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About Salcombe Harbour

I write regularly about Salcombe Harbour for local residents on the east side of the Harbour, usually monthly and sometimes with an extra piece for Easter and Christmas. If you would like to comment on any of this, please email me by clicking Contact Hugh. There is also a think-piece which I gave at Salcombe Yacht Club in March 2014 on the future of Salcombe Harbour. This is the last of my speeches in the side-bar.  

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What to do about “being extremely busy at the moment”?

The season is finishing with quite a windy spell although, fortunately, nothing compared to the devastation caused by hurricanes and earthquakes in the Caribbean and Mexico. These are, of course, related: powerful storms exert huge forces on the earth’s surface and these trigger the movements which we experience as earthquakes. Climate change is more serious business than a bit of global warming. Nearer home, there is the tricky business of the telephones in the Harbour Office. It has become quite…

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The ins and outs of rip tides

One of the books I picked up at the Ways with Words at Dartington was William Thomson’s Book of Tides. This is about the tides around the UK, including the Severn bore, whirlpools and tsunamis (yes, there were tsunamis in the UK in 1755 and 2011). For me, one of the most interesting chapters was on rip tides. Waves crash onto beaches and the water that flows up the beach has to flow back again, taking the easiest route which…

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Summertime and the living is easy

Summer is here and the weather has been so hot that the sea water temperatures have already reached over 20°C – something which doesn’t normally happen until September. On 16 July it was 21.7°C in Inner Hope at low tide and on 17 July it was 20.5°C at South Sands at low tide (in spite of the cold water from the stream). Seas as warm as this give rise to high winds and thunderstorms, and we have had those as…

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The plight of distant-water fishing crews

It’s the time of year again when Dartington Hall hosts the Ways with Words festival. This year it is my pleasure to interview Alan Johnson, the union leader who became Home Secretary, about the third volume of his autobiography The Long and Winding Road. This covers the period when Alan became an MP and a Minister. Alan was a Londoner who found himself nominated for the safe Labour seat of Hull West and Hessle, a constituency covering inner-city Hull and…

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What about “anything that floats”?

“A picturesque wood … forms a sinuous shelter.. This is Halwell Wood, in the parish of South Pool, and belongs to Treby Hele Hayes, esq, the lord of the manor of South Pool, whose seat, called Halwell, lies about half a mile therefrom, but not in view of the water, while his flotilla of pleasure boats is protected from storms in (Halwell Creek)”. So writes the local historian, Hawkins, in 1819 in what is believed to be the earliest reference…

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New pontoons in South Pool (for a while)

The exceptionally fine April weather has given a superb start to the new season – visiting yacht numbers are up and we had an excellent Merlin Rocket week with sun, good winds and quite a large number of entries. Last month I went on about moorings. This month is about a looming crisis over some of the older pontoons. The problem is that the pontoons at South Pool and the Crabshell Inn are deteriorating rather faster than expected. The Business…

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Moorings are never far from controversy

The public gets notoriously worked up about car parking and, similarly, the Harbour’s moorings policy is always on the edge of controversy. Much has happened over the last few years – not least significant improvements in mooring equipment as well as the abolition of the two-tier list (one for “locals” and the other for “second-home owners”). The improvements are (now) pretty widely welcomed – the new pontoons, the soft deep-water mooring buoys, the availability of fresh water and so on.…

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The benefits of Regulation (EU) No 259/2012

There are snowdrops and daffodils in the garden, and a clear blue sky over the Harbour (although big fluffy clouds on the Edinburgh side of Frogmore Bridge). All this heralds a new season which might bring some interesting developments. Firstly, this looks like being a season without Egremont. The Egremont Trust has decided to do all her refurbishment work in Sharpness, rather that try to do some on her mooring in the Harbour. This means she won’t be ready to…

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Thomas Coville’s Christmas dinner must have tasted good

On Christmas Day there was a remarkable event, hardly reported in the UK. The Frenchman Thomas Coville completed a single-handed, non-stop circumnavigation of Planet Earth in his 105ft trimaran Sodebo Ultim. He had sailed 28,400 miles in 49 days, an average speed of 24 knots (28 mph – fast waterskiing). That world-record speed is truly amazing for a sailing boat. It confirms boats with three hulls as the vessel of choice for high-speed blue-water sailing – after a terrible history of…

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Protect the Harbour: have a phosphate-free dishwasher

The start of a New Year is traditionally the time for resolutions – and each year I press people who live around Kingsbridge and Salcombe to make one simple resolution to improve the water quality of the Harbour. This is to change to phosphate-free dishwasher tablets or powder, in line with the Royal Yachting Association and British Marine’s Green Blue Campaign. This is especially essential for Salcombe because an unusual feature of the Harbour is that it is a ria,…

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