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Largs, Yacht Haven and Surrounding Areas

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Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


Yacht Haven 55:46'.5 N 004:51'.5 W


Admiralty 1867, 1907

Rules & Regulations



No Particular

Tidal Data Times & Range

+0110 Dover MHWS 3.4, MHWN 2.8m, MLWN 1.0, MLWS 0.5   (links)

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General Description

Largs Yacht Haven  VHF #80 tel 01475 675333

Largs Sailing Club   01475 670000 

Largs yacht haven is fortunate in being in a very sheltered position. It is situated on the east side of the Largs channel which separates Great Cumbrae Island from the mainland.

This island provides good shelter for yachtsmen or motorboaters when the wind is in the West, and thus it is possible to enter Largs Yacht Haven even when strong onshore winds and big seas are making other harbours further south marginal in terms of safety

The Marina itself is not exactly in the middle of the town of Largs, which lays a bit to the North. All normal Marina facilities will be found here, while the reasonable sized town itself has good transport connections and shopping.

The Largs Sailing Club has its base here and welcomes visitors to sample their facilities when they are open. (Times on their website)

A little bit to the South of Largs yacht haven is the ex NATO Fairlie Quay, where they have recently opened covered storage facilities and can provide a few swinging moorings, plus extensive shoreside storage.

The marina website can be found at


From the South the approach is made between Little Cumbrae Island and....

.... Farland Head, or through the Cumbrae Pass between Little Cumbrae Island and Great Cumbrae Island. (Be aware that there is a Farland Head on the mainland, south of Hunterstown Power Station, and a Farland Point on the East side of Millport Bay!) If approaching from Farland Head using the Hunterston Channel, be aware of a yellow buoy marking an outfall from the Hunterston Powerstation. This is off Little Brigurd Point. Bad turbulence can be experienced around this.

The Hunterson Channel is well buoyed and lit, and it is simply a matter of following it northwards past the Hunterston Jetty, regularly used by ships servicing the Hunterston ore and coal terminal. Although you may see small craft moorings in front of Fairlie, (and indeed it is possible to find an anchorage to the NW of the Fairlie Yacht Club's slipway in the right conditions), the small craft Mariner needs to be aware of Fairlie Patch to the E of the north end of Hunterston Jetty. This is marked by a lit green conical buoy.

Next up for your starboard hand side comes Fairlie Quay, an ex-NATO pier. This should be given a good offing, and the Marina will be seen. Final approach to the Marina should be made when the entrance is bearing ESE. Don't try and cut the corner, as a drying banks extend out as far as the end of the southern breakwater. The approach is marked by a red and white safe water buoy (Oc.R.10s).  Lat: 55 degrees 46.4' N - Long: 04 degrees 51.84' W

The actual entrance to the Marina is not as wide as it looks, with another drying bank extending westwards from the Northern breakwater, making it very important to begin your final approach inwards from the safe water buoy, and keeping central between the breakwaters with one eye on the depth sounder.

This Marina is accessible at all states of the tide.

If approaching from the North, once past the town of Largs, the small craft Mariner will need to maintain a good offing to steer clear of the shallows on his port side. In the closer approach to the Marina will be seen a monument (The Pencil), and then the Marina itself and the red-and-white safe water buoy.

Keeping outside of the 10 m depth contour clears the shallows between the town and the Marina.

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

Anchorages around Great Cumbrae are dealt with in a separate article.

One possible anchorage nearby has already been touched on, although this would only really be suitable in offshore conditions. This involves anchoring in Fairlie Roads, to the NW of Fairlie Yacht Club, and South of Fairlie Quay. Fairlie Yacht Club is mainly geared towards racing, and has no premises

In offshore winds coastal anchorage is possible further north, actually off the town of Largs, and can best be seen on the overview chart provided.

The Yacht Haven is simple enough to deal with, contact the Marina on VHF channel 80 (or telephone 01475 675333) for allocation of a berth before entry. Visitors are normally berthed at the bitter end of pontoon C/D, which is the pontoons immediately on your port hand side as you enter between breakwaters.

Visitors rates work out at £3.60per metre per night at the yacht haven and this includes shore power and VAT with a minimum charge of £21.60. They also have a seven nights for five offer.

Night entry is certainly possible, with the approaches well buoyed, and the entrance to the Marina from the safe water mark through the breakwaters also well lit. See the charts provided for light characteristics. Their website can be found at: 


All the normal Marina facilities are available at Largs, this is not a small affair, with 700 berths. Electricity and water are provided to all of them.

Toilets and showers and laundry are available 24 hours as is and diesel and petrol from the alongside fuel berth. Both Calor gas and Camping Gaz are obtainable, while holding tanks can be pumped out free of charge.

Wireless broadband is available throughout the Marina, while 24 hour Internet access is also available for those without on-board computers.

The Marina is staffed 24 hours a day with access to the pontoons by swipe cards or pin numbers. CCTV surveillance is all round...

The boatyard here can handle liftings up to 70 tonnes, storage ashore over 200 boats, with various specialist marine tenants covering most areas, from Marine engineering to sailmaking and rigging. Check out the directory.

