Club Newsletters

Twenty six members enjoyed a beautiful Estuary Cruise on the Lady Mary last Thursday evening.  The weather was perfect, there was enough room for us to be Covid secure and the ‘new’ ferry is a perfect boat for our waters.  Thanks to Linda Lee for the organisation and to the ferry skipper for a comprehensive cruise of the harbour, Frogmore and South Pool creeks. 

Your committee met by Zoom on the preceding Wednesday evening.  Again we had little to discuss as Covid is still restricting our activities.  We agreed to book Christmas Dinner at the Cottage Hotel for December 9th., put that in your diary and we will circulate details nearer the date, Covid permitting. 

Membership numbers are slowly rising, thanks to all you new and loyal members for sticking with us in these awkward times.  Boatwatch continues and plans to hold a get together for existing and new participants are on hold until we reach a time when such events are made possible again.  On the water there have been a few alcohol related rowdy problems. SHA have reported that, in conjunction with the Police and Coastguard, particular craft and helms have been stopped, reported, logged by the police and interviewed.  The results of which have led to particular persons not having access to their craft, other boats being removed from the water and particular situations being run past SHA’s legal team. Salcombe Harbour office have thanked us for our vigilance around the harbour including pontoon checks and reports.  

Nigel Mortimer, AONB Officer has given us this link https://youtu.be/oucYgTDSaHM which takes you to a report on an electric boating workshop.  The whole thing is about 3 hours long but there is some interesting  information there.  He also reports on the red tides (algal blooms) that we are experiencing at the moment.  They are not dangerous to humans.  This time. 

Our Treasurer, Alan Purchase, has given up boating and his membership of the Club with it.  Consequently we are looking for a new Treasurer to take over at the end of this year.  It is not an onerous job and the auditor has agreed to continue in his post.  Any potential volunteers please get in touch with me and we can talk about it.  The Committee thanks Alan for his years of unfailing service, we are sorry to lose you. 

The committee will meet again in early November.  We are unable to hold any of our usual autumn events indoors at the moment and we can only hope for an early conquering of the virus.  In the meantime please look after yoursleves and we will meet again.  Sometime. 

Tony Watson

Good morning members.  Your committee last met on July 15th. and, with things being as they are, very little of importance was discussed.  Our next meeting will be at the beginning of September.  We have decided to reduce our committee meetings to around 7 per year, including the AGM, calling extra meetings should situations arise that require our collective decision.  Salient points will be reported in these newsletters.

Obviously we are still unable to organise any social events but we are hoping that our evening cruise around the estuary will be able to take place in September.  This will be in the new Kingsbridge/Salcombe ferry that has replaced River Maid, the Lady Mary.  She is smaller with, I believe, a capacity in normal times of 50 passengers.  We may look at cruises on two evenings to satisfy the usual high demand.  Lady Mary has commenced running daily services between Kingsbridge and Salcombe if you fancy a trip.  

The South Hams Estuaries Officer, Nigel Mortimer has again been in touch, his message follows:

“Hi Tony Please may I firstly thank your members for their donation of a couple of windsurf masts following my request for some poles to push the invasive oysters down into the mudflats in the mouth of Collapit Creek. 

Secondly, please would your members help with keeping an eye out on the Kingsbridge Creek’s end slipway road drains outfall for a persistent pollution issue – Kingsbridge Town Council have kindly offered to deliver copies of the attached flyer around the local properties within the outfall’s water catchment area. We are asking anyone seeing an incident to ring the Environment Agency 24-7 as a priority, to help them build up a better picture of when and how these incidents are happening – as you may have heard in the local media, this incidents have been going on for some time but they are very short duration and are proving difficult to trace. Your members are welcome to also report these incidents to the Harbour or myself but it is really the EA that should be the absolute priority please. 

With very best wishes 

Nigel

Nigel Mortimer      
Estuaries Officer – South Devon AONB Unit”

Nigel.Mortimer@SouthDevonAONB.org.uk
Follaton House, Plymouth Rd, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 5NE
01803 229335
Please note my new number: 07971 544010 (NB not 24/7 & sorry, no signal in the office!)
www.SouthDevonAONB.org.uk

Our Boatwatch members have been reporting this white discharge from alongside the town slipway for some time.  Its source remains a mystery.  The Environment Agency hotline is 0800 807060 should any of you see another ocurrence.  Sorry, couldn’t attach Nigel’s flyer.

I am pleased to be able to report that membership numbers are still holding up, in fact numbers are slowly increasing, thanks for your loyalty in this strange time.  Our financial situation remains sound.

On our web site members’ advertisements  are working well with articles selling.  It is easy to use for buyer or seller, do keep an eye on it.

Having nothing else to report I will conclude with hopes that we will all be able to get together in the not too distant future.

Tony Watson.

Good morning members.  As you will all probably know, the way we are allowed to use our boats looks like being extended to, almost, normal conditions this weekend.  Salcombe Harbour Authority will be publishing its new guidelines this week, look out for them.  Your committee is due to meet via Zoom again on July 15th., by which time things might have moved on enough for us to consider social events.  We will let you know.

In the meantime our Boatwatch teams have been out and about, working to strict Covid regulations.  The guidance notes on the web site have been updated to reflect the present conditions.  In spite of our efforts it appears that criminal activity has stepped up with a number of outboards having been stolen from around the estuary recently, please ensure that your defences are sufficient to dissuade the opportunist.

The members’ adverts slot on the web site is up and running with a few very interesting items for sale already posted.  Post your own ads now or buy from those already advertised.

