RIB Cruising In The Solent – Part 2
Bembridge is located almost at the eastern most point of the Isle of Wight and is a RIBster paradise – there are shallow and gently sloping beaches which offer safe bathing and hours of fun for your kids. The harbour is fairly busy most of the year round and the village centre has a good range of small shops, which offer an excellent range of everyday goods in Lane End Road and the High Street. As you would expect from an area close to the sea and yachting facilities, there are an excellent range of pubs and restaurants. Of all of the local places to eat/drink in Bembridge, my favourite is the Crab and Lobster, which has spectacular views from the patio.
Most of Bembridge Harbour and the outlying sands dry almost completely and getting in on your RIB is dependent on having sufficient height of tide. At Springs and medium tides RIBs can usually enter from 3 hours before to 2 hours after HW, although for a first visit it is advisable arriving on the flood.
Anchorages, moorings and berthing
Once through the narrows Bembridge harbour opens out into a broad, mile long basin to the South and West. At HW, most of the available water is taken up with moorings, nearly all of which dry at LW. For this reason anchoring is prohibited throughout the harbour except in the South Eastern corner where RIBs can anchor and dry out on the clean sandy beach opposite the Harbour Office and Bembridge Sailing Club. This berth has the main advantage of being closest to the beach and from here Bembridge Village is just over a half mile walk away, although mostly uphill. There is an overnight charge of around £5 irrespective of the size of your RIB.
When it comes to things to do in and around Bembridge there are a few local attractions worth pointing out. There are two sailing clubs – Brading Haven Yacht Club and Bembridge Sailing Club – and a marina within the shelter of the harbour basin. In the village is the Roy Baker Heritage Centre, at the rear of the Library on Church Road. This contains many photographs of Bembridge, and information about the Lifeboat, the Windmill, and other places in the village. The Windmill in Bembridge was built c.1700 – this stone-built tower with its wooden cap and machinery is the only surviving windmill on the island. Visitors can explore its four floors and also enjoy the wonderful views.