‘Be inspiring’ says BVI Governor Duncan
Skippers, sponsors, media and some volunteers who make the BVI Spring Regatta happen each year were kindly invited to Government House to celebrate the start of the three day regatta.
The Governor of the BVIs, John S. Duncan, OBE, and Principle of the Royal BVI Yacht Club, welcomed crews from over 14 different nations in celebration of this international sailing spectacle. Having had a day out on the water himself, on board one of the island’s historic sloops in the VP Bank Tortola Sloop Spring Challenge, sailing has become a new-found passion after being a keen windsurfer for many years.
His new-found interest encouraged the Governor to throw down the gauntlet to the Island’s Premier and Minister for Tourism, Dr. Orlando Smith, OBE:
“There’s a tradition in this territory of a race around the bay in August between The Premier and the Governor. The Premier remains unbeaten, so I am working hard to make sure that long reign is brought to an end before I leave. I think we can probably aim for an honourable defeat this year, by me!,” announced Governor Duncan to the delight of the sailors.
As an Ambassador, prior to becoming Governor of the BVI, he was inspired by many of the people he met in the sailing community after having the privilege to meet sailing characters such as Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail single-handed alone, around the world.
Royal seal of approval
There aren’t many regattas that can boast a good luck message from royalty! However, Governor Duncan recently met with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and bought back a message to pass on to the sailors at this year’s BVI Spring Regatta: “Fair winds to you all.” After handing over a pound of salt from Salt Island as rent in arrears for the past 10 years, which amused Her Majesty, she was interested to hear news of the regatta’s green initiatives and of the RBVIYC’s involvement and connection with other royal yacht clubs around the world.
2016 – A great event
Governor Duncan also announced that he had agreed with Premier Smith that next year’s BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival would be even bigger and better and would be included in The Great marketing initiative which brings together various parts of BVI culture, society and economies, in partnership with the Overseas Territories and the United Kingdom.
“The maritime history is something which unites us and we will profile what is great about the two communities. The strap line will be something like: ‘If you like sailing in Britain, then how about sailing in the British Virgin Islands’ and vice versa; ‘If you like sailing in the BVIs, then how about the other Britain?’ We really want a major effort for the 45th anniversary of the BVI Spring Regatta next year,” continued Governor Duncan.
Keeping the sloop heritage alive
After racing in the VP Bank Tortola Sloop Spring Challenge, Governor Duncan thanked Mr Leando Nibbs for donating a brand new boat to the Virgin Islands Maritime Museum and thanked Curator, Professor Geoffrey Brooks for all his hard work renovating and preserving the maritime heritage of these sloops.
“You will be sailing a lot in the Sir Francis Drake Channel,” said Governor Duncan to the BVI Spring Regatta sailors. “Today I was out there on one of those 100 year old sloops. They are a unique piece of maritime history and it was fantastic that a local businessmen, Mr Leando Nibbs has donated a brand new boat which he built himself after spending $70,000 building it as his personal challenge and goal. Very inspirational.”
Concluding, Governor Duncan said:
“I’d like to join Regatta Director, Judy Petz in thanking Nanny Cay and all the sponsors, and in particular the volunteers who work so hard. I’d like to wish you all a terrific few days and, remember, be inspiring. Think of all those great sailors who have done all those amazing things, even in these waters. I will see you all Sunday at the Awards Ceremony where I will be presenting prizes to the most inspiring of you over the next three days.”