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Virgin Islands

PROPERTY&YACHT

SEPT

2013

FREE ISSUE

FEATURE PROPERTY

ROCK HAVEN: Blends cutting-edge modernism with the Caribbean tropical environment

FACING THE FATE OF DINOSAURS Looking after sea turtles in the BVI ARTISTS’ CORNER Lisa Muddiman-Gray’s unique works of art


Keeping a steady course with your investments is a precondition for reaching your goals, whether you rely on our advice or entrust us to manage your portfolio along the course you have plotted. VP Bank – your partner.

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SEPT V i r g i n I s l a n d s

2013

FREE ISSUE

PROPERTY&YACHT

F e at u r e S

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Skipper’s Tips: September’s Song By David Blacklock

Sailing in September - a nostalgic experience

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An Odd-Shaped Space By David Gill

An architectural designer’s mission impossible

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Feed Two Birds with One Scone By Dana Miller

Solar power proves it’s moneysaving benefits

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Exc l u s i ve Featu re Pro p e rty: Ro c k Haven By Stephen L France

Superior contemporary living in the BVI

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Mariner’s Mecca

By David Blacklock

Boat Buyers flock to the BVI

34 Boats and Selling Yachts in

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Hurricane Season By Brian Duff

Facing the Fate of Dinosaurs By Paul Porter

Exploration into the leatherback sea turtles scenario in the BVI

38 BVI Property Market Predictions Prosperous Prophecies By Edward Childs

44 Hobby for the Hump A BVI

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Taste Cookbook Recipe By Stephen L France

Artists’ Corner By Stephen L France

Lisa Muddiman-Gray unveils the journey behind her unique brand of art designs

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Heading towards a sustainable future!

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Alternative Energy Systems


Edi t o r ' s L e t t e r , S e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 3

After living in the British Virgin Islands for several years, residents will notice the decisive and consistent switch in atmosphere that arrives on September’s summer wind. It’s a month that we appreciate as a moment to enjoy the true Caribbean pace advertised in all those warmly inviting commercials. Less motorists on the roads, a minimal amount of boats at sea, beaches for ‘temporary ownership’—at least it certainly feels that way—and European tourists taking advantage of Editor Stephen L France Publisher aLookingGlass Contributors David Blacklock David Gill Paul Porter Brian Duff Edward Childs Dana Miller Creative Director Nick Cunha Design & Layout Scott Taylor Web Developer Maros Pristas

the great vacation discounts, that arrive with West Indian summer. It provides a chance for all of us to pause and look forward to the future. Was 2013 the high season we hoped for? What will the 2013/2014 season bring? I’m sure many will agree that 2013 has been a peculiar year… Some businesses have seen their best months in June as opposed to the traditional peak time of Jan – April and it seems an epic challenge to make predictions about the economy. What’s most important is services in all industries have been working hard to further improve so that residents and visitors alike can continue to enjoy the luxury lifestyle afforded here. Keeping this in mind, we present an issue supporting this concept of progress. After two years, we return to Rock Haven in Cooten Bay with an exclusive feature where we see how contemporary modernism has synthesised perfectly to create an aesthetically pleasing fit with the beautiful surroundings of the British Virgin Islands. Two of our avid sailing scribes discuss the nature of yacht sales in the BVI during this month when boat buying can be extremely rewarding. We also review the leatherback sea turtle situation, following the conclusion of nesting season. With that, aLookingGlass wishes you a pleasant, relaxing month and looks forward to seeing you for our Reader’s Choice Awards event in October.

Sales & Marketing Stephen L France

Virgin Islands Property & Yacht is published eleven times a year (February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December/January) by aLookingGlass Ltd., Road Reef Plaza 6 and 7, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands VG1110. Copyright 2013 by aLookingGlass Ltd. All pieces reproduced in this issue are under prior copyright by the creators or by the contractual arrangments with their clients. Nothing shown may be reproduced in any form without obtaining the permission of the creators and any other person or company who may have copyright ownership. The publisher of VI Property & Yacht, assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the content placed in its publications. For the avoidance of doubt, aLookingGlass gives no warranty or guarantee in regards to any information placed in its publications.

Direct all inquiries to: Email: info@alookingglass.com Phone: 284-494-7788 Fax: 284-494-8777 Mail: aLookingGlass PO Box 3895 Sea Cows Bay Tortola, British Virgin Islands VG1110

Editorial and Business Office: aLookingGlass Ltd., Road Reef Plaza 6 and 7 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Web: www.alookingglass.com Email: info@alookingglass.com Phone: 284-494-7788 Fax: 284-494-8777 Mail to: aLookingGlass PO Box 3895 Sea Cows Bay Tortola, British Virgin Islands VG1110

Rock Haven boasts ultra-sleek modernism in a beautiful, tropical setting


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VIPY READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS We have received more completed surveys this year than ever before and amid tallying up the votes, we felt obliged and excited to reveal a few of the survey categories where the competition is both interesting and fierce. Best Restaurant: The Dove and Brandywine Estate Restaurant are literally neck and neck with exactly the same number of votes Best Real Estate Agency: Top two that are battling it out are Smiths Gore and Property BVI Best Daysail : This is perhaps the most interesting as there are four Daysail businesses with great potential to win this: Voyage, White Squall II, Aristocat and Kuralu Best Spa: In the luxury lifestyle world Peter Island Resort and Sole Spa have persuaded many that they are the top service against a multitude of options available in the BVI If there is a service or person that you feel deserves recognition and applause, speak now and fill out a survey online. Remember, all completed surveys are entered in for a raffle with a great prize. Look out for the October issue to find out if you are the winners of a night in Anegada Beach Club Hotel Complex and a dinner for two at the best voted restaurant.

