The harbour has substantial breakwaters and is well protected within, with bilge keelers lying to wooden pontoons and long keeled boats drying against the wall. Charges are modest, and this little harbour is run by the Isle of Wight Council.
For craft able to take the ground, especially with families on board this harbour has much to offer with good clean beaches virtually on top of it and plenty of activities for children and youngsters in general. Couple this with the holidaymaker type facilities of the largest town in the Isle of Wight, Ryde harbour is definitely a worthwhile stop. It can get crowded in the summer.
This is not a place for doing major repair works, facilities for the boat being a bit thin on the ground. Watering up and major provisioning can be accomplished with ease.
In the course of our research we do not often come across websites providing anything like comprehensive coverage of a harbour. Ryde Harbour is the exception to this, although strangely it is not the official website that is of much use. Tony Richardson has taken it on himself to build a superb site entirely devoted to Ryde Harbour. It covers everything required, has a multitude of photos and needs to be looked at, links below:
Using this site in conjunction with our charts would be useful to anyone contemplating a visit to Ryde harbour.
The official website is linked to below:
If you find our free coverage of Ryde Harbour useful, why not consider joining up ? Membership costs £25 for life, and you can download all our harbour coverage and official "Big Ship" sailing directions in PDF form to keep offline. Members also have access to 1667 charts and UK tidal flow atlases in full screen zoomable format, plus iPad format charts, and the ability to lay these charts over Google Earth satellite imagery with variable transparency. Membership is a great tool for those who move around at sea. Find out more, CLICK HERE
Approaches from other directions are straightforward enough, with the end of the pier being in constant use by fast cat ferries, and hovercraft roaring up the beach on the eastern side of the pier.
These can be used as a guide to home in on Ryde town which itself is very conspicuous with the church spire.
The best approach whichever direction you arrive from is from a point well offshore and to the NE of Ryde Pier head, ie with Ryde Pier head bearing SW from your position. Begin the approach with the pier head at least half mile away bearing SW. This keeps you out of the way of the Sands and ferries. Locate the very conspicuous spire of the Holy Trinity Church set back a little way in the town and make your approach with this landmark bearing 200°, and Ryde Pier open on your starboard side ( Holy Trinity Church is the left hand of the two church spires you may spot, see the approach chart)
A series of small unlit green conical and red can buoys will be seen as you approach, and mark the channel to the harbour entrance. The buoyage lines up 197° and leads roughly half a mile across the drying sands. These buoys do not mark a deepwater channel as such, they are there to keep yachts away from the hovercraft manoeuvring area. Once in the buoyed channel they have to keep away from you, and you won't be interfering with their operation. There can be quite a tidal cross set in the approach so make sure you don't get swept out of the channel.
Upon reaching the north-west facing entrance of the harbour a hard swing to port will be necessary to enter.
There is a 10 kn speed limit in the approach channel and a maximum of 5 kn inside with no wash.
The best plan is to contact the harbour master regarding berthing availability etc. Before making the trek across the drying sands. Call "Ryde HARBOUR" on VHF channel 80 or telephone 01983 613879.
Night entry is possible, but not advised for strangers.
Berth where directed by the harbour master with bilge keelers able to sit upright tying up on the pontoons, and long keelers drying out alongside the walls. The walls have wooden piling and the harbour will provide fenderboards. The bottom is firm sand, but depths are not even throughout the harbour and advice should be sought from the HM.
Being a drying harbour the use of marine toilets and bilge pumping are totally banned.
In the harbour freshwater is available together with toilets, showers and rubbish disposal. No electricity is available on the pontoons.
Fuel is not available alongside, a long hike with Jerry cans will be necessary and is best avoided if possible, furthermore there are no Marine specialists of any kind here. No doubt in an emergency someone could be induced to come out from Cowes.
In no way can this be considered a yachting town, but by IOW standards it's big, with around 35,000 inhabitants (as opposed to Newport the capital with around 20,000). All normal day-to-day needs can be met here, and the place is very much geared to the summertime invasion of tourists.
Provisioning is straightforward enough with Sommerfield's perhaps the closest supermarket. There is a huge Tesco's superstore just outside of Ryde, and it's open 24 hours a day, but a cab ride will be necessary. All other kinds of shops will also be found in Ryde.... stocking up the boat will be no problem. Hurst's, the Island's ironmongers, have a decent hardware shop and may well stock Calor gas (but not camping gas). Folding readies are doled out from the cash machines attached to the many banks and building societies in the town.
A cab rank is very close by, as is the bus station with Southern Vectis buses to Newport and islandwide. A funny little railway operates from the pier head (with a stop virtually outside the harbour) and only goes as far as Shanklin. What appear to be Bakerloo line trains circa 1950s trundle happily back and forth. For railway enthusiasts this line connects with the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. A journey on this really is a timewarp back to the 50s.
Wightlink catamarans sail regularly to Portsmouth Harbour and link with mainline rail services to London and elsewhere. The hovercraft runs to Southsea, which is not so well connected.
