Harbour Master 03451 555555 extn 461541 VHF Channel 11
Anstruther Sailing Club 01333313492 www.anstruthersailingclub.org.uk
Anstruther (or “Anster” as it is known locally) lies six and a half miles SW of Fife Ness inside the Firth of Forth and is a popular stopping off place for coastal passage makers who prefer short day hops as opposed to long crewed legs. It is tidal, open to Southerly winds and, as the Forth is quite wide here, there is enough sea room to the South and South West for it to build up from that direction when the winds are strong.
There has been a harbour here for centuries. It was involved in trading with the Baltic ports and much of that trade was smuggled when duties rose in the 18th century. As ships got bigger the trade dropped off and the harbour became increasingly dependant on the herring trade which has now been replaced by the leisure side of seagoing. Unfortunately the activities of the Sailing Club here have been mothballed for the moment due to the lack of membership prepared to get involved in the running of it.
The harbour consists of a walled off corner on the East of the bay between Anstruther Easter and Anstruther Wester; it is entered through a South West facing entrance giving on to an outer harbour and then, to the NW of that, an Inner Harbour which has now been equipped with three pontoons with finger berths aligned NE/SW, parallel to the pier dividing the outer and inner harbours. Depending on their dates, there are various pictures/ charts of this harbour showing one, three or no pontoons in the harbour; be assured, there are now, definitely, three of them!! (See the aerial photos in our gallery) The harbour dries to soft mud and the pontoons are not suitable for fin keelers who should contact the HM in advance to make arrangements for a quayside berth.
There is a very wide slip at the north west end of the inner harbour which has power and water if you need to clean your hull. The slip in the outer harbour is for the Life Boat and should not be obstructed.
There is a new "Harbour team" here and there has been a review of the harbours so you will be delighted to hear that the tariff is much lower than it used to be. (See below)
We include a video from Dylan Winters Keep Turning Left series. Anstruther starts at 2.15
Whether you are approaching from the East or West....
.... you need to keep at least a quarter of a mile off shore to avoid the drying Carboniferous reefs closer in. From the East you can turn towards the harbour when you have passed abeam the East pierhead but from the west maintain your course until you are in line with the approach lead in lights which are both flashing green the back one being higher than the for’d (on about 020° M) on the far side of the outer harbour. The bay on your port hand before you enter from the west dries completely to a rocky reef so don’t drift off to port of the lead in marks.
Remember that this is a tidal harbour and can only be entered at best 4 hours either side of high water but if you have a deep keel you’d best restrict that to 3 hours because the muddy bottom undulates quite a bit and you could easily run out of room manoeuvring onto your berth.
You also need to watch out for outbound traffic as you run into the harbour as there is a fairly busy fishing fleet which will leave as soon as they float and return at the very last minute (in both cases the channel through the harbour can be narrow).
Most visitors are parked on first or second hammer heads but you should contact the HM either on the phone or VHF11 to get your allocation.
A small point to beware of is that, if you have a smaller boat, it may be that you are berthed on a berth previously occupied by a much larger boat and in which case you can find your boat falling into the hole that he made for himself! The result can be a large dose of the leans until you have established your own holes!!
The harbour dues here are fixed at £22 per boat up to 10 metres on the wall and £22 on a pontoon - per day
Here's an aerial view of Anstruther courtesy of Charlie Simpson, a local yachtie.
As previously mentioned, there are showers and toilets available (co-located with the HM’s Office) but check on the hours as they vary throughout the year and are not 24 hours.(expected to be 7am to 8pm this summer) They now have a toilet for harbour users 24 hours but the showers are linked to public toilet hours. The berths have water and shore power but there it ends.
There is no fuel (either diesel or petrol) in Anstruther but we did find a 907 Camping Gaz bottle in a hardware shop behind the harbour which also stocks Calor Gas. That hardware shop is an old fashioned place (we managed to get a Tilley Lamp mantle and a three inch (yes, inch) solid brass hinge) - we didn’t need four candles or fork handles but it was the sort of shop that would have both!! His opening hours are a bit of a moveable feast and he closes for lunch when he’s hungry. Unfortunately he doesn't stock a range of chandlery. He is still there this year (2018)
Other than that there are plenty of shops, banks and there is a large Co-op at the top of the hill (about twenty minutes walk so take the crew as pack animals)
You will find that are no less than five fish and chip shops fronting onto the harbour and by 1300 the atmosphere along the front is redolent with the smell of vinegar.. Apart from those there are some nice cafes and restaurants in the streets behind the harbour. The bakery is lovely and you will come out of that with a load of very fattening pastries; so be warned!!
Restaurants & Places to Eat in Anstruther 2021 - Tripadvisor
There is a fishing museum at the Eastern end of the quay (just behind the LB shed) and a restored herring drifter, the Reaper; information about that can be found at
If you wish to save the sailing effort you can get a morning ferry out to the Isle of May and stay for the day taking photos of the birds; alternatively there is a small anchorage there if you want to take your yacht