The combination of an early love of boats and successful entrepreneurial skills are what the owner of one of the newest boatyards in the Caribbean brings to the property. New Zealand native, Kelly Glass, who was taught to sail Lasers in Bequia by Hodge Taylor and since built construction, cable TV and Internet-oriented companies spanning a half dozen southern Caribbean islands, turned his focus to the marine industry three years ago. The result? Glass purchased the Blue Lagoon Hotel and Marina in St. Vincent, and the Bequia Plantation Hotel, with plans to build a marina in Bequia and Clarke’s Court Bay Marina in Grenada. The latter celebrated its first anniversary as the Clarke’s Court Boatyard & Marina (CCBM) in June.
“I came to St. Vincent in 1984 to build the Cumberland Hydro Electric Project,” says Glass, about his initial move to the Caribbean. “Later I refitted Sweet Janina, a neglected 582 Catana Catamaran which I bought with Jason Fletcher and his team at Grenada Marina, and learned that Clarke’s Court Bay Marina was for sale.”
Glass said his vision for CCBM from the start was “to create a world-class boatyard unlike any other in the Caribbean where clients can feel like they are in a home away from home.” This included the ability to let client’s haul out and do their own work, with a place for parts and a place to stay on site, or contract out the work to one of the yard’s wide range of skilled approved contractors. It also entailed obtaining a lift that could haul catamarans and wooden boats with ease. Both goals are now a reality. All the trades are represented in the yard, there’s a North Yachts Chandlery and four waterfront hotel rooms above the new restaurant. Haul-outs come thanks to the Hulk (nicknamed for the green superhero of movie fame), a lift capable of hauling vessels up to 242-tons and/or 37ft wide with a maximum draft of 13ft. There’s also a 32ft submersible trailer that can handle smaller vessels up to 55ft in length. Last but not least, every client is treated to a free welcome drink, alcoholic or not, based on preference, after hauling out.
“We lifted our first boat on June 8th, 2015 and have lifted over 300 boats to date. Yachting in Grenada is predominantly sailing vessels but our biggest lifts to date are power boats, trawlers, tugs and mega yachts,” says Glass. “In addition, we have created a large boat storage area and currently have just under 200 boats on the hard in the yard with plenty of room left. We have an entire area specifically for catamarans and monohulls.”
Having completed Phase I, Glass and his CCBM team plan to add more covered areas and soon start construction on a megayacht dock at the eastern end of the property. He also intends to build on the people side of the business.
“It is our desire and vision to grow and train young persons in various marine skill trades. While I think we need more foreign specialists in the sector in years to come, I would like to see Grenadian youth fully trained having completed apprenticeships in order to provide competent skills locally and professionally,” Glass says.
While CCBM is certainly a business for Glass, in some ways it is also a labor of love.
“I love purchasing old, rundown boats with potential and doing projects,” he says. “For example, my wife and I are totally refitting our 82ft gentleman’s yacht Atlantic Lady at CCBM. We hope that by this Christmas she’ll have all new teak decks, engines, water maker, electronics package, hydraulic passerelle and even a new fly bridge with a built in urinal in the stack.”
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.