This unspoilt, often overlooked haven in Devon can be a great anchorage, says Dag Pike
Many yachtsmen will round the distinctive Prawl Point in the Channel and head on towards Plymouth, resisting the lure of Salcome where berths are hard to find and anchoring is virtually impossible.
In doing so they may miss a lovely little anchorage tucked in behind Bolt Tail where it is still possible to relive the joys of yachting as it used to be 60 or more years ago.
Hope Cove is named after the village of Hope which has become a bit gentrified in recent years. Here are harbour has been formed by building sections of breakwater linking up the off-lying rocks.
This can be quite a haven for small boats but it dries out completely over the low water so for a cruising yacht the only viable alternative is to anchor off.
During the summer months some moorings are laid in the deeper water under the headland but there is still plenty of space to find a spot to anchor if you are looking for an overnight stop and the wind is from the right direction.
In anything north of west the cove can be quite exposed to the winds whistling across Bigbury Bay and even with south westerly winds you might not find have a disturbed night with the swell running in around the headland. In winds from the south and the east this can be a wonderful little spot and for the best protection you want to tuck in close to the cliffs on the south side but don’t go too far in towards the harbour because there is Goody Rock not far off the centre of the cove and you want to keep north of that.
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It is best to be guided by the deep water moorings in the cove and if keep to the north of those or keep further out to the west you should be fine. Anywhere north of a line between the end of the breakwater and the south end of a long terrace of houses on the hill behind you should be fine but that terrace is not always easy to identify.
If you decide to land by tender then you also need to be aware of some rocks extending out from the end of the breakwater. In the tender, first head for the old lifeboat house tucked into the south east corner and once the harbour opens up you can head towards the village.
There are lots of moorings laid in the harbour and there is a fee for boat launching but as far as is known, no fee for landing.
Hope Cove is quite a rarity in that it is largely unspoilt around the harbour with most of the new development further up the hill.
The Hope and Anchor pub offers a warm welcome and there are small hotels, a cafe and a stores/post office, which is a far cry from the history of smuggling for which Hope Cove was known in the past.