Rye Watersports by JaycB

Rye Watersports by JaycB

An excellent windsurfing club based on a lake on the Kent coast

Rye Watersports near Rye, East Sussex

Rye Watersports is a family run business based at North Point Water, located between Rye and Camber on the New Lydd Road.   Although this large lake is a flooded gravel pit and is freshwater, its close proximity to the sea at Rye Harbour, and the flat marshy land in between, means that it benefits from excellent sea breezes during the early summer months.    

As well as the lake itself, the site has a huge gravel/grass rigging and car parking area, a lodge-style HQ building with office, cafe bar, toilets and changing rooms, and the equipment storage containers.  Other than the large  flat gravelly parking and rigging area, which shelves gently into the north-easterly shore, the lake is mainly bordered with water reeds and grasses. 
There are two small islands on the lake and several areas of shallow sandbank, either next to the islands or close to the main shore.  These areas are marked with buoys and should be avoided.

Rye Watersports offers a gym-styleclub, with users paying a monthly subscription for unlimited equipment use during the open season, but also welcomes day sailors.  The launch fee for 2006 was £10 per day which includes car parking and the use of the changing rooms and toilets.  
This venue is open between the beginning of April and the end of October.

There are also windsurfing courses available up to RYA L3, as well as RYA dinghy and IKO/BKSA kitesurfing courses.  I ought to point out that the kitesurfing courses are not actually run at this site other than land-based basic kite handling; all of the on-water kite training takes place at Camber Sands just down the road.   

The lake itself is approximately 1km in length and 0.5km wide at it's widest point and works very well in the predominant south-westerly winds.  Most of the land around the site is flat and trees are sparse, meaning that all other directions work well too.  A south-westerly wind blows almost directly onto the car-park shore, making this a safe and predictable spot for beginners and those who wish to teach friends and family.  On very windy days when the wind is blowing off-shore from the car-park the owners tend to restrict day sailors to those of Level 2 competency and above.    

The office sells basic equipment and magazines but can order other equipment at very reasonable prices.  The cafe bar provides hot and cold drinks, sandwiches/rolls and other small snack foods.  The changing rooms and toilets are pretty basic but adequate.  There are no showers.
There is a decked, shaded area in front of the cafe bar with tables and chairs for windsurfers and non-windsurfers to relax and cool down during the hot summer months.    

I've been visiting this venue for several years and enjoy returning there, especially in the summer as it's a great light-wind blasting site during sea-breeze season.  The nearby ancient and picturesque town of Rye makes an ideal day out for non-windsurfing family members as well as a great post-session eating spot.  There's a very friendly and relaxed attitude among the staff and windsurfers here and it's popular with families during the warmer months. 
There are those that dislike the shallow areas but to be honest once you're clear about where they are these can be easily avoided and long planing runs can be enjoyed safely in all wind directions. 
Others grumble about the lack of showers and, while it doesn't bother me, they do have a point; even though this is not an all-year round venue those paying a tenner to launch might expect a hot shower at the end of a day on the water.  

 

Directions, course dates and details of kit demo days and other special events can be found on their website, http://www.ryewatersports.co.uk/

J.C.Baracas
October 2006