AN award-winning Hampshire marina at the centre of a £2m redevelopment project could sail away with a top award.

Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour on the Beaulieu River has been nominated as Marina of the Year in the British Yachting Awards 2020 as work starts on the second stage of the upgrade.

More than 30 new berths built during the first phase of the redevelopment have already been filled.

The yacht harbour is taking reservations for a further 35 berths that will be available by April 2021 - the marina’s golden anniversary year.

They will include berths capable of accommodating vessels of 18 metres and longer.

The redevelopment is part of a continuing programme of improvements that has already seen the marina become the Yacht Harbour Association's Coastal Marina of the Year 2018/19.

Russell Bowman, managing director of Beaulieu Enterprises, said: “We are thrilled to be nominated for Marina of the Year in the British Yachting Awards.

"They are the only sailing awards voted for entirely by sailors themselves, and we’re delighted to have been recognised for our commitment to improving facilities and providing a friendly service that goes above and beyond.”

The development, which is designed to future-proof the marina and adapt to the changing nature of modern boating, is being undertaken in two off-season phases to minimise disruption.

The facility has already been praised following the completion of phase one, which involved a visitor area, upgraded electrical services and an increase in walk-ashore pontoons.

Work was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic but resumed as soon as it was safe to do so.

Harbourmaster Wendy Stowe said: “The Beaulieu River is a natural haven and a perfect place to ‘get away from it all’, particularly in such a challenging year.

"We’ve been pleased to provide a secure and friendly environment this summer and look forward to sharing our new facilities with visitors when they open next spring.”

Marina Projects is overseeing the scheme, with the work being carried out by another Hampshire company, Walcon Marine.

Beaulieu Enterprises says it is working with Natural England and the Environment Agency to ensure the protection of the river’s unique habitats and species.

The winners of the British Yachting Awards are due to be announced on December 1.

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