Chichester is very popular and, as a result, can be rather crowded. Much of the harbour and most of the marinas are very tidal. There is not a great deal to see once ashore - the area is best described as 'scenic'.
The entrance is straightforward to find, and is usually relatively easy, but it deserves a few warnings. Firstly, the bar can be difficult or dangerous on a strong ebb with any swell running. Secondly, you really do need to follow the bouyage very carefully - there are several sandbanks which can be treacherous when the tide is high.
Begin by finding West Pole:
Now you come to the rather narrow harbour entrance. It can be busy, and you may have fun dodging people coming out.
Do NOT be tempted to take short cuts - this shows a sand bank awash at mid tide. The banks are very steep to - you may find yourself in 10 metres of water with a sand bank not much more than 20 or 30 metres away.
Beaulieu is a beautiful and well sheltered river, with two caveats. The first is since it is so popular, there is fairly constant traffic, and the second is that the lights of the refinery at Fawley do rather impinge on the night sky. When it is quiet, however, it is almost unbeatable.
From Southampton Water, Lepe Spit South Cardinal makes a good waypoint. There is also a yellow racing mark in the summer about 3 cables from the Bar Beacon, which makes a good point to start the approach.
Be wary if coming from the west - the shoal at Lepe goes a long way out. It covers above about half tide, but is still very shallow.
There are few problems at the bar near High Water, but be very cautious near Low Water, particularly at Springs, when the bar might have only a metre or so above it. There are a lot of shoals either side of the entrance, so it is as well to line up your approach from some way out.
The approaches and entrance to the Beaulieu River can be seen above. Be extra cautious at Low Water springs, when there may be very little water over the bar.
For night approaches, there is a lighthouse by the entrance, with a sectored light Oc. WRG 4s.
There are plenty of shallow patches: proceed carefully round the bend at the entrance, and don't cut corners.
The moorings begin after the turn at Need's Ore, and room from here on is relatively restricted. There are withies on the starboard side, and the bottom is thick mud.
The tide can run quite fast in the river: be careful when picking up a mooring.
You can anchor in the stretch up to Need's Ore (but an anchor light at night is almost essential), find an empty mooring, or proceed up to Buckler's Hard, which has either pontoon or pile moorings. Not cheap!
The usual rule about the moorings applies: you must be ready to move if the owner comes back. You will still be charged by the harbourmaster for either anchoring or finding an empty mooring.
Full marina facilities at Buckler's Hard, otherwise no other facilities. You can, however, take your dinghy up to Buckler's Hard, although it is a very small, if scenic, village.
Yarmouth has many pros and many cons: it is a useful jumping off point if heading west from the Solent, it is an attractive little town, and still retains some old world charm. Against that, it can be extremely crowded - pleasant enough if you like being sociable, but the rafting up can lead to problems if the inside man wants to leave at 4 a.m.! In recent years, it has gone 'upmarket', and is now almost as expensive as Cowes or Lymington. The advent of well heeled 'yotties' seem to have produced some rather over priced and upmarket restaurants.
Yarmouth is very straighforward to find from any direction - the pier is an excellent landmark. Coming in from the Needles, Sconce North Cardinal just inside Hurst Narrows is a useful marker. Yarmouth is also directly opposite Lymington, which is conspicuous enough. In doubt, follow the ferries!
As with Lymington, beware the ferries as you enter. There can also be a strong cross tide, particularly on the ebb, and it's a good idea to find a convenient transit and make sure you're not drifting off to one side. Other than that, motor in reasonably gently - there is not a lot of room inside the harbour, and there may well be dinghies moving back and forth. You may often be met by a harbour official who will direct you to a berth.
There are now 'walk ashore' pontoons, with all the mod cons of electricity and water.
The non walk ashore pontoons are cheaper, but this means either a dinghy or the water taxi to get ashore. (Using the water taxi rather reduces the cost difference!)
There is also the harbour wall (which is not comfortable, and usually a lee shore). You will need lee boards here (there may be some on the quayside).
There are few pile mooring left, and they would seem to be reserved for very large boats.
When things become really busy in the summer, you may have to go on the mooring bouys outside the harbour - which are also expensive!
Showers etc ashore (you need to buy tokens for showers). Fuel on the quayside.