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2015 Sloop Shootout goes to the Premier (Again); Martin Van Houten Honoured

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Premier and Minister of Tourism, Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith, received his Island Sloop Sailing Regatta Annual Festival Races trophy on the lawns of Nanny Cay last week for his victory in this year’s event.

Director of the Virgin Islands Studies Institute at the HLSCC, Dr. Angel Smith, presented Premier Smith and his team with the award recognising his office’s seventh victory in 12 years.

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This event, started in 2004, and better known as the ‘Sloop Shootout’, pits the incumbent Premier and Governor against each in a regatta held in the traditional Tortola Sloops during the August Emancipation Festival – when sloop races were traditionally held.

It is now a race between the two heads of Government – the Hon. Premier of the Virgin Islands and His Excellency, the Governor. The winner receives a perpetual trophy to display in their respective offices for a year until the next race occurs.

2015 was the twelfth year the event has been held.  The BVI’s premiers past and present lead the win/draw/lose tally with seven wins and two draws.

An important legacy of the rich seafaring past of the BVI can be found in the trading sloops, known as the Tortola Boats, designed and built in the BVI territory.  These sailing vessels were used by local entrepreneurs as early as the 18th century to ferry passengers and cargo around the Caribbean.  They ranged in length from 20-100 feet and became a solid cornerstone around which grew the culture and economy of the BVI.

The unique design made Tortola Boats immediately recognizable as they sailed between islands.  This important piece of BVI maritime history was almost lost when many of the vessels were sold or abandoned to rot after the advent of more modern sail and motor crafts.  The Virgin Islands Maritime Museum is dedicated to preserving this maritime heritage.

Nanny Cay is very pleased to support the Museum, and this important part of the BVI’s heritage, by hosting the burdgeoning fleet of Tortola Boats as they are discovered and restored by Professor Geoff Brooks and his team at the Virgin Islands Maritime Museum.

"This award is presented to Martin Van Houten for over 15 years of faithful dedication in preserving the Maritime Heritage of the Virgin Islands. "Presented this 8th day of October 2015 by the Virgin Islands Studies Institute at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College."

“This award is presented to Martin Van Houten for over 15 years of faithful dedication in preserving the Maritime Heritage of the Virgin Islands.
“Presented this 8th day of October 2015 by the Virgin Islands Studies Institute at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College.”

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