Friday, 22 February 2013

Bramble Bank

The Bramble Bank, otherwise known simply as "The Brambles" is an arrowhead-shaped sandbar in the central Solent which is uncovered at low water spring tides. At other times it presents either a significant navigational hazard or a useful escape from the strong Solent tides. The bank is moving very slowly westward. It is marked at its southeastern limit by the Brambles post sea mark and on its western limit by the West Knoll buoy.

The Brambles post has comprehensive weather and sea state monitoring equipment which is relayed in realtime to a website.The Bramble Bank is renowned as being the location of an annual cricket match between the Royal Southern Yacht Club and the Island Sailing Club. The match takes place when the bank is exposed but never lasts very long before the tide returns. The undulating surface with large puddles ensures it is more a social occasion than a serious cricket match. The ultimate example of this is the scoring - the victor of the game is pre-determined as the two clubs simply take it in turns to "win" the match, regardless of how the match progresses. The event was last held at about 0630 hrs on 14 August 2010. 

An interesting reference to this practice is found in Hansard, the British parliamentary record, during the debate on the Licensing Bill (Lords) in Standing Committee D, on 8 May 2003. In this debate the Island's MP, Andrew Turner, is discussing the problems of licensing when the event to be licensed falls between two authorities, and in a light-hearted way cites the example of the Bramble Bank cricket match.On Tuesday 11 November 2008, on approaching Southampton Docks for her last visit prior to retirement, the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth 2 ran aground on the Bramble Bank at approximately 0530 hrs. She required 4 tugs to pull her clear on the rising tide and arrived in Southampton approximately 90 minutes late.