The perfect port in a storm
Looking to liven a dead space, Mark Soares renovated the former cruise ship terminal at Ordnance Island in time for the America’s Cup.
Artists added a bit of colour last month.
Architect and designer Aurora Porter curated an exhibit of works by Christina Hutchings, Peter Lapsley, Charles Zuill, Andrea Sundt, Cal Booth and Chris Cabral.
“We both have an interest in art and supporting local art,” said Mr Soares, owner of Bermuda Yacht Services. “It was a multi-purpose event. It helps to promote the artists; it helps to show the space and the work that we did to more locals.”
Ms Porter also gave advice as he transformed the terminal into a “contemporary” lounge and office, giving it a “nautical theme” for visiting yachtsmen.
“She has a very modern style. I did most of the work myself and with my guys — it came out as a really beautiful space,” said Mr Soares, who has work by a few of the artists on display in his home on Smith’s Island.“
Charles Zuill is from St George’s and is an amazing modern artist. We thought it would be something good for the artists, something good for St George’s and a great way to showcase the space as well.”
He hopes it is the first of similar events.
“It’s such a contemporary setting for Bermuda,” he said. “It was great to be part of this event. It offered a perfect opportunity to show off our new space while supporting Bermuda art and bringing some folks down to the beautiful Town of St George.
“We tried to build something different and make good use of a dead space — and attract yachts to our town. Hopefully they will come more frequently and stay longer and enjoy Bermuda.”
BYS has been around for more than ten years. Mr Soares took it over six years ago. The company manages the docks in the town and is hoping to build a marina in St George’s this year.
“We were one of the main folks involved in taking care of all the yachts that were here for the America’s Cup,” he said. “During the America’s Cup we were absolutely full. We had some of the biggest yachts in the world right in front of the office. The captains were skyping their family, working and using the facility as a crew lounge. That was the concept of it from the beginning.
“When I took over the docks six years ago, occasionally we’d get some visiting yachts. Now we have as many as five or six of the largest superyachts in the world right in front of the building all paying dockage fees to the town. It’s been a great thing to see and it’s great for the town.
“In off-season we can use the space for other purposes — functions, shows — but ultimately, the goal is to use it for what it was designed for, a good-looking crew lounge.”
A captain for ten years, Mr Soares worked for a Bermudian family in the Mediterranean in the summer and the Caribbean in the winter. When he returned to the island he saw a need for more services catering to the yachting industry.
“It’s a $32 billion a year industry. They come right past Bermuda. We may never be an Antigua or a St Barts, but we can certainly encourage more yachts to come here,” he said.
As such, his priority is getting the marina built.
“It would be great to see it come to fruition. Morgan’s Point and the [Hamilton] Princess are wonderful marinas — what that does is offer more choice to the yachts to make us a more legitimate destination. All of those things are positive in our eyes.”
He said the energy during the America’s Cup was a boost.
“It was the largest America’s Cup superyacht programme in history, on an island where we very rarely host more than one or two superyachts at a time.
“We went from two staff to 25 and we were catering to the needs of 80 superyachts. Bermuda got an amazing amount of exposure from the event in the yachting community.”
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