Hilbre and Dee estuary rally, 15-16 June 2019

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Hilbre and Dee estuary rally, 15-16 June 2019

John Hughes 2457
This post was updated on .
Meet at Dove Point slipway in Meols on the north Wirral shore [OS grid ref SJ234907] to launch and be ready to sail at high water about 10am Saturday. Then sail for the Dee estuary and spend the night sleeping aboard at anchor in the gutter close to the NE side of Hilbre island in the estuary mouth one mile off the Wirral shore ["We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars" - Oscar Wilde :-)]. Sunday morning set sail as soon as the boats float (about 7.30am) and return to haul out at Dove Point by high water about 11am.

Pay attention to the tide times. It is only possible to launch or recover at Dove Pt slipway within 1.5h (at most) either side of high water (aim within 1h).

Arriving to launch Friday evening to pick up a local mooring for the night is a possibility, and camping space could be found ashore. Please get in touch in advance if you wish to do this.

HW Hilbre
Fri 14/6/19 0913 8.6m, 2143 8.7m;
Sat 15/6/19 1006 8.8m, 2231 8.9m;
Sun 16/6/19 1053 8.9m. 2314 9.1m.
Launch/recover at the slipway within 1h of HW.

Dove Point slipway at Meols is a good, broad, concrete slip suitable for quite large boats. It is free of charge, as is parking for car and trailer nearby (at your own risk). Generally, we depart together and try, more or less, to sail in company - that is, we try at least to remain within sight of one another. Sailing from Meols to Hilbre is farther than it appears on paper because it involves passage round outside the E Hoyle Bank (from Dove Pt this involves sailing eastward for a mile towards the Mersey first). This is an open sea passage which can be trivial or quite boisterously demanding, depending on weather. With onshore breeze in excess of force 4 the choppy seas become very hard work and the passage tends to become untenable. The anchorage in the gutter on the NE side of Hilbre is probably the nicest in Liverpool Bay. It is sheltered from most directions except north, but even then, as long as you are well in the gutter and not exposed on the adjacent bank, any seas coming in have largely dissipated by the time they reach the anchorage. But we will assess the forecast nearer the time.

Hilbre is a tidal island, cut off for about 2h either side of HW. At LW it is safe to walk to and fro between the island and the mainland across the sand by the shortest route. No camping is allowed on the island itself. At the anchorage, the boats are afloat for about 7h and dried out for 5h. There are composting toilets on the island. Walking onto the island from the anchorage is muddy, so wellies are useful.

Directions to Dove Point slipway, Meols [OS grid ref SJ234907]
Approaching via Liverpool: take the Wallasey Tunnel under the Mersey to the Wirral, and there join the start of the M53 motorway. Approaching from Chester: join the M53 northbound towards Birkenhead. From either direction, exit the M53 at junction 2 and follow signs to Hoylake, which lead to the Moreton Cross roundabout, where turn left on the A553 towards Hoylake. After 2 miles, entering Meols, look out for Meols Railway Station on top of the railway bridge, then take the second right turning IMMEDIATELY AFTER the bridge into Dove Point Road. Follow Dove Pt Rd about half a mile to the sea, then turn right along the sea-front for a quarter mile to the slipway; the main road here makes a right turn inland, but drive straight ahead to the slipway (where you see boats on trailers) and park.

Pilotage notes for the Dee estuary, describing sailing to and from Dove Point.

John Hughes