Largs Chandlers is on-site. The on-site sailing club is Largs Sailing Club. Their clubhouse is open to visitors and has a bar and restaurant.

Away from the marina, tucked in at Fairlie Quay, is another outfit that specialises in boat storage and repair. They do have a few moorings, but their main business is in the launch and recovery of boats stored safe and dry ashore. They can handle quite large boats, and many people especially with motorboats, find this method more efficient than keeping the boat in the water.  They have a vast area of covered storage and a further area of uncovered concrete hardstanding and if you want to store your boat undercover for the winter you need to book early.

A link to their website is provided below:

Trailer Sailers are well catered for in this area...Fairlie Quay mentioned above have a slipway with access at half the tidal range, plus they can crane you in if required. There are charges.

Largs Yacht Haven, also have a slipway which can be used with a charge.

Just to the north of the Marina is another public slipway with access at about a quarter of the tidal range, which is only suitable for smaller boats.

Probably the best slipway in the area is the Barrfields Slip, which lies to the north of Largs Pier, well away from the Marina and which is used by the local RNLI lifeboat. This is usable all states of the tide, and is 12 m wide. The slip must always be kept clear for the inshore lifeboat, but it is free (donations to the RNLI are always welcomed). Trailers can be parked at the adjacent "Vikingar" centre across the road.

For the smaller trailer boats this is a good area, as it's waters are sheltered by Great Cumbrae Island, so no heavy swells develop.

Largs town itself is a popular weekend holiday destination, and has a reasonable range of shops, supermarkets inc. Morrison's, bank and post office.

Transportwise for crew changes, the railway station is on the Ayrshire coast line, connecting with Glasgow. Regular ferries run to Great Cumbrae Island, and Largs is well served by buses.


Largs is a town on the Firth of Clyde in North Ayrshire, Scotland, about 33 miles (53 km) from Glasgow.

It is a popular seaside resort with a pier. The original name means "the slopes" (An Leargaidh Ghallda) in Scottish Gaelic. The town markets itself on its historic links with the vikings and an annual festival is held each year in early September. In 1263 it was the site of the Battle of Largs between the Norwegian and the Scottish armies. The National Mod has also been held here in the past. Some Scots Gaelic signposts are still up.

Largs evolved from the estates of North Cunninghame over which the Montgomeries of Skelmorlie became temporal lords in the seventeenth century. Sir Robert Montgomerie built Skelmorlie Aisle in the ancient kirk of Largs in 1636 as a family mausoleum. Today the monument is all that remains of the old kirk.

From its beginnings as a small village around its kirk, Largs evolved into a busy and popular seaside resort in the nineteenth century. Large hotels appeared and the pier was constructed in 1834. It was not until 1895, however, that the railway made the connection to Largs, sealing the town's popularity.

It also became a fashionable place to live, and several impressive mansions were built, the most significant of which included 'Netherhall', the residence of William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, the physicist and engineer.

Largs has historical connections much further back, however. It was the site of the Battle of Largs in 1263, in which parts of a Scottish army attacked a small force of Norwegians attempting to salvage ships from a fleet carrying the armies of King Magnus III of Mann and the Isles and his liege lord King Haakon IV of Norway, beached during a storm. The Norwegians and islemen had been raiding the Scottish coast for some time, and the Scots under Alexander III had been following the fleet, attempting to catch its raiding parties. The outcome of this confrontation is uncertain, as both sides claim victory in their respecive chronicles and sagas and the only independent source of the war fails to mention the battle at all. The battle was followed soon after by the death of the 59-year old King Haakon in Bishop's Palace on Orkney. Following the king's demise, his more lenient son Magnus VI agreed the Treaty of Perth in 1266, under which the Hebrides were sold to Scotland, as was the Isle of Man after the demise of King Magnus III of the Isle of Man.

During World War II the Hollywood Hotel was designated HMS Warren which was Headquarters, Combined Training. A conference was held there between 28 June 1943 and 2 July 1943, code name RATTLE, under Lord Louis Mountbatten, it was known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold because of the number of high ranking officers taking part. The decision that the invasion of Europe would take place in Normandy was taken at this conference. King Haakon VII of Norway, then in exile in Britain due to the German occupation of his kingdom, visited Largs in 1944 and was made the town's first honorary citizen.

Despite its diminished status as a holiday resort, much of Largs is still geared towards tourism. There is the award winning Vikingar Centre at Barrfields, an interactive look into the history of Viking life; Kelburn Country Centre, Barrfields Pavilion Theatre, Largs Swimming Pool, Douglas Park and Inverclyde National Sports Training Centre. But it is best known for 'Nardinis', the famous ice cream parlour, cafe and restaurant, that dominates the Esplanade and which reopened in late 2008 following clearance from Historic Scotland and major renovation works.

Also of interest is a neolithic tomb behind Douglas Park. Known as the Haylie Chambered Tomb it was once covered by a cairn of stones (known as Margaret's Law). When it was uncovered in the early twentieth century the tomb was dated to around 3000 to 2000 BC.

Skelmorlie Aisle, adjoining the local museum, is in the care of Historic Scotland and is open during the summer.

