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WorldNorth AtlanticNorth SeaUnited KingdomEnglandPortsmouth (Port of Entry)
50°47.23′N, 01°6.57′W Chart icon.png
Portsmouth Harbour entrance, viewed from the west. Portsmouth towards the top of the picture, with Gosport below

Portsmouth is a large harbour on the Solent near the English Channel, and is a Port of Entry to the UK. There are many marinas and the historic naval town is of interest to any sailor. The town lies on the eastern side of the harbour, with the smaller town of Gosport to the west.

Portsmouth Harbour is the historic home of the Royal Navy, and remains its principal port to this day. The naval dockyards lie to the eastern side of the harbour, and there are numerous places for small craft to dock.


British Admiralty
BA 2625 - Approaches to Portsmouth

This is included in the Admiralty Leisure Folio 'The Solent and Approaches' (approximately £40), which contains all the charts for the region.


The weather is typical of Britain. The prevailing wind is south-westerly, cold and often wet in winter, and temperate in summer with a mixture of sun and showers.

Sources for Weather forecasts:

  • The UK Shipping Forecast, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, gives a general overview of the conditions in the 'Wight' region. As of 7/2012 the frequencies are 198 kHz LW and 92-95 MHz and 103-105 MHz FM, and the broadcast times are 0048, 0520, 1201 and 1754. The 0048 and 0520 broadcasts are followed by a detailed Inshore Waters Forecast, where the forecast for the 'Solent' region is applicable to Portsmouth. The 0048 broadcast famously concludes with the National Anthem!
  • The Inshore Waters Forecast is available from the UK Coastguard. The forecast is given at intervals throughout the day, following a brief announcement on VHF Ch.16 of the working frequency for the relevant region (Selsey Bill to Lyme Regis).
  • Details of all UK Maritime Safety Information broadcasts are available here.


List popular passages/routes, timing, etc.


The Isle of Wight lies to the south of the Solent, and the international yachting destination of Cowes is 2-3 hours sail from Portsmouth.


Also see World Cruiser's Nets.


Portsmouth Harbour is extremely busy, with small and large ferries, cruise ships and Royal Navy vessels.

The Small Craft channel is on the western side of the entrance, and remaining on it will ensure the safety of a small sailing vessel. To cross to Gunwharf Quays on the eastern side, calling Portsmouth QHM on VHF Channel 11 is mandatory.

Due to the large area of the harbour, currents in the entrance can be strong, often 4 knots or more. An useful tactic when attempting to leave the harbour by the small craft channel against a strong current is to stay close to the western bank where the current curls back on itself. The channel is sufficiently deep to get within a few yards of the bank, and a half-hour motor can be reduced to a few minutes.

As per the Admiralty chart, the approaces to the harbour are either in the small craft channel on the western side of the bouyed main channel which extends some distance to the south, or to the WSW of the entrace, as per the sign on the channel marker. The Admiralty chart shows 'numerous small obstructions' to the SSW of the entrance.

When the wind is W or WSW Force 7 or above, the fetch along the Solent results in moderate waves being produced by shallower water outside the harbour entrance. In these conditions, small craft would be well advised to raise sails under the protection of the buildings in the entrance, so they are able to sail away from the shipping channel and shore to leeward when exposed to rougher conditions outside the harbour.


Portsmouth is a port of entry/exit to the United Kingdom.

Please submit details about facilities for checking-in, location of immigration & customs, etc.


The choice is one of the marinas or one of the hundreds of swinging moorings within the harbor.

Marinas & Yacht Clubs

  • Haslar and Gosport marinas are the two largest, near the entrance on the western side. Haslar Marina (southern) is easily recognisable by the green lightship, which is disused but has been turned in to a bar and restaurant and provides washing facilities for the marina Gosport Marina (northern) provides fuel facilities.
  • Port Solent - a modern development of apartments, a marina, bars, restaurants and a chandlery - lies at the extreme north, approximately a half-hour motor from the entrance.
  • There are several smaller marinas, and hundreds of swinging moorings.


Due to the busy and highly tidal nature of the harbour and the many marinas and moorings, anchoring is not advisable.

Yacht Repairs and Services

List services. If no services are available on the island write "None" and remove all the subsections (Marine Stores, & Repairs/Yards, & Fuel, Water, & Electricity.

Marine Stores

There is a large chandlery in Port Solent, at the northern end of Portsmouth Harbour.


Repairs are available at various locations, and an antifouling service with a submersible lifting dock is available in Haslar Marina.

Fuel, Water, & Electricity

Fuel is available in Gosport Marina.

Things to do Ashore


The historic dockyard in Portsmouth is an exceptional visit, and entrance is free. The oldest commissioned vessel in the Royal Navy, HMS Victory, is in dry dock, and the wreck of the Mary Rose is on display indoors. Current Royal Navy vessels can be viewed from the quay.

Grocery & Supply Stores

There are supermarkets in Portsmouth and Gosport in easy reach of the moorings.


  • Gunwharf Quays is a new development centered on the iconic Spinnaker Tower. There are many restaurants and pubs in this area
  • There is a restaurant and bar in the lightship of Haslar Marina


  • WiFi is available in Haslar Marina

(Details of other marinas welcomed.)


Motorbike & Car Rentals

Available in Portsmouth.

Garbage Disposal



Ferries to the Isle of Wight and France and trains throughout the UK are available from Portsmouth. A regular ferry connects Portsmouth (east) and Gosport (west).


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)



See United Kingdom.


We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

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