Tortola Sloops at Nanny CayFor years, Tortola was a major boat-building island, gaining a reputation for wooden boats known as Tortola Sloops. They were used extensively throughout the greater Virgin Islands, in particular when it came to shipping cattle from Anegada to St. Thomas.

“These boats are a major part of maritime heritage here,” said Geoffrey Brooks, who curates the Maritime Museum at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College’s Centre for Applied Marine Studies.

While the boat style has remained appreciated in yachting circles for special events like Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regatta and the Sweetheart’s Cup, Mr. Brooks noticed several years ago that not many everyday VIslanders knew much about it, or about the crucial role the territory played in inter-island transport.

In an effort to promote understanding and appreciation for the boats, Mr. Brooks organises the annual Sloop Shootout, a race between the governor and the premier on traditional sloops.

Normally held on Watersports Tuesday, the day after Festival Monday in August, the event was delayed this year by rough seas, so it will held on Dec. 27 at Nanny Cay at 10 a.m.

Read this week’s BVI Beacon for more information!

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