Sailor's worst scenario

PUBLISHED: 08:58 29 January 2007 | UPDATED: 10:32 24 May 2010

IF THE marina idea that Councillor Mike Bell proposes to discuss with the council (Mercury, January 19) is a permanently floating harbour for moored craft on pontoons, with the added bonus that it will prevent storm damage and flooding to Weston's low ly

IF THE marina idea that Councillor Mike Bell proposes to discuss with the council (Mercury, January 19) is a permanently floating harbour for moored craft on pontoons, with the added bonus that it will prevent storm damage and flooding to Weston's low lying parts, then it is seriously flawed in the following ways:It would be ineffective against rising sea levels or a sea surge, the greatest concern, and to ensure Government funding this requirement would have to be met. There would be access to the sea for craft for only two or three hours each tide and inaccessible during neap tides. Due to prevailing winds the entrance would face north and parallel to a rocky shore. A sailor's worst scenario, closing on a lee shore.Visualise the causeway at Knightstone, an additional seven metres higher. The outer perimeter would be this high to allow for the highest tide plus storm wave margin, a towering edifice on view from inside the marina and promenade.There would be prohibitive costs to the users in order to recoup capital investment, and it would be in one of the most dangerous sea areas in the UK, due to its fast currents caused by an up to 13 metre rise and fall of tide.A single gate system would have to be employed for exit and return from sea, opening an hour before top of the tide and closing an hour after. A lock would take too long to fill and empty for successive operations in such a short window of time.Effectively land-locked and unusable for transit to sea 20 hours out of 24, it would be a large white elephant, as will the smaller ones of the boats that might use it and could rarely go to sea.The real yachtsmen would remain in the Axe or further afield to enjoy sailing where access to deep water is longer.M K WILMOT - Roman Road, Weston

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