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Hugh Marriage Posts

Where angels fear to tread

It’s cold and quiet and there isn’t much going on in the Harbour. So one’s mind can safely turn to dangerous things – like harbour dues. Harbour dues are seen by some as fees for a service, and by others as a kind of kill-joy tax. They are, of course, the basis of the harbour’s funding: without harbour dues there would be no facilities. But nobody relishes opening the casket of how harbour dues should be levied. Like most forms…

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A happy new year

As we are about to start the New Year with the new smart Batson pontoons – some say that they look like a racetrack from East Portlemouth – it’s worth reflecting that there have been some pretty significant initiatives in the harbour over the last three years. Some of the bigger changes have been new pontoons also for visitors, now with fresh water; a new pontoon in Kingsbridge; dredging in Batson Creek; introduction of a six-knot speed limit; some tightening…

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A puzzle for Christmas

With Christmas on us, I will pose a puzzle this month. Not the usual kind of Christmas brain-teaser, but a real-life puzzle about what to do next. It concerns the Normandy and Whitestrand pontoons at Salcombe. Their significance depends on where you live. If you live on the Salcombe side of the harbour, Whitestrand is where you keep your tender to get to your mooring. If you live on our side of the harbour, Whitestrand is where you try to…

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Let’s hear it for Jubilee Pier!

Jubilee Pier is in the news again, this time because it is leaking sewage and South West Water won’t do anything until South Hams District Council (SHDC) makes proper permanent repairs to the pier. Jubilee Pier is that little structure which sticks out into the harbour besides the Ferry Inn. It has been the site of the East Portlemouth ferry landing stage since the 18th century and became a more solid structure in the 1870s. It is today used by…

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The season draws to a close

Well, it did not turn out to be a barbeque summer. Visiting yachts, which account for about a third of the harbour’s income, are probably slightly up on the last two years but still around 50% down from about seven years ago. This underlines how dependent the harbour is on the weather. We do face some difficulties in marketing the harbour. It is generally choc-a-block in July and August. If we promote the harbour, more people turn up in the…

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A day with the harbour staff

Harbour Board members are encouraged to spend one day a year in peak season with the harbour staff . This year I chose the first Saturday in August. This is an excellent way of finding out how the harbour works on the water. And water was my first stop: I saw the new facility which makes drinking water available to yachts on the visitors’ pontoon in the Bag. Trying to connect the pontoon to the water mains would have involved…

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Facilities and reputation are improving

Sitting in the Harbour Office is a little device known as an Opinion Meter. People visiting the Office can use it to record what they think of the harbour and its facilities. Some results for this year have just become available and they make encouraging reading. So far, the weather this year has been better than either of the last two. Visitor yacht numbers are keeping up and may even stem the year-on-year decline which has been going on for…

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The water-skiing controversy

The Harbour Board recently had two items of note. By far the most important was the go-ahead for the replacement of Batson pontoons this winter. This should greatly improve the facilities for small boat owners and also, with luck, free up a pontoon for Frogmore. But the item which caused controversy was water-skiing. The problem lies outside the harbour in Starehole Bay, in the lee of Bolt Head. It is beyond the harbour limits and with no speed limit. Its…

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It’s only the depth which alters

You often hear people saying that they think the harbour is silting up, but is there any way of checking this? Well, yes, there is: I did it without leaving my armchair and so can you. My grandfather was a Master Mariner, a First World War naval captain, Commodore of his local yacht club, a lifeboat crew member and a keen yachtsman. He used to sail the Fastnet race in his 2½ ton Hilliard (yes, 2½ ton: it would not…

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Gin-clear water

A special feature of Salcombe Harbour is the opportunity for bathing. Neighbouring harbours do not have anything to compare with the golden sands which stretch from East Portlemouth to the bar on the east, and NEaster 2009: pontoons and dredging Although things sometimes seem to move slowly, there have been a number of improvements around the harbour over the last year or so, most noticeably the residents’ pontoons with their white-capped piles and the new visitor pontoon in Kingsbridge, which…

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