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Skipper’s Tips:

September’s Song

By David Blacklock, Charter Captain and Sailing Instructor BVI & USVI

Every sailing magazine in the Northern Hemisphere will at some time in the year run a story about the British Virgin Islands—the ‘Sailing Capital of the World.’ And why not? Sailing is relatively easy, the environment is clean, the people friendly and the overall community vibe is that of a suburb in Miami. The BVI is the ideal Caribbean paradise for many; the culture is similar to that of mainland USA with baseball being bigger than cricket and basketball being more popular than both, and you have the great Caribbean climate – what more could you ask for? In September, the BVI is favoured by its visitors for a different reason. This month harbours the rare opportunity for the astute and learned tourist to slip away from civilization and anchor in a quiet cove here. Founded on serenity, calm and seclusion, the BVI built its reputation—‘Nature’s Little Secrets.’ For most visitors, the BVI is a family-friendly safe haven, and it is all the better for it, but some old-timers—visitors who have been coming to the territory’s shores since the 1970s—rue the day that the BVI became the go-to destination for the newly minted sailor. Unlike many visitors who enjoy the crowded anchorages of January through till April, they dream of the deserted beaches of September. These well-informed visitors know full well that they might be the only people at anchor in North Sound, or one of three boats stopping off in Anegada, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. The threat of storms is significant, but contemporary weather forecasting, not to mention insurance coverage, mean they can rely on a pretty benign experience.

The closing of restaurants doesn’t bother these sailors either—and why should it? Something they crave can be found on one of the many British Virgin Islands and there are still many establishments open, serving favourites like conch fritters, barbecued chicken or a mahi-mahi sandwich. Alternatively, cooking dishes off the back of the boat allows more flexibility with leisure time to wander a special locale like the Baths with no one else to slow you down—or make you want to speed up. The BVI is Paradise alright, for the solitary sailor and his close companions. That’s not a great marketing slogan, of course, and no one is getting rich off a single sailor sitting quietly at anchor in an empty cove, but isn’t that solitude one of life’s greatest pleasures? Where else can one go in the world where not only is the sailing fun, the scenery beautiful and the facilities first rate, but the peace and quiet are almost guaranteed. Now, that’s luxury That’s September’s Song.

www.vipropertyyacht.com

September 2013

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An OddShaped Space – An Architectural Designer’s Mission Impossible

By David Gill, Marketing and Design Director – DGlifestyles.com, Photography by Norman Allen - provided by DGlifestyles.com

One might ask, “Why the descriptive phrase an ‘odd-shaped’ space?” The featured ‘space’ coined the phrase due to the fact that during the initial phase of construction in the early 1900s, the former contractor saw it more cost effective to construct the building around a huge boulder, that to this day still rests in the middle of the foundation.

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This resulted in a series of odd diagonally-shaped walls that run along the circumference of the boulder on the first-level of the building. Due to the initial building process, the first-level of the building—which is the area being renovated—has been reduced to half its actual size by a diagonal line. This divides the area of the boulder from the workable office space. Mission Impossible Despite the drastic reduction in a workable office area—primarily due to the huge boulder projecting into the building—our client highlighted their ambitious appeal for: - - - -

Three closed offices for lawyers A file and data room A conference room for eight A lobby area and a reception

The initial request was then shortly followed by an extra wish: “…and by some stretch of the imagination, please try to squeeze in an additional area for two secretaries.” Astonishing – this would be a challenging feat and for a moment, my jaw dropping reaction showed signs of disbelief at my client’s request. Structural Solution Based on the workable space, it seemed like ‘Mission Impossible,’ or was it? As my ‘Ethan Hunt’ mentality geared into action, I devised what we had to do: (i) The standard size partition walls of 5 inches could not be used or we would quickly run out of workable office space. Based on our calculations, we had to ensure that the walls were no more than 3 inches in width to permit creation of all the divisions that our client requested. (ii) The use of a standard swing-door was also out of the question, as the hallway was only 4 ½ feet in width, which is just a little wider than a standard office door. If standard swing-doors were used, it would be impossible for a person to walk through the hallway while an office door was open. Additionally, having the door swinging in would be impractical, as it would drastically reduce the workable space in the enclosed private office. At the end of my assessment, a solution was eminent. By using 1 ⅝ inch structural metal tracks for the foundation and 2x4 lumber as the frame-walls, we were able to reduce our walls from 5 inches to 2.5 inches, while still maintaining the recommended structural strength in the walls. These walls were then packed with soundproof insulation to dampen the sound travel through the already thin walls, and further covered over with gypsum board (sheet-rock) for a clean finish. The doors were another resourceful and stylish idea. By eliminating swing type doors and installing wall-hung chrome and frosted glass doors, we not only made the space functional, but also added the first focal-point element to the new office.

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September 2013

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Focal Points Amidst the stunning wall-hung doors, there was yet another focal point that came into play. Due to the challenge of a small workable area, we had to create a break in the monotonous flow of the walls. If we ignored this element, we would produce a claustrophobic effect and further diminish the possibility of harnessing a positive, breathable, inspiring environment required in an office. In achieving this transformation, we looked to the irregular distorted visual-effect created by the installation of stack-stone walls. We also found that the white stack-stone walls visually magnified the entire space where it was used. With this in mind we ran the stack-stone walls along the entire perimeter of the reception area and further down to the lobby. This tactic gave the illusion that both units were merged into one larger unit, hence creating a more open space. This visual stratagem of opening the space also has a psychological effect of creating a more breathable work environment, conducive to productivity while simultaneously adding character to the unit.

Lighting When working with small-spaces, it is important to avoid using ‘directlighting’, as this will just give the visual effect that the space is even smaller than its actual size. Based on this knowledge, we ensured that all our recessed lights ran along the perimeter walls and were adjusted to focus outward onto the stack-stone walls. This produced the effect of ‘indirect reflective lighting’ – a tactic that visually expands the size of small rooms to appear larger than their actual size. The tan coloured walls and white stacked-stones also enhanced the reflection of the ‘indirect-lighting’ technique, which worked perfect in visually opening the space.

In the architectural world, an odd shaped room can appear deceiving, but with the right vision and design techniques, that room can be transformed into a unique, classic work of art.

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September 2013

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Green and hawksbill sea turtles forage in near-shore coastal waters unlike the open water leatherbacks Photo by Steve Simonsen

By Paul Porter. Photography by Steve Simonsen and CFD. Dr Shannon Gore, Marine Biologist of Conservation & Fisheries contributed to this article

Imagine you’re a fisherman. Along with your intended catch, your net scoops a creature six foot long, weighing between 500–1500lbs with a brownish-black back and white spots – you’re looking at a leatherback turtle.


