Every once in a while a boat has to come out of the water for repairs or survey, for storage during hurricane season, or a quick bottom job. But finding the perfect haul out yard can be a pain in the stern. Ultimately, some of the most important factors that determine our choice of a boatyard are: convenient location, good facilities and equipment, a team of professionals, and reasonable prices. But does such a place exist? Yes, and we found it.
As we sailed from Florida through the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands, and the Leeward Islands looking for a place to haul out our boat, a 38 feet catamaran, in order to sand and paint the hulls, we have finally found one boatyard that has it all: St Kitts Marine Works.
St Kitts Marine Works
Located on the southwest lee shore of the island of St Kitts, a few miles from St Marten, Antigua and Guadeloupe, and not too far from the BVI and Puerto Rico, SKMW lies at the heart of the Caribbean region providing the perfect strategic location for many mariners cruising in this area who wish to store their vessels for short or long term periods or during the hurricane season, between the months of June and December. The recently expanded boatyard, a 30-acre field, has plenty of space for vessels big and small. Each boat hauled out for storage is carefully secured and grounded with specially dugout keel holes, custom-made for each vessel. So far none of the storms that hit the island, including hurricane Earl in 2010 had caused any damage to the boats there.
The boatyard is also conveniently located near a small dark-sand beach, a place to escape the Caribbean summer heat and make new local friends, and directly under Brimstone Hill Fortress, one of the most important forts in the Caribbean and UNESCO World Heritage Site populated by vervet monkeys. The small historical town of Sandy Point is within a walking distance and the capital Basseterre where you can find all types of marine materials and services specializing in boat-building and repairs, is only a 15-minute bus ride away.
Another main reason to choose SKMW is the big travelift, one of only three in the entire Caribbean region that can handle up to 150-ton boats with beam up to 35 feet, perfect for catamarans. And even though our 8-ton boat with 22 feet beam is not huge at all she almost doesn’t fit in the small travelifts getting scratches on the sides. But the big one at SKMW barely touches her. Man, that machine is mighty! Fata looks like a toy in the hands of a gentle giant when he picks her up and out of the water.
The SKMW boatyard also has a crane for removing masts as well as all sorts of other heavy equipment and machinery for boat works.
But the best part of St Kitts Marine Works boatyard is the people who work there, a dedicated team of professionals, engineers, top quality technicians, and first class operators. The owner and director, Regiwell Francis, an expert in salvage and heavy equipment, is also a hardworking, hands-on, extremely knowledgeable and capable person, who will do anything in his power to help and accommodate your needs. Reggie is a great guy and this matters a lot. There is also a very good mechanic, a metalworking team, as well as a few boat repair specialists working full time in SKMW, and if you need any materials or services not provided on location, they will find them for you.
And last but not least, the prices here are unbeatable. The SKMW prices are probably comparable to those in the Dominican Republic, only there they don’t have the facilities and equipment, the space and the specialists available in St Kitts Marine Works. For more information on rates click here.
SKMW boatyard, also featured in Chris Doyle’s cruising guide, is so far our favorite haul out facility. We had a very positive experience there (even Evo who worked 12 hours per day for a week sanding and painting agrees). All our needs were met with enthusiasm and generosity. We would recommend it to everyone.
Reggie has very ambitious plans to build an 80 slips marina where the dock currently is. The project is already developed and is all a matter of time now.
You can contact Reggie or Bruce at the boatyard if you have any questions or to make arrangements at (869) 662-8930 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit their website for more information at www.SKMW.net; or you can simply pop-up at the dock there, like we did. We were very pleasantly surprised that we could clear customs right there, in the boatyard, as we arrived. Thanks to Reggie, the place is now an official port of entry to St Kitts and you don’t have to go to Basseterre to clear in nor pay any port fees or per day per person fees, only 35 EC$ (the equivalent of 12 U.S. dollars).
We are also every grateful and happy and extremely proud to announce that St Kitts Marine Works boatyard became our sponsor, supporting us and our journey.Share