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Hayling Island

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General details:

Hayling Island is yet another example of an excellent south facing, sandy beach, sailing location. From the (pay and display) car park you have a rigging area and short walk across large pebbles, then the beach drops down to sand. For the majority of the states of tide you will launch and recover on the sand. There is a cross shore current at Hayling and this together with the sand means that there are the inevitable groynes to contend with while launching and recovering at high and mid tide.

Similar to the Witterings, Hayling offers a wide variety of conditions depending on the tidal state and the wind direction. Several hundred meters off shore there is a sand bar which sweeps round from the western side. This sandbar throws up waves suitable for jumping and to a lesser extent, riding when the bar is covered, then as the tide drops further has the effect of creating lagoon type conditions on the inside. On a high tide, the waves will come up against the wooden sea defences along some of the beach front which then reflect out into the water causing some confusion in the waves close to the shore.

The beach front is very exposed to the sea and therefore works well in most wind directions from easterly clockwise through to westerly. Sailing in an off shore wind at Hayling is not recommended, particularly at high tide, because there isn't really anywhere suitable to try and land if things go wrong until you reach France.

The main draw back to Hayling is the number of people that make the trek onto the island on a summer's day. There is only one road onto or off the island and from 3 o'clock onwards on a sunny summer's day this road starts to get very congested. Best to arrive early and leave late if at all possible - giving you the perfect opportunity to explore the fish and chip or pub options suggested further down this page.

There are a number of different locations where you can sail from on Hayling Island. Ideally as this site progresses and expands I would like to be able to put in a separate map showing all the different sailing spots at Hayling. Currently however this is just describing sailing from the western end of the sea front.

These are some photos of the Eastoke end of the beach on a particularly windless day (isn't that when most photos are taken? Otherwise, we're out windsurfin'!).

Isle of Wight from Eastoke Westward view along seafront

Hayling was also home to the round the island race. This race use to be held annually, although I haven't heard of it for a while. I believe the record for the trip is around 1 hour 4 minutes. Timing the start of the race to coincide with appropriate tidal conditions was always a challenge.

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Directions to the right place:

From Southampton head east on the A27 and take the turn off to Hayling Island. After a few miles this road takes you over the bridge and you have arrived on the island. Keep going so that you end up on the southern end of the island.

After the bridge you eventually come to a fork in the road with a small roundabout. Both directions will take you to the sea front, left via the shopping area if you need to pick up supplies, right if you are desperate to get to the beach and on the water as soon as possible.

In each case when you arrive at the beach front (either at a roundabout or T junction depending on the route) turn right and keep going. You will go past the local windsurfing shop on your right hand side (alas it is a while since I have been to Hayling and I can't remember the name of the excellent shop by the launching area). Shortly after the shop you lose the houses on the left hand side of the road. Take the next left turn which will lead you straight to the beach. When you arrive at the beach, turn right and head all the way down to the bottom by the golf course. This is the windsurfing area, don't forget to buy a parking ticket.

Click here for a location map

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How the winds work:

Hayling Island works in all wind directions from easterly clockwise through to westerly and possibly further in one or both directions. I haven't been there in a wide enough range of conditions to suggest the maximum range.

You can check the wind and sea conditions from the weather station situated on the "Inn on the Beach" adjacent to "West Beach" - the windsurfing centre there. Try http://www.hayling.co.uk/surfcam.

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Tidal conditions:

HW springs tend to occur around 12:30 - 13:30. HW neaps around 18:00 - 19:30 (GMT).

Hayling can be sailed in all states of the tide. During spring tides it is a long walk out to the water at low tide and a tricky launch in the shore break at high tide.

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Hazards:

Shore break at high tide.

Cross shore currents, be particularly careful on light wind days during spring tides.

The groynes don't take prisoners at mid and high tide.

There is no camping on Hayling Island during the winter months.

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Facilities:

There are a number of facilities immediately by the windsurfing location at Hayling:

There is a toilet block and ice cream shop five minutes walk away by the entrance to the beach.

The Inn on the Beach which has a wet bar, 2 drinking bars, restaurant, bar snacks and free parking.

Opposite the Inn on the Beach is a windsurfing centre and cafe with public toilets

Windsurfing shop 1 minute drive from the launching area.

All the usual seaside facilities can be found if you head into town.

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B&B's / campsites

Local byelaws prevent camping on Hayling Island during the winter - I can't remember their definition of winter, so please check first is you are planning to camp near the start or end of the season.

There are a number of campsites on the island, they all strike me as very expensive, in fact one of them has the dubious honour of been the only campsite where I have been charged VAT on top of the fee for the site itself.

My recommendation for a campsite would be the one down the road next to the Royal Oak pub that you drive past as you come on to the island. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the camp site, but to get to the tent and van area you have to drive past the static caravans. It is then a short walk from the campsite to spend the evening in the Royal Oak for food and beer till bed time.

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Pubs and eateries

There are several pubs close by all serving food.

I haven't tried many of the pubs on the island. The one I do tend to use is not exceptional. However, it does provide good food and beer and is worth a visit. It is the Yew Tree which you pass on your left hand side as you drive onto the island.

After that is The Maypole on the opposite side of the road. Anon update - Jan '07: The Maypole has now changed hands, Mandy And Nev, Food Very Good Welcome GOOD.

Anon - update (Dec '03): Olive Leaf, Quiet but friendly pub with good food. New owners as of December 03 and new menu expected in New year. Situated at Eastoke on Sea Front overlooking the sea.

There are a number of fish and chip shops in the commercial area on the island. The first one is opposite the Yew Tree pub

Anon-provided update (Dec '03) - Excellent fish and chip shop located on Sea Front - if you go east from windsurf centre at Eastoke, opposite Eastoke corner beach car park. Also a Chinese take away, an excellent (highly recommended) Indian take away and a couple of cafes.

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Content supplied by . Anonymous updates - Aug '03/Sept '03/Dec '03/Feb '04, Jan '07. Many thanks!

Note: All comments and opinions mentioned in this section of the site are the personal opinions of the various contributors. Inevitably, one person's favourite may be another person's least favourite.

The information provided here is provided in good faith. We can take no responsibility for the consequences of any inaccuracies. Should you find any inaccuracies, then please take the trouble to tell us, using any of the update links.

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