They’ve been around longer than dinosaurs, provide some of the best marine-life viewing, and unfortunately, untold numbers die unnecessarily because they get trapped in nets. Sinkey Boone was a fisherman with a conscience and a deep love for marine life. This attitude combined with his inventor’s mind-set, encouraged him to create a special tool called a Turtle Excluder Device (TED) in the 1970s, that allowed captured sea turtles, like the common green sea turtle (left) and the leatherbacks to escape fisherman’s nets. Nevertheless, the incredible size of the leatherback— which has been part of its fascinating allure—is also its downfall as they are occasionally too large to fit through the TEDs. Still, Sinkey had the right idea with regard to protection and conservation of this endangered species and all residents in the BVI have a part to play. Joel Dore, BVI’s lead team member for leatherback research at the Conservation and Fisheries Department (CFD) relayed some facts and figures in a recent phone interview, that exhibit how important their preservation is: “The BVI protects leatherback turtles and lists them as an endangered species. Killing them… is illegal.” Dore went on to say that although poaching is not an issue found in the BVI, that’s not the case throughout the Caribbean: “Unfortunately, harvesting for medicinal use…throughout the Caribbean still goes on.” Dore advised there are only “10-15 adult females right now in the BVI, however, there were 15-25 around 25-30 years ago.” While the main cause of their diminishing numbers is unknown, and impossible to quantify, Dore says trawling is suspect.

Reported activity of leatherbacks nesting is said to be 30–70 times a year, but this takes part every 2–3 years; the CFD have been tagging leatherbacks since 2001, which is how they know they don’t come in annually. During one season, they can lay as many as 8 nests. Time between nesting is 9 – 12 days, which is why we only have 10–15 individual nesting turtles, one nesting several times a season. They build their nests and deposit their eggs only on tropical and subtropical sandy beaches, and return to birth beaches like other sea turtles. During nesting season which lasts from MarchJuly, leatherbacks in the BVI lay 50-180 eggs, that hatch 58-62 days after. The hatchlings are about 2 inches long (5cm) and weigh 1.6 ounces (45.8 g). According to CFD’s Dr Shannon Gore, leatherbacks primarily nest on the north shore beaches of Tortola, Beef Island, and Anegada; one nested on Virgin Gorda earlier this year, but may have been a first time nester based on her small size. Although they nest in the warm climates, adult leatherbacks also easily adapt to cold water. They are known to go as far north as Alaska, Canada, and New England, in water below 40 degrees Fahrenheit--they are the only reptile known to endure such a low temperature. They adapt to cold due to their ample body fat and other physical traits like their insulating layer of subepidermal fat or flippers with counter-current heat exchangers. Leatherbacks have broad thermal tolerances and adults are known to dive up to 4,922 feet (1,500 meters) in cold water with their unique ability to regulate body temperature.

Top: Baby Leatherback Hatchlings Above: Sandy Point Wildlife Refuge, St Croix : Photos by Steve Simonsen

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September 2013

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Green Turtle: Photo by Steve Simonsen

As ancient ocean dwellers inhabiting Earth for 150 million years now, leatherbacks are pelagic and make long migrations with their deep diving capabilities. Their life cycle is predominantly in open water compared to green and hawksbill sea turtles that forage in near-shore coastal waters, hence the reason why we don’t see leatherbacks like we see other species. Leatherbacks follow jellyfish migrations—being their primary food source—and can be identified by their distinctive rubbery skin on their back instead of a shell. A hydrodynamically shaped body and paddle limbs, make them well-adapted swimmers, but tragically not enough to escape the fishing nets that incidentally gather them along with intended catch like shrimp. Leatherbacks killed by shrimp catches alone prompted the U.S. in the late 1980s, to require all U.S. trawling shrimp boats to use TEDs; two years later the U.S. expanded that requirement to include nonU.S. shrimp catches intended for U.S. markets. While drowning due to entanglement in fishing gear remains a major cause of leatherback deaths, TEDs are attributed with diminishing those deaths significantly. Natural hazards for leatherbacks include predators like ghost crabs, herons, dogs, mongooses, and ants consuming their eggs, but what does the future look like for the BVI dwellers? Are they to face the fate of dinosaurs—who they have outlived—and will we lose this incredible Leatherback Turtle in Trunk Bay, Tortola: Photo by CFD

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spectacle of BVI marine wildlife? Dore says the CFD is “hoping that within the next ten years, a non-profit organisation will be created in order to aid them with turtle research.” Dore added, “We need help.” Leatherbacks have a current worldwide population of between 30,000 and 40,000 and remain on the endangered species list in the BVI, the U.S., and throughout the world. What can residents and visitors of the BVI do? Most importantly, give leatherbacks their space when they are land-bound. “Those that witness a nesting leatherback need to be respectful of those people tagging and measuring,” said Dr Shannon Gore. “We [the CFD] now have bright red shirts that say ‘sea turtle research team’ on the back.” People have a tendency to want photos sitting on top of the turtle or will accost the creatures in other ways considered as harassment by the CFD. It is in those moments of excitement and wonder at the rare sight of a leatherback, that people must be humble in the face of this heroic species that has transcended unfathomable time.


FEED THE BIRDS

WITH ONE SCONE Renewable Energy in the BVI‌ nothing but good news By Dana Miller, Operations Manager – Alternative Energy Systems (AES) Photography provided by AES

The old phrase killing two birds with one stone seems wrong when you are talking about something good. And this is really good; however, if you live in a cave, under a rock or simply prefer candlelight, then this article is not for you. www.vipropertyyacht.com

September 2013

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For the rest of us who enjoy the comfort of electricity and modern conveniences, there is very good news, but like any positive information worth sharing, first I must deliver the not so pleasant bad part. In the British Virgin Islands (BVI), there is a high cost to electricity usage as many will be aware. In fact with the exception of a few other island nations like Tonga and our neighbours in the USVI, this region sees the highest electricity rates on the planet. There is a good reason for this – the infrastructure required to generate and distribute electricity costs a great deal of money because it is spread over a small population rather than a large one. Therefore, the rate per person is higher. Diesel is a particularly costly fossil fuel that is used in the BVI to create electricity from the power plant. Diesel and other fossil fuels have been rising in cost over time and it is highly likely that the cost will continue to escalate. In the BVI, we utilize the centralised distribution model where electricity is produced in a few facilities and distributed through the grid to specific outlets, creating hefty electricity bills. Here’s the good part: renewable energy systems—alternative sources that have proven to provide a cheaper electricity bill—can be integrated on a large utility commercial scale and on smaller residential applications. For this reason, renewable energy systems tend to foster a more decentralised distribution model where there are many smaller systems feeding into the utility distribution system, or operating independently from the utility entirely.

