UK boat owners have voted for Largs Yacht Haven as UK Coastal Marina of the Year 2017 (over 250 berths) as part of the prestigious Yacht Harbour Association (THYA) annual awards.

Poole Quay Boat Haven scooped the accolade for UK Coastal Marina of the Year 2017 (under 250 berths).

The awards were presented at the London Boat Show at a ceremony hosted by TYHA, with sponsors GJW Insurance and British Marine.

The prestigious awards are the highest accolade in the marina industry with only Gold Anchor accredited marinas nominated. After being awarded Five Gold Anchors again for an unprecedented third successive time, Largs Yacht Haven has now gone one step further to be crowned the UK’s finest out of marinas with more than 250 berths.

Largs Yacht Haven award winners

Largs Yacht Haven’s marina director Carolyn Elder said: ‘What a way to start 2017, we’re absolutely thrilled! I must praise our entire Haven Team for their hard work. It is our staff who really set our marina apart by setting extremely high standards and delivering an incredible service to our berth holders.

‘What makes this award extra special is that it was voted for by boat owners in the UK. We have been overwhelmed by the comments and votes we received. We’re extremely grateful to our berth holders and visiting boat owners who voted for us.’

Once described by Olympic sailor Shirley Robertson as “the perfect sailing venue”, Carolyn is hopeful this award will bring a new wave of sailors to Largs. She added: ‘Largs and the Scottish west coast offers incredible sailing and motorboating opportunities for every type of boater. I really hope this award puts Scotland on the map for offering quality boating experiences.’

Sarah Hanna, the chairman of TYHA, said: ‘Customers voted in unprecedented numbers for Largs Yacht Haven proving that this 5 Gold Anchor accredited marina provides an exceptional experience for its customers. The marina team, led by manager Carolyn Elder, should be very proud of this achievement.’

What makes Largs Yacht Haven so special?

The family-owned marina, part of Yacht Havens Group, is located on the Firth of Clyde on the west coast of Scotland. With the stunning waters of the Clyde and the isles of Cumbrae and Arran within easy reach, Largs arguably offers the most stunning cruising ground in the UK.

With more than 700 marina berths, 24 hour staff, on water fuel, quality washrooms and a comprehensive boatyard operation, Largs has all the facilities a boat owner would need. Furthermore, with a stunning collection of waterfront eateries, shops and an active Sailing Club, the marina is at the heart of the community.

As the Scottish base for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, Largs will also host the start and finish for the Trust’s Round Britain 2017 adventure which sees 100 young people in recovery from cancer taking part in a 2000 mile national sailing relay.

Carolyn Elder added: ‘Largs Yacht Haven is more than just a marina. We have created a social hub for boat owners, boat enthusiasts and visitors from the local communities. With an active Sailing Club, dinghy and yacht racing scene, a sociable group of motorboaters, and a range of national and international events throughout the year, we hope we offer a service that meets the needs of all types of boaters and generations.’

MDL Marinas at Marina of the Year awards at London Boat Show 2017

MDL Marinas at Marina of the Year awards at London Boat Show 2017. Credit: onEdition

The 147-berth Church Minshull Aqueduct Marina scooped the Inland Marina of the Year accolade.

Portavadie Marina was named runner up in the UK Coastal Marina of the Year 2017 (under 250 berths) category.

Craig Cochran, marina and facilities operations manager at Portavadie Marina, said: ‘We’ve been blessed with such a beautiful location and the foresight of the owners to build this wonderful development on Argyll’s Secret Coast, but it’s the staff and customers that really make the place come alive. We’d like to wish everyone a great boating season and look forward to welcoming old friends and new visitors in 2017!’

Meanwhile, MDL Marinas, Europe’s largest marina operator, was delighted to see two of its UK marinas recognised in awards.

Torquay Marina was awarded runner up in the Coastal Marina (over 250 berths) category and Windsor Marina was runner up in the Inland Marina category. More than 150 Gold Anchor Marinas are eligible for the prestigious awards, which are voted for by boat owners and crew, and recognise marinas with exceptional facilities and customer service.

Dean Smith, operations and marketing director at MDL Marinas, said: ‘We are hugely proud of all our marinas and their teams who work hard day in, day out to ensure our members enjoy the very best customer service and marina experience. It’s fantastic that both Torquay and Windsor have been recognised with these awards, which are voted for by customers, and it means a tremendous deal to the managers and our teams.’

