An improved method is developed to couple an inner domain solution of the blade element momentum theory with an outer domain solution of the Reynolds averaged Navier Stokes equations for evaluating performance of tidal current turbines. A mesh sensitivity study shows that a mesh of at least 6 M cells with at least 40% of these within the turbine wake is required to ensure satisfactory convergence of the velocity deficit. In addition to the usually applied axial momentum source terms, angular momentum and turbulence intensity source terms are shown to be required to model the near wake evolution. Three different lateral turbine spacing of 2, 4 and 6 turbine diameters are used to demonstrate the influence of the effective channel blockage on the velocity distribution in the turbine bypass region, the rate of spread of the wake and the recovery of velocity distribution. A final study shows that for a fixed number of turbines minimising the lateral spacing within each row, with a small number of staggered rows spaced as longitudinally as far apart as practical, is the most effective strategy for energy capture.