff Bay to the north from Sandown Bay to the south.




The chalk is part of a ridge of steeply dipping chalk strata that extends through the Isle of Wight, from The Needles in the west to the toe of Culver cliff in the east. This geology of the bay is of deep scientific interest as it displays a classic sequence of fossil-bearing Eocene beds of soft sands and clays, separated by an unconformity from the underlying Cretaceous Chalk Formation forming the headland of Culver Down to the south. It has the most extensive sequence of Palaeogene, Lower Tertiary, sediments, Eocene and Oligocene, in Western Europe.


For the vast majority of people the bay’s prime interest lies in its two hundred metre deep sand and shingle beach. The beach is set back 300 metres from the chalk headland of Culver Cliff and is backed by two holiday parks so it can get quite popular on a sunny summer’s weekend. It is privately owned by one of the holiday parks but this does not affect access. The holiday parks bring with them the convenience of their beachside cafes, with restaurants, takeaways, and provisioning facilities above, but alas there are no toilets nor dogs allowed on the beach.




From a boating point of view, Whitecliff Bay is not an ideal anchorage. Despite the protective high ground, that is lovely to come in under, it is subject to a roll that wraps around Culver Cliff. This makes it an unlikely place to have a good night’s sleep, but is a good day anchorage. What it has to offer is one of the isle’s most delightful beaches that makes it ideal for a family. Here the bay’s relatively shallow waters make it ideal for swimming or for children to splash about. It is sheltered from the prevailing winds which makes it snug, and facilitates a dinghy landing of buckets, spades etc. The ledges under the cliffs at either end also offer a wonderful selection of rock pools for children to nose about in at low water.


What facilities are available?
There are two shops in the bay immediately ashore. A steep climb above the bay leads to unexpectedly good basic provisioning capabilities in the shops servicing the caravan parks. Restaurants, takeaways and bars can be found in the parks grounds. The Vectis No.10 bus calls at the parks servicing Ryde, Sandown and Bembridge.


Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred to a vessel anchored in Whitecliff Bay.


With thanks to:
Michael Harpur


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































Yacht anchored in Whitecliff Bay






Dawn views of Culver Cliff where the bay can be seen at low water



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