East Coast Branch

28th - 30th June 2024

Midsummer Dinner & Rally to Ipswich Beacon Marina

Event Details

ABP have rebranded their marinas from Haven to Beacon so, in Ipswich, it’s now the Ipswich Beacon Marina. They have also acquired the former Neptune Marina on Neptune Quay, so they are now the only marina in Ipswich Wet Dock

Dinner will be in the Last Anchor at 1900 on Friday 28 June. You will need to choose from a menu (not yet available) and pay a £5 per head deposit by 2 weeks beforehand (14 June). I need to tell them the numbers by the same date.

Drinks and nibbles will be available on Wild Thyme on Saturday afternoon from 1500.


Navigation Advice

Boats coming from the south will get the best tides by aiming to be somewhere near the Stone Banks phm at around low water, so you get the ebb down the Wallet and the flood up the Orwell.

Felixstowe dock handles more cargo than any other port in the UK and it caters for the world’s largest ships. When navigating in Harwich Harbour, monitor Harwich VTS on channel 71 and, as you enter the R. Orwell, switch to monitor Ipswich port control on channel 68.

Enter Harwich harbour using the Yacht track marked on your charts, this essentially means leaving the channel phms from Cliff Foot to starboard. Around LW make sure you leave the smaller Harwich shelf cardinal mark to port. From the Guard P.H.M. you must cross the R Stour channel to the Shotley spit cardinal mark, check before crossing that no ship is coming up or down the Stour.

Continue leaving the phms to starboard but close to starboard as Shotley spit is steep sided nowadays and shallows very quickly. Once above the end of the quay of Felixstowe dock, you are clear of the big ships, but smaller shipping goes up to Ipswich, so keep a sharp lookout. From here on you can use the shipping channel – below half tide, cutting corners in the Orwell can easily result in grounding.

On arriving at the Orwell bridge, call Ipswich lock on Channel 68 and notify them that you wish to lock in. Follow their instructions for locking. There is a waiting pontoon outside the lock but it’s usually well decorated with guano. I prefer to wait under engine. An advantage of arriving at HW is that the lock is on free flow, so no waiting. Once in the Wet dock, call Beacon Marina on channel 80 for your berth allocation. Most of the berths are well up the dock on the port hand side, but they have recently acquired the former Neptune Marina on Neptune Quay to starboard where the dock turns to port.

Boats coming from the north are likely to have timing set by the need for at least half tide to get out of Southwold, the Ore or the Deben, but would clearly benefit from getting to sea as soon as it’s safe to do so in order to have flood all the way up to Ipswich lock.

To enter Harwich- pick up the Yacht Track at Rolling Ground mark and cross the deep water channel at 90 degrees to the Platters mark, From here follow the yacht track until you are close south of Cliff Foot phm. You can then follow the pilotage for yachts coming from the south.

I am trying to get a tour of Spirit Yachts building yard, but they tell me there will be little of interest to see that weekend, so I will look into either a tour of a local microbrewery (I know, we did that in 2022) or a visit to Christchurch Mansion.

For those arriving by car, the postcode of the Last Anchor is IP3 0EA.


Peter Wright
East Coast Branch Captain


A view of Nieuwpoort harbour in Belgium. It looks out over the marina along the harbour entrance channel towards The English Channel.


55Harwich HW (BST)

28/06/24 0506, 1721
29/06/24 0603, 1818
30/06/24 0705, 1923

Ipswich HW (BST)

28/06/24 0557, 1753
29/06/24 0654, 1850
30/06/24 0752, 1952
An aerial view of Vlissingen Harbour and the entrance to the inland waterways.