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Virgin Islands

PROPERTY&YACHT

SOPHIE BAY

Serenity Meets the Sea: A sailor’s delight, this south coast Tortola estate brings the views home.

WHALE-WATCHING Migration and the VI PIPE DREAMS Boards, Breaks and Bob SEA CLEAN Old Boats to be Sunk for Diving SAYING BYE Watersports Centre Closes

FEB 2013 FREE ISSUE


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Belmont Villas Apartment Belmont US$495,000 Turtle Dove Cottages Long Bay US$1,300,000

Rhumb House Nora Hazel Point US$6,500,000

Frenchman’s Estate Frenchman’s Cay $10,000,000

INSPIRING HOMES HAVE VIEWS AS EXPANSIVE AS YOUR VISION

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A home in the Caribbean offers a blend of sophisticated design and casual barefoot living; of romance and privacy in an unforgettable setting, and wonderful memories of the time spent on a shady verandah admiring the expansive views. Live the life you have imagined. The British Virgin Islands comprise over 52 Islands, Rocky Pinnacles and Cays, appropriately named “Nature's Little Secrets.”

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS our qualities are numerous, our benefits endless Each Office Is Independently Owned And Operated.

Maritha Keil Mill Mall, P.O. Box 188 Road Town, Tortola, VG1110 t: 284.494.5700 | m: 284.340.5555 homes@bvisir.com | bvisir.com


FEB 2013 FREE ISSUE

Virgin Islands

PROPERTY&YACHT

F e at u r e S

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High Hopes in Deep Water By David Blacklock

Plans form to sink the unsightly washed-up vessels in Baughers Bay.

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Labouring for Love By Steve Fox

A BVI architect talks about his love for building, and the art behind romancing the views.

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Know Your Water Rights ByWilla Tavernier

The fine print behind the rules of the sea are examined.

20 S o p h i e Bay E s tate

This south shore Tortola estate encourages entertaining from a magnificent seaside vantage point.

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Building Pipe Dreams By Dan O’Connor

Board-maker Bob Carson talks about how his search for the perfect point break brought him to Cane Garden Bay.

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Melges 32 Regatta Series

By Dan O’Connor

The Grand Prix of regattas sails into Tortola this month.

42 Examining the EIA Process By Clive Petrovic

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Whale Watching By Shannon Gore

52 A Romantic Night In

By Fran Morrell and Kate Henderson

54 Fondue for Two By Susie Younkle

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Saying Goodbye By Traci O’Dea

After teaching a generation of the VI’s youth to sail, the BVI Watersports Centre closed the doors to its Manuel Reef facility.

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Edi t o r ' s L e t t e r , F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 3

Love is in the air It’s that time of the year again when Valentine’s Day gives us a nudging reminder of our single or taken status. It Chief Editor Dan O’Connor

can be a vexing exercise for those who are lonely, but the pleasant environs of the Virgin Islands often can act as a cure-all for almost any emotional ailment. From the exotic pink hues of the Anegada flamingos to the explosive reds of the Flamboyant trees, the VI seems to celebrate Valentine’s Day year-round. Maybe that has something

Contributors David Blacklock Steve Fox Kate Henderson Fran Morrell Traci O’Dea Willa Tavernier Susie Younkle Publisher Colin Rathbun Creative Director Nick Cunha Graphic Design aLookingGlass Advertising Sales Owen Waters Stephen L. France