There are five categories in the Marina of the Year awards, with a winner and runner-up awarded in each category. The categories are: UK Coastal Marinas – (under and over 250 berths), UK Inland Marinas, International Marinas and Superyacht Marinas.

Harbour Master Deniz Akaltan

Harbour Master Deniz Akaltan

The 300-berth Karpaz Gate Marina in North Cyprus was voted the International Marina of the Year 2017.

Harbour Master Deniz Akaltan said: ‘To be recognised as the International Marina of the Year for 2017 is a huge honour. Only five years ago, the potential of North Cyprus as a yachting destination was largely unidentified. It was a huge challenge to introduce this piece of heaven on earth to the yachting community, so we are delighted to have achieved this and that our clients share our enthusiasm.

‘We are especially proud to receive the award because it was decided by our berth holders and boat owners who voted for us. We would like to thank them for their support and reiterate our ongoing commitment to our clients and the local community. This achievement is the perfect start to the new year, which promises to be a very exciting one for the marina and the region as more people discover North Cyprus and this beautiful cruising area in the East Mediterranean.

‘Since we opened in 2011, it has been a fantastic experience for us as we developed the marina and welcomed new visitors. This award is the result of a tremendous amount of work and dedication by the marina team. We are now planning ahead with even greater enthusiasm to ensure we satisfy our clients with outstanding service, facilities, security and entertainment, as well as continuing to lead the development of this region and introduce it to more sailors and boaters.’

The Yacht Harbour Association was established to develop the marine industry by specifically supporting marina members of British Marine. The development of marina standards is at the heart of the organisation’s work, which is supported and recognised through its Gold Anchor global marina accreditation scheme which TYHA is proud to administer and deliver.

The Marina of the Year 2017 winners and runners up were:

UK Coastal Marina of the Year 2017 (over 250 berths)
·        Winner – Largs Yacht Haven
·        Runner up – MDL Torquay Marina

UK Coastal Marina of the Year 2017 (under 250 berths)
·        Winner – Poole Quay Boat Haven
·        Runner up – Portavadie Marina

UK Inland Marina of the Year 2017
·        Winner – Church Minshull Aqueduct Marina
·        Runner up – MDL Windsor Marina

International Marina of the Year 2017
·        Winner – Karpaz Gate Marina
·        Runner up – Royal Cork Yacht Club

Superyacht Marina of the year 2017
·        Winner – IGY Isle de Sol
·        Runner up – Talise Pavilion Marina

Poole Quay Boat Haven

Poole Quay Boat Haven

Marina of Distinction

This year saw the launch of the accolade Marina of Distinction. This honour distinguishes a marina with over three consecutive years of continual customer service excellence, as voted for by its customers in the Marina of the Year competition. To qualify, marinas must rank a category finalist over three consecutive competitions. On the third year, they would automatically receive the title of Marina of Distinction.

The first marinas to receive the Marina of Distinction honour in 2017 are:

UK Coastal Marina of the Year 2017 (over 250 berths)
·        Mayflower Marina

UK Coastal Marina of the Year 2017 (under 250 berths)
·        Southampton Town Quay

UK Inland Marina of the Year 2017
·        Overwater Marina

International Marina of the Year 2017
·        Marina de Vilamoura

Superyacht Marina of the year 2017
·        Porto Montenegro

Remarking on the accolade, Charles Bush, managing director at Mayflower Marina, said: ‘This is unexpected and fantastic news for Mayflower Marina. It is an honour to receive such a prestigious award; I am delighted for my staff and hugely grateful to our berth holders and visitors for their unstinting support over the years.’

Janet and Angus Maughan, owners of Overwater Marina, added: ‘We, and the whole team at Overwater Marina are absolutely delighted to receive this Award. It’s made all the more special by virtue of the fact it is voted for by our customers.’

To commemorate their achievement, winners and runners up of the Awards, as well as receivers of Marina of Distinction, were presented with laser etched glass trophies and framed certificates by David Perfect, managing director of GJW, and Sarah Hanna, Chairman of The Yacht Harbour Association.

Jon White, general manager of The Yacht Harbour Association, said: ‘A huge congratulations to all the winners, runners up and all marinas who were voted for in the 2017 Marina of the Year competition. The array of marinas who stood out in this year’s competition showed how strong the today’s marina industry is at achieving, and in some cases exceeding, the modern consumer’s standard of quality service and excellent facilities.

‘The new Marina of Distinction accolade goes one further, honouring outstanding long-term customer service. We are delighted this year to be awarding five marinas from across the world for the first time with the title of Marina of Distinction.’