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This trend towards decentralisation can already be seen in the outlying isles Peter Island, Cooper Island, Norman Island, Guana Island, Moskito Island, Neckar Island, Eustatia Island, Scrub Island, Bellamy Cay and Little Jost Van Dyke. These islands produce their own power and many of them integrate a renewable energy source into their power production, or are in the planning stages for implementation. Plans to integrate solar power production into BVI Anegada’s energy mix are already underway. The reason these organisations and islands integrate renewable energy into their power grid is simple. It’s less expensive. When analysing the cost of diesel power generation—maintenance, labour, diesel and diesel delivery—it becomes clear that the payback on renewable energy power production is a fantastic trade off – estimated at 5 years. In the case of Cooper Island Beach Club, the payback was approximately 3 years on its solar electric / battery-based hybrid system. This valuation does not take into account the added value to an individual’s property when a renewable energy system is installed. It is revealed that investment into renewable energy at the utility scale would be cost effective in the long run while boosting the country’s energy independence and security. This investment would open up new markets and create jobs in the renewable energy industry while providing millions of dollars in savings on diesel fuel. For private homeowners, this would be rewarded in an amicable budget for luxuries or simply an easier shopping bill. The main incentive for the BVI is that the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC)


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needs to meet the growing energy demands of the territory. However, where can the money come from for this investment in renewable energy? The answer is to divert further spending from expansion of diesel energy power production to renewable energy sources and battery storage facilities, but there’s an even better solution – let the private sector donate towards the expansion.

It becomes clear that the payback on renewable energy power production is a fantastic trade off – estimated at 5 years. At the moment, private homeowners will most likely see their electricity meter spin one way – forward. The numbers on the dial steadily increase causing nausea, cold-sweats, dizziness and frustration. Do not despair. There is a cure to this insanity – the Net-Meter. This is a meter that spins forwards and backwards. If you have a renewable energy system on your house and you are producing more electricity than you are consuming, then the numbers on the meter will begin to decrease.

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September 2013

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Go Play. Leave the work to us. From conception to completion, we have the depth and experience to advise on a broad range of legal issues – from title verification, planning and design approval, through to corporate structuring and financing. This is why hundreds of buyers and sellers, including every five star resort in the BVI, have turned to us for representation in real estate.

R E A L E S TAT E

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+1 (284) 494 5808 Contact: Willa Tavernier wtavernier@onealwebster.com www.onealwebster.com

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If individuals in the BVI were permitted to install a Net-Meter then they could produce energy for less than utility rates. With individuals investing into power production, they can help the BVIEC meet the growing energy demand while reducing their own power bill. As an additional bonus, this solar power production would be greatest during the times when air conditioning units are at peak demand. I know what you are thinking at this point. Great! Save money, save the planet. You are not alone. The BVIEC recognises these benefits and the BVI Electrical Inspection Unit is working on a procedure for application and inspection of renewable energy systems. Meanwhile, draft legislation has been drawn up for changing the law that prohibits residents from producing their own primary power. This draft legislation is being submitted to the house of assembly, hopefully, in the near future. Once the new law is passed it will open up a new energy industry in the BVI which will create skilled jobs, save property owners money and provide a prosperous future. Nothing but good news – unless you have withdrawn from the comforts of civilisation and dwell in a cave.


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September 2013

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a mariner’s

By David Blacklock, Charter Captain and Sailing Instructor – BVI & USVI Photography by Dan O’Connor

MECCA

When yacht buyers from Australia, Brazil or Norway—that is, buyers with spending money—are looking to obtain a good used boat, they often buy a ticket to the British Virgin Islands. Discerning buyers with an eye for a former charter yacht, particularly the larger catamarans, find that the BVI has a large assortment, is easy to reach, and with transactions denominated in U.S. dollars, deals are easily consummated. Buyers from different countries have their favourites: the Aussies and New Zealanders are particularly fond of the Simonis-Voogd Leopard catamaran designs of a few years back, particularly the 4500 and 4700 – these were favourites of the crews who ran them for The Moorings too and several of those couples bought the very boats they had worked on as employees, after having ensured they were maintained in top-notch fashion in their final years of corporate service.

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I spoke to a couple of Aussies recently, Pete Smith and Bob Wilson, who were about to leave for Panama and the Pacific. They bought their boat—a Leopard 4500—in the BVI because, as Pete said, “It’s a reliable place to do business. It’s fairly easy to get to, there’s good support systems in place, and the selection is fantastic.” It didn’t hurt, he said, that “Guys love these boats back home. I’ll be able to sell it on for a good number if I want to.”

