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About Salcombe Harbour

I write regularly about Salcombe Harbour for local residents on the east side of the Harbour. If you would like to follow the blog, please click on follow in the right-hand menu. You can also email me through the contact form. 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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Defining a vessel

In 1995 the newly-consolidated Merchant Shipping Act, which creates maritime offences, applied to “every description of vessel used in navigation” and this seemed all-encompassing enough until 2005 that is, when the High Court ruled that to be “used in navigation” means making an ordered progression over the water from one place to another. Craft that were simply used for having fun without the object of going anywhere therefore fell outside the law. This led to the acquittal of someone being…

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Golden sand

The disaster at Hallsands in 1917 was something of a mystery at first. The people of Hallsands kept pestering the government of the day about the environmental damage they thought was being caused by removing shingle from the Skerries to build Plymouth dockyard; and the government took little notice, apparently regarding the villagers as vexatious. The government was banking on the shingle on the Skerries being replenished as soon as it was removed so that, in time, everything would return…

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Warming up for COP26

The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on 31 October and everyone agrees that this will have a make-or-break quality to it. My first piece about climate change was ten years ago. May 2011’s article ventured that “the aspect of climate change which may affect us first is simply that the weather becomes more turbulent and less benign, because of stronger winds and thicker cloud. There may be fewer days of gentle breezes”. The following…

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Having a safe time in August

August is obviously the time of year when the Harbour is at its busiest. There are more boats and more people around. The sun shines and the East Portlemouth water temperature is 18°C and rising. So August is when we should think about safety in and around the water. The Harbour Board has to review safety regularly and even has a designated external examiner (as a university might say) to help with the task. But it’s not easy: as anyone…

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Keep the yellow flags flying high

The miserable weather of May seems a distant memory as June turns up the heat. Suddenly (as last year) the Harbour is busy, with lots of boats moving about, and yachts rafted up on a single mooring in groups of five or six. Even if the Covid restrictions can’t be lifted, life feels a little freer again. But, of course, there are no foreign visitors to speak of. As the UK is no longer part of the EU, regulations have…

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Set in concrete?

The South Devon AONB Estuaries Steering Group meets twice a year and May’s meeting had a full agenda, partly because a number of issues had slowed up during the Covid months of last year. One of the items which particularly affects Salcombe Harbour is pacific oysters. These huge molluscs are native to Asia and have been farmed in Japan for centuries. Because they are really adaptable, they have become the World’s most commercially important oyster variety, supplanting many others. Japan,…

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Fishing can be problematic

One might think fishing would be one of the least controversial industries but, sadly, that has not been the case for some time. We have just lived through the wrangling over Brexit and the end result isn’t very happy for many in the trade, not least because it seems well-nigh impossible to export live shellfish to Europe (except, it seems happily, from Salcombe, at least at the moment). But fishing’s problems go back so much further than this. For some…

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A unique dining experience and artisan coffee?

Are we past the worst? The Harbour has comfortably broken even; the fishing fleet is managing to maintain its level of exports to both China and the EU (albeit with increased bureaucracy); another round of now-routine dredging has begun; the contract has been let for the Harbour workshop and maritime units at Batson at a reduced, so therefore affordable, price; and the great majority of last year’s seasonal staff are returning so there should be a full complement on 12 April…

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Planning for the summer

In October 2014, commenting on a super-yacht in Salcombe, I remarked that the Cunard Captain, Inger Klein Thorhauge, who was born and brought up in the Faroe Islands, must have made the ultimate super-yacht visit by taking the Queen Victoria into Klaksvik. And now, as this lovely picture kindly made available by James Day shows, the Queen Victoria has paid a visit locally when she moored off Hope Cove and Thurlestone recently. Jonathan Ward is currently the Captain: he hails…

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Magic in the air

The Harbour may be empty but there is still stuff going on. The Salcombe-Kingsbridge Conservation Forum has been considering the effects of a lockdown summer. One of these was that more takeaways meant more litter since pizza boxes rapidly overflow the available bins and a gust of wind then carries the boxes into the water. For some reason, as yet undiscovered, fat, oils and, it seems, paints, are repeatedly being poured into the Kingsbridge road drains but, as these drains…

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