What is the route?
The options, therefore, are to pass are either to avoid the Portland Race by ‘passing outside’ of the area, or by taking the 'inside passage' between the Bill and the race. The safest route is always to pass outside of the Portland Race as the Needles to Portland Bill and Portland Bill to Start Point Coastal Overviews set up. This route description and timer describe the other 'Inside Passage' option of passing between the rocks off the end of the Bill and the Race to the south.
Why sail this route?For a vessel passing between Waymouth or Portland and Lyme Bay, the outer passage will most likely involve several additional hours of additional sailing. In good conditions, neap tides, settled seas, wind and current in accord, the 'inner passage' and with optimal tides the 'Inner Passage' presents no concern and is by far the most optimal approach.
Newcomers should only attempt the 'Inside Passage' in good conditions, with a Neap tide and the benefit of a copy of the Admiralty Tidal Stream Atlas NP257 ‘Approaches to Portland’ for advance planning. Our tide time counter will help set the correct time but cannot be relied upon on its own. The inshore passage requires precise visual pilotage to stand off the shore, maintain transits to identify andy southward drift and avoid lobster pot buoys, so it’s important to choose a date where the tides permit a pass around the Bill in daylight. The inshore passage should never be attempted during Springs, in onshore winds or wind-against-tide conditions of above Beauford force 4.
Tidal overviewToday's summary tidal overview for this route as of Friday, July 30th at 08:57. The correct selection of tidal streams suitable to take one around the Bill is vital. The ideal time to arrive at the Bill is when the tide has just turned and has started to go your way, be it west or east. At this transition point, the streams are lighter and the race is not in full flow so it is the safest time to take the inside passage and pick up the longest possible following tide to continue up or down the channel. The below tidal counter sets up these timings as presented.
(HW Dover -0100 to +0200)
Starts in 06:22:17
(Fri 15:20 to 18:20)
(HW Dover +0500 to -0500)
Starts in 00:08:16
(Fri 09:06 to 11:31)
What are the navigational notes?
Grove Pier, 50° 32.530' N, 002° 24.920' W
300 metres southeast of Grove Pier on the 20-metre contour.
► Next waypoint: 1.59 miles, course ⇓ 215.70°T (reciprocal ⇑ 35.70°T)
Cave Hole, 50° 31.240' N, 002° 26.378' W
200 metres east of Cave Hole close outside the 5-metre contour.
► Next waypoint: 0.86 miles, course ⇓ 229.31°T (reciprocal ⇑ 49.31°T)
Portland Bill, 50° 30.680' N, 002° 27.402' W
On the 5-metre contour 200 metres south of the stone obelisk daymark at the southern tip of the Bill.
► Next waypoint: 0.26 miles, course ⇓ 309.06°T (reciprocal ⇑ 129.06°T)
Pulpit Rock, 50° 30.844' N, 002° 27.720' W
On the 10-metre contour 200 metres west of Pulpit Rock.
► Next waypoint: 0.49 miles, course ⇓ 4.31°T (reciprocal ⇑ 184.31°T)