Kelburn Castle, situated close to Largs, is the ancestral home of the Boyle (originally de Boyville) family, the hereditary Earls of Glasgow. Kelburn is believed to be the oldest castle in Scotland to have been continuously inhabited by the same family. The de Boyvilles who originated in Caen in Normandy came up after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The forebears of the modern day Boyles settled at Kelburn around 1140.

The Noddsdale Water flows from the north to reach the sea at the north end of Largs, and Brisbane House sited in the dale about 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) up the river was the birthplace of the soldier and Governor General of Australia Sir Thomas Brisbane, whose name was given to Brisbane in Australia. Noddsdale was renamed Brisbane Glen in his honour

A Caledonian MacBrayne ferry service runs from Largs to Great Cumbrae, and the paddle steamer Waverley also calls in at the pier during cruises. The town is served by the railway line from Glasgow to North Ayrshire (the Ayrshire Coast Line) and also lies on the main A78 road. It remains a popular destination for holiday-makers and weekenders from Glasgow all year round.

The text on this HISTORY page above is covered by the following licence

"During World War II the Hollywood Hotel was designated HMS Warren which was Headquarters, Combined Training. A conference was held there between 28 June 1943 and 2 July 1943, code name RATTLE, under Lord Louis Mountbatten, it was known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold because of the number of high ranking officers taking part.

The decision that the invasion of Europe would take place in Normandy was taken at this conference. King Haakon VII of Norway, then in exile in Britain due to the German occupation of his kingdom, visited Largs in 1944 and was made the town's first honorary citizen.

The Barrfields slipway was constructed during WWII for the recovery of flying boats which were hauled out across the main road to a maintenance facility in front of the Barrfields Pavilion. The first international flight made by Icelandair was by flying boat to the base at Largs just after the war. The remains of a sunken wartime Catalina flying boat lies just offshore on Great Cumbrae, south of the ferry slipway and is a popular site for divers."

Iain Crosbie

Eating, Drinking & Entertainment

If staying at Largs Yacht Haven you will find The Bosuns Table bar and bistro, together with Regattas pub/restaurant on-site. Probably just as well because the town of Largs is not exactly on top of the Marina, the town centre being about a mile away to the north, past the golf course.

For those prepared to venture out, the town of Largs can offer a reasonable choice of pubs and restaurants... check the links below:

Pubs, Largs:

Restaurants, Largs:

If at anchor at Fairlie, (or if you walk from the Marina), there are some local facilities including a pub.


Your Ratings & Comments

Current price - May 2024
Written by Merrill | 2nd Jun 2024
Visited May 2024, and was charged £4.40/metre, but his includes power & water. Expensive, but Largs is a nice marina located a couple of miles from the town centre. If you like Italian food at a reasonable price, try Allegria, on the seafront, BUT book a table as its quite popular.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 9th Aug 2022
No changes
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 2nd Jul 2021
These notes were reviewed in July 2021. The only change is to the prices which are fairly high but are "all in"
Update Spring 2019
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 20th May 2019
These notes were reviewed in May 2019. The good news is that their visitors rates have been held to last year's (and the year before's) rates. Nothing to add to the notes and we're uploading this years UKHO charts
Written by Don Thomson | 11th Apr 2017
I reviewed these notes in April 2017. There are no changes to note here but their prices have now been bumped up to £3.35 pmpn with a minimum of over £20.
Update 2015
Written by dononshytalk | 31st Mar 2015
These notes were reviewed by Don in March 2015. Ian Crosbie's notes have been incorporated in the text and the prices updated for the 2015 season
Update 2103
Written by dononshytalk | 4th Mar 2013
These notes were updated by Don T on the 4th March 2013. There are no changes here apart from the addition of a link to the Millport tide tables. Their prices have been updated and are being held to the 2012 level.
Fairlie and Largs info
Written by Bryant | 22nd Aug 2012
"The on-site sailing club is Largs Sailing Club (, not Fairlie Yacht Club. Their clubhouse is open to visitors and has a bar and restaurant.

Fairlie Yacht Club has no premises and is a racing and cruising club only with no facilities, although many of its members are based at Largs. The entry as it stands would lead one to believe that FYC is the local club with a clubhouse.

I would not really describe the adjacent Fairlie Quay as a 'dry stack facility'. It is really a large boat storage/repair centre, with a big covered shed and plenty of outside concrete hard standing. There are no stacking facilities as such. There are on-site boatbuilders, fibreglass specialists, outboard repair shop etc. They have an 80 ton travel hoist, but the hoist dock is rather exposed and is tide dependent, drying out at LW springs.

They have a very large L-shaped commercial concrete jetty sometimes still used by naval craft, and which would be available for very large motor yachts (see chart). Access to the hoist dock pontoon at the root of this jetty is via a dredged channel close behind (to the E of) the 'hammerhead' and then close to the N of the main jetty. This is usually marked by orange buoys; the area between the jetty and the shore dries out, apart from this marked channel.

I would not consider using Fairlie's slipway, and I have never seen it in use, everyone uses the Largs slips which are better sheltered and lead into deeper water."

Update from Iain Crosbie

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