Axe Yacht Club Harbour Services tel 07939 044109
This is an amazing little harbour at the mouth of the River Axe about six nautical miles west of Lyme Regis. There really shouldn’t be a harbour here at all; it’s got a horrible bar of sand and gravel at the entrance which moves on a daily base and the moorings silt up every year!!
Never the less there is a complete set of quality pontoons for about 120 boats, a self-built club house, workshop, their own dredger (which they operate themselves) and much more
The Axe Yacht Club under various guises has been the driving power behind this harbour, they have been responsible for the enlargement of the basin, installation of the pontoons and the organisation of improvements.
Originally the River Axe was navigable right up to Axmouth Village (hence the village name!) but, over time, silting and movement of the shingle bank forced the River Axe Eastward to where, these days, it makes its dive for the sea and it’s basically it’s the force of the river and ebb tide which keeps the entrance clear, though the presence of the sea wall turning it towards the sea prevents it from just spreading out over the beach.
Although the harbour itself is the property of the East Devon District Council they lease it to the Axmouth Harbour Management Company which leases the Western side to the Yacht Club and the Eastern side to the East Devon Fisherman's Association!! Sounds complicated but in fact means that to all intents and purposes the Yacht Club sees to daily running of their side of the harbour and the improvements and maintenance of the services is down to them, with help and advice from the District Council, when necessary.
The entrance can be a bit of a challenge the first time you come here but, once you’ve found your way in you’ll return; it’s a delightful, unassuming place with a gentle welcome.
The first thing that you’ll notice is that there is no Admiralty or
........ Imray harbour chart for Axmouth harbour and your passage planning will stop off the entrance. You need to aim for a point about half a mile out from the light (it’s conspicuous by day and lit by night) on the end of the pier on a bearing of about 230°T
As usual, it would be unwise to attempt an entrance in strong onshore weather and, if you are early and the weather is in the South West, it is possible to anchor in the shelter of Beer Head until shortly before High water
They have a camera overlooking the harbour entrance which is back in action, try this link
Axe Yacht Club : Entrance Camera
The camera is situated on the cliffs overlooking the harbour entrance and records its images. You can then click back through the previous images to see where the bar was at the last low water. The channel leads out in a generally South Westerly direction with shingle banks either side out to about a cable from the shore.
The tidal streams outside the entrance run Easterly from 4 hours after Dover to 2 hours before and then turns west (about 1.5 kts Springs and 1.0 kts Neaps) so you will be planning to arrive at the end of the flood which, if you are coming from the East, is a bit of a nuisance!
Although local sailors may occasionally creep in a couple of hours before high water their advice is to make it between HW + 30; when the flow through the mouth is at a minimum. (The stream into and out of the harbour does not follow a normal tidal curve and runs hard until just before and just after HW)
Visitors are welcome to ring ahead of their arrival. An update on local conditions will be given if possible.
You will berth on one of the pontoons and take the ground;
They will generally have someone to take your warps. If you are short-handed it would be best to clear away for harbour outside in the bay.
Once you have cleared the bar be very aware of the currents in the entrance of the harbour, they run quite strongly and can make the required hard turn to port a bit exciting, especially when entering with a flood tide
The advice is to hold close to the shingle bank on the port side (it’s quite steep to) where the current is less and, consequently, the likelihood of being pushed into the wall on the starboard side is less. The local sailors here say there are two types of sailors in the club, those who have hit the wall and those who are going to; you have been warned!!
You will berth on one of the pontoons and take the ground. If you have not been directed to a specific berth, go alongside the downstream side of the long pontoon at the North end of the mooring basin
If you are short handed it would be best to clear away for harbour outside in the bay - you will be starboard side to against this pontoon.
Once you have tied up drop into Fred's Shed to have a chat and make further arrangements for your stay.
In general they cannot accommodate a boat over 30 feet LOA and as far as fin keelers are concerned; you could lean against the wall amongst the fishing boats but it really is not advised that you come in here at all; it would be very shallow at the entrance and the wall is not topside friendly.
The charge here (2021) is £15 per day irrespective of boat size and you have free run of the yacht club facilities for that as well.
We have included a photo of the slipway on the East Wall. When it is time for you to go the rule of thumb here is that when the flood reaches the first vertical pile on that slip (with the white cross on it) there should be enough water to pass over the bar.
The Yacht Club website can be found at http://www.axeyachtclub.co.uk/
There is water available on the pontoons but no shore power.
Showers and toilets are available in the yacht club and you will undoubtedly be given access to them for your stay.
Petrol and auto-diesel can be found at the Tescos in the town and there is also a Co-op for victualling.
Calor Gas and Camping Gaz refills are available from Akermans Hardware in Fore Street.
Some of our members have left notes on this harbour in the "Have your say" section at the bottom which are worth reading
See Nick Pool's note in the Ratings and Comments section below for the delights available at the yacht club
Seaton is a gentle holiday resort where you will find good eating and good hostelries.