You have a tired crew and you plan to anchor for the night. Will the headland provide enough shelter? James Stevens answers your Questions of Seamanship

A yacht anchored in a bay by a headland
In a southeasterly wind, does this SW-facing bay offer adequate protection? Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

Will a headland provide enough shelter?


George is returning to the Solent from a West Country cruise in his 11m yacht.

It has been a tiring trip in a fresh northeasterly across Lyme Bay but now, in late afternoon, they are past Portland Bill and the sea is calmer.

George has decided to anchor for the night in Chapman’s Pool, a pretty bay nestling under the cliffs which run east-west.

The pool is open to the south west, on the eastern side is the headland St Alban’s Head, which George reckons will give protection from any east in the wind.

The pilot book confirms that conditions should be calm in the present wind direction and on arrival the bay only has a couple of anchored yachts and provides a calm refuge from the wind.

A chart showing Chapman's and the headland

Credit: Maxine Heath

George finds a spot to anchor having checked the chart and the tidal height, ensuring he has sufficient depth at LW.

No one on board has any phone signal so George listens to the Coastguard forecast at 1930. For his area it is northeasterly 4 to 6 becoming southeasterly.

The tidal stream, which runs at 2 knots, has just turned back towards Weymouth and Portland harbours which are 14 miles away.

To the east, Poole is 12 miles. All offer sheltered moorings.

Is this wind shift going to feel uncomfortable or will St Albans Head protect them?

Would it be better to rally the tired crew and leave, in which case should they go east or west?

Continues below…


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Yachts moored at Chapman's Pool, also known as Chapmans Pool in Dorset