Dinghy Cruising

Dinghy cruising at Starcross Yacht Club

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.

Standing procedures 

Our current guidance says that:

  • Starting times for Down-River Cruises are 2 hours before low water, and for Up-River Cruises 90 mins before high water.
  • In order to try and keep the fleet together, slower boats like Gulls, Tideways, Mirrors, Toppers and any less experienced skippers will depart from around buoy 29 at 15 minutes before the programmed departure time. Faster boats will depart from buoy 29 at the programmed departure time 
  • The briefing for each cruise is 30 minutes before the published start and all cruise participants are requested to be at the pre-cruise briefing.

Safety guidelines for SYC organised dinghy cruises

There is a set of guidelines for those thinking about joining the next dinghy cruise. While the dinghy cruise "officer of the day" will give a briefing before the cruise, that briefing will focus on the specific issues for the day. It is requested that dinghy cruise participants read and agree to the guidelines before joining a cruise. For those from a racing background, think of these as the dinghy cruise "Sailing Instructions".

The guidelines discuss in some detail the sailing experience that is recommended before joining one of the dinghy cruises. The strong tidal flows, number of larger commercial boats and the distance from the club mean that dinghy cruises are not ideal for those just beginning to learn to sail.

If you are curious about what the dinghy cruise "officer of the day" will get up to (or you are rostered as OOD for a cruise), you may want to see these documents.

Exe Estuary navigation

Here is some tidal flow information that may be of use if considering a sail out to sea. 

Contact Information

The SYC dinghy cruising co-ordinators are Mike Arstall & Rod Freer

There is an SYC Dinghy Cruising WhatsApp group - details on the Dinghy Cruise Hub Page (if logged on to the website).

Otherwise post any questions to the cruising section of the web site forums.
  • The Exmouth Beach Cafe. Dinghy cruises have been known to stop here.
  • Jim Vallis - who started the organised dinghy cruises at SYC