As the chill of the winter season begins to descend on Europe, the superyacht industry will inevitably turn its attention towards the Caribbean. With its famously beautiful beaches and coastlines, delicious and diverse cuisine and consistently favourable weather, the enduring popularity of this region shows no signs of changing anytime soon, with yachts flocking in their droves to marinas throughout the region.
One such popular spot can be found tucked away on the north side of the island of St. Lucia: IGY’s Rodney Bay Marina. Currently offering the lowest berthing rates in the southern Caribbean, the marina is celebrating its 15-year anniversary this year.
Here, we go behind the scenes with the marina’s general manager, Sean Devaux, to discover the highs and lows of his tenure so far, his insider’s guide to the best of St. Lucia, and why Rodney Bay is the perfect stop off point for your next Caribbean adventure.
No place like home
For Sean, securing the role as Boatyard Manager (2012) and then General Manager (2015) at Rodney Bay Marina meant more than a typical job: it was a true homecoming experience.
He continues: “I was born and grew up here in St. Lucia and my father owned a marina within the Castries basin. I was down there from a very young age, probably from when I could first walk, and I think that is where my passion for the water really started. I always love being out on the water, whether it be sailing or fishing or spending quality time with family and friends. Fortunately, I was able to return to a job that put me back on the water, and in my homeland too – that was both highly convenient and a real privilege!”
Weathering the storms
Naturally, Sean’s 10 years at IGY – proudly celebrated earlier this month – have not been without their challenges. “We have certainly had quite the journey while I have been at the helm! In recent years, we have suffered the crippling effects of COVID-19 which hugely affected the tourism industry upon which the region’s economy depends, as well as hurricanes Irma and Maria which also caused so much devastation to the region.
“That said, I also want to emphasize how proud we are for weathering these numerous challenges as a network and IGY team. It is helpful to be part of a global network such as IGY which offers expertise and knowledge that you can lean on when times get difficult, and to be able to offer that support to other properties.
“Six of our facilities were severely damaged during Irma and Maria. Fortunately, Rodney Bay Marina was one of the few that did not, meaning that we were still able to service our clients while offering support to neighboring islands and other facilities. All in all, getting through these challenges has shown us how strong we are when we work together, and how close we are as a global team.”
Furthermore, Rodney Bay’s fortunate position in avoiding the brunt of the hurricane’s damage also enabled the marina to take an active role in relief efforts, as Sean explains: “We were able to help organize and coordinate relief efforts to get to Dominica. We had boats coming in and out of the marina 24 hours a day which we would fuel up and help provision for their rescue mission to Dominica. The strength of the community in these efforts was truly amazing.”
An insider’s view
As a St Lucian born and bred, Sean’s list of recommendations for the area could form a whole article. He shares just a few: “There is so much to enjoy in the area, and I make sure not to take it for granted, because I am from here. I always enjoy Pigeon Island because of its rich history. Located just north of the marina, there are war barracks still standing offering a very informative tour, as well as amazing views both north and south when you get to the top, with beaches, bars and restaurants below to enjoy some downtime.
“For those proper fitness freaks, there is also the new ‘triple peak’ challenge which has gone viral, where you climb Mount Jimmy, Gros Piton and Petit Piton in one day. Mount Jimmy is the tallest mountain in St. Lucia and the other two are both above 2,500 feet, so you have to be pretty fit to make it! For the more day-to-day nature lover, you can also go snorkeling in and around the Pitons to enjoy the stunning wildlife, enjoy one of our many hikes, or even have a go at ziplining.”
Discover Rodney Bay for yourself
Currently offering reduced rates of up to 50 per cent, price match deals, and insurance coverage for storage within both the marina and yard, IGY’s Rodney Bay Marina is the perfect jumping-off point from which to begin your Caribbean yachting vacation, especially if you are taking part in the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) which set sail earlier this month, and for which Rodney Bay is offering a bumper schedule of events.
If you’re unsure of how to begin your cruising adventure at Rodney Bay, Sean has the perfect solution.
“Just contact us at the marina today and we’ll do all of the hard work for you. We can let you know all of the forms you need to fill out, let you know about the guidance for, say, having pets on board, find you the perfect cruising grounds and plan your perfect itinerary, using the expertise of our supporting industry partners. Whether it involves adventurous hiking, beaches, luxury spas, visiting volcanoes and everything in between – we’ve got you covered.”
About IGY Marinas
Rodney Bay Marina is proud to be part of IGY’s global network of marinas. IGY Marinas is the world’s only international superyacht marina network, with 23 marinas operating in 13 countries across the US, South America, the Caribbean, the UK and Europe.
Covid-19 entry requirements
Fully open to visitors all around the world, the latest updated Covid-19 requirements for Rodney Bay Marina can be found on the IGY Marinas website here.