What do rock star Eric Clapton, motorsport personality Eddie Jordan and billionaire businessman Paul Allen have in common? A port visit to the Jolly Harbour Marina. It is here, situated on the sheltered west coast of Antigua, that everyone from celebrities to everyday folks enjoy easy access, anonymity and an abundant menu of services and facilities. What’s more, Jolly Harbour Marina is both a great base to explore the waters off this northernmost Leeward Island and come back to for the many nautical events hosted annually.
“Jolly Harbour is a manmade facility built on the dream of Swiss businessman Dr. Alfred Erhart back in the late ’80s early ’90s,” explains Jo Lucas, general manager of the marina and boatyard. “Erhart developed a magnificent resort which includes over 650 privately owned properties of which the majority are waterfront. Today, there are many two- and three- bedroom villas available to rent. The marina and boatyard, which became operational in 1992, is a full-service facility offering dockage and storage. The complex also enjoys a diverse mix of restaurants, bars and cafés; a well-stocked international-style supermarket; hair salons; bank facilities; car rentals and taxis; Olympic-size swimming pool; tennis courts; gym and an 18-hole golf course. In essence, Jolly Harbour Marina Village is like a small independent town where you can get virtually everything you need on site, including world class white sandy beaches.”
Over the past 24 years, Jolly Harbour Marina has changed hands and management several times. In 2006, a partnership was formed and Eastern Caribbean Marina and Boatyard Ltd. took over the operation. More recently, in 2009, the company became an independently-owned family business and continues to grow and develop as such today.
The marina’s original wooden docks have long been replaced by four full-service concrete piers that can easily accommodate 155 boats. Each slip is equipped with metered water and electricity as well as onboard Wi-Fi access.
The boatyard has also been developed through the years. It now offers secure storage for at least 220 boats, during the hurricane season. There are 35 cradles in three sizes to suit various makes and lengths of boats. The designated area for cradles in the storage yard has grown and they have also expanded the concrete area in the work yard during the past year. Concrete pits are ideal for long term storage or to make work more accessible during the racing season. A new 75-ton Marine Travelift was added in April 2015 as was a dinghy storage building that can house over 40 of these craft. The DIY (do-it-yourself) yard offers easy access for resident or outside tradesmen and contractors to work. Lighthouse Yachting, located on site, offers project management, yacht brokerage services and are agents for Peters & May, a company that offers regular yacht transport service between Europe and Antigua.
When it comes to exploring, Lucas says, “You are spoiled for choice when it comes to destinations found close by. Five Islands Harbour is a quiet overnight anchorage where there are several secluded beaches accessible only by boat. Deep Bay is a lovely cove with good overnight anchorage complete with a shipwreck that makes for good snorkeling. Cades Reef is excellent for diving and snorkeling. You can also find many bays to anchor and swim in and beachfront dining at some of Antigua’s finest local restaurants.”
The Marina is a base for the RORC Caribbean 600 in February, hosts the Jolly Harbour Valentines Regatta organized by the JHYC also in February and the Jolly Harbour Yacht Club Regatta in November. The Yacht Club holds informal races every Saturday afternoon that later are the talk of the town as crews congregate at the West Point Bar.
In the future, says Lucas, “We will continue to provide excellent customer service and to upgrade our facilities to ensure that we keep customers coming back year after year.”
For more information, visit: www.jhmarina.com