to do with Hallmark’s lack of investment in the islands. I usually end up with the same gaudy heart-clad card that my friends do. But who needs flashy cards or sweets to remind us of what awaits us when we step outside in the morning. When it comes to views that romanticize our surroundings, there’s nothing like being perched at a vantage point high above the Sir Francis Drake Channel. From there, Tortola’s sister islands seem to scatter in visual harmony. It’s easy to get lost in admiration of their dramatic cliffsides and endless coves. A daytrip from the office to Sophie Bay Estate—a hillside retreat on Totola’s southern coastline—revealed one of the most mesmerizing views I’ve seen. From the expansive patio, I counted all of the islands from St John to Virgin Gorda. During these transitional months into spring, our waterways also reveal nature’s brilliance, as families of whales make their annual migration through VI waters. Photographer Armando Jenik shared his spectacular underwater photos of his dances with these amazing creatures. For this issue, I also sat down with surfboard designer and artist Bob Carson, who told me the story about a passion for surfing that led him in search of the perfect point break. He found his surfer’s paradise in Cane Garden Bay, where he has built his home and studio at a short walk from the (rarely argued) best point break in the Caribbean. These pages also preview the upcoming Melges 32 regatta series, beginning later this month at Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in the Virgin Gorda’s North Sound. The four-part series will also venture to Nanny Cay, Peter Island and St Thomas. Writer Traci O’Dea rounded off this issue with a commemorative piece dedicated to the hard work and accomplishments made at the Tortola Watersports Centre at Manuel Reef, where their doors were recently closed. The youth centre has been home to countless memories and lessons learned that will travel with the youngsters for years to come.

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 2012 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

Cover Photo of Sophie Bay Estate by Rainbow Visions BVI.


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February 2013

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On the Lookout for

Story by Dr. Shannon Gore Photos by Armando Jenik

Humpbacks

As we move through these winter and spring months, some of us might get lucky enough to witness a whale sighting from the comfort of a soft sand beach or the deck of a cruising boat.

An adult humpback whale and her calf swim together north of Jost Van Dyke.

Many different species of whales are found year-round throughout the Caribbean, but from

When viewing whales or marine mammals, always remember: keep your distance.

December to April, humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) migrate from the North Atlantic down to the Caribbean in order to mate and breed. The Caribbean’s distribution of humpback whales extends from Venezuela to the Turks & Caicos Islands. They’re also visible in Hawaii, Baja California and the Mariana Islands. One of the most concentrated breeding areas is in the Silver Banks of the Dominican Republic, but humpback whales are also often seen across the Virgin Islands during the mating and breeding season. In recent years, whale sightings have been reported from Tortola’s north shore beaches, and in the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Because of their colossal size (up to 50 feet in length and 40 tons) and acrobatic behaviours of throwing themselves completely out of the water (breaching) or slapping their flukes (tails) and pectoral fins on the surface of the water, these magnificent whales are easily observed throughout the territory, especially along the northern shores of Tortola and Anegada. Not only are a whale’s playful antics spectacular to watch, hearing them underwater, especially while scuba diving, is just as impressive. These eerie yet beautiful songs can be heard underwater up to 10 miles away without the use of hydrophones.

About the humpback www.vipropertyyacht.com

February 2013

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You should remain at least 100 yards away from marine mammals. If an animal approaches your vessel, reduce speed and shift to neutral. Do not reengage props until animals are observed at the surface and clear of the vessel. 10

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Whales and other marine mammals may surface in unpredictable locations but never pursue, encircle or separate marine mammals.

Humpback whales belong to the taxonomic order Cetacea. Cetaceans are divided into two suborders, baleen whales (Mysticeti) and toothed whales (Odontoceti). Within the baleen whale suborder are the rorqual whales (tube-throated). Humpbacks are rorqual whales and are one of the 12 species of baleen whales. Humpbacks and other baleen whales are named for their most characteristic feature. These filaments act as a strainer when water passes through the mouth. The filaments filter krill (small crustaceans), plankton (small plants & animals that float with the ocean currents) and small fish out of the water and the material is scraped off by the tongue and swallowed. Baleen is composed of keratin, the same protein material that makes up human fingernails. Plates of baleen hang in a comb-like fashion from the upper jaw. The inner edge of each plate has a fringe of long, frayed filaments. Humpbacks also use a feeding technique called bubble netting. In bubble netting, the whale exhales a stream of air bubbles underwater as it swims in a circle. This practice tends to congregate the krill and plankton inside a curtain-like column of rising bubbles. The whale, with its mouth open, then moves up through the column and consumes the krill and plankton.

