Jamestown Boat Yard Develops Creative Solution for Repair of Caribbean Fleet

Jamestown Boat Yard (JBY) has built strong relationships in the Virgin Islands over the past decade. For years, the yard continued to service its customers’ boats that summered in New England and wintered in the Caribbean, by sending technicians down to the islands to coordinate services with local yards. JBY became such a strong presence of expertise, they were encouraged to establish a permanent facility in Virgin Gorda.

But Hurricane Irma presented new challenges.

In late October, Clem Napolitano, an owner of Jamestown Boat Yard, and yard manager Jim Archibald flew south to survey repairs that were needed after Irma—and they quickly realized the extent of the damage required creative solutions.

boats aside

Living on the islands during their stay—in wet, rugged, bug-infested conditions—both men realized just how thin local resources were stretched. Putting roofs on homes took priority over fixing boats. Consulting with insurance companies, boat owners and marine surveyors, the consensus was that shipping boats north to be repaired was the most practical solution.

As word traveled through the islands, other boat owners and charter operators asked to join their exodus north. Napolitano is developing a plan with Sevenstar Yacht Transport to ship 21 to 25 boats north this winter to be repaired in New England.

Napolitano and Archibald are looking to connect with other yards in New England interested in taking on some of the repair work. The volume of work is more than any one yard can handle in a timely fashion; a majority of the boats work in the charter trade and owners want them back in working condition as soon as possible.

The boats coming north all sustained varying degrees of hull damage, and the majority of them were dismasted. Some will require temporary repairs so they can be loaded onto the ship. The length range is 44 to 53 feet, and the majority of the boats are catamarans with beams approximately 24 to 27 feet.

Napolitano’s best estimate is the boats should be in New England sometime in January.

Before taking on the project, Napolitano and Archibald wanted assurance from the local marine community that they were not taking work away from island businesses. But the scope of yacht repairs that need to be done is so large that local companies welcomed the help.

This is not a RIMTA project, but we are happy to help promote it. JBY is also reaching out to yards in other New England states to gauge interest.

If you are a yard with the capacity to do some of this repair work, please email Clem Napolitano at clement@jby.com to express your interest. As soon as he has a group of yards interested in the project, he will set up a meeting to explore logistics.