Admiralty Leisure Chart SC2345 covers the whole northern area of Mounts Bay.
Sailing in Mounts Bay
For the purposes of small boat sailing the waters of Mounts Bay are unobstructed with the exception of a line of marked rocks along the beach between Penzance and Marazion and one marked isolated rock half a mile south of Penzance harbour.
If the wind is from the north the sea is likely to be relatively flat (there may however be still be a swell running from previous weather conditions). However, with an offshore wind the land will funnel down the valleys and particularly around St Michael’s Mount. This effect will reduce as you move further offshore.
With the wind in the south you will experience a lot more consistent wind but this will come with larger waves and swell.
Although the tidal range in Penzance can be up to 6m, the tidal currents in the northern parts of Mounts Bay are minimal. Any tidal current follows the flow of the English Channel. As you move south (and to the extremes of the inshore sailing area) the tidal current will become more noticeable particularly around headlands.
Key for Map
Mousehole is a small fishing village to the western side of Mounts Bay. The small drying harbour is guarded by St Clements Island (or Mousehole Island) to the South East.
2. Lowlee Cardinal Buoy
Lowlee is a eastern cardinal mark guarding the popular diving reef between the buoy and the coast to the west. Lowlee is also marked by a light.
One of the major fishing ports in Britain, Newlyn is dominated by the fishing industry. The two main pier offer mooring with limited facilities for visitors.
The South Pier accommodated the Newlyn lighthouse which also has a fog signal.
4. Gear Isolated Danger Mark
The Gear Pole marks the gear rock directly south of Penzance Harbour. Gear is also marked by a light.
Home to Penzance Sailing Club, Penzance is the major town of the area with most major shops and facilities.
The sailing club is based next to the main slipway on the North East corner of the main harbour.
The main outer harbour dries out at low water with deep water moorings available to visitors either South of the South Pier (exposed) or in the wet dock (open 2 hours before and 1 hour after HW).
The South Pier (or Lighthouse Pier) can be identified be the white Lighthouse on the end. The ferry to the Isle of Scilly (Scillionian III) departs from Lighthouse Pier.
Sailing boats should give way to the Scillionian III at all times while it is departing or arriving into port.
6. Cressar & Ryeman Cardinal Marks
Together the Cressar and Ryeman Poles (Southern Cardinal Marks) guard the rocks along the beach between Penzance and Marazion. These marks are NOT marked by lights.
7. St Michael’s Mount
Run by the National Trust, St Michael’s Mount dominates the Bay from its seat in the North Eastern Corner.
The island is cut off by the tide for most of the time. At low tide you can walk across the causeway that joins it to the main land and at other times boats services run the short trip.
There is a very small drying harbour and space to anchor in deep water to the west of the harbour.
Find out more about St Michael’s Mount at their website.
Mountamopus is a southern cardinal mark to the far east of the inner bay off Cudden Point. Mountamopus is also marked by a light.