As the season nears its end we receive and update from Harbour Master Paul Vincent at Bude.
The 2022 season began with the usual clearing of sand from the lock chamber and dressing of the moorings followed by the crane lifting in the boats from the carpark on the 27th April. The 28th April, along with the volunteers, I removed the winter storm chains and storm bars from the inner lock gates and cleared the Wharf carpark of the remaining safety fencing.
Sea Lock movements
Saturday 30th April saw the first successful lock out of the season with local boat “Chug Chug” and yachts “Tina Maria” and “Mistral” leaving Bude destined for Plymouth and Mylor harbours respectively.
The middle of May saw exceptionally large swells large enough to top the inner gates resulting in the metal storm bars having to be re-instated. This inevitably deposited a large amount of sand into the lock chamber preventing the outer gates from being closed again. With normal sluicing methods unsuccessful, we had to resort to dive contractors clearing the sand manually with high power hydrant pumps to get operational again.
The 4th July saw our second lock movement locking in visiting yacht “Judo” a traditional Cornish Shrimper, and locking out local fishing boat “Mantis”. After a short stay, “Judo” locked out again on the following Wednesday returning to Padstow.
These, sadly due to our exceptionally hot summer and drought conditions, were the only lock operations of the year.
With water levels dropping to a record low, due to the national drought conditions, yet again the lock chamber has sanded up rendering the lock unusable. This has resulted in the necessary decision to fit the storm chains etc early, to prevent damage, shutting the lock down for the year.
Visiting craft and slipway use
On a positive note, trailered craft using the slipway have remained popular with me taking in excess of £1300 on slipway fees since April.
With the Wharf carpark now under Maritime management, I have been able to host a number of events bringing in extra income to the harbour. Sat 7th May, being the first from Ocean BMW, was a promotional bike meet with a large number of motorbikes visiting from all over the country. With such a successful turn out, the organisers are keen to return next year. The end of August saw the welcome return of Bude’s Lifeboat weekend with the Wharf busy as usual and reports of the RNLI raising some £30,000.
Repairs and Maintenance
Due to compliance issues, we have had to remove some of the old disabled parking bays on the Wharf but have laid 5 new spaces, 2 of them being disabled to replace the non-compliant ones.
Sadly, during the summer “Ocean Caves” on the Breakwater have been susceptible to sporadic antisocial behaviour with fires burning the stonework. I have pressure washed this area along with the walls to clean them and removed a large amount of rubbish.
Although checked and passed annually by Trinity house, I have painted the Barrel and the other navigation aids.
With the very welcome help from Duncan and the group of volunteers, the crabs and iron work on the outer gates etc have been painted and a large amount of general weeding throughout the harbour carried out. There is still more to do which will include weeding the quay walls but is a step in the right direction.
The scheduled refurbish of the outer lock gate paddle castings has sadly been put on hold due to limited funds being needed elsewhere.
Repairs to the breakwater and “Tommy’s Pit” are currently underway.
It is also the intention of Maritime to undertake minimal repairs to the stone retaining wall between the harbour and private road above. Currently with solicitors over ownership, this is not deemed to be Maritime’s responsibility but as a duty of care to our harbour users, and after a signed agreement stating we do not accept responsibility for the wall, I have a purchase order ready to go.
The recent low water levels have allowed us to inspect the lower basin quay walls and I am pleased to report, apart from some minimal pointing, they are favouring well. It is our intention in the future to repair these minor areas, but this will obviously mean lowering the water levels. Notices will be given to all prior to any work commencing.
The end of September will mark the seasons end and local boats will be coming in for winter storage back onto the Wharf. Once in, the Herras fencing will be re-instated around the boats.