View Full Version : Cruising in the South East

12-Sep-09, 09:15 PM
Hi I am new to hovercrafts and I pick up my cruising hovercraft next week, I have some land to use her on but would like to get her out on some water, any advice on trying to find locations , OK so I am not far from the sea at Eastbourne/Bexhill that would be a good place to start maybe but thought a safer trip on a river or estuary would be a safer place to start, is there a list anywere on a site which may have some ideas and locations slip exceptable slipways, are there any regualr meetings of like minded in the Sussex area? any help would be appriciated.

Many thanks

13-Sep-09, 07:47 AM
The best cruising in the South East is here in North Kent around the Thames, Medway and Swale as there are miles of mudflats, sandbanks, shallow water and interesting places.
Most of the Sussex coast is pebble beaches although there are some potentially hoverable areas but you'd need to check local byelaws first.

You should make contact with members with local knowledge. Speak to members of the "South Downs Twig" who meet in Haywards Heath. They meet regularly although they're not regular cruisers. Chris Searle is another cruiser who has knowledge of some of the South coast estuaries.

Really you should have come up to the Sheppey cruise this weekend and met the hard core cruisers who could show you the area and give you plenty of advice. If you get a move on you could still get there in time!

If you want advice about North Kent then let me know.

13-Sep-09, 10:00 AM
Thats a great help thanks, how do I find out about these cruising trips? local club, Kent is not that far so that sounds good, I will make try and make contact with South Down Twig, do you in North kent mainly cruise? are there any clubs in Sussex that do that as well? thanks for your help. Also being new how do I check local byelaws?

13-Sep-09, 05:31 PM
All the organised cruises are on the club calendar on this website. Informal ones are just organised by word of mouth. Once you've made contact with like minded cruisers you'll get to hear of any local cruises going on.
Personally I just go out when I feel like it on my own. Not at the moment though as I'm craftless.
You can find ut about local byelaws by checking the signs where you intend to cruise and if they don't carry enough information then ask the local authority, harbourmaster or other body for a copy of the full byelaws before you venture out. It's best to seek out the local experience of other cruisers in your area.
There is information on cruising sites on the website which will grow as more people check out slipways and byelaws and provide the info.

Chris Searle will be in touch about cruising in Sussex.

13-Sep-09, 07:08 PM
Thanks for that, could not get to sheppy unfortunatly, but if Chris could make contact that would be a great help. Thanks for your help and friendly advice.


13-Sep-09, 09:45 PM
Hello, the South Downs Twig hold their meetings on the first Thursday in the month, so the next one will be on the 1st October. We meet at 7.30 at 29 Vale Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 4JF at about 7.30 for a takeaway and chat. We do have active cruising members plus members who both cruise and race! You will be very welcome and we look forward to meeting you!

Scuba Kev
13-Sep-09, 09:55 PM
More than welcome to come along... I am in Pevensey Bay.. PM me if you want a lift?

14-Sep-09, 01:17 PM
That sounds great, I will check diary and be back in touch, many thanks for the offer, I am near Windmill hill, so not far away.

14-Sep-09, 07:14 PM
Hello Neil,
Welcome to hovercraft. Im in Haywards Heath. Cruising round here tends to be ad-hoc rather than organised.
Ive never actually cruised anywhere in East Sussex, too many cliffs and pebble beaches (hovercraft dont hover on pebbles), however, if you do find anywhere local to you Id happily come along and cruise, perhaps there maybe possibilities east of Eastbourne?
West Sussex is slightly better. At Shoreham the River Adur offers a small patch of mud to play on, you may have noticed it if youve looked down when driving across the A27 flyover. Once youve got a little experience and confidence in your craft then its a good place to access the sea, however, be warned that the harbour entrance is also used by big commercial vessels. To launch at Shoreham you are required to pay harbour dues, in return youd be furnished with a sticker for your craft and a copy of the port authority bylaws. It still remains an ambition of mine to cruise from Shoreham to Selsey and back. Given a low spring tide the sea should be ankle deep for most of the journey.
There was also West Worthing but at the moment we are in dispute with the local authorities as they have decreed that no vehicles are allowed on the beach.
For the best cruising grounds and to realise the true potential of your craft then, like me, youll have to commute. The hovercraft club calendar is packed with events visiting the best cruising terrain the UK has to offer.
What craft are you getting?

