Writing about the harbour has its risks – I sometimes get an ear-full from irate readers but, thankfully, not too often – and one of those risks is that you are given stories in good faith which turn out to be the rural equivalent of urban myths. A particular example is the story that one of the large outboard engines which was stolen on a high tide in September had been found in Canada. Well, it seems that this particular tale came from a rather too enthusiastic insurance company. Sadly, the two huge 200hp outboards are both still missing: so far, they have completely disappeared.
Now for some more reliable news. First, the Egremont has commissioned a new foul water treatment plant, fresh for this season; this, together with the repairs to Jubilee Pier, should greatly help water quality. Moreover, South Sands passed its water quality tests in 2009 so a Blue flag there becomes again a possibility. You will have gathered that water quality is a bit of a hobby-horse of mine, mainly because one of the largest groups of harbour users, many of whom are children, are bathers, surf-boarders, canoeists and others who swim, play or fall in the water.
Developments around the Dartmouth ferries continue. Not only are there to be eight scheduled services from Dartmouth to Salcombe (as I mentioned last month) but the same company is wondering about extending this up into Kingsbridge. Although this would be (not very frequent) competition for the Rivermaid, it is important to open up the whole harbour so that not everything is concentrated around Salcombe. The Harbour Board has been trying to encourage this, with last year’s new visitors’ pontoon in Kingsbridge, and the Harbour Guide now suggests that visiting yacht crews might like to take their tender or a hire boat up to Kingsbridge for a visit – or South Pool, or Frogmore, of course.
The observant amongst you will have noticed that this year’s harbour licences no longer show an “R” or a “V” for residents or visitors. These have rationalised so that the anomalies have been removed under which sometimes it was cheaper to register a boat as a visitor and sometimes as a resident. I suppose this year’s game will be to see how many free tenders (licences with a “T”) have engines larger than the permitted 6hp: above 6hp you are meant to pay full fare.