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A right whale tips its tail while swimming off the coast of Argentina.

Marine mammals are wild animals; attempting to swim with or feed them could endanger you or the animal. Scan & Surf! Check out additional media and bonus content online at www.vipropertyyacht.com Check out Armando’s photography book!

Living Waters (eBook) by Armando Jenik

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Endangered species Another characteristic feature of humpback whales is their complex, repetitive and long lasting songs. There are six basic song variations, and all the whales in a given region sing the same song. The song changes throughout the season but individuals in a region adapt to the changes. The eerie yet beautiful songs help males compete for breeding females, as only mature males sing and do so only during the breeding season. Humpbacks were drastically over-harvested, mainly for oil, throughout the early and mid-1900s and are now considered endangered. These magnificent and acrobatic wonders of the ocean are still threatened, but whale watching guidelines aid in protecting the whales as well as protecting humans from being injured by whales. Please report sightings of any marine mammal to Mervin Hastings or Shannon Gore of the Conservation & Fisheries Department 284-494-5681 or 284-494-5681. Information obtained from sightings is added to the Conservation and Fisheries Department’s database to monitor migration and behavioural patterns of marine mammals. It is also important to remember in the case of any marine mammal stranding or sightings of manatees or seals, notifying CFD could increase the chances of survival of the animal.


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February 2013

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14.5 million gal diesel

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High Hopes in DEEP Water

Abandoned vessels like this catamaran litter Baughers Bay. Photos by Dan O’Connor.

By David Blacklock

Clean-up project seeks support

The British Virgin Islands can often appear to be a community of varied interests vying with one another for attention. Fishermen have their concerns, as do taxi drivers, charter yacht operators, supermarket workers and so on. In a small community such as this, of course, a Venn diagram of each of these interests would always intersect with all the others, such is the degree of interconnectedness and interdependence. If the dive operators do well, then so do the taxi drivers, the supermarkets, the hotel owners, the gas stations and the ferry companies. In a creative and entrepreneurial community such as ours, ideas bubble to the surface and catch the attention of people in many and diverse fields. Such an idea occurred to Nagy Darwish, a surgeon who arrived in the BVI to practice medicine and enjoy the pleasures of the country’s waters, particularly the parts beneath the surface. His experiences diving and his appreciation of the beauty to be found in the depths, contrasted with the views of wrecked cars and abandoned vessels scattered about the island, prompted the thought that it might be practical to take all these wrecks and put them beneath the water, and thus solve two problems at once: what to do with the abandoned vehicles, and how to create more, and more varied, dive sites. Eureka! But further examination made it clear that the costs of preparing vehicles for submersion were prohibitive—all that oil and rubber and asbestos had to be eliminated before they could be dropped into the deep. But a process had been started. In conversation with friends and colleagues in his Rotary group, Dr. Darwish learned that he wasn’t the only person thinking about this subject. There was concern about the rusting hulks sunk by Hurricane Earl in 2010 lined up along the waterfront at Baugher’s Bay. Some people were thinking about ways to enhance the attractiveness of the islands to tourists—perhaps a sculpture garden underwater?

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The sculpture garden plan had been initiated by Trellis Bay entrepreneur and artist, Aragorn Dick-Read, who had envisaged an underwater feature that would attract tourists and locals alike. Presented to the BVI Dive Operators’ Association, the idea began to take shape. As a way to build up artificial reefs, the sculpture garden has many positive attributes. It serves as a focus for snorkelers and divers, as a revenue enhancer for the territory, as an educational point of focus, and most important, as the basis for new reef structures which create new environments for fish to flourish. I recently spoke with Casey McNutt, president of the Dive Operators’ Association, who told me, “We feel really thankful to Aragorn for trusting us to run this thing.” While there is still discussion regarding the subjects of the sculptures, the consensus seems to lean towards imagery that is iconic for the BVI. As for timing, Casey said, “We’d like to see it up and running for next season. If we can get approval for the project we’ll be able to go ahead and raise the money for it.” And as for location, Cooper Island seems to be getting the nod. While the sculpture garden is no slam-dunk, it seems more immediately attainable than the plan to remove and sink the rusting hulks that litter the shoreline around Baugher’s Bay. Any attempt to remove the vessels could be fraught with difficulties since the hulls have been breached

Rotarians gather at The Moorings for a lunchtime meeting.

