Posted on : 08/07/2012
Torquay is a well known seaside resort in the County of Devon which is famous as being part of the English Riviera. It is very much orientated towards the visitor with lots of Hotels, B&B’s, shops and a good nightlife. The area has some great attractions and the coastline is very attractive with some great beaches for the family.
Torquay is in the larger nautical area known as Lyme Bay which is part of the English Channel and stretches from Portland in the east to Start Point in the west. It is a very large expanse of water and whilst it is coastal preparations for the journey should be similar to those you would make for crossing the Channel. It is a long way and as vessels will travel with, or against the tide, careful consideration needs to be given to the weather, tides and navigational hazards. There are strong tides that will hinder the crossing, heavy seas can be experienced off Portland Bill and there are few places for shelter should you wish to stop or break the journey.
Torquay has a very obvious harbour wall with relatively narrow entrance. Fairly clear during the day but at night a little more care will be required as the navigation lights can be lost in the lights from the town itself. Once you have navigated into the Harbour entrance progress is very straightforward. Ref -Admiralty Chart No 26 ‘Harbours on the South Coast of Devon’ .
There are two options for visiting yachts.
Yacht Harbour: Operated by the council. Visiting yachts are requested to contact the ‘Torquay Harbour’ on VHF channel 14 for berthing instructions. However, there is a 96 metre visitors pontoon which is on the Northside of Haldon Pier and available between May and September each year. There are visitors berths on the outside of Town Dock and also in the Inner Harbour. The Inner Harbour option is very convenient for the town but you will have to negotiate a pedestrian lifting bridge and sill. The main harbour can get busy in the summer as it’s a popular place and there are events hosted from the area generally. Vessels may be required to raft-up. The harbour do advertise water and electricity points although these are limited and you will need to supply your own cable and hose. Electricity will need to be purchased from the Harbour Master’s Office. The Harbour do advertise that visiting yachts can stay for up to two hours without incurring a charge. There are wash and shower facilities near the harbour office. Torquay Harbour Website
MDL Marina (01803) 200210. The Marina group known as MDL do operate a substantial marina which is accessible in the same manor as the Harbour itself. MDL are a seasoned marina operator and you can expect a good standard of facilities. The marina advertises 440 berths. The marina displays a five anchor award in the TYHA Gold Anchor Awards Scheme. There are laundry and shower facilities with electricity and water available on all pontoons. MDL Torquay Website
The harbour does advertise lift out facilities although you should discuss with the Harbour Offices first. MDL advertise further facilities at Dartside Quay Marine Service Centre some six miles distant.
Fuel facilities are available on the south pier and across the bay in Brixham. Contact Riviera Fuel on 07786 370324.
There are places to park cars although most are pay & display so make enquiries before you arrive or have lots of change.
The local yacht club is the Royal Torbay Yacht Club which has a very convenient and impressive club house close to the main harbour masters office.
On our stay we enjoyed the convenience of the local shops, bars and restaurants. We actually stayed in the inner harbour which is really convenient although for some, the late evening(early morning) nightlife may be just a bit too close. Of course, the area is very attractive and you don’t have to walk far to get away from the town and see the stunning coast line and some of the most attractive beaches in this part of the world.
The area is well known for its fishing. We tried our luck on the harbour wall a couple of times and had some luck with mackerel using feathers. You can go on fishing trips into the bay for larger prey and we saw one boat bring a large sunfish ashore. A rare visitor to these shores it was returned unhurt after photographing but this goes to show what a rich coastline this area has. There are numerous passenger vessels making the trip across the bay to Brixham and Paignton for a surprisingly low fare.
Torquay is just one of a few destinations which you will probably use when cruising the west country. If time permits, don’t finish your journey here as there is plenty more to explore as you head further west and into Cornwall.
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