More Slips and Service in the Caribbean

9 November 2010 By Leigh Ellis

hings don’t change in the British Virgin Islands very often, but superyachts operating in the BVI this winter season will find new places to berth. At the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in October, yacht owner David V. Johnson, chairman of Victor International (developer of Michigan’s award-winning Bay Harbor Yacht Club), announced that his company’s partnership with Sardinia’s Yacht Club Costa Smeralda will bear fruit in March with the opening of the YCCS base on Virgin Gorda.

In fact, the partnership’s new superyacht marina is scheduled to open even earlier, in December. Located near the eastern tip of the “Fat Virgin,” the concierge-service yacht harbor will offer up to 38 slips for yachts up to 100 meters in length, designed by ATM and built by Bellingham Marine. In addition to the natural beauties of the BVI, it gives guests access to the new, environmentally conscious Oil Nut Bay resort community, also being developed by Victor International, and lies within tender’s reach of the Bitter End Yacht Club, Saba Rock and Biras Creek Resort.

The official opening ceremony for YCCS Virgin Gorda in North Sound is slated for March 16 to 20, 2011. The yacht club’s inauguration is timed in conjunction with the first Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous in Virgin Gorda, organized by YCCS and Boat International Media, Dockwalk’s parent company.

Superyachts arriving in Antigua for the 49th Annual Charter Yacht Show, December 6 to 11, 2010, will enjoy expanded docking facilities at Falmouth Harbour Marina, according to Phase One of the marina’s two-phase expansion plan was due to be completed in October, including finishing a new pier that adds two slips accommodating vessels up to 240 feet each. Improvements also include widening the leeward side of the south dock, increasing it from 12 to 20 feet and the main dock from 16 to 24 feet. This will allow two vehicles to pass each other on the dock, making delivering guests and provisioning yachts more convenient.

Haul-out capability for smaller megayachts has increased in Sint Maarten. Bobby’s Marina in Cole Bay has acquired a new, 150-ton Travelift, supplementing its 90-ton and 75-ton lifts. The new lift handles yachts up to 120 feet with a maximum beam of 35 feet. Bobby’s yard also has enhanced its operations to be more environmentally friendly, with dustless vacuum sanders and water washdown treatment plants.

St. Maarten Shipyard near Princess Juliana Airport is now offering the services of 75-ton KMI Sea-Lift, which it purchased last spring. The Sea-Lift can haul yachts up to 85 feet in length and 45 feet on the beam.

On the marina management side, Island Global Yachting recently announced it had added Palmas del Mar Yacht Club in Humacao, Puerto Rico, to its portfolio of luxury superyacht harbors. With 158 slips, including more than 40 berths accommodating yachts up to 175 feet in length and 40 feet on the beam; in-slip fueling and pump-out; full concierge service and a backdrop of a 2,800-acre luxury resort, Palmas de Mar already has earned a reputation as an attractive yachting destination, but the IGY brand may entice more boats to leave the beaten path and explore the northern Caribbean.