The Poor Little Bridge

Simpson Bay Lagoon during “The Season” (December to May) is visited by a crowd of SuperYachts. In the world of very high end yachting it is generally agreed that a yacht becomes “super” when it is more than 40 meters (131 feet) long.

They come here because it is a well protected harbor, there is a large airport for easy access to the private jets that bring owners and guests to and from, and because the yachting infrastructure here is deep and wide. At times there can be more than a BILLION dollars worth of yachts docked around the lagoon here.

To get into the harbor here, you need to come in through the Simpson Bay Bridge, only 15 meters wide (49 feet) if can be a challenge for some of the larger yachts that can have beams of more than 12 m (40 feet).

A normal superyacht passage through the Simpson Bay Bridge.

The first star in our story here is the Motor Yacht Ecstacsea, 86 m (284 feet) long (!) and 12 m (40 feet) wide. She is huge. In this picture, note the small fold-down bridgewing on the bow, that will be important…

Another important thing to know: Right on the north side of the bridge is the open air bar of the Sint Maarten Yacht Club. Watching (and recording!) the large yachts transiting the bridge is a popular local activity. Three years ago Ecstasea was coming into the lagoon here in Simpson Bay, and for reasons I don’t understand she had her starboard side bow bridgewing open. The results were pretty spectacular…

When we were here last spring, the bridge operators were still dealing with a flimsy weather cover over a temporary control panel. If we fast forward to our arrival here in the first week of January 2023, we see there is a whole new permanent concrete shack in place.

Bright, shiny, it’s only 3 weeks old. The fancy new paint job featuring the bridge authority logo is barely dry. But… wait a second… it’s not looking too secure on its foundation. And are those scuff marks on the side? Yep… the day before we arrived it got hit, AGAIN! You can see the mechanic working there to install another “temporary” control panel. The impact not only ripped the shack loose, it also tore all the cables used to operate the bridge. The tenders have had to manually throw switches down in bowels of the bridge.

A few days later, the new control panel is in operation, and the shack is gone. The bridgetenders are back to open air operation in all weather. Hopefully, they can get a little sun and rain protection before too long.

And there is video of this one too, thanks to the bar patrons!

Maybe when they rebuild it this time they will give it a little set back from the edge? Either that or paint a bull’s eye target on it!

Our Plans

We have taken advantage of the local infrastructure to get some boat projects done, and once we get a few more business things complete, we’ll be sailing away. Right now our target to sail off is Wednesday, the 25th. Out next expected port of call will be Matthewtown, on Great Inagua Island in the Bahamas, about a four day sail. We hope to be exploring the Bahamas for some time.

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