Iki Wa’a at a muddy Emsworth

Video of the fun before the report

Today was a tough call, wanted a bit of sailing (forcast 12 to 15 knots) and considered the following:

🛶 Thames, Pangbourne, going down stream it is quite open but flow is strong – Rivers Authority says no human powered craft.

Whitchurch lock (Pangbourne)
I didn’t release they could actually almost close the Thames.

The coast – Tide about 0900

🛶 Hamble, wasn’t sure how far I would get with the tide

🛶 Portchester, could launch at low water but some questions about using the slip, needed to go through a firing range and generally didn’t look that interesting

🛶 Emsworth, good slip regardless of tide but no parking there, Town quay close to a carpark but some mud hooping required.

I went to bed thinking even if I just do some reconnaissance and don’t go out that would be good. An early rise at 0530, I checked the forecast. I head out thinking Emsworth but flexible.

I ended up at the wrong slip, seriously over developed burbs with a fantastic slip but bereft of parking. Find the car park for the Town quay, shocking to see (other than a Sunday) 4 hour limit.

I have already had a conversation with one traffic warden about not complying to their one way system. I nip to the loo and spot another traffic warded, better not overstay.

Get the nearest spot to the quay, with plenty of room for unloading / loading.

Packing the canoe minimally I’m on the slip quickly. Initially concrete down stream the bank is stony, excitedly I go for it.

A couple of hundred yards it turns to ankle deep mud. I decide to walk in the stream. With in a short while I feel confident to paddle. It’s shallow but I float and with the wind find steering hard , no impossible but eventually am in sight of the channel and aground on the bar. Time to walk but it is firm under foot.

The wind is howling down the channel and by now the tide will be flooding, in such shallow water what’s the worse can happen.

I paddle, it is still shallow and with the sail not properly stowed a the wind is blowing the bow off and I craw out into the channel with every stroke on one side. Out of the canoe again and stow the sail properly. In the distance is a channel marker on a post, I have a target. A good time later, muscles all spent I tie myself to to the post which is just dry.

Sort myself out I set of of a sail, shooting across the channel I narrowly missed a moored launch before becoming firmly ashore on the slightly lee shore opposite bank.

No amount of effort could get be off the bank with the mast up. I un-stepped the mast an go out. Very sticky mud up to my knees. Sorting myself out after a few attempts I was able to paddle across the channel but main down wind. I used a buoy as a mooring , raised the sail and shot back to the launch spot. At times the breeze just disfigured the sail but when it worked it was fantastic. The mast is still not rotating properly which has a big effect on the shape.

In no time at all there was the scraping crunch as a reached the end of the navigable channel.

Rather than take the bank I towed Iki Wa’a back up the stream to the quay, putting her on the trolley for the final bit, all very easy.

Ashore by 10.00 I then decided to call in a Portchester Castle. Very busy with people interpreting lockdown differently (I full take it on the chin and defend my view of it). Went and examined the slip, looks fantastic but has, in multiple locations, this sign. Looks quite new and not sure you would be challenged today but on a busy post lockdown day possibly.

The sign does kindly point you to the public slips at Port Solent and Fareham

I had lunch overlook the water and headed home.


  1. Before moving to Devon, we lived v. near Emsworth. A favourite paddle was round Thorney Island, about 8miles. Put in Prinsted (free parking but busy in summer/at HW), out at Emsworth, cycle back (folder in canoe or bike left at Emsworth, tow canoe back on trolley). Or walk. Thoroughly recommended outing.


  2. The Portchester slipway has a long long history of access dispute. Some public money went into this 20 or more years ago so it was considered public. Then the sailing club widened it (you can see the joint) and claimed it all as private. However, there are those who think there is still a narrow public strip all the way down. Within the club there are the racers who want constant maximum access and the family members who are live and let live. Generally you can land on the hard beside it and if you avoid a racing day are unlikely to have problems.

    Liked by 1 person

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