Ryde is a British seaside town, and the most populous town and urban area on the Isle of Wight, with a population of approximately 30,000. It is situated on the north-east coast.
The town grew in size as a seaside resort following the joining of the villages of Upper Ryde and Lower Ryde in the 19th century. The influence of this era is still strongly visible in the town's central and sea facing architecture.
As a resort, the town is noted for its expansive sands that occur at low tide, making its pier necessary on the wide beach for a regular passenger service. Ryde Pier is a listed structure which is the fourth longest pier in the United Kingdom, and also one of the oldest.
In 1782 numerous bodies of men, women and children from HMS Royal George, which sank suddenly at Spithead, were washed ashore at Ryde. Many were buried on land that is now occupied by The Esplanade. A memorial to them was erected in June 2004.
Transportation and amenities
The hovercraft to Southsea operates from The Esplanade close to Ryde Esplanade railway station and the bus station. A catamaran service run by Wightlink operates from Ryde Pier to Portsmouth Harbour which connects with both Island Line trains and mainland trains to London Waterloo. The Island Line train service runs from Ryde Pier Head via Ryde Esplanade to Shanklin, a distance of 8½ miles - Britain's smallest railway franchise. A major bus interchange is situated between Ryde Pier and the Hover Terminal on the Esplanade with frequent departures and arrivals from all the island's main towns and villages, run by Southern Vectis. The main service is route 9 to Newport, running every 10 minutes in the daytime. Other main routes include service 2, 3, 4, and 14. An open top bus tour called "The Downs Tour" is also run in the summer.
At one time Ryde had two separate piers; the other being the Victoria Pier, no longer in existence. Ryde has its own inshore rescue service which mostly has to deal with people becoming stranded on sandbanks as the incoming tide cuts them off from the shore. The pier is also a feature of the 67-mile Isle of Wight Coastal Path, which is marked with blue signs with a white seagull.
Ryde has a small marina located to the east of Ryde Pier. It is tidal and dries out at low water hence it is more suitable for smaller sailing (bilge keel) and motor cruisers. It has provision for up to 200 boats, either on floating pontoons or leaning against the harbour wall. It has a full time harbourmaster who posts useful snippets of information on the noticeboard outside the harbour office including weather information, tide times, cruise liner movements and events that occurred on this day in history.
The twin church spires clearly visible from the sea belong to All Saints' (the taller) and Holy Trinity churches. All Saints' Church is located in Queens Road on a road junction known as Five Ways. It was designed by George Gilbert Scott and completed in 1872. The spire is 177 feet tall. Holy Trinity Church is in Dover Street. It was designed by Thomas Hellyer and completed in 1845.
The town’s Roman Catholic church, St Mary’s, is located in High Street. It was built in 1846 at a cost of £18,000. This was provided by Elizabeth, Countess of Clare. The church was designed by Joseph Hansom inventor of the hansom cab.
See also St. James' Church, Ryde and Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Swanmore, Ryde.
Sited on The Esplanade is an ice rink and a pavilion, converted to house a nightclub and bowling alley feature on the Esplanade, the former being the home of the Isle of Wight's ice-hockey team, the "Wightlink Raiders". Many bars, pubs and restaurants can be found on the Esplanade and on the town's main shopping street, Union Street.
The town's local football team was for many years Ryde Sports F.C., now replaced by Ryde Saints F.C. & Ryde FC SUNDAY.
Speedway is staged in the town. The Isle of Wight Islanders started as members of the Conference League before moving up to the Premier League.
Ryde is noted for its carnivals. There are five throughout the year - an Arts Parade in June; Children's, Main and Illuminated processions at the end of August and a Lantern Parade in December. The Carnival at Ryde is the oldest in England, although its popularity had been decreasing until the millennium.
In 2001 a London carnival group called Kinetika was brought to the island to teach carnival skills to adults and young people in community workshops. Since Kinetika's input the carnival has been expanding, with its effects felt throughout the island's other carnivals.
Ryde Carnival remains the island's largest carnival, with local crowds and mainland visitors totalling in excess of 50,000 spectators. Performers consist of community groups, schools, multiple samba and brass bands, stilt walkers and family groups, with over 2,000 performers taking part in August 2006.
Children and teenagers are well catered for in Ryde, the beautiful sandy beaches right next door to the harbour always popular with younger ones.
A heated swimming pool, bowling alley and an ice rink together with kiddies fairground rides are all close by. A small canoeing lake and a mini golf course again are close by, and a "Wally Train" drives up and down the Esplanade if you can't be bothered to walk.
There is absolutely no shortage of places to eat and drink in Ryde, from a big breakfast to a sophisticated dinner. Virtually on top of the harbour there is a thumping nightclub open very late so younger crewmembers can go and let their hair down and not have far to stumble home. A recce ashore will find several other similar establishments.
As usual it is not our place to delve too deeply here, but simply offer some links for you to check out:
Eating Out...offbeat reviews, not just Ryde