In the Bay

St. Helena Bay offers some of the best boating waters along the South African coastline. It is also the biggest bay along our coast with a number of safe anchorages within the Bay and just beyond.

In summer there is generally no swell within the Bay and the mornings are generally calm and ideal for a leisurely sail or to quietly put a fishing line over the side. Typically of the West Coast by late morning the south easterly wind will come through and increase in speed to about 25 knots by mid afternoon and abating at night.

Safe anchorages can be found as follows;

  • South Easterly Wind
  • Paternoster
  • Britannia Bay
  • Stompneus Bay
  • Sandy Point Harbour
  • Slipper Bay
  • Elands Bay
  • North / North Westerly Wind
  • Stompneus Bay
  • Sandy Point Harbour

The bay has a sandy bottom throughout and is generally quite shallow at 10 to 15 meters.

A typical days boating will include a stopover at Sandy Point Harbour for a calamari and chips lunch and then a reach back to Port Owen. A round trip of about 9 nm.

During the months of June through to November whale sightings are common and nearly guaranteed. The Bay is also frequented by three species of dolphin who make regular appearances.

In winter the north westerly gales cause large swells to enter the bay and it is not advisable to exit or enter the harbour in north westerly winds of over 30 knots. The winter months do however offer some of the best sailing conditions with gentle westerly winds being most predominant.

The Bay is for the most part obstruction free except for Doctors Reef and at the Soverby area. Both are clearly marked on the nautical charts and must be avoided.

The whole area being of a slightly hotter climate than coastal areas to the south experiences a fair amount of fog. Especially if the wind turns north westerly after a hot day. The usual care should be taken in the event of your boat becoming fog bound.