The Board of Administration have, in a letter compared St Sampson's Harbour with the French Ports of Paimpol & Binic. Quote "By way of example,many traditional small French Ports have developed their old working harbours in a similar way and harbours such as Binic and Paimpol continue to retain all the traditional features while still allowing more people to benefit from the increased numbers of vessels that can be berthed there. They have become popular destinations for land based tourists as well as yachtsman."
Unfortunately neither of these harbours on the French Brittany coast bear the slightest resemblance to St Sampson's Harbour. I visit Paimpol every year and have done so for around 20 years. The harbours operate a lock system which holds the water inside at around high tide the whole time and they have always done so. The locks operate (depending on spring & neap tides) from about 2 hours before High water to about 1.5 to 2 hrs after high water. The harbours never go dry and the only water lost is that used in each lock movement. This is replaced to some extent by streams etc flowing into the harbour from the town side. The only comparison that one could make is that Pontoons have been added to form a marina and the visitor end is not bad but to be quite honest the local boat end of the marina looks quite tatty and the water in the harbour is so dirty that one doesn't even like letting the mooring ropes dip into it. The town of Paimpol is recommended and full of character.
Paimpol with its lock which has always held the tide in at near high water level. Only the area outside the harbour dries. The only resemblance lies in the look from the air.
Binic works on the same principal as paimpol. The drying area is outside the lock. High water is maintained inside
St Sampson's on the other hand is a naturally drying/working harbour and always has been. That is what forms its character. Dredge out two meters in the inner harbour, hold a metre of water, fill it with pontoons and small boats, (because it will not be deep enough for large boats) and you have taken away not only that character but also the bird life that feeds in the douit as the tide rises and falls. St Sampson's bears no resemblance to Paimpol or Binic.
But it does bear a resemblance to the French Port of St Quay Portrieux