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2017 Nov Dec Marina World

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The magazine for the marina industry


TALKING SHOP Scottish marina moves to new phase In February this year, a partnership between Peel Holdings and Riverside Inverclyde handed over the operation of James Watt Dock Marina (JWD) to Marina Projects. Armed with a very long lease and extensive experience in designing, developing and managing marina and boatyard complexes, the company is ready to take this historic dock into a new phase of development. Carol Fulford visited JWD to ask Jeff Houlgrave of Marina Projects and JWD marina manager Graeme Galbraith to talk shop. Located on the Firth of Clyde – the largest and deepest body of coastal water in the British Isles – JWD is one of a handful of prime marina sites within the 16 or so marinas and anchorages available on the favoured east shore. “Largs Yacht Haven, Kip Marina, JWD, Rhu Marina and Troon Yacht Haven are probably the prime sites, with Largs as number one on the Clyde,” explains Graeme Galbraith. “But all the marinas and yards are busy, including Fairlie Quay, just south of Largs, which is well known as the main undercover storage facility on the river.” Although there are nigh on 40 anchorage facilities on the estuary, the east shore offers the best road, rail and air transport links to and from Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city. JWD, in Greenock, is just a 15 minute drive to Glasgow Airport and, since opening in July 2011, has become an ideal stop over for boats heading by sea to the city and for vessels transiting the Forth & Clyde Canal. The location is also home ground to seasoned local sailors who have long appreciated its stunning scenery, safe waters, numerous islands and small towns. Changing places The River Clyde brought prosperity to Glasgow, and successive efforts in the late 1700s and beyond were actually made to deepen it to enable large vessels carrying prime cargoes such as tobacco and sugar to safely travel upstream. By the early twentieth century, Clyde shipbuilding was playing a vital role in the city’s economy but during the 1960s terminal decline kicked in and only a few yards now remain. The merchants who imported raw cane sugar to the sugar sheds at James Watt Dock lasted a little longer but the sheds fell into disuse in the 1980s and the dock became one of the many derelict brownfield sites in the area which are now being regenerated for recreational, residential and business purposes. The lease awarded to Marina Projects at JWD covers a total area of approximately 14ha (34.6 acres) and includes the marina docks, a generous car park, a boatyard, and land and water space in the adjacent Great Harbour. Boats moor at alongside floating pontoons secured each side of two parallel basins divided by a wide Most berths at James Watt Docks are currently in two parallel basins divided by a wide fixed dock. fixed dock. Temporary offices, berth holder showers and toilets, and laundry facilities are located in portacabins installed waterside in the historic sugar sheds. Marina Projects currently has use of the remaining extensive shed space for boat storage but the landlord has longer term plans to restore the entire structure for a probable mix of residential, retail, restaurant and office space. The result could prove to be an exceptional on-site facility for marina users. Marina Projects has already implemented expansion, adding ten of 40 new berths in July at dockside space just beyond the sugar sheds and the boatyard. All ten are now occupied. The original pontoon system, installed in five phases from 2011 onwards, was manufactured by Varis Engineering, which is now owned by Invernessbased Gael Force Marinas & Pontoons. “We wanted a uniform look for the marina so, although Gael Force has modified the Varis designs since taking over the business, they worked with us to create a system that is a close fit,” Galbraith confirms. “We were very impressed with the way they worked with us and cannot speak highly enough of their work.” Jeff Houlgrave (left) and Graeme Galbraith (right) with office administrator Pauline Daisley. The new floating pontoons, like the ‘older’ system, are GRP decked and comprise 2 x 10m (33ft), 2 x 12m (39ft) and 1 x 6m (20ft) fingers. A further 15 x 10m (33ft) fingers are due to be installed this month (November) to provide the extra 30 berths, at least 50% of which are already reserved. Rolec Beliza dockside pedestals are installed throughout. Moving assets JWD is being driven to an extent by its increasingly successful boatyard and this success will doubtless build - November/December 2017 21

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