At a ceremony held on the lawns of the Nanny Cay Hotel, Premier, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE, received his trophy for winning this year’s “Island Sloop Sailing Festival Regatta Annual Festival Races”.
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.
2014 was the eleventh year the event has been held. The BVI’s premiers past and present lead the win/draw/lose tally with six wins and one draw – the inaugural race between Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith and Governor Macan resulted in the tie.
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.
At a recent event for the presentation of Intrepid to the Virgin Islands Museum, curator Professor Brooks said that: “The local sloops are central to understanding the culture of the Virgin Islands. They represent the resilience, talent, entrepreneurship and work ethic that has come to be associated with the people of these islands and has established us as one of the four major boat producing islands in the Lesser Antilles. The unique design, different from any other boat, adds to the mystery of their origin. They are truly one of a kind and their preservation is a task that is shared by the Government, the College, the business sector and the greater community.”
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.