Chris Searle

14-Sep-09, 07:53 PM
Hi Chris, good to make contact with you and get some leads, I phoned Rye harbour master today who was very negative and said that no harbourmaster will let a hovercraft in there harbour.
West Sussex is not really a problem I will look into them, certainly I have gathered over the last few days that I will have to commute to use her properly, should have looked into it before I suppose (or thats what my wife will say!!!) but I have wanted one for so long, I am like a kid waiting for Chirstmas at the moment untill I pick her up, I am getting a second hand craft called a Falcon, built in the 90s apparently if you have heard of it?
I will keep my eye on the website calander for an organised trip.

Thanks again


Ian Brooks
14-Sep-09, 10:32 PM
Welcome aboard!

Harbourmasters are used to seeing small and barely capable hovercraft inexpertly piloted by novices in their harbours, often making a nuisance of themselves and at least making lots of noise. They are therefore somewhat negative. This creates problems for more professional craft operators who wish to launch and navigate, but this isn't insurmountable.

The Recreational Committee are working with a number of authorities around the country to secure access agreements for suitably qualified Club members - with various levels of success. In one area, we are making good progress and hope to overturn a hovercraft ban, in another we are making little progress and are about to take the complaint up with a higher authority.

Hovercraft are classified as "vessels" in law, and as such have the right to navigate but not mess about on tidal water. This right doesn't usually extend to populated beaches, which are usually the responsibility of a local authority who cannot control the water but often do have powers over the foreshore. In any case its a bad idea to take a hovercraft onto a beach full of people.

As a Club we have come to understand that the way forward is not "messing about on the beach" - this will always cause trouble, and rightly be banned. Instead, we promote the operation of hovercraft as they should be - going somewhere in much the same way as you might in a small boat - except you can get places that boats can't. The Code of Conduct gives some idea of the sort of things that you should be thinking about


We offer training in the form of the Pilot Qualification Scheme, which takes you from absolute beginner to expert. A novice event is run each spring, ready for the new season, which gets you to PQS1 level and covers all you need to know to make a good start as a hovercraft pilot. It looks like all places that require permit access will in the future require a PQS.

The best thing to do is to make contact with the local guys, and if you can get access to field, learn the basics of craft handling and develop the reliability of the craft. Once you get to that point you'll be ready to get out on the water (with another experienced pilot) and the fun really starts!


15-Sep-09, 06:24 AM
I am getting a second hand craft called a Falcon, built in the 90s apparently if you have heard of it?


The Falcon was built in the 80s and so is very outdated now. I had 2 Kestrels, the smaller version and knew people who had Falcons. Nick Flint who has just returned to hovering as you may read elsewhere cruised his Falcon extensively.
In my opinion the craft will be quite noisy as it has a very small duct by todays standards. It is inherently unsafe as it had low freeboard. Also it had the buoyancy on the bottom which made it liable to capsize. My Kestrel capsized in the middle of the Medway! With this in mind, Osprey moved the buoyancy out onto the planing surfaces on their later craft.
There are certainly better craft out there.


15-Sep-09, 08:15 AM
I agree with Gavin.
The Falcon was designed in 1976!!
Yours must be well over 20 years oldat least.
Any way good luck with your hovering.

15-Sep-09, 09:38 PM
I would like to thank everyone for there comments, they have all been very usefull and informative, especially everyone who has forwarded information regarding the Falcon. I hope I will make contact and possibly meet up in the future.