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and corrosion might cause the hulls to collapse as they are being moved. Furthermore, it seems that squatters have moved aboard and are living on these wrecks, with little effort being made to remove them. The ownership of the wrecks hasn’t been established either, so there may be claims of damage should they be moved. None of these problems are insurmountable, but it will take a concerted, long-term effort of all participants to make it happen. Nor will it be cheap, since the flotation and transportation of fragile hulks will require more than a tug and a length of rope—flotation bags, spill collars and the like will require expertise and funds. With enthusiastic participants from a variety of sources, such as the Dive Operators—in the person of Casey McNutt, Dr. Darwish, Abby O’Neal and Charlotte McDevitt from Green VI, and with the support the members of Rotary, Governor, Boyd McCleary; Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr. Pickering; members of the Conservation and Fisheries Dept, members of the Tourist Board and others, the plan has a real hope of, stage-by-stage, coming to fruition. Who could object to a plan that simultaneously kills two birds and hatches a third (or is that a fourth)? Of course, a clever idea is worth nothing unless there is effort behind it to bring it to life. Such is the position at the moment—the effort is beginning to gain organization and

As a way to build up artificial reefs, the sculpture garden has many positive attributes.

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February 2013

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Deralict vessels polute Baughers Bay waters.

momentum. Discussions about how to make these things happen and who would be best suited to oversee the effort are underway. What isn’t in doubt is the worthiness of the plans. The principals involved are in a holding pattern as they await decisions from a number of sources. Dr. Darwish is in the UK for an extended period and is actively seeking assistance there. Rotary has a major meeting in May and decisions made there may affect the future of the various concepts. Where the projects go and how they get there will be the subject of further articles as we attempt to follow these promising initiatives to their completion.

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Where Serenity Meets the Sea Sophie Bay Estate By Dan O’Connor; photos by Rainbow Visions BVI

In the Virgin Islands, we’re privileged—or rather spoiled— by the spectacular views that often greet us as we rise in the morning and before we slumber at night. The best eyefuls are most often consumed at sea level from the trampoline of a catamaran, or at a bird’s-eye from a fortunate hillside abode. A clever yachtsman-homeowner assumes both options. On a misty morning in December, from the hills high above Sophie Bay, I was introduced to one such yachtie retreat that pulls views from the sunrises over Virgin Gorda, to the sunsets over St John. Photo: The estate emits a warm glow by nightfall.

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Get more online! Aditional media available at www.vipropertyyacht.com www.vipropertyyacht.com

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It’s a nice transition into the expansive patio, which has views that spill out across the length of the Sir Francis Drake Channel. From its unassuming entrance and its long, private drive, this sprawling estate opens in dramatic form to one of the most epic vantage points on Tortola. After entering through a cozy foyer and open living room, the main house currently pays respect to the nautical nature of our islands and seaways. It’s a nice transition into the expansive patio, which has views that spill out across the length of the Sir Francis Drake Channel. As I step out onto the partially covered patio, I gaze upon the view and think about the privateers and pirates that once crossed the famed passageway. Now, families and friends share the friendly waterway on crewed catamarans and monohulls. From the poolside view on the spacious verandah, I could imagine watching them start their morning from an illuminating sunrise over Virgin Gorda to a fiery sunset over St John. I wouldn’t keep this view to myself. I’d show it off to my family and friends. Fortunately, the home is perfect for entertaining, with a fully equipped tiled bar-and-grill corner and mini-bar near the lap pool. The sectioned property affords the homeowner ample space and privacy for accommodating guests. Before touring the

