A Fresh Start for the Bitter End Yacht Club

Located in the British Virgin Islands and popular among sailors, the BEYC was destroyed by Hurricane Irma. Portions of the property should be open again by the end of 2019.

Bitter End Yacht Club watercolor
An open-air complex will anchor the new BEYC marina village and will feature plenty of space to gather for sunsets and rum punches.Courtesy Bitter End Yacht Club

Good news for cruisers and charterers heading to the British Virgin Islands this coming winter: The much-loved Bitter End Yacht Club will be back!

Along with steady breezes, strong Painkillers and great sailing, fun times at the BEYC are lodged firmly in the collective memory of cruisers and vacation sailors who have frequented the BVI over the years. Afternoons spent tearing up Virgin Gorda’s North Sound on one of the club’s Hobie Waves or relaxing in one of the beach hammocks with a rum punch is a highlight of many a sailors’ visit to those storied waters.

When Hurricane Irma left its path of destruction through the islands in September 2017, the BEYC was not spared, and footage of the wreckage was gut-wrenching to see.

The nearly two years that have passed since the storm have been challenging for the crew of BEYC, but giving up was never an option. “From the moment we set foot ashore at Bitter End, a day and a half after Irma, we were determined to turn a disaster into an opportunity, to do things smarter, better, and in a way that would make all of us better stewards of Bitter End’s exquisite natural environment,” BEYC founding family member Lauren Hokin said in an open letter.

According to John Glynn, vice president of sales and marketing for BEYC, plans are on track for some portions of the resort to be open by the end of 2019, possibly by the holidays, with the rest following about 10 to 12 months later. The marina village will be the first element of the property to be reopened, and will feature a two-story, open-air complex with a lounge that offers expansive views of Virgin Gorda’s North Sound, marina-wide Wi-Fi, and upgraded bathing facilities. From friendly regattas to scuba expeditions on nearby reefs, part of what makes a visit to BEYC special are the activities. The club’s watersports center will be returning as well, and will feature an all-new Club Fleet available to visiting sailors, villa guests, day visitors and locals.

From the moment we set foot ashore at Bitter End, a day and a half after Irma, we were determined to turn a disaster into an opportunity.

Environmental stewardship is one of the goals of Bitter End 2.0, and to that end, the remediation efforts have included upcycling as many materials as possible, recycling concrete and timber debris, and restoring nearly a mile of shoreline to its natural state. “What we promise as we embark on this new chapter in Bitter End’s history is that the spirit of the place will remain; we will honor our legacy and continue to focus our efforts on what is truly important to our community—the spirit of adventure, exploration and stewardship of our seas,” Hokin said.

For more information and updates on the rebuilding process, visit BEYC's website.

Jennifer Brett is Cruising World's senior editor.