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Clacton-on-Sea, Essex

12:35 24th February 2012 by Letitia Hristodorescu
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Situated on the edge of the Tendring Peninsula on the North-East coast of Essex, Clacton is probably one of the best sailing spots in the county. The construction of fishtail groynes has resulted in the formation of sandy coves that produce great jumping conditions at high tide, and glassy water at low tide.

The town itself, a pre-war seaside boom town, now epitomises most things bad about Essex.  However, new roads and a direct train line to London are causing a bit of a renaissance.

There are a number of spots to sail off, all revolving around a place called West Beach, which lies south of the pier. The best place (where most of the locals congregate) is a small green area next to the Martello Tower.

Beach Faces:

South-East.

Best Wind Direction:

South, South-West, South-East, North-East

Best Wind Direction For Waves:

A strong SW wind can give decent onshore bump and jump conditions, with a moderate shorebreak at high tide. NE winds will give port tack wave riding if there is a storm. In both cases, to get any hint of a rideable wave, there needs to be a huge amount of swell and wind.

Not Good:

North and North-Westerly wind directions should be avoided (If it is high tide, then Point Clear, near St Osyth to the South, or Walton Backwaters, to the North, provides good alternatives in this direction).

Tide:

Mid to high tide incoming is best for waves. Low tide is great for intermediates, as it is possible to stand a long way out.

What’s On The Bottom:

Sand.

Any Hazards:

Be sure to give the fishtail groynes a wide berth. At spring tides there is a lot of current running into and out of the Thames Estuary. Bear this in mind if it is wind with tide, especially if you are anywhere near the pier.

Other Water Users:

Kite surfers, a few jet skiers in the summer, swimmers and yachts.

Suitability / Levels:

Beginners to advanced. It is calm enough to teach and good for every level, depending on the wind strength. Wind against tide produces constant broad reaching, which is perfect for blasting and gybing.

Wipeout Factor:

The shorebreak at high tide can be quite munchy. The windier it is the more chance of a wipeout, but no mast high waves to worry about.

Instruction:

None, but nearby Skisurf in Colchester can organise instruction at Alton Water (see archive section) Tel. 01206 502000 info@skisurf.co.uk

Kit Hire:

No.

Friendly Factor:

The locals led by Dave, Martin and Adrian are a good bunch, and the sailing is really sociable. However, they do tend to sail as far as the horizon, so be warned!

No Wind Alternatives:

The locals led by Dave, Martin and Adrian are a good bunch, and the sailing is really sociable. However, they do tend to sail as far as the horizon, so be warned!

Facilities:

Toilets

Yes, onsite at West beach

Shower

No

Windsurfing Shop

Skisurf – see contact details in ‘Instruction’ (above)

Food

Martello Inn nearby and typical seaside town cafe’s on the seafront

Parking

Park on the road so there is no charge

Pub

Loads in Clacton, not sure about the quality though!

Accommodation:

Go to www.essex-sunshine-coast.org.uk , enter the site and click on Where to Stay.

Local Hotshots:

Dave White, Nick Green and the Whiteboarders team are often seen out. Boardseekermag Features Editor Clyde Waite is also a local. Gregg Dunnett from Boards Magazine also originally hails from Clacton.

Local Knowledge / Secrets:

During the summer there is a regular north-easterly sea breeze which gives good chop out to sea, and dead flat water in Martello Bay.

Gale Force NE winds can produce some nice waves (very rare, some of the pictures are from one of these days, so don’t be confused!)

Extra:

Used to regularly host BWA events, but now the UKWA have moved national events to Mersea Island.

How To Get There:

From the M25 take the A12 eastbound. From the east and north of the country take the A14, exit at Ipswich and take the A12 towards Colchester.

At the Colchester A12 bypass, exit onto the A120 and follow the signs to Clacton. As the dual carriage ends, continue on the A133 (Clacton By Pass). Continue towards the town centre and then the sea front. Once you hit the beach, take a right and drive south of the pier. You will pass a large ‘green’ on your left between the road and the sea, this is West Beach. Continue to the left bend, and take the first left after the car park. Continue past the Martello Tower and find anywhere to park. Rig up and go sailing.

Report By:

Local sailor Clyde Waite

Photo Credits:

Photos by: Dave White & Alan Waite

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