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sprawling property, we double-back to the main house, which can either be fully opened to expose the magnificent views and cool breezes, or closed and shuttered to shelter the home from less welcoming weather. Open to the kitchen, the warm dining room brings back memories of traditional Thanksgiving dinners and intimate family meals as a child. From the dining and living area, our tour took us down the long hallway past two children’s bedrooms—which could be converted into offices—to the master bedroom. The ample space currently is bisected by a large, wood-framed bed, and flanked by a huge walk-in closet and luxury bathroom. The romantic nook comes equipped with an open-design shower and whirlpool, with a window view over the Caribbean Sea. While the main house and it’s spacious deck and pool area beg for parties, Sophie Bay Estate also appeals to the everyday businessman—at a five-minute drive from the commercial capital of Road Town—or the family man—with Cedar International School a minute or two drive down the hill from the driveway. As we walk past the kitchen and dining area, I’m reminded that the estate also appeals to the culinary-inclined, with a small orchard on the property with fresh banana, plantain, mango and avocado trees. There’s also a sheltered area, perfect for growing tomatoes and herbs and spices.


The spacious living areas also creat cozy spaces for intimate entertaining.

From the main house, we continued through the study and laundry room. Two washing machines and two dryers—both gas and electric powered—lead to the back entranceway. With its ample amenities, I’m reminded that even in the roughest of weather, this hillside retreat will undoubtedly stand up against anything nature throws at it. Poured concrete walls line the tri-sectioned home, providing security and privacy to all of its occupants and guests. Its traditional, linear design gives a nod to the sturdy-minded architects who first designed the hurricaneproof home. We walked the varied trails that took us past the first garage and independent, guest efficiency area to the second. I was surprised to learn that the sprawling estate encompassed such a large area—affording privacy or independence for possible renters. I paused to contemplate the opportunities for an extended family, which would benefit from the close vicinity, security and serenity that living here would allow them. Or for the business professional and yachtsman, who would prefer the space and endless options for luxury entertaining. From a safe distance from the water, where the views inspire a work of art, it seems the opportunities are as abundant as the sea itself.

SOPHIE BAY ESTATE Location Sophie Bay, Tortola Bed

4 (+1 in guesthouse)

Bath

3.5 (+1 in guesthouse)

Size

0.987 acres

For more info contact: Maritha Keil t (284)494.5700 m (284)340.5555 e maritha.keil@sothebysrealty.com www.bvisothebysrealty.com

Price

US $1.425 million

Extras

Swimming pool, 3 garages, office, laundry, propane generator, ample parking www.vipropertyyacht.com

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Labouring for Love By Steve Fox, OBMI BVI

This month, I’ve been asked to write about designing for Love. A fine subject; I think most architects tend to be hopeless romantics, and I’m no exception. We all want our buildings to lift the spirits and stir the emotions. learned recently that Google’s most searched phrase of 2012 was What is love? So, clearly, there’s no simple definition of this elusive and mysterious concept. We all have our own ideas, experiences and expectations. So, as usual with any design project, there is no catchall approach. Designing with love in mind is always going to be very subjective. I think it’s safe to say that every client we work for wants to invest his or her home with this special kind of quality, and this is particularly true when designing and building in the beautiful setting of the Virgin Islands. But the end results will ultimately be as widely varied as our individual responses to What is love? Think of a setting for love and romance: It’s easy to imagine a cosy mountain lodge with a crackling fireplace, a chic glass penthouse in the city, or a secluded lakeside cabin. And perhaps the ultimate fantasy setting, a breezy tropical island hideout. Of course the VI fits firmly into the latter category, and is replete with all the qualities we associate with

