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Torquay - no space for visitors?

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  • Torquay - no space for visitors?

    During our recent trip down to the West Country I tried to book in advance a berth in Torquay. I was told that they had sold all their berths to annual berth holders so had no space for visitors. Does that mean Torquay is no longer a Freedom Berthing marina and the Freedom Berthing advertising should say 17 marinas in the UK not 18?
    Last edited by gone-sailing; 09-15-2020, 02:10 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by gone-sailing View Post
    During our recent trip down to the West Country I tried to book in advance a berth in Torquay. I was told that they had sold all their berths to annual berth holders so had no space for visitors. Does that mean Torquay is no longer a Freedom Berthing marina and the Freedom Berthing advertising should say 17 marinas in the UK not 18?
    Hiya gone-sailing. All Freedom Berthing is based on availability. Due to the current Covid pendemic we are seeing a lot less movements from Freedom berth holders wanting to leave their home berth. If people are not crusing then that does stop Freedom Berthing being as readily available. This changes every day so it is worth asking on a regular basis.

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    • #3
      If that was the case then I would fully understand. The reason I was given is that they had sold all their berths to annual members. That means they have no visitors spaces and clearly no idea of what their annual berth holder's movements are. I certainly was not told to try contacting them again and no alternative was offered. So again I suggest you remove Torquay from your list of Freedom Berthing marinas as it is clearly false advertising.

      On the same trip we also tried to stay in Plymouth QAB. I contacted them repeatedly for a week or more before we wanted to stay there. 24 hours before I was told to call on the morning of our planned arrival after the dock master had done his rounds. So whilst enroute I phoned them up again to book a berth only to be told they had no availability. It is very wrong to force your customers leave a safe anchorage without a definite destination. Immediately after speaking to Plymouth QAB I called up Suttons Marina and they booked me in straight away and would have been happy to accept our booking a week in advance. They are obviously a lot more organised than you guys.

      You have no working process for Freedom Berthing customers to checkout of their home berth and as a result that you have no have clear picture of what berths are available where.
      Last edited by gone-sailing; 09-22-2020, 08:21 PM.

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      • #4
        Indeed and it's not just this year, we have also taken care more recently to ask if there is availability before mentioning that we are freedom berthing members as I have suspensions that marinas are giving priority to those paying for berthing rather that Freedom berthers. (the MyMDL online booking system is not even worth trying in our experience as it always seems to show no availability or 'please call')

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        • #5
          Dear oh dear; gone-sailing writes, “It is very wrong to force your customers leave a safe anchorage without a definite destination.”
          It is entirely the skippers decision to leave a safe anchorage, and it’s a very poor skipper that does so without a definite destination.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MarkC View Post
            Dear oh dear; gone-sailing writes, “It is very wrong to force your customers leave a safe anchorage without a definite destination.”
            It is entirely the skippers decision to leave a safe anchorage, and it’s a very poor skipper that does so without a definite destination.
            Full marks for trying to inject some life into the forum with such a comment. It's nonsense of course for many voyages beyond rivers or a short coastal hop.

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            • #7
              I also had the same issue at both Torquay and Brixham last year. Apparently due to Covid many people are buying small " day boats " because they cant go on holiday , the resultant " saving " means that they can also afford a marina berth.

              MDL have also been offering lower rates to such vessels

              The principle of Freedom berthing relies on berth holders leaving their home marina for weekends / trips away, the very nature of " day boats" mean that most will always return that same day.
              I assume that is why Freedom berthing is no longer offered to new berth holder ?

              I fear that once we can travel again in 2021 that this year will be much worse as regards finding berths ?

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              • #8
                Not a new problem and not entirely the marinas fault. In the 2019 season we tried to plan a seasons trip along the South Coast. We started months ahead trying to book slots, and where successful to a point. Brixham would not take any bookings full stop. We did get a slot in Torquay, but only as a backup in case we could not get into Brixham as we don't like Torquay as a location not the marina. In the end we spent a few weeks in Brixham no problem. All the Hamble marinas were great and all took our bookings. Sparks would also not take a booking until I called them direct. What they were worried about was us leaving the boat unmanned for weeks, as soon as we said we were staying onboard suddenly they had space. They wanted the flexibility to move us around as space availability changed. We did get a booking at QAB eventually after many calls, but unfortunately did not get that far, but did call and cancel. OV took the booking but we cancelled as we did not like the area and preferred to stay up the river. As it takes us a few days to get to the South Coast we have to plan ahead, overall it worked out ok, but it was not without some determination and figuring out how to get round the system.
                From the marinas point I got the message that boats not turning up was an issue, and berth holders leaving for extended period and not letting them know the space would be available. I not make sure I let the marina know if we are away for any period.

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                • #9
                  This year more than recent years will probably see an unprecedented demand for marina berths, both permanent and visitor. The biggest bugbear for both visitors (turned away when it is easy to see plenty of empty berths), and marinas,(loss of profit) is boaters staying out and not letting the marina know that they will not be returning, whether for one night or several. What will Marinas, both MDL and others do to get people to notify them. Marinas need to work together to try and make this happen.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Laysula View Post
                    This year more than recent years will probably see an unprecedented demand for marina berths, both permanent and visitor. The biggest bugbear for both visitors (turned away when it is easy to see plenty of empty berths), and marinas,(loss of profit) is boaters staying out and not letting the marina know that they will not be returning, whether for one night or several. What will Marinas, both MDL and others do to get people to notify them. Marinas need to work together to try and make this happen.
                    Some marinas provide an incentive in that if your berth is used for visitors then you get some of the money. Perhaps MDL should try that. I don't that think their systems are intelligent enough to record it you are using freedom berthing elsewhere your home berth must be free, perhaps they could work on that.
                    Last edited by WKoW; 03-10-2021, 10:28 AM.

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                    • #11
                      There is an incentive scheme that is run in some of our marinas (where we have need) mainly the West country. Managing visitor berthing is a challenge and this year should probaley be discounted as berth holders on the whole have not moved and the occupancy levels in most marinas is now either full or getting there. This occupancy level coupled with a lack of movement does mean there is less visitor berthing available. However having said that we have accomendated 7239 visitor nights in 2021, 51,129 in 2020 and 67,444 in 2019. So although frustrating if you cant get in the team are very busy welcoming the majority that do. For 2021 to 2022 we are developing a new book out and book in system for freedom / visitor and Otium berthing which will reward customers with Otium points when they book out of their berth and let us know when they plan to book back in. This is due in Q3 of the 2021 season.

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