If you're wanting to get off the local lake (Alton Water anyone?) but go still go somewhere safe, or are just looking for somewhere on the east coast that works in Westerlies, then you could try Aldeburgh. A few folks sail in the estuary there - it's as warm as the sea, as safe as Alton Water (i.e. land on both sides!) and the wind is much cleaner. Plus no Goose crap... Launch from near the Martello tower at the end of the shingle 'drive' along the seafront. There are quite a few boats moored there in the summer, but they're all gone during the winter. Aldeburgh is pretty much sailable in any wind direction.
Flat Water: YES
Car parking : YES (free)
Nearest Shop : unknown
Aldeburgh is located on the East Coast, about 20 miles North-East of Ipswich. Access is via the A12 and A1094. Turn right when you get into Aldeburgh and follow the road until it turns into a shingle track alongside the seafront. Follow the shingle track as far as the Martello tower, and launch from there. Keep away from the mooring bouys when sailing, as they are attached to large concrete blocks that are obviously not good for your fin... You also need to avoid the join between the channel and the surrounding marshland at mid-tide, as the marshland right up to the shingle drive can get covered at high-tide.
As can been seen from the aerial photo, you have a choice of sailing on the estuary or on the sea itself. Most people sail on the estuary as there are better locations nearby for sea-sailing (see Felixstowe and Walberswick).
The beauty of this location is that it works in one shape or form in all wind directions, and is especially useful because the prevailing winds in this area tend to be offshore.
The photos below should give an idea of the range of conditions found at this location. The larger images have a description of the conditions at the time the shot was taken. If you've got any good photos that you'd like to see here then email the site and I'll add them on if possible.
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