Marine redevelopments are poised to popularize the cruising grounds from St. Vincent & the Grenadines to Grenada, writes Carol Bareuther.
The Grenadines are poised to become as popular of cruising grounds in the Southern Caribbean as the Virgin Islands are in the north. This comes thanks to two developments: The construction of international airports on St. Vincent, the ‘Gateway to the Grenadines’ and Grenada to the south. Secondly, the energies of a sailing enthusiast and entrepreneur whose goal is to provide a stepping-stone of marina facilities through this 75-nautical mile 600-plus chain of scenic islands, islets, cays, rocks, and reefs.
“There are few yachting facilities between St. Lucia and Grenada and I see an opportunity to open the area up to even more marine visitors,” says Kelly Glass, a native New Zealander, 30-plus year resident of the Caribbean, owner of engineering and telecommunications companies spanning four islands, and a sailor and power boater.
Cruisers can start their voyage at one of Glass’s first projects, which is the redevelopment of the Blue Lagoon Hotel & Marina. This is the only land-and-sea complex of its kind on St. Vincent. This idyllic waterfront property, with its natural reef-protected harbor, is located on the southern part of the island just outside the capital of Kingston. The marina will be expanded to 150 to 200 berths, thus helping to give St. Vincent some of the additional rooms it needs via ‘floating hotel rooms’ for yacht visitors. In addition to the full-service marina, which includes a fuel dock, mini market and charter company base, the 19-room hotel offers a bar, café, bar and restaurant, and concierge services for island tours and other activities. An on-site gym, dive shop, boutique and swimming pool will ensure cruisers will be well looked after.
“A safe haven with good service, quality and friendly staff is our trademark alongside working with our stakeholders and tenants. For example, each marina guest receives a free rum punch from the dock master when they arrive,” Glass explains.
Glass recently purchased Clarkes Court Bay Marina, located on the southern side of the island east of Grenada’s capitol of St. George’s. The combination of a calm protected bay plus less than a 15-minute drive to town and airport makes this an excellent spot to end a sailing vacation. Construction is underway to build a boatyard capable of hauling vessels up to 242-tons with a 39ft beam and storing up to 400 at a time on the hard. This means Grenada will be an ideal spot to base a yacht year-round. After a top Dutch engineering firm built the megayacht docks at Camper & Nicolsons’ Port Louis Marina in St. George’s, Glass bought all their equipment and engaged some of their personnel. He is now in the marina construction industry and can build for other people.
“Clarkes Court Boatyard & Marina will offer limited yacht storage service as of May/June. There will be a soft opening in August followed shortly thereafter by the completion of Phase One, which includes the slipway, haul-out slipway, reinforced load bearing track, washrooms and first service building that will house the chandlery. Concreting of the main storage area will take place after this. Phase Two will be the marina development and Phase Three entails the addition of a restaurant with pool and eventually accommodations,” Glass explains.
Glass also plans a yachtsman’s paradise on some of the Grenadines. Marina development will take place at the Salt Pond on Mayreau and at the Bequia Sandpit. Large lots of land tie in with the marina development on Mayreau making it easy to build a home with breath-taking views. Bequia is especially close to Glass’s heart. This is where Bequia resident Hodge Taylor introduced Glass to the sport sailing aboard a Laser.
“Basically, I love the Grenadines and I decided to invest to aid the islands in their growth and development of the tourism and marine sectors. Plus, I love yachting. I owned and raced Jos of Hamble, a 37-foot Swan, and now have a large catamaran and powerboat too. It’s all about location, location, location when it comes to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada and yachting.”
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.