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I

this romantic ideal: the beaches, the views, the seclusion, the weather and the landscape. The trick in coming up with a great design is to be totally sympathetic and in tune with the setting—to take full advantage of everything it has to offer. To maximise the best views, nestle into the landscape, and enjoy all the positive aspects of the climate in order to be fully in harmony with the environment. The key concept here is comfort. The building should help to make life easy and effortless, be a private place to relax, forget your stress, and focus on your loved ones. And the garden and landscape design is as important as the building design; they should be perfectly in tune. While designing a romantic home, we often take tips from some of the ideas employed in hospitality design. The best hotels and resorts usually aim to enhance the romantic experience, to provide a backdrop for escaping from the mundanity of everyday life, a short but sweet getaway from the daily grind. So what could be better than incorporating these ideals into your full-time home, to make every day feel like a holiday? The trick is to balance or adapt the more whimsical and quirky ideas to make them practical for everyday life. For instance, it’s fun and exciting to aim for indoor-outdoor living in the tropics, and many of our homes feature fully external circulation between rooms, with bedrooms in pods separate from the living areas; you cross through courtyards and gardens to go from room to room. I once lived with my family in a lovely small wooden cottage in the trees, with an external


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Above: A hotel in Antigua brings its landscape and building together in romantic harmony. Photos provided by OBMI.

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staircase linking the upstairs bedrooms to the downstairs living room. This was wonderful on a sunny day, but in times of heavy rain, we found ourselves wading through a chilly, muddy waterfall to go to bed, which may or may not be seen as romantic, depending on how you look at it. In the bathroom, it’s becoming more common to see a tub or shower freestanding in the space, often fully open to the bedroom, where you can luxuriate in the wide open space and enjoy the view. This is another idea borrowed from upscale resort (or the Playboy mansion) design, which can be fun and exciting but may not translate to the everyday home, depending on taste. Similarly, some people love the idea of an outdoor shower, where you (and possibly a friend or two) can expose yourselves to the world and be truly at one with nature. Appealing for some, but I’ve seen other more conservative homeowners recoil in horror from this idea. Ultimately, love is more than erotic passion and desire. The other aspects, of intimacy, affection, commitment and understanding, all need to be remembered and considered. And as usual, we architects need to listen closely to our clients, to help them build their ideal, dream environment, and to love doing it.

On the upper level of this family house, the entire bathroom wall slides open for alfresco bathing with a view. Photos by Dougal Thornton.

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

OBM International T 284.494.2148 BVI PG APR 2012 - Brooks.indd 1

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The waterway to Anegada. Photo by Dan O’Connor.

Know Your Water Rights By Willa Tavernier, O’Neal-Webster BVI

Water. It frames fantastic views from myriads of locations in the BVI. We swim in it, sail in it, desalinate it for drinking, scuba dive—you name it. Moreover, water rights have long been key to the enjoyment of property in the BVI. Much of the terrain is rugged slopes, and individuals and commercial enterprises alike, often find themselves having to reclaim land from the sea. The Wickhams Cay I and II developments are perhaps the most well-known areas of reclamation, but all along our coastlines reclamation has taken place. Docks, jetties and buoys, as well as marinas servicing all shapes and sizes watercraft, from dinghys to megayachts, dot the landscape. In the BVI, all of the foregoing require a grant of rights over the water or seabed. All water rights in the BVI are owned by the Crown, and managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour. To build small docks, jetties or place moorings (bouys), or temporary installations persons must apply for permission to use the seabed and a licence is issued, if approved. Those wishing to erect larger installations or reclaim land must apply for permission to reclaim the seabed, and a seabed lease will be issued if permission is granted.

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Licence/Lease fees • Docks and jetties: $250.00 for private installations and $200.00 per berth for commercial docks, payable by March 1 of each year • Moorings: $400.00 for private moorings, $600.00 for commercial moorings, $1.00 per foot per day for large vessels, and $500.00 for Industrial moorings, payable by April 1 of each year • Reclamation of the sea-bed: $750.00 per acre payable by Jan 1 of each year Application forms are available from the Ministry of Natural Resources. Where planning permission is required, this should be obtained from the Town and Country Planning Department, prior to submitting the application. Inquiries should be made at the Town and Country Planning Department to verify the need for planning permission, as procedures change from time to time. In most cases, planning permission will be required.

