The Chepstow & District Yacht Club is a small, friendly group of people from many walks of life who share a love of messing about in and with boats.
We are unique in our mix of location, program and friendliness.
Whilst we do have the occasional race, we mostly prefer to cruise together or just do our own thing.
The Club moorings are in St Pierre Pill, Monmouthshire, Wales, the Pill lies between the two Severn Estuary road crossings, on the Welch side of the estuary, very close to where some of the largest tides in the world occur.
The tidal streams in Severn Estuary rightly have an awesome reputation, but within St Pierre Pill they are almost benign.
However, the tide plays a vital part in everything we do and when we do it.
With correct timing, and appropriate seamanship, we can sail from the Pill up to 3 hours either side of high water.
Just outside the Pill the Severn Estuary widens to a virtual lake of several square miles at high water.
This ‘lake’ is bounded by the M48 bridge to the north and the M4 bridge to the south, for an hour either side of high water it is difficult to run aground anywhere.
The Pill is ideally situated for taking the tide either upstream towards Sharpness or downstream towards Avonmouth, Cardiff, the Bristol Chanel and beyond.
Sailing is the main activity and sailing craft are predominant on the moorings, we do have, at present, one small motor boat whose owner is more interested in fishing.
Most our boats as small sailing cruisers under 32ft.
Currently we have no dinghy sailing but in the past, it was our main thrust, dinghies would sail in company with cruisers and were kept on trots afloat at the moorings.
Cruises in company are often organised on an ad hock basis.
Our annual regatta is the highlight of the year, when we are usually joined, weather permitting, by numerous boats from other local clubs.
Anyone is welcome to join us for a fun weekend, usually held in June.
Another annual activity is the yearly Chain inspection.
Every year club members congregate to take part checking and if necessary, repairing, the main mooring chains that cross the Pill.
The inspection is usually rounded off with a barbecue and some liquid refreshment.
Chepstow & District Yacht Club is very much a Do It Ourselves club.
All the facilities at St Pierre have been installed by members and maintenance is a collective activity.
Work Parties are organised for any major jobs that might need doing, while minor jobs got sorted by individuals using their initiative.
While the Severn Estuary has some of the largest tidal currents in the world, the moorings within St Pierre are well out of the main estuary flow.
The boats are well protected from the worst of any weather and wave action.
There have been occasions in the past when gale force winds have combined with spring tides to cause havoc to other parts of the coasts but within the Pill have caused nothing more than a bit of a chop and then only at the top of the tide.
The club has been here for over fifty years and we have not yet lost a boat due to adverse conditions.
Some of us even swim in the Pill, though not always intentionally!
Our other facilities are limited, but include a hut by the Pill that boasts electricity and running water.
The kitchen area has a cooker and utensils, fridge-freezer, table, chairs, etc.
We even have a flushing toilet.
The Dinghy store is where members can lock up their inflatables and where other club equipment is kept, this also has running water and electric points.
While some members prefer to use their own dinghies to get to and from their boats the club has two, communally owned, Club punts.
There is one club punt/rowing dinghy tied and locked to each pontoon.
There is a floating pontoon on each side of the Pill so, you can approach or disembark from either direction.
We also have a concrete slipway for launching and retrieval.
Next to the slipway is a pair of scrubbing posts with a concrete pad where boats can be parked for cleaning or working on below the waterline.
St Pierre Pill It is a very quiet haven where all manner of bird life can be watched, particularly waders, shell duck, teal and the occasional raptor.
It is often teeming with fish, particularly mullet which, as the tide comes in, can be seen skimming the surface of the water to feed.
If you are eating on board while in the Pill, why not garnish your meal with some fresh Marsh Samphire or Purslane picked from the banks of the Pill.
The nearby Welsh Village of Mathern with its beautiful old church is just a short walk from the Pill.
The village doesn't boast much in the way of shopping but there is a Pub.
The Millers Arms serves good beer and good food.
Mathern is also where we hold our monthly club meetings.
These are held at the Mathern Athletic Club on the first Wednesday of the month starting at 20:00 hrs.
You are welcome to visit us either at the Pill or at Mathern Athletic Club.