- May 31st, 2012
- in Yachting
YCCS Virgin Gorda Marina and Clubhouse:
New Elegance in the North Sound
General Manager Keith Mutch welcomed me and Dan O’Connor onto the massive dock at Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Virgin Gorda, where I felt like a munchkin next to berths built for superyachts. Keith led us up the coralstone stairs to the square bar at the top of the clubhouse. The GM reminded me of a younger, taller Anthony Hopkins but with an enthusiastic South African accent instead of a smoldering British one. Keith’s enthusiasm stems from the fact that he’s the new kid in town at YCCS. He was recently brought over from running the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club to manage the YCCS, Virgin Gorda Marina and Clubhouse.
Bartender Jamie Schultheiss served us refreshing champagne cocktails on embroidered linen napkins, and as we chatted with Keith, I watched a sailboat cruise by, as if on cue, boasting a Limoncello spinnaker. I asked Keith about his vision for the club, and he emphasized the fact that he did not want to compete with the other established hotels and restaurants in the North Sound; rather, he believes his guests aboard superyachts at the marina should be able to experience all the North Sound has to offer. He suggested that each venue has its own distinct personality and charm, and he has met with all the managers of the nearby resorts to discuss cross-marketing plans.
YCCS, Virgin Gorda offers, according to Keith, an elegance comparable with its sister club in Porto Cervo. “After spending time at Porto Cervo, I can see what the picture is, and we are going to mirror that here. The members from Porto Cervo are going to expect that level of service.” Dan and I got the royal treatment that day, where our wishes were practically predicted then met then surpassed. “If you’re staying on a boat in the North Sound, and there’s a night you want to put on your little black number,” he said, “we’re the place to do it. And we’ll gladly come and fetch you.” Keith inspired me to want to go shopping for a new “little black number,” and, perhaps, a yacht.
The décor of the club reflects a level of taste synonymous with the Mediterranean—an understated nautical theme displayed in accessories and fabrics such as sea urchin table accents, wooden model ships and cushions covered in subtle square knot patterns, koi watercolors and coral motifs. Every square inch of the clubhouse is impeccably finished, including the stunning circular marble foyer, chart room, indoor dining room, cathedral-ceilinged great room, infinity pool, lush lawns and umbrella-clad patio.
But, YCCS, Virgin Gorda is not just about luxury, it’s also about the sailing. While Dan nibbled on a bison steak, and I savored a salad of lobster, shrimp, kiwi, pineapple, grapefruit and arugula, we discussed YCCS, Virgin Gorda’s plans for their sailing programme. “We’ve got the superyacht regattas,” Keith said. “They are run out of Porto Cervo. Their season is now [in the Mediterranean]…then in the middle of November, the Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta is coming here. They’ll arrive here at the end of November, and they’ll be here for November, December, Christmas, and the New Year. Then they’ll disappear into the wild, blue yonder, and they’ll be back for the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta and Rendezvous in March.”
Jan Pachner, YCCS Secretary General, said in an email, “We are constantly working on finding suitable ideas to increase the number of sailing events that we host at YCCS, Virgin Gorda. In order to achieve this we are in constant contact with different classes and owners for whom we organize a wide variety of regattas and races at our home base, YCCS, Porto Cervo. Most of which are fleet races attracting performance race yachts from different yards/designers like Melges, Farr, Nautor Swans, TPs, all the way up to maxi and superyachts.”
While Jan emphasized the importance of focusing on the owners, Keith mentioned that he wants to put something together with the neighboring establishments that cater to the captains and crew. “Having spoken with a number of the captains at this last regatta, I’ve realized that they’re actually driving the boat—figuratively and literally. They’ll say to the owners, ‘Let’s go back to YCCS, the dock is nice, we’ve got something to do, and you’ve got something to do.’ It’s natural that the owners are important, and their guests are important. We’ll look after them.” But Keith also wants to look after the captains and the crew.
In addition to looking after the visitors to the marina, the YCCS, Virgin Gorda team also hopes to look after our precious islands. The marina has a recycling programme in place and supports the efforts of Green VI. In his email, Jan Pachner bragged of the marina’s “natural depth of nine metres” which “did not require any dredging.” He added, “One can see sea turtles and sting rays swimming around, and we are dedicated to preserving this natural beauty.”
Just when we thought we’d finished lunch, Keith ordered us dessert. A sampler of delicacies appeared in the form of white chocolate and almond cheesecake, Grand Marnier-soaked strawberries, tiramisu, and a white chocolate and dark chocolate terrine. We thought it would be rude to turn it down, so Dan and I dove in as Keith mentioned possible future plans for the marina and clubhouse. “We plan to open a gym and a spa,” he said, “and we would like to get a ferry from Road Town to the North Sound” to attract residents of the territory’s capital to come experience YCCS, Virgin Gorda.