Licences An applicant for a licence is required to complete the form “Application for Permission to use the seabed for the erection of jetties and breakwaters.” An applicant must provide his or her name, address, nationality, or in the case of a company application, all constitutional documents and a listing of members and directors.


An applicant must describe the location and size of the proposed installation including a preliminary plan, and the nature of activities to be carried out, and submit an environmental impact assessment. The applicant must also indicate whether the frontage to the sea is owned, provide details of the ownership, and indicate whether any other landowners in the vicinity are likely to be affected. If so, those landowners should be consulted. Other information and documentation, such as the existence of similar installations in the vicinity, the cost and time frame for construction, and confirmation of the availability of financial resources, must also be included. The same application is used for reconstruction, extension, or adding amenities to existing installations.

Seabed leases A seabed lease is needed where the applicant intends to construct marinas or large docks, or in respect of reclamation of the seabed to increase the area of available land space. In addition, those wishing to reclaim for the purpose of restoring land lost to the sea should also use this form. The reclaimed land will, however, belong to the Crown. An applicant must first obtain planning approval from the Town & Country Planning Department, which will be an approval in principle (outline planning permission). This planning approval must be submitted to the Ministry along with the “Application to Reclaim the seabed” and the necessary supporting documents.

The information and documentation requirements are largely similar to the application for a licence. However, in addition to the information and documentation described above, the applicant must also detail the estimated acreage to be reclaimed, and estimated value of the land after reclamation. If approval is granted, the ministry will issue a letter of approval to the applicant. An applicant will then resubmit the plans to the Town & Country Planning Department, accompanied by the approval letter, seeking full planning permission for the project. When received, the planning approval along with the drawings and structural plans (electrical, plumbing etc.) must be submitted to the Building Authority (Public Works Department) for approval. The project can then be constructed and the ministry must be notified, when it’s completed. The Survey Department will be asked to conduct a survey and once that department confirms that the installation is in order and conforms to the approval granted, the ministry will request that the applicable fees be paid and issue a draft lease. The process then follows the same procedure as that for grant of a licence. Likewise, the lease is registered at the High Court Registry. The procedures set out above are part of the Ministry of Natural Resources’ stated mission to ensure sound stewardship of the territory’s natural resources by implementing a legal framework that fosters environmentally-friendly best management practice. Everyone benefits from the orderly management of one of the BVI’s most precious resources.

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December 2012 - January 2013

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PIPE DREAMS By Dan O’Connor

BUILDING

Bob Carson has been chasing waves since the 1950s. A product of his California coastal environment, the Palos Verdes native has spent his life following his passion for surfing. Scan & Surf! See how a board is born, watcg as Bob Carson shapes a board in his studio at Cane Garden Bay Surf Co.

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It’s this same passion that has led the veteran beach bum from the shores of California and Florida to the Caribbean, where he has discovered the ultimate point break and career choice—both which he now enjoys from his Cane Garden Bay home and studio. Bob first sailed into the Virgin Islands with his wife in 1994. They were in the middle of a surfing expedition that would take them down the island chain, and eventually back to this place that they now call home. “We found Cane Garden Bay and we anchored right out there,” he said, pointing to the mouth of bay. “It’s the best point break in all of the Caribbean; and it’s the place we decided to call home.” I sat with Bob in his Cane Garden Bay studio—a lower-level extension of his bright, bayside bungalow nestled in the thick tropical foliage near the sea. From his workplace, large openings invite a salty breeze. We sipped frosty Amstel Lights and peered through waving palm fronds toward the famed point break. On the mild December day, the break curled quietly, emptily. It’s these enchanting environs that inspire the versed surfer to design and hand-manufacture surfboards, which he sells from his surf shop in Road Town and through distributors throughout the Caribbean and beyond.


A surfer rides the face of a breaking CGB wave. Photo by Paul Hubbard. Below: Bob uses a planer to shape the edges of a blank. Photo by Dan O’Connor.

