Our home club of Thornbury SC is on the English side of the Severn Estuary, three
miles upstream of the older of the two Severn bridges, and about twenty miles north
of Bristol. At Oldbury the estuary is two miles wide...when the tide is in! On spring
tides the tidal rise can be as much as ten metres, and we can only sail for three
hours in every twelve – the rest of the time its mud, for miles. Getting all that
water in, ten metres high and two miles wide, in six hours means the spring tide
runs at up to four knots past the club, and more than ten knots in the narrow “Shoots”
shipping channel between the Severn bridges.
There is no Severn Bore here, that’s further up, at least another 10 miles, where
the two mile width at Thornbury squeezes down to 60m and narrower. The Bore is a
tide-driven wave, for up to 2m high, rushing upstream with the incoming tide. It
is on the Severn Bore that the world record longest surf ride was achieved, and
that was a ride of more than ten minutes.
The club was founded by the late Edmund Grace in the fifties; appropriately Edmund
was then landlord of the Anchor Inn in the village of Oldbury Upon Severn. Sailing
was in sturdy Yachting World Dayboats, a fourteen foot clinker dinghy weighing in
at over 200kg, giving them good sea keeping properties. Now the club has a thriving
membership of more than 250 family units, comprising cruisers up to 10m moored on
mud berths, cruiser racing and good dinghy racing in cats and a variety of dinghies
including Wayfarers and also Cherubs, the twelve foot super-light skiffs. TSC has
a club house with bar and changing facilities, and is registered RYA sailing school,
running both sail and powerboat training.
The best of TSC, in our view, are the long-distance races that take us up-river
and back on a tide, to Sharpness and Lydney, and also the family Club Week. Club
Week utilises TSC’s enormous acreage of fields, perhaps a square mile, where around
50 families set up a tented village with sailing and social activities during a
week of August.
Thornbury Sailing Club can be a wild and timeless place. It is set apart from the
nearby cities and towns, and the agenda is set by this magnificent and powerful
river. Thornbury Sailing Club is our spiritual home.