“It’s a reliable place to do business. It’s fairly easy to get to, there’s good support systems in place, and the selection is fantastic.” Many European buyers like the Jeanneau and Bavaria models that are priced well—the Norwegians in particular. Supply is good in the BVI, since the top-tier charter companies have a limit on the number of years they’ll keep a boat in their fleets. A lot of those boats come available after five years, and there is a reliable supply. One yacht sales professional—who wouldn’t be identified for publication—said that virtually everyone operated in the shadow of the TUI sales office representing The Moorings, Sunsail and Footloose boats, since “they have a constant supply, with new boats coming on all the time. They have to turn fibreglass into cash and often they’ll have several of the same model available at the same time. It’s basically an auction, and a smart allcash buyer can get a bargain.” He tried not to compete, he said, but sold his brand on its unique set of benefits. “But sometimes it’s all about the price,” he admitted. The charter companies such as Horizon, TMM and BVI Yacht Charters all have their own brokerage services for new and used yachts. Some are boats they’ve acquired as a part-payment on another yacht they might have sold, but most are boats being moved out of their fleets. Not every buyer is in the market for a generic 40-something footer, though. The specialty brokers, such as BVI Yacht Sales or Southern Trades, have their niches. BVIYS seems to handle a number of private well-cruised yachts that have done serious travelling. Their current listings of sailing yachts run the scale from $1 million to $29,000 with a median less than $200,000. Southern Trades seems to handle a number of premium large charter catamarans, some in the high six to medium seven figure brackets. It’s a mark of the priorities of the local market that whilst BVI Yacht Sales lists 61 sailboats, they show just nine power yachts. One caveat about buying a boat out of the charter fleets of course is that you are basically buying a rental car. In some cases, it has been beaten up in its hard life of service and maintained in a keep-it-running fashion. Many of the specialty charter yachts from the big builders such as Beneteau are equipped in ways that might compare badly with a similar boat being sold to the general public. Winches are often sized a bit smaller and the quality of interior fittings might not be as good as on their “civilian” counterparts. Generally, though, these differences are reflected in the pricing and a smart buyer with access to cash can find an excellent yacht for their buck. www.vipropertyyacht.com

September 2013

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Words by Stephen L France

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Rock Haven —a one-of-a-kind BVI property located in Cooten Bay residential estate— stands as testament to strategic construction, that boasts ultra-sleek modernism in a beautiful, tropical setting.

Easily heralded as the personification of relaxation, comfort and luxury living, the design of this attractive, newly-built abode emerged with the desire to take advantage of core aspects that brand the BVI as the coveted locale for owning property. Positioned on the north coast of Tortola, the vital attributes of the perfect, peaceful view, a fresh open-plan design, and interior and exterior luxury living, are all motivating factors propelled to the extreme at Rock Haven.

www.vipropertyyacht.com

September 2013

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Spartan and fully adaptable,

the property is a beautiful template ready for owners to personalise to their preferences and requirements. With the advice of renowned realtors, who relayed their expertise on what creates the ideal living-space in the BVI and guidance from an executive chef from the U.S. to grant the kitchen an al fresco, social feel, the property serves as a home that can cater to all occupants, ranging from a large family to a retired couple. Situated in Cooten Bay residential estate, which is comprised of one acre lots, the construction of Rock Haven has the remarkable duel benefit of being part of a community and retaining privacy for the feel of seclusion. It possesses easy accessibility to Road Town—Tortola’s hub for shopping needs—pristine white sand beaches like Josiah’s and Little Bay, and the main airport Beef Island a short drive away. A smooth, concrete road paves way to the property’s entrance where two private driveways provide ample space for a minimum of six vehicles – a fantastic amenity for accommodating social gatherings. Entering the property, limestone steps to the left of the foyer—that give the room two levels and enhance its character—lead to the L-shaped,

spacious lounge complete with the composed dining area, state of the art kitchen and high-vaulted ceilings. The kitchen is a flawless, tactical creation acting as a communal facility for entertaining guests as well as the ideal culinary experience. Featuring ‘River of Gold’ granite countertops, a Canadian maple cabinetry with high end appliances and a vast pantry fit for mass food storage, cooks from amateur level to professional will be greatly contented producing their best cuisine. The outside dining area which neighbours a pizza oven and barbecue, affords variety to the dining experience. Constructed with four bedrooms and four and a half en suite bathrooms, each with their own private terrace, walk-in closet and A/C, luxury is at its pinnacle. The master bedroom’s bathroom has a spectacular glass roof benefiting from natural light and a Jacuzzi feature for extra comfort. The forth bedroom is optional to function for a live-in maid, an office or as another family sleeping area, further flaunting the customisation benefits. A deluxe heated outdoor swimming pool has spa qualities with swim jets, a lighting feature that has the capability to synchronise with a stereo system to create an animated disco appearance or smooth spa-like ambiance, and a waterfall feature. Remote control over the pool, allows for easy regulation, more leisure time and great entertainment for guests.

The sea, the sky, the wildlife, the water-sports enthusiasts and regular traffic of sailors with their astonishing yachts, contribute to the evermorphing scene from the property.

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Above: The master bedroom and bathroom (opposite page) which features a spectacular glass roof benefiting from natural light. Top: Cooten Bay; a unique view that changes with every single hour.

www.vipropertyyacht.com

September 2013

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Bottom Left: The spacious lounge complete with the composed dining area. Left: The kitchen stands out as the ideal culinary experience.

The use of the most durable, maintenance-free materials and fixtures like exterior stainless steel railings and stairs, mean residents can spend considerably more time relaxing and enjoying their living-space. Utilisation of cutting-edge technology installed throughout the property permits wireless features and remote control with modern-day devices IPad or IPhone for electronics like security cameras and surround-sound music. With all these contemporary features, Rock Haven captures the soul of modern living in the tropical climate of the BVI. Architect Brian Edmund collaborated with the current owner to take full advantage of the perspectives. Covered and uncovered, spacious veranda options improve enjoyment of the prestigious view by possessing the choice. The property faces east granting residents the magnificence of the sunrise every morning and the activity of the vibrant Cooten Bay; a unique view that changes with every single hour. The sea, the sky, the wildlife, the water-sports enthusiasts and regular traffic of sailors with their astonishing yachts, contribute to the evermorphing scene from the property. Spanning decades, residents will see a different view every day with all these variables at play. At times, the water will be a gentle ambiance; then, it will make for a surfer’s mecca, giving devout patrons of the sport their greatest waves. Pelicans will cut through

