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2018 May June Marina World

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The magazine for the marina industry

Seawork 2016 Windsor

Seawork 2016 Windsor Racecourse Marina ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL BERTHING FACILITY BUILT BY WALCON 31 (0) 38 30 30 315 182x132mm_Marina World 2016_Tingdene.indd 1 09/12/2016 09:09

WATERFRONT DEVELOPMENTS 50 single-family homes and low-rise apartment buildings facing the yacht basin will have private slips at their back door. The two islands together encompass 19ha (47 acres) and the marina basin between the islands is 9ha (22 acres). The Ocean Reef Islands project has added 4km (2.5mi) of coastline to the country of Panama. The slip market Aleman’s original concept is evolving. John Matheson is president of F3 Marina, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His marina management firm was selected to manage marina operations. In the meantime, the company is assisting ownership in evaluating the market. Once completed, the market study will provide a final slip-mix target for the engineer. “We discovered that there is enormous potential to serve boaters from outside of Panama,” said Matheson, “especially in the superyacht community. The response to Ocean Reef Islands Marina at the 2018 Miami Boat Show demonstrated to us the extent of its international appeal.” Alain Guidice works with Matheson at F3 Marinas. A 25-year veteran of the marina and hospitality industry, Guidice is taking the pulse of the international market. “With 150 new yachts over 30m (100ft) launched each year,” said Guidice, “many of them much larger and extremely seaworthy, we see enormous opportunity for Panama as the gateway to the Galapagos and the entire Pacific. The typical Mediterranean-to-Caribbean superyacht route is getting crowded and owners are looking for something new. Panama has the canal but is an intriguing destination in its own right. That just adds to the allure.” Ocean Reef Islands Marina is a logical jumping off point for yachts going into the Pacific. “Once you leave Panama City you have to go a long way before you reach another major port,” said Aleman. “And we have so much to enjoy right here. In addition to sport fishing, we have world-class archipelagos on both sides of the Panama Canal. Best of all, we are located in the heart of Panama City and all the city has to offer to owners and guests on yachts.” As a result, the concept has evolved from a development primarily for Panamanians to a mix of Panamanian and international clientele, including Close-up CGI shows the new marina against a backdrop of huge office and hotel towers. international superyachts. “At first, we planned to have three slips for boats 30m (100ft) and longer,” said Aleman. “Our current mix includes eight superyacht slips from 30-50m (100-160ft), and we can accommodate yachts up to 61m (200ft). There will be 150 slips in the marina plus the 50 private docks along the shoreline inside the basin. We expect that the marina will be completed in about a year.” Engineering challenges While the tide changes about 0.6m (2ft) on the Atlantic side, 9m (16ft) changes are common on the Pacific, and there can be a long-period swell that carries significant energy into the marina if not dealt with by breakwaters. The mucky, soft soil that flushes out of the canal requires careful attention to the design of the dock anchoring system. Creating new land through land reclamation is not new to Panama. Just across the causeway from Ocean Reef Islands is Punta Pacifica, a point of land with huge office and hotel towers. It is also reclaimed land as is much of coastal Panama City. In fact, the actual mainland is about 2km (1.2mi) inland from Ocean Reef Islands. The challenge was the scope of the project and the shape of the islands. Aleman’s company purchased a rock quarry to facilitate construction and brought in land reclamation experts from, where else, the Netherlands. The shape of the islands was not trivial. Jack Cox, principal with SmithGroup JJR in Madison, WI, is the coastal engineer and marina designer for the Ocean Reef Islands Marina. “The coastline is sensitive to changes,” said Cox. “In order to win the permit, the shape of the islands and the breakwaters had to be geometrically designed so as not to interfere with the normal patterns of wind, waves and currents in a way that might damage the shoreline. The amoeba-like shape of the islands is designed to minimise those effects.” Long-period waves may not look impressive, but the energy they can exert on lines, cleats and piles is significant. “We have one breakwater built, and we are about to start the second one,” Cox confirmed. “The anchoring system will take special care to design because of the soft soil, but with all conditions put together it looks like we will use piles to ensure everything stays in place during tide changes. The superyacht docks will be heavy duty and will have the kind of electrical power large boats require.” A new destination Ocean Reef Islands Marina is an audacious project that will be a major step toward establishing a new, flourishing yachting destination in Central America. It will certainly encourage more superyacht owners to experience the Pacific. As we have read many times in this magazine, building brilliant projects such as Ocean Reef Islands requires men and women of spectacular vision who are not deterred by tough challenges. Alfredo Aleman is one of those special people without whom our marina world would be just another business. Robert Wilkes writes about the marina industry from Bellevue, WA, USA. - May/June 2018 19

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