8 Delightful Dinghy Docks
- May 1st, 2014
- in Yachting
Skipper’s Tips: Dinghy Delight
Words by Dick Schoonover, Charter Manager – CharterPort BVI
Photography courtesy of respective establishments
Operating a successful beachfront restaurant in the BVI, often depends on something akin to the old adage, “Location, Location, Location!” Except around here, it’s whether or not the charter yachting fleet can reach your establishment. This is an issue that can plague land-based cafés as well – parking. Shore-side, it’s having an adequate facility for your restaurant clientele to tie up their dinghies.
No, I know, the first thing you’re going to say is, “White Bay Sandcastles has no dinghy dock and they do booming business,” and it’s true, and yes, it’s called the Soggy Dollar for a reason. And it’s also true that the Soggy Dollar can be plagued by sweeping surf that can be threatening if you are trying to bring mum and dad ashore and have them arrive there relatively dry. That being said, let’s list off the best of shore-side ‘parking’ in the BVI.
Some of our more popular BVI charter destinations come replete with full service marinas. Great! So let’s not talk about the obvious choices that may spring to mind – Saba Rock, Bitter End Yacht Club, Leverick Bay, Biras Creek, Peter Island Resort or Scrub Island. Just as renowned, let’s review, Norman Island, Great Harbour on Peter Island, Cooper Island, Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Beef Island, Tortola’s Cane Garden Bay and the West End of Tortola.
1) Norman Island – when Pirate’s Bight opened their doors, one of the first things to appear on the beach inside the Bight of Norman Island was the dinghy dock. It was very sensible, since the beach isn’t the largest in the Territory. They keep the beach as beach and the dinghies off the sand. Since the fire last year, it’s grown. Across the Bight, the William Thornton has always featured a floating dinghy dock alongside the BVI’s iconic hotspot. Perhaps a few more cleats could be in order, considering how many yachtsmen and yachtswomen visit the ‘Willy T’, but otherwise, perfect scenario on Norman Island.
2) Great Harbour on Peter Island features the Oceans 7 Beach Club Restaurant with both a ferry dock and a dinghy dock – nice to keep them separated. Around the corner in Sprat Bay is Peter Island Resort. ‘nough said.
3) Cooper Island Beach Club has experienced a rejuvenating remodel in the last couple of years and looks great. I still love the stand-up bar tables in the water just off the beach. The dinghy dock is in good shape and does a solid job of keeping snorkelers and beach bathers apart from the motorised traffic. The dive shop has its own dock, so crowding isn’t an issue.
4) Trellis Bay on Beef Island, Bellamy Cay and Marina Cay are close enough together to view them collectively. Pusser’s at Marina Cay features a fuel dock where the ferry picks up and drops off—the dinghy dock is off to the side—convenient to get shoppers into Pusser’s Company Store. At night, it’s still fun to watch the tarpon off the fuel dock. A couple of old concrete piers over off the restaurant ought to be avoided – very shallow. Bellamy Cay inside Trellis Bay is home to The Last Resort, a popular bistro for locals and visiting yachtsmen. The restaurant is served by its own boat, carrying guests from Beef Island, and also provides space for dinghies from the yachting crowd too, running parallel to the reef. Over on Beef Island, there are a host of small docks ranging from the government dock nearest the runway, to the far end at The Loose Mongoose. The North Sound Express and Little Dix Bay use one of the docks for their ferry services, and it’s in good shape, but dinghies ought not to block the ferries. The Loose Mongoose dock is also in good fettle; now would be a good time to remind users that the docks are there for the restaurant’s clientele, not as a public dock.
5) Jost Van Dyke – Abe’s in Little Harbour and Foxy’s Taboo at Diamond Cay have docking facilities for yachts. In Great Harbour, it’s just the government dock in the middle of the bay and Foxy’s shallow dinghy dock to the east. The ferry dock is a bit of a hike, but customs and immigration are located there for vessels needing to clear. There are perfectly adequate dinghy docks in Little Harbour.
6) Anegada is well appointed – every beach bar/restaurant from Setting Point on west features a dingy dock to attract potential customers ashore. Anegada Reef Hotel can even accommodate shallow-draft vessels on their dock.
7) This brings us to Tortola with Cane Garden Bay and West End being obvious points of interest. Skippers I‘ve asked admit to avoiding visiting Cane Garden Bay if they think there’s the slightest chance of damage to the tender, should it be swept under the rather high dinghy dock in a north swell. The fuel dock on the east side is a bit of a hike from the rest of the attractions on the bay, but it’s worth it once you reach the social buzz of Cane Garden with its numerous beach restaurants.
8) Tortola’s West End features several marinas and docks with full services. On the north side of the cove, the customs house has a good floating dock. Popular Fish ‘n’ Lime Inn sits right on the water’s edge and offers good space for dinghies, though it could use a more convenient point for tying the tenders up.
Final bonus tip – always…repeat always lock up your dinghies.