The Estuary Conservation Officer is concerned about Pacific oysters in the eel grass beds within the estuary and is appealing for help, see the following:-

Dear Kingsbridge Boat Club

I am writing to ask if any of you might have any light-weight 2m poles, pipes or shafts that we could use for a local estuary conservation project please – any unused, broken or unloved windsurfing masts, oars or the like. Further details below.

We have found a very concerning population of Pacific oysters within the nationally rare but locally extensive meadows of dwarf seagrass over the Blanksmill – Rowden – Collapit mudflats.
We are very concerned, that left unchecked, these oysters will continue to expand in number and density – displacing the seagrass meadows. It is usual for these Pacific oysters (aka ‘rock oysters’) to thrive on mudflats but they have a bad track record. With no overstatement, on some of the Yealm Estuary shores, they have become such a hazard for anyone trying to land or just walk there, that the amenity of a beach has been lost.


We believe that we have successfully found a method of managing these oysters by pushing the them down into the mud with poles. They do not have the necessary biology to survive – it may appear wasteful but we cannot think of a more sustainable method.

In our trial we used a 2m length of plastic pipe – it worked but it would not be robust enough to stand the test of pushing down the number we found. I am really after any 2m of pole, pipe or shaft that I could adapt to make a tool for myself and any willing volunteers. They just need to be comfortable to handle and robust enough to push the oysters down and light enough to pull back up for a couple of hours or so. I wondered about old windsurfing masts, longer oars or the like – they needn’t be hollow, I’m sure that I can fabricate a suitable end. I am happy to collect locally at a 2m distance.

Can you possibly help us out please? We have three sets of mudflat safety equipment, so three 2m lengths would be the ideal. 2m or longer has the advantage of being able to reach oysters within the seagrass with minimal trampling.

If you would like to know any further details, please do let me know.


Further information about local biosecurity can be found within our Salcombe-Kingsbridge Estuary BioSecurity Plan
– https://www.southdevonaonb.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Salcombe_Biosecurity_Plan.pdf

Many thanks and best wishes

Nigel

Nigel Mortimer
Estuaries Officer – South Devon AONB Unit
Nigel.Mortimer@SouthDevonAONB.org.uk
Follaton House, Plymouth Rd, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 5NE
‘ 01803 229335 ß Please note my new number
È 07971 544010 (NB not 24/7 & sorry, no signal in the office!)
¿  www.SouthDevonAONB.org.uk
Following Covid-19 safeguarding guidelines I am working from home

See you on the water soon I hope.
Tony Watson

CORONAVIRUS MEANS NO MEETINGS

It is not possible to predict when we will be able to resume normal service.  We will keep you informed.

Unfortunately the above statement still applies to us.  Gatherings of people in the open air are still restricted to 6 or less, so we continue to be unable to organise social events.  We will do so as soon as circumstances permit.

In the meantime Boatwatch activities have resumed in full with strict rules about anti virus measures.  The guidance notes for Boatwatch teams will appear on the relevant website page, probably as soon as you receive this newsletter.  The Police have asked members to be particularly vigilant, adding a new dimenstion to our activities.

Normally at this time of year we entertain the Chernobyl children but this has also become a victim of the virus.  To add to their woes we understand that wild fires in their home area are spreading radio active dust and the virus has just arrived.  Their health systems will struggle.  The Committee decided that the  Club’s usual donation of £250 to their charity will be made this year.

On a brighter note, Kingsbridge in Bloom has won a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.  Many of our members are very active gardeners making our town so attractive.  Congratulations to all members of the Kingsbridge in Bloom team.  Go to their web site for more information.

Your committee continues to meet regularly by Zoom, if you have any subjects that you would like us to discuss, please let a committee member know.  

Stay safe,enjoy the sunshine and yesterday’s very welcome rain.

Tony Watson.

Good afternoon members, at last a little good news. Most of you will have received the email from Salcombe Harbour Authority about changes to their Covid 19 restrictions. If you haven’t received it, go to  https://www.salcombeharbour.co.uk/covid19 where all is revealed.  Basically you can go afloat but only if you can satisfy the standards laid out in the SHA document. 

You might have noticed that the Salcombe Harbour web site has undergone a face lift.  It is worth having a look at the new site.

Boatwatch coordinator Richard Benton has emailed the Police and Harbour Office for an opinion as to the wisdom of restarting normal Boatwatch activities.  He will be in touch with the teams as soon as he has a response. 

Your committee continues to meet by Zoom monthly.  At our last meeting we talked briefly about events that might become possible if Coronavirus restrictions are lifted further.  Obviously we could come to no conclusions but be assured we are thinking of you and the Club, and will resume club activities once it becomes safe to do so. 

In the meantime stay safe in what some commentators believe may be the most dangerous phase yet of the pandemic in England.

Tony Watson.

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues and grows, the Club’s activities remain on hold.  Boatwatch members are not functioning in their normal manner but, as they take their permitted exercise, they do keep an eye on the water and the craft on it.

As many of you will be aware, Salcombe Harbour Authority has banned all craft from the water except those on Harbour duties, the fishermen and the RNLI.  Additionally local authorities, the police, tourist agencies and the local population are asking people who are not permanently resident in the area to stay away and remain in their own main residencies.  People who ignore this are being fined and turned back by the Constabulary  The biggest problem is that our Health Service can only just cope with the resident population, additional patients will result in all of us receiving sub standard services with unpleasant results.  The SHDC leader’s letter can be viewed here >

Consequently, if you are not a Devon resident restrain the urge to come down for Easter, stay at home and let others in your area know they will not be welcomed in the West Country.

Sorry to be a bit negative, but at least the weather has improved which makes life more bearable.  Never has so much gardening, house painting and decorating been done.  There might be light at the end of the tunnel, let’s hope so and look forward to some late summer’s boating and some KEBC social events.

Above all, stay safe.

Tony Watson.