the air, diving for fish in the sea and fly into the beautiful horizon. If lucky, residents may even catch sight of the much desired exhibition of the dolphins – the view is an on-going, entertaining show promoting nature’s glory. Afternoons bestow cool flora-infused breezes and a sky full of vivacious colours. The sunset behind the property changes the entire shade of the atmosphere, creating a natural, warm pink hue. The unrivalled, incredible sea and landscapes include the infinity of the Atlantic Ocean, Cooten Bay, Josiah’s Bay, Little Bay, Great Camanoe, the tip of Virgin Gorda and Guana Island with the Dogs in the distance. Additionally, residents are granted the unique treat of the moon’s powerful appearance, turning the entire bay into bright, shimmering, white radiance. The property is well lit with white lights attached on the underside of the stainless steel balcony giving it a slick glow. Being located fifteen minutes from Trellis Bay, there are always plenty of activities available to residents. The incredible spectacle of the monthly fireball full-moon party is a globally renowned attraction with a variety of boutiques on the beach and a community of sailors. An enigmatic and attractive attribute about living in the British Virgin Islands, is its unique knack for revealing new locations to even the most versed resident of the region. With all these attributes in mind, Rock Haven’s luxury living specifications are as promised as the romantic sunrise that the elegant BVI property sees every day. www.vipropertyyacht.com

September 2013

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Frolicking

with the FLOW

Artists’ Corner: Lisa Muddiman-Gray By Stephen L France.

Like her distinctive artistic ability, Lisa Muddiman-Gray’s path to the professional art world was an impulsive and unique journey. 30

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One that has resulted in her development of skills in batik, watercolour painting

textiles,” Lisa discovered she had a fondness for the fashion and textiles side of the art world. This compelled her to advance to the next level in applying to do a BSc Honours degree in textile design. Learning the intricate details of textiles involving knitting, printing, woven textiles, quality control and textile history, comprised this four-year degree, which drew out her profound passion for the art form. “My third year [of the course]… was working at an African batik company in Manchester England where we designed batiks that were printed and shipped to Kenya. That’s where I fell in love with the whole process of batik.” The creative procedure of batik is a complicated design style and Lisa explained: “Batik is normally associated with fabrics.

and the crafting of her own frames – an intricate segment that completes many pieces she has produced. As is universal with students of the creative arts who have graduated into the professional arena, Lisa has her own unique journey to relay starting with her days in the UK where she noticed her particular talent for art: “I remember being at school and winning an art prize, so I thought, this is for me,” she said simply of her decision to progress in the art world, but there’s nothing simple about the pieces she creates. Following her education in “A-level Art at school [in the UK] and then an intense art foundation course for one year, which covered graphic design, fine art, ceramics, photography, fashion and

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3:16 PM


It’s the use of wax and the wax acts as a resist against dye…the fabric’s dyed traditionally with indigo coloured dye. Then you will find they crack the wax and re-dye it and the dye seeps through where the cracks are… other colours can be added later and printed on.” Relaying her knowledge of the world of batiks, she further explained: “Indonesian batiks are often like smaller designs, more repetitive, lots of dots used, more subdued colours, often browns and yellows.” Influenced by her knowledge of global art and desire to explore the world, Lisa started her travels with her first destination as the BVI. Ironically, the allure of the region put an abrupt halt on her world tour “…the BVI was actually my first stop. After I decided this was where I was going to live for a while. I applied for a trade licence and I was still very heavily influenced by my textiles and I knew I wanted to paint, but I wanted to do fabrics.” The artist has now lived in the BVI for 22 years, inspired by the colours and the water—scuba diving when she first arrived—all acting as attractions for her art work. “If I had stayed in England I don’t think I would have been painting and owned an art gallery,” she said, indicating that the move to the BVI was a huge influence over the course of her life and career.

“If I had stayed in England I don’t think I would have been painting and owned an art gallery,” Despite her desire to continue with textiles, use of fabrics was prohibited in her new found business venture, so Lisa—knowing she wanted to continue with her skills in batiks—developed a technique where she utilised the wax on paper. Although Lisa speculates that others have attempted this, at the time, she considered it a novel approach, which developed into her trademark – batik on paper. When she paints, she melts her wax which is a mixture of paraffin wax—which is very brittle—and bee’s wax, which is soft. “I have my little combination,” she said. “I melt the wax in an old Baked Beans tin in a pot of water on a stove. The tool I use is a tjanting…it’s an Indonesian tool. It’s like a pipe with a little nib on the end. I dip that in the hot wax and draw with that on plain paper. The temperature of the wax determines the speed at which it flows so often I have very little control.” “I may drop a couple of drops of wax, but those just become incorporated into the design. Then I apply my paint and I often saturate areas of the paper so it spreads the paint. Some areas restrict the paint flow where they are enclosed in with the wax lines and then in other areas it will just break free. I often feel that when I am painting, the painting creates itself.” Seeing patterns in nature was a huge driving force for Lisa’s work and a lot of those intricate details became her subjects as is evident from her creations. As an agent for many renowned BVI artists like Jill Tattersall, Christine Taylor and Jinx Morgan, Lisa has found inspiration in their community. Being a watercolour artist as well—a very popular art form in the BVI—she has found that their ideas and education, whether formal or self-taught,

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allows them to collaborate and encourage each other. Nevertheless, she is more partial toward batik: “There are so many techniques and rules [in watercolour art]. I don’t remember having any proper lessons at school or college to teach me how to do watercolours. It was all self-taught and I wasn’t very good at following the rules,” she said. “I think that’s why I love the batik, because they’re my rules.” The additional skill to Lisa’s repertoire, is her production of frames which she has been creating for 7 years and form part of her art works as a personalised touch. The triangle framed works she is known for can be hung to their desired preference and have become a part of her tailored brand. With all this in mind, Lisa has created a conspicuous trademark for herself in the BVI. It is highly likely that many residents and visitors that pass through have one of her creations decorating their wall.


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September 2013

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By Brian Duff, Yacht Broker – BVI Yacht Sales

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Every year here in ‘Natures Little Secrets’, we go through a season cycle. This is linked directly to the traditional origins spanning centuries where trade and travel were conducted by sail and sea;

www.vipropertyyacht.com

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this is perhaps not so justified in today’s age of air travel, backup power generators, constant satellite communication as well as phenomenal weather forecasting technology. However, the fact is old habits die hard – therefore September—deep hurricane season— translates as ‘the slow season’. Shops close and most private boats get hauled and put away during June or July. The majority of the charter fleets follow suit, putting away their boats in August with September often being the most likely month for actually seeing storm activity. With so many boats to store away, the boatyards are literally packed full and few remain afloat. When boats are stored, they are stacked many rows deep into a yard, unable to be launched until the end of the season – traditionally November. This means boats that are hauled—whether for sale or not—are often stuck for the duration.