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“The goal was that you’d never have to work.” Bob recalled his earlier inspirations that led him to the BVI. Growing up a surfer, he said, the ultimate goal was not the typical American Dream, but what would soon be coined the surfer’s pipe dream. “The goal back then was to be involved in surfing and building surfboards—whatever it took not to have a real job,” he recalled. “Weekends and after school we’d hang out at the surf shops, factories or wherever, and they paid us to clean up or this or that. And after a while they’d put us on their surf team— maybe giving us free wax now and again to sponsor us. … The goal was that you’d never have to work.” As years passed, Bob pursued his goal of never working—or at least, never ending up behind a desk, at the mercy of an unruly boss. He went to college, where he studied art, soon realizing that the traditional canvas painting wouldn’t support a living for him. He tried his hand at board-making, and used them as his canvas. From California to Florida, the sun-soaked surfer and sailor eventually settled on the BVI, where he started Southern Trades, a successful local clearinghouse. He continued to pursue his “hobby,” as he still calls it, designing and repairing

boards for local surfers. He acquired a trade license in 2000 under the name Cane Garden Bay Surfboards, and in 2007 opened his surf shop in Road Town, below his clearinghouse business near Wickham’s Cay I. From his shop, customers can browse a selection of display boards, or call on Bob for a custom design. “I think there’s something psychological about ordering a [custom] board and participating with the artwork and the design, and having your name on it—it’s like they psychologically work better [on the water], because they had a part in it,” he said about the process. Bob walked me through this process as we toured his studio. The labour-intensive exercise is unique in that it begins by hand and ends by hand—a rarity in a world today where boards are often mass-produced in factories. “The formation of a surfboard, the shaping, is much like sculpting,” he said. “Today, the rest of the world is using machines or molds—and there’s some guys like myself who are hand-shaping … shaping is an art form because it’s like sculpting; the painting is obviously like art.”

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From his open studio, Bob uses epoxy to apply fiberglass to the board. Photos by Dan O’Connor.

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The boardmaker adds the finishing touches to his masterpiece.

He handed me a mask and we headed into his back room, where I was introduced to the hand-shaping process. He steadied a bulky blank—or pre-sculpted foam board—on two supports and revved up a planer. Firmly locked into the edge of the board, he walked up and down each side, causing a snowstorm of foam flakes to fall as he shaped the board. After a few more rounds with the planer and the sander, Bob takes the board next door to apply a layer of ultra fine clear resin over the top of a fiberglass netting. This process, he explained, gives strength to the buoyant board. Too much “glassing,” as he described it, and the board will lose it’s buoyancy. This process can take a day or so, he explained. The board is then put up to rest for a period of one to two weeks, before it is painted and ready to ride. While it’s probably more important to have a board that rides well rather than just looks good, Bob explained that many customers are more concerned with aesthetics. “Most people walk in and say, ‘I want a six-four thruster … then they spend the next three days saying, ‘I want this graphic or that art,’” he said with a chuckle. “I say, ‘Hey, the graphics aren’t that important—it’s the board.’ “ Bob uses various techniques to decorate his boards. Nearly any design or logo can be catered to a customer’s liking by painting, airbrushing or attaching pre-designed logos to the board. Local artists have also been called upon to participate in this process, he noted, adding that the surfers themselves often participate in the design process. Bob worked to classic rock as we chatted. I watched as he paid careful attention to each detail—each curve and contour—as he shaped and fiberglassed the custom board. Focused yet relaxed, he moved in a rhythm discovered after years of practice—both on the water and in the studio. It’s obvious he enjoys his work, and he loves where he lives. “As I approach retirement age, with a rather hectic charter industry, I think my family will take over that end of work, and I’ll pursue this,” he said, contemplating his storied past to present. “There’s a need for this—there’s a need for someone building surfboards in the Caribbean.”

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GRAND Melges PRIX Sails into the VI [ of Regattas]

The spectacular boats and their coloured parachutes at sea. Photos by Joy Dunigan.

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During these late winter months and into the early