The newly formed Virgin Islands Sloop Foundation (VISF) was launched last night at a Beach BBQ at Nanny Cay.
Memberships were sold with Geoff Brooks, author of Building A Virgin Islands Sloop, signing copies of his book for new members. Janet Oliver of the BVI Charter Society was the first member to sign up!
The Virgin Islands Sloop Foundation’s aim is to preserve the maritime heritage of the Virgin Islands by ensuring that the history and knowledge of traditional wooden boat building is passed on to future generations. 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.
The VISF is providing funding for materials and employment of two apprentices to restore the Sloops with the help of Geoff. Norissa deLeon and Chemoia Hodge are both graduates of the Introduction To Woodworking Course which was part of the Maritime Studies programme at the H Lavity Stoutt College. Jamel ¨Fiyah¨ Davies is the Foundations chairman. Jamel´s grandfather and uncle both built Tortola Boats and he is enthusiastically working on preserving this part of his heritage.
Jamel ¨Fiyah¨ Davies, chairman of the VISF, leading a school tour before Christmas
Nanny Cay has been supporting Virgin Islands Maritime Museum and the Tortola Boats programme for many years by providing free dockage and storage in the boatyard.