One of the first marinas to be built on the Firth of Clyde has celebrated its 40th year, with one employee also celebrating his 40th year of employment at the popular Scottish haven.
Now owned and operated by Yacht Havens Group, the original harbour basins in Troon were constructed in the 1800s by the Duke of Portland to be used for coal and timber shipping. The inner basin, where the marina now lies, was transformed into a marina in 1978 by a consortium led by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.
Commenting on the development of Troon harbour into a leisure marina, Sir Robin said, “Yachting on the Clyde was developing. Kip Marina was already full and Rhu Marina was being planned. (…) Troon was a sheltered basin and the rock surface was sufficiently low to allow the removal of mud to give sufficient depth for yachts.”
It was far more than just sailors who were benefiting from the marina. It was estimated that the marina had created 70 jobs in the local town in the 1980s due to the ripple effect of increased tourism, in addition to the 11 employed by the marina.
The history of Troon Yacht Haven
Duke Darge was one of the first employees at the marina and he also celebrates his 40th anniversary as he continues to work there today now managing the boatyard operations. Having started as a young trainee, Duke now manages the 55 ton boat lift and storage ashore, while spending his spare time racing yachts, including One Tonners and Quarter Tonners, around the west coast of Scotland and across the UK.
Commenting on Duke’s landmark year, Marina Director Stephen Bennie said, “Troon Yacht Haven simply wouldn’t be what it is today without Duke’s incredible loyalty, knowledge and experience. He is well-known and highly respected across the Scottish sailing industry, not just because of his commitment to providing a first-class service to boaters here in Troon, but also his incredible yacht racing achievements.”
Over the past two decades, the marina’s reputation has continued to grow with the popular haven now offering over 400 sheltered pontoon berths with full-tide access. The opening of Scotts Restaurant (by Buzzworks Holdings) in 2004 increased the attraction of Troon with 1000s of visitors arriving at the marina by sea and by road each year. Last year, the marina was voted Best UK Marina/Harbour 2017 in the Sailing Today awards.