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Fowey Harbour News

Fowey Harbour Winter Newsletter

January 7th 2019

Dear Harbour Users

So it’s that time of the year again when I round up the last 12 months and tell you about some of our plans for next year. 2019 will be a special year for the Commissioners as they mark their 150th Anniversary. We have worked with local author Emma Mansfield to create a book entitled ‘The Fowey River’ to celebrate the achievements of the FHC whose guardianship has protected our precious place for the last 150 years and for generations to come. If you haven’t got your copy already, make sure you get one and enjoy the culture, history, environment and scenery that makes Fowey the special place that we love. They are £9.95 and available from the Harbour Office or we can post a copy to you.

The boating season got off to a delayed start this year with not one, but two, periods of snowfall in March! - very unusual for our normally mild Cornish climate. Boat maintenance, antifouling and varnishing had to be put on hold and so there was a mad rush to get boats afloat for Easter.

Beautiful weather in May and June saw the summer start strongly with visiting yacht numbers back up to historic levels and the busy season broadly continued through July and August. Regatta entries for the racing were reported to be up on last year, which is encouraging and for me the sailing races are one of the highlights of the week. Sadly, we received the news that following their return to Fowey Regatta in 2017, the Red Arrows would not be coming for 2018, but our innovative Regatta Committee were quick to find an alternative and the display by the Red Devils parachute team was very well received. 

An ‘Indian Summer’ did not really materialise so September and October was less busy but overall 2018 was a good year for Fowey; settled weather making all the difference with an encouraging rise in overall ‘nights stayed’. 

Commercial activity has been at or only slightly below levels forecast and visiting ship numbers were as anticipated.  As a Board of Commissioners our main effort is to improve the facilities available for leisure users and we will continue our work to achieve this next year.

There has been continued improvement to the facilities available to visiting and resident leisure boats in the harbour. At Penmarlam, the access road has been resurfaced, the toilet and shower facilities have been smartened up and security has been improved with additional CCTV on site and ANPR technology at the barrier. We introduced a facility to sell petrol to our boat users at Penmarlam, this along with the other services we provide at Penmarlam and Mixtow Marine, are all there to make your boating experience as hassle-free as possible.

Electric hook ups and improved lighting units were installed on Penmarlam and Berrills Yard pontoons, these have been well used and welcomed by visiting boats to keep their batteries topped up. We now also provide a period of free Wi-Fi to visiting yachtsmen which proved useful for checking the weather forecast and your inbox (if you must!).

The project to repair and reinstate the slipway at Brazen Island has been the biggest infrastructure project undertaken by FHC in recent decades. The slipway is used for the maintenance of FHC vessels (except the two tugs) and all the pontoons. Its facilities and operatives are an essential asset to us and we hope to better utilise the space available in 2019. The project has involved moving large amounts of materials to site, all by water, which has been no mean feat! There were periods where our contractors had to work over spring low tide periods during unsociable hours, we thank you for your understanding whilst these essential works took place. As I write this, we are in the final stages of the project with commissioning of the new slipway cradle expected early in 2019.

We welcomed some special visitors to Fowey this year. In mid-July our town was showcased to HRHs the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall. Crowds of people and local school children lined the streets around Town Quay where they met local boat builders, Fowey RNLI volunteers and representatives of various groups who are important in our town from the Community Centre to the Fowey Festival. They even started a gig race following the naming of the Fowey gig ‘Q’.

A couple of weeks later we welcomed HMS Montrose to Fowey, a Type 23 frigate, she is the town’s affiliated naval ship. Hundreds of people enjoyed a tour onboard and the ship’s company were welcomed into Fowey and a firm friendship was made. The Ship was deployed to the Arabian Gulf in October and will remain on station for 3 years, many people waved her off as she sailed past Fowey en route westbound via South America and Australasia.

In early September, the cruise ship Europa 2 visited Fowey; at 227 metres in length she is the longest ship ever to have entered Fowey Harbour. It was a challenging manoeuvre but our skilled towage team and Pilots got her safely into Port. Cruise ships not only bring trade into the town with their passengers but also locals and visitors who want to see the spectacle that such large, luxurious ships bring to the harbour.

We hope you have found this newsletter informative and useful.  We are here to help so please feel free to contact us if you have any specific queries or require any further information.

Wishing you a safe and enjoyable 2019 boating season.

Capt. Paul Thomas

Harbour Master & Chief Executive

Fowey Harbour
Tel: +44 (0)1726 832471   Email: