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A Fyne berth

We talk to Vince Sweeney about boats and berthing at Portavadie Marina.In the summer of 2011, Vince Sweeney and his wife Sheila spent three months exploring the west coast of Scotland. They sailed into Portavadie Marina and instantly fell in love with the place. Three years on and their yacht Islay is now permanently berthed here and the couple, who live a five-hour drive away in Cheshire, jump in the car and head north as often as they can. ‘Sheila finishes work at lunchtime on Thursday, we head straight off and we’re on the boat in time for supper. It feels like we’ve come home,’ says Vince.

Our five-star facilities were certainly a draw when making the decision to move their boat here. Vince describes the bathrooms, complete with under-floor heating and hair straighteners, as ‘undoubtedly the best I’ve come across’. The real pull, however, was our location. ‘It’s just stunning’, he says. ‘Here’s this modern marina set in the most glorious wild scenery. The view from the boat across the loch to Arran is pretty unbeatable. And where else offers berths with over thirteen metres of crystal clear water under keel?’

The waters around Portavadie were a revelation. ‘It’s the almost limitless number of sailing options within hours, or less, of Portavadie that make this area unique,’ Vince says. ‘There’s easy access to other sailing grounds too – Arran and the Kilbrannan Sound, the Firth of Clyde, the Kyles of Bute and the Crinan Canal and the Western Isles beyond.’ Because the marina is situated in a deep-water lagoon, there’s no restriction on draft and the berths are accessible at all times of the tide. For Vince, who was used to a tidal marina, this is a real plus. ‘You just put the sails up and you’re off,’ he says. ‘There’s no checking the tide tables or waiting for a window of opportunity.’

As a berth-holder, Vince enjoys being part of the big sailing events that take place at Portavadie. ‘You really feel like you’re part of the celebrations,’ he says. ‘Portavadie is a stunning place, but events such as the Scottish Series add a whole extra dimension. The place is buzzing with boats and people and there is always loads going on. At last year’s Scottish Series Sheila and I found ourselves ceilidhing the night away in the marquee!’

For Vince and Sheila, Portavadie is about much more than the sailing. They enjoy the whole experience, from the restaurants and bars to the friendly staff. Sheila calls the boat their ‘floating caravan’ and the couple come and stay on it throughout the year, even spending Hogmanay on board. The fact that there’s such a range of accommodation on site makes it easy for Vince and Sheila to ask friends and family to join them on holiday.

‘Occasionally in life you make a really good decision,’ Vince says. ‘Of one thing we’re certain; moving Islay to Portavadie unquestionably rates among our Fynest yet!’
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Accommodation as individual as you. From luxury apartments to cottages, there is something for everyone. Enjoy a family break, a romantic weekend or a holiday with friends. Portavadie is a party destination with a difference. Celebrate your wedding, special anniversary or birthday in stunning surroundings on the shores of Loch Fyne. From the superb infinity pool and hydro pools to the tranquil treatment and relaxation spaces, we’re offering the ultimate in luxury and reward for our guests. The gateway to some of the best sailing waters on the west coast of Scotland. Enjoy sheltered berthing and stunning purpose-built facilities in our award-winning marina. Go wild on the west coast with a host of outdoor activities on land and sea. Sail, kayak, walk, horse ride, golf, fish or come along to the area’s many cultural festivals and events.
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