The Exe is one of the best rivers for sailing in the West Country. It’s wide (3/4 mile at HW), it’s long (4 miles inside the Warren). The hinterland is either flat or undulating (ie not steep-sided) which yields better winds. It’s quiet, with very little commercial traffic. Plus, there’s access to Exmouth beach, and then the wide ocean beyond the safe water mark.
SYC organises Dinghy Cruises, with safety boat cover approx every 2-3 weeks during the season. We can cruise up-river to Topsham. Mostly we cruise down-river to Exmouth beach, or sometimes further still, out-to-sea. Our Briefing Time is by the clubhouse 45 mins before the advertised Start Time. You need to be on-the-water by the Start Time since the tide will not wait!
‘Cruising’ may give the impression of easy-going, relaxed sailing without a care in the world... and this can be substantially true, but it needs the preparation before you sail, and vigilance during your sail, and your skills need to be up to scratch.
To the young (and not-so-young) sailor: develop your sailing and seamanship skills on Free Sailing sessions. Read up about the skills needed. Ask experienced sailors for advice. Ask about courses. Buddy-up with like-minded sailor(s). Improve, and then join in on dinghy cruises. Improve further, and cruise ‘anytime’ and without safety boat cover.
The Exe has strong tidal streams, especially near Exmouth, but there are also sections of weaker flows, and back eddies, and learning where to go at any particular state of tide, is part of the fun. The river is endlessly fascinating, and it’s never the same twice. Come, learn, and cruise, and learn something about yourself too. If you get the ‘hang’ of the Exe and have the streams ‘sorted’ – please contact me a.sa.p. – I’m still learning.....
Dinghy Cruising Captain.