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Up the Creek - Isle of Wight

Osborne Bay

  This Bay just east of Cowes Harbour between Kings Quay Creek and Norris Rocks is probably the most frequented bay on the Isle of Wight attracting many vessels of all types (Sunsail included).   The attraction is obvious as soon as you arrive, with Osborne House (described in another “Up the Creek” article), Norris Castle (private) built around 1750 part hidden in the trees, the Boat House where in the 1940’s there was a winch & railway to move the bathing hut in & out of the water, the trees on the shore and the weather protection the bay provides.   The beach of 300 Metres is sand and shingle and the main building is of Queen Victoria’s beach house.   It is a large bay and can accommodate many vessels.   Drop anchor ‘anywhere’.   Simple really although watch your swing with the tide.  The hazards are almost nil apart from very near the shore, almost to a boats length that is.  It’s not uncommon to see dinghies to 20 Metre plus vessels anchored here.  The sight of the charter or Sunsail vessels trying to out do each other is actually worth sitting in the cockpit (glass of wine in hand of course) and just observing.   What a way to learn!  The nearer the shore the drier the mooring so that sorts out the vessels draughts.   The water can be warm and many do actually take the advantage and swim.  Many yachts do indeed use their onboard BBQ’s and it is quite common to see smoke emanating from several vessels in the bay (not just the French).   Most vessels only moor for a lunchtime or short break but weather permitting an overnight mooring can be rather peaceful even with the odd freak wave.  It’s also worth keeping an eye on the other vessels as it has been known to view vessels on fire.  It should be borne in mind that the shore is “Out of Bounds” with “No Landing” notices all along the coastline and it is also frequented by Harbour Officials.  Apart from the occasional bird flying by during the day, the wildlife really comes into its own after hours, mainly when the bay is deserted.   This is also the time should you be so lucky with the company on board to observe the evening setting sun and sky over the long stretch of water.

Osborne Bay showing buoyed swiming area

Boats at anchor in Osborne Bay

Queen Victoria’s Beach House

© Copyright Terry Paynter