Up the Creek - South Coast
WicorMarine Yacht Haven, Portsmouth
Wicormarine (Yacht Haven as of 2014) is our yacht Adat’s home berth and is situated about 3 miles up Fareham Lake. Originally formed in 1966 with one pontoon about 3 feet wide and 40 feet long now reaching nearly 1000 feet and considerably wider. It has excellent shower and toilet facilities with 24 hour access, a Chandlery and of course all the usual facilities a good Boat Yard could offer even to the extent of a relaxing café called The “Salt” not forgetting the local Pubs, excellent supermarket and a few specialised shops all within walking distance. But this is not to be an advert for Wicormarine although the difference between this mooring and the likes of a Marina is why we settled here. All the moorings are private but may be used with permission. A small charge may be made depending what type of mooring is taken. These are swinging (drying to non drying), piles & pontoon between piles (both non drying) & alongside the Main Jetty (drying) with shore access where electricity and water may be obtained. Access from the Main Jetty to all moorings is at all states of tide (see photo) apart from an hour either side of a very high Spring. Apart from the advantages of being our home port these moorings are definitely natural, quiet and undisturbed by the likes of Sunsail and you get the most splendid sunsets.
One can also really appreciate the wildlife throughout the day and night. The swans “tapping” the vessel’s hull in the morning almost as if the Harbour Master is requesting a fee. In the evening when what seems to be millions of starlings appear from nowhere all at the same time to roost in the trees nearby and then in the morning they fly out of the trees and on to the boats holding on to any surface whether horizontal or vertical although this is only a problem for those boats farther afield. Just before the sun rises the birds wake up but then as if they’d hit the snooze button, it goes quiet again. With the warm receding waters on a falling tide children sometimes swim off the end of the Jetty and there are often several fishermen plying their skills overnight & weekends (only with permission). This is an area where speed and noise are not options and nature comes into its own. Of course sometimes there are the odd undesirables (see photo) but they usually retire early (probably of necessity). At night you can enjoy a drink in the cockpit on a still evening when the “chatter” of the birds has ceased and view the lights of the Harbour or those on shore reflecting in the port lights of other vessels or maybe the unspoilt stars in the unpolluted night sky but best is the undisturbed peace. Even the darkness is interesting and somewhat romantic with the distant flapping of halyards on the masts, the gentle rocking of the vessels and the odd swan gliding by.
Should you be interested in helicopters then Westland’s base is just across the water where occasionally they test the odd helicopter. This sometimes makes the heart skip a beat when they almost fly upside down. The photo at the top of all pages (courtesy of YOSC member Mike Higgins) was taken from Adat of a sunrise on entering Portsmouth Harbour after an aborted passage to Cherbourg late 2005. The sunrise was reward in itself.
Make your way upstream keeping well clear of Bedenham Pier where munitions are loaded into barges for transportation to Naval vessels upstream. Anchor on a drying mooring near the Jetty on the South or North side allowing for tidal swing away from swinging moorings or better still on the beach for easier shore access. Should you wish to moor alongside the Main Jetty again drying then moor on the South side for a more relaxing stay where rafting is accepted. The mud by the Main Jetty is soft and deep and thus suitable for Fin keeler’s. Be careful of the many unoccupied unlit swinging mooring buoys especially at night. Take advantage of Wicormarine’s BBQ garden. Just supply your own charcoal, food & wine with ice available in the Chandlery. All moorings are chargeable.