With so many boats to store away, the boatyards are literally packed full and few remain afloat.

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When considering buying a boat during this time of year, buyers have to be aware of this fact and prepared to make their purchase with a different process than might be employed during other times of the year. A typical purchase process involves a complete survey inspection of a vessel—including launching if on land or hauling if in the water—to check the bottom, test the engines and other systems that require water to cool or operate effectively. Many buyers are also concerned to have a chance to sail the boat—if she is a sailboat—feel the balance of the helm as well as how much or little she heels, and how it is to move around on the boat. However, when all the boats are hauled and stored in such a way that they cannot be launched, this boat buying process cannot be done in its standard fashion. What we see instead is a few different tactics employed. Many experienced boat buyers will come at this time of year and make offers with aggressively low pricing, believing that few buyers purchase this month of hurricane season. Coupled with the relatively low offer prices, will often be a very basic set of conditions, making the offer a bit ‘easier to swallow’ for sellers. Instead of the normal survey and sea-trial with results acceptable to the buyer’s conditions that constitute the normal procedure, these experienced boat owners or buyers will make an offer with the only term being ‘personal inspections only’ or even ‘no further conditions,’ which equates to a buy-itnow-offer. Making offers with such basic demands—particularly the ‘no further conditions’ clause—will typically result in the lowest price possible for a boat accompanied with the highest risk to the buyer. For those interested in making a steal of a purchase during the slow of summer, but without so much risk, the best method would be to make an offer with the terms being ‘survey and engine trials on land only.’ Then the smart boat buyer would proceed to arrange with a surveyor and a mechanic to visit the location on the big survey day, where the boat will be completely inspected by the surveyor, as well as the engine set up with a

Dec

Nov

Oct

Sep

Aug

July

June

May

Apr

Mar

Feb

Average Monthly Yacht Sales for the BVI 2009-2012

Jan

16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0

water reservoir for trials on land to prove its operation and condition. When this is done, it’s important to understand that some aspects like autopilots and bow thrusters still cannot be checked, but the major items such as the hull, engine and rigging are accessible and can be inspected. Therefore, boats can be safely bought with a low level of risk, during this season. It’s interesting to note (see graph below), based on the past 4 years of sales traffic, that although summer is traditionally slow, and September is typically the highest likely month for hurricane activity, it is actually still a good month for yacht sales in the BVI. It would seem that savvy buyers, who are aware of the potential for great prices with the depth of experience to confidently take the risks associated, are able to make smart purchases. It is encouraged for visitors and residents alike to visit the boatyards in Road Town or Nanny Cay and have a look around. Even if you are not buying, it’s amazing to see so many yachts in such a tight space.

www.vipropertyyacht.com

September 2013

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BVI PROPERTY MARKET PREDICTIONS

Prosperous Prophecies

L

By Edward Childs, Director - Smiths Gore

ooking ahead to 2014, we are often asked how we see the property market shaping up for the next high season. Do we expect more sales activity? Will prices rise? Will my house sell? These are challenging questionsafter such a long period of relative inactivity following the recessionary years after 2007. As predictions normally come back to haunt those who make them, looking at some statistics can help define what may happen as we approach the end of the year. With our residential market primarily focused on North American investors, key economic indicators from this market give some clues about how investors are likely to view the next twelve months.

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ARCHITECTURE • RESORT DESIGN • DEVELOPMENT CONSULTING • MASTER PLANNING • INTERIOR DESIGN

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3/8/2012 12:58:41 PM September 2013


Interior Design and Project Management New York

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Beverly Hills

Published by aLookingGlass Ltd.

www.PiperHertneck.com Caribbean


as we pass the mid-point of the summer this year, the improvement in the US economy appears to have maintained an overall positive outlook

Although higher than expected GDP data for the US economy was released at the end of July, showing an annualized growth rate of 1.7%, the underlying growth for the second quarter was still modest, at only 0.4% (compared with 0.6% in the UK), mainly due to US Government spending cuts beginning to bite. The general improvement in the US economy, combined with the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates close to zero, has helped the stock market rise to record levels in recent weeks. At the same time, the housing market experienced a slight, unexpected, dip as borrowing rates started to rise, anticipating that the Federal Reserve would cut its stimulus measures, leading in turn to a rise in interest rates. Overall, while the indicators are more positive than negative, it remains a slow path to recovery. In previous issues of the Virgin Islands Property and Yacht, we have commented on the cyclical nature of this recession and recovery period, where any gain in market confidence experienced in the winter months seems to be offset by depressing economic data in the summer months. However, as we pass the mid-point of the summer this year, the improvement in the US economy appears to have maintained an overall positive outlook, which we hope will result in more interest from US investors next season. Even though European economies remain in recession, this can sometimes have a positive effect for the Caribbean region, encouraging investors to look for alternative markets and, occasionally, lead to the acquisition of a property here in the BVI. The overall fall in the number of villa sales in recent years has resulted in a corresponding rise in the unsold inventory of villas on the market. While we are hopeful of an increase in enquiries again over the next twelve months, prospective purchasers will be faced with a much wider choice of properties than ever before. Many villa owners are “waiting for the right offer�, but there are plenty of others who remain keen to sell and move on to the next stage of their lives.

www.vipropertyyacht.com

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It may be a while before equilibrium between supply and demand is restored and in the meantime, as long as purchasers have so much choice and competition to sell remains strong, vendors should not expect to see prices rising. The commercial property market in the BVI is more insulated against the vagaries of the world economy as it is dominated by local purchasers. Prime commercial real estate seldom becomes available on the market, although if bank repossessions rise as a result of continued strains within the local economy, this could change. Concerns remain about the future of the financial sector, although there has been a trickle of new companies and some expansions in the financial sector in the BVI over the past two years which has helped to absorb commercial office space that has become available on the market. We expect commercial property opportunities over the next twelve months will remain limited, but with a wider pool of local investors looking for opportunities, those that do become available should be keenly contested for provided the underlying real estate is sound. For the last four years, it has been difficult to predict a turnaround in the market, however the past nine months has certainly provided more positive indications that the market has bottomed out and is beginning to move again. We are more confident that this next high season should see increased levels of activity but will wait to see if this translates into sales. Nonetheless, it remains, for now, a buyers-market.

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September 2013

43


Hobby for the Hump – A BVI Taste Cookbook Recipe Words by Stephen L France, Recipe from Chef David Chinnery of Foxy’s Beach Restaurant & Tamarind Bar

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5/14/13 12:32 PM


T

o many residents, September is like a month-long hump day. October when heavy tourism returns, businesses reopen, and community activity lives again is just around the corner, but to reach that high season of fun and frolics, a drought is endured. A lot of people opt to travel, curing their island-fever, but if you’re staying, here is a suggestion for something progressive, productive and entertaining.

Blend marinade in a blender. Place ribs in casserole dish, and pour marinade over racks of ribs to cover. Marinate ribs for two hours. Blend the barbecue sauce in a blender and set aside. Bake the racks for one and a half hours at 350˚F. Dip racks in barbecue sauce on both sides, chargrill for one minute each side, then put in oven for three minutes at 350˚F to glaze. Serves six.

Why not learn to cook? If you are an avid cook already, improving the skill never hurts, but by cook, I don’t mean bacon and eggs or a steak dinner. I’m proposing the idea of gourmet dishes that look like a work of art and taste even better. I’m talking about the cuisine that exclusive villa rentals like Baraka Point and establishments YCCS and Peter Island serve for a patronage enjoying the luxurious high-life of the British Virgin Islands. Such premium recipes can be found in aLookingGlass’s Taste publication – a collection of top BVI restaurants and their chefs, showcasing their most popular courses. For now, here is a sample recipe renowned for its extreme popularity at Jost Van Dyke’s Foxy’s and a strong reason for encouraging repeat visitors.

Special pricing is available for bulk orders. A tasty gift for charter guests and villa guests.

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6 racks baby back pork ribs Marinade 2 yellow bell peppers, chopped 2 green bell peppers, chopped 2 red bell peppers, chopped 1 stalk celery, chopped 1 bunch parsley 2 tsp fresh thyme 1 C extra virgin olive oil barbecue sauce 2 C tomato sauce 1 C ketchup ½ C vinegar ½ C brown sugar ½ C Worcestershire sauce 2 cans beer ½ C tamarind sauce 2 tsp hot sauce

Tamarind-Glazed Baby Back Ribs

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September 2013

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US$1,300,000

General Enquiries

Mill Mall. PO Box 188 Road Town, Tortola,VG1110 homes@bvisir.com | bvisir.com


For all of your real estate needs, Smiths Gore is one of the pre-eminent real estate advisors in the British Virgin Islands and the Caribbean. With offices on Tortola and Virgin Gorda Smiths Gore provides in depth residential services covering all the islands.

R E A L E S TAT E

LITTLE BAY, TORTOLA

Golden Pavillion US$7,750,000

SHANNON, TORTOLA

5

7

Samsara US$2,975,000

HODGE’S CREEK, TORTOLA

Palm Ridge US$5,900,000

6

7

5

Asolare US$4,900,000

Turpentine House US$2,685,000

3

2

4

3

4.5

Pelican House US$1,645,000

Palm Grove Villa US$450,000

Aquamare US$4,500,000

For more information on these listings or additional offerings, call 284 494 2446.

www.smithsgore.com

6

4

4

CROOKS BAY, VIRGIN GORDA

2

2

Bay House US$4,200,000

MAHOE BAY, VIRGIN GORDA

5

5

NANNY CAY, TORTOLA

BELMONT ESTATES, TORTOLA

LITTLE DIX BAY, VIRGIN GORDA

Little DIx Bay US$4,200,000

4

HAVERS, TORTOLA

BREWER’S BAY, TORTOLA

The Beach House US$795,000

HODGE’S CREEK, TORTOLA

5

3

4

5

7

POND BAY, VIRGIN GORDA

6

Pond Bay US$6,700,000

British Virgin Islands Britannic Hall, P.O. Box 135, , Tortola Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour, Virgin Gorda RT (284) 494 2446 VG (284) 495 5944 E info@smithsgore.com

United Kingdom 17-18 Old Bond Street, London W1S 4PT T +44 (0) 207 290 1616 E michelle.persaud@sgcommercial.co.uk


2010 Winner, “Best Vacation Experience.” –Fodor’s Gold Choice Award

SOL Y SOMBRA Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

US$8 Million This spectacular beachfront villa boasts four beautifully decorated air-conditioned suites, each furnished with custom-made teak furniture. Outside amenities include an ocean-front infinity pool and lit tennis court, bound within lush tropical gardens. Inside, take advantage of a European-style kitchen, private movie theater, daily maid service and state-of-the-art gym. An in-villa cook is available upon request. www.solysombrabvi.com

Smiths Gore Limited : : British Virgin Islands

T 1(284) 494 2446 F 1(284) 494 2141 E bernadette@smithsgore.com


A LIMITED COLLECTION Of vILLAs & EsTATEs

Distinctly Refined. Exceptionally Rare. Consciously Preserved. On the secluded eastern tip of Virgin Gorda lies a place where life is spent in perfect harmony with the ocean tides. Here, spread across 300 pristine acres, Oil Nut Bay offers freehold legacy ownership opportunities and unparalleled resort experiences in a setting where attention to detail and casual elegance abound. Contact us to schedule a personalized visit or to arrange resort reservations.

52

VI PROPERTY & YACHT bvi

Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Published by aLookingGlass Ltd.

1 284 393 1000

us

1 248 364 2400

info@oilnutbay.com

oilnutbay.com


Virgin Islands Property and Yacht Magazine September 2013  

Virgin Islands Property and Yacht Magazine September 2013 Editor-in-Chief – Stephen L France Design and Layout – Scott Taylor

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