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Portland Harbour

Huge man made harbour that is one of the South Coast windsurf and kitesurf epicentres
Submitted by:
20th Jun 2004
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Photo of Portland Harbour beach - Portland Harbour F6 Easterly
 Portland Harbour
 by: Reefbreak
Photo of Portland Harbour beach -
 Portland Harbour
 by: justal
Photo of Portland Harbour beach -
 Portland Harbour
 by: justal
Photo of Portland Harbour beach -
 Portland Harbour
 by: justal
Photo of Portland Harbour beach -
 Portland Harbour
 by: justal

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The huge manmade harbour of Portland has been one of the UK's premier windsurfing spots since windsurfing first came to these shores. Numerous speed trials have been held there and the world record was even achieved here in the 1980's. The windsurfing spot is from the bginning of the causeway that leads to the Isle of Portland. To get there, drive through Wyke Regis towards Portland, and then just after you go across Ferrybridge, there is a (fairly expensive) car park on your left where you can park virtually on the beach. Alternatively you can park a little further along the causeway in a much larger and less expensive car park on your right. from here you will have to carry your kit across the main road.

Toilets and small shop/snack bars are available in both car parks, and I think the Ferrybridge car park now has showers and a changing room??

Portland harbour is sailable in most wind directions and provides a variety of conditions suitable for all levels of winsurfers and kitesurfers. At high tide the water remains shallow for 100's of metres providing perfect conditions for beginners and improvers in both sports. Offshore (W and SW) winds are often sailed as they provide amazing speed sailing in the super flat shallow water tucked in behind beachg, whilst the wind howls over chesil beach and funnels between the mainland and the Isle of Portland. All other directions are sailable too, although Northerlies and Southerlies can be pretty gusty.

There used to be a sailing school on the Northern side of the harbour from which you could have lessons and launch. The main sailing and kitesurfing school has now relocated to the old navy base on the Isle of Portland itslef anf provides another launch area. Portland harbour can get very busy, so there is almost always someone else around to sail with. There are no real hazards, but there is a strong current flowing out from under Ferrybridge on an ebbing tide. The tides are also a little strange as the harbour has a double low tidem where the water goes out, comes in a bit and then goes out again before coming in properly. Low spring tides can mean that a fairly long walk is required to reach water of suitable depth for windsurfing. Be aware of this on an ebbing tide as well, otherwise water you were happily sailing in 5 minutes ago will soon be too shallow and you'll loose a fin at best, maybe some teeth, or even worse depending on the speed at which you hit the sand.

There are guest houses, B&B's and camp sites in Wyke Regis and on the Isle of Portland, and plenty of places to stay in nearby Weymouth, which is a large town with all the usual shops, supermarkets etc.

If in the area it is worth checking out the Isle of Portland itself. There are amazing views across the harbour from its northern end, and good views out to sea where you can see the crazy currents off Portland Bill....You wouldn't want to sail out there! There are also literally hundreds of bolted climbing routes all over the Island, suitable for all levels of climber, from short bolted Moderate climbs right up to scary (impossible E7 6c climbs). There are also lots of deep water solo climbs, and some good cliff jumping to be had (make sure you know where).

For the less adventurous, there is fossil hunting galour along these coast, with huge ammonites to be found on Portland (if you can carry them home). Its also worth checking out Chesil Beach, a 26 mile long pebble ridge behind which are the waters of the Fleet, an importnat nature reserve.
Sports Suitability
Surfing thumbs_down
Surf Conditions at Portland Harbour are Not Good
Buggying thumns_down
Buggying Conditions at Portland Harbour are Not Good
Windsurfing starstarstar
Windsurfing Conditions at Portland Harbour can be Excellent
kitesurfing starstarstar
Kitesurfing Conditions at Portland Harbour can be Excellent
Wind Suitability
Windsurfing at Portland Harbour Kitesurfing at Portland Harbour
NW   N   NE
SW   S   SE
NW   N   NE
SW   S   SE

Comments on Portland Harbour


There is 1 comment about Portland Harbour. This is shown belowPost a Comment
Author:Beachguide Comments » Portland Harbour
Posted By: Mark_Sims

Member#: 1161
Location: Bradford on Avon
Registered: 09-12-2004
Last Visit: 29-01-2007

Kite surfing in Portland harbour

According to Paracademy website you now need a permit, available for free from the Paracademy hut. You just need to present insurance and poof of ability (such IKO level 1 card) or demonstrate you can do it.
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