It's not part of the necklace of marinas around the Irish coastline but at just 150 miles from Carlingford, Oban Marina in Scotland is one of the closest to it. The modern marina is based on the picturesque Isle of Kerrera and it is the gateway for many Irish boats heading for the Scottish West Coast.
This summer, Oban marina will welcome several new regattas with competitors from afar afield as Denmark.
Following expansion in 2010, the marina can now accommodate up to 145 visiting yachts on fully serviced pontoons and swinging moorings. Its marina and boatyard services, plus proximity to some of the most spectacular cruising and racing grounds in the world, has increased its attraction to regatta organisers world wide.
This year Marina Manager, Sue Deacon and her team, will welcome several new high profile events with yachtsmen from overseas as well as those closer to home:
"We have already played host to competitors taking part in the Sebago Round Britain and Ireland Challenge and Scottish Peaks Race," says Sue Deacon. "Next month (July), we are looking forward to welcoming a very special visitor - the ex-Royal yacht, Bloodhound, who will use Oban Marina as her base for several weeks chartering this summer. World Cruising Club's Malts Cruise will also make Oban Marina their base before the start of this popular event and around 40 yachts will sail to Oban Marina from Denmark as part of the Danish Ocean Cruising Association's rally."
Organisers are happy to use the marina as a convenient stop-off point for their event and the facilities ashore include a restaurant, bar and use of a boatshed for larger functions. Charlie Walker, Managing Director of the Sebago Round Britain and Ireland Challenge explains: "We were delighted to bring the yachts into Oban and it was the perfect choice for the West Coast of Scotland stopover as Oban Marina has great facilities and all tides access."
Summer home port for Ex-Royal Yacht
With Royal wedding fever at its height, the marina is looking forward to its own royal visitor - Bloodhound, the fully restored classic 1930s yacht which once belonged to Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. Bloodhound now belongs to the charitable trust that also owns and manages the five-star visitor attraction, The Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh. She is normally on view to visitors throughout the year as the centrepiece of a new Royal Sailing Exhibition.
The legendary racing yacht will be available for charter out of Oban Marina this summer from 11 July until 24 August and up to 8 guests will be able to enjoy sailing through the stunning scenery of Scotland's West Coast, as well as the hospitality of the skipper and crew, who are all former HMY Britannia 'Royal Yachtsmen'.
Bob Downie, Chief Executive of The Royal Yacht Britannia is pleased to be bringing Bloodhound back to the West Coast and to Oban Marina: "We are delighted to be taking Bloodhound back to the waters on which she once sailed with the Royal Family. She is such an important part of British sailing history, and this really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to step back in time."
Up to 40 yachts taking part in World Cruising Club's Malts Cruise will be welcomed at Oban Marina for two days on 8/9th July and to mark the start of the event, a buffet supper and ceilidh will be held in the marina's 'Boatshed'. It is sure to be a memorable party, setting the tone for the remainder of the cruise. The start on Sunday 10th July will include a spectacular Parade of Sail as the fleet head off to their first stop in Tobermory. Yachts then select their own route to the next rendezvous in Port Ellen, allowing exploration of the islands and secluded anchorages of the West Coast. The event supported by Diageo's Classic Malts Selection, is not just about sailing though, as the Malts Cruise is a wonderful opportunity to experience traditional Scottish hospitality, local specialities like scallops and whisky, and to have a great time with fellow cruisers.
The Danish Ocean Cruising Associations's Pennant will be flying high to welcome around 120 sailors in over 40 boats from Denmark. Weather permitting, the fleet should arrive at Oban Marina on 11th/12th July before heading off to enjoy the rest of their malts cruise. After staying for a few days to enjoy local hospitality and the marina facilities, Coordinator, Karsten Pennov said: "Everyone is very enthusiastic about the event and we are very much looking forward to staying at Oban Marina."
West Highland Yachting Week 29th July to 5th August.
Once again, Oban Marina will be hosting competitors in West Highland Yachting Week with a ceilidh, seafood grill and BBQ on Sunday 31st July overlooking Oban Bay. Boats will be at the marina from 31st July to 3rd August.