Ipswich firm builds giant Hollywood-style sign for superyacht marina in Caribbean
- Credit: HUDSON GROUP
An Ipswich signage company thought it was being pranked when a Caribbean superyacht marina commissioned a giant 11-metre high sign.
When Steve Flory, managing director of Hudson Group, received an email about building a bright pink, hurricane proof sign on the Caribbean island of Canouan he thought it was a friend winding him up.
"I'll be honest, I ignored it for a day thinking it was just a mate of mine," Mr Flory said.
"Then the next day we got this phone call through from a chap and he said 'Have you seen my email? You don't seem very enthusiastic about it?'.
"So I said: 'Oh yeah great. In a minute you'll turn around and tell me this is a joke.'
"And he replied 'No, it really isn't a joke'. I felt bad then."
The Hudson Group team were given just three months to design, manufacture and help erect the sign for the glamourous Sandy Lane Yacht Club.
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The yacht club caters to superyachts — offering 120 berths for yachts up to 100 metres long.
Mr Flory said: "It was quite an adventure really. We do a lot of large format signage, so we were used to doing that stuff but not sending it across the globe to a remote island in the Caribbean. It was challenging."
The aluminium sign is made up of 43 letters ranging in size from 1.5 metres to 3.6 metres tall and an 11-metre by 10-metre logo depicting two seahorses and an anchor.
As well as being eye-catching, the sign has to withstand the sometimes harsh Caribbean weather conditions. Its bright pink marine-grade powder coat is guaranteed for ten years, but it also has to withstand the occasional hurricane.
"It has to withstand 150 mile per hour gusts for up to three seconds," Mr Flory said. "The good thing about it is it went into rock. We were building it on the side of a cliff, so it was relatively straightforward from the structural engineers point of view."
Just shipping the sign to the Caribbean was a challenge.
Too big to be sent in one piece, it had to be carefully packed into two separate containers for the 4,250 mile journey.
Accompanying the sign was one of the firm's head fitters. After isolating for a week, he spent three weeks in the Caribbean helping to install the sign before returning home in December.
"It was a hectic, but fantastic, three or four months," Mr Flory said.