After years of planning, a family from West Texas has completed a new docking facility in Dominica.
The ‘Drop Anchor’ is comprised of buildings modeled in the local style, a sea-level bar and an unassuming restaurant overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Perhaps most important of all is a hurricane-proof dock that extends hundreds of feet from the shore.
Built by the Richards family, the dock was the last part of the complex to be completed. Reinforced piles support the main concrete structure with wooden planks providing a walkway down the center. Yachts up to 150ft in length can Med-moor to the end of the pier in about 100ft of water. Smaller yachts can tie alongside the pier in about 12ft.
Recently, the sail-training ship Argo – a 112ft staysail schooner – anchored off the pier after completing a trans-Atlantic passage. ‘Drop Anchor’ was their first stop, as they knew Ashley Richards, one of the Richards’ daughters, would arrange island tours for the students, provide provisioning from the local market in town and allow them to fill up with freshwater and take hot showers. The Roseau Market, the best in the Caribbean, is a long walk or a short taxi ride to the north.
‘Drop Anchor’ also serves as a Dominican base for Broadreach yachts (gobroadreach.com) passing through on their own sail-training and community service projects. Daughter Shanon Richards worked for years as a dive instructor for Broadreach, which runs adventure travel, cultural immersion and sail-training programs for teenagers and college students around the world.
Ashley Richards recently exhibited at the Antigua Charter Yacht Show and hopes to attract more yachts, large and small, to their little piece of paradise. There are moorings in the vicinity maintained by the neighboring locals, and cruisers can use the dock for their dinghies free of charge.
Christopher Columbus famously described Dominica to the King of Spain by crumpling up a piece of velvet and tossing it on the table. With 5,000 mountain peaks, over 365 rivers, active volcanoes, friendly locals and some of the most well-preserved, authentic Caribbean culture, Dominica is as enticing today as it was upon Columbus’ landfall 500 years ago. The Richards hope their new facility will encourage more yachts to stop at the island and explore its natural wonders for themselves.
Andy Schell is a sailor and journalist. He has worked professionally as a yacht rigger at Southbound Cruising Services in Annapolis, MD. He and his wife Maria Karlsson re-designed the rig on their yawl Arcturus before setting out across the Atlantic last summer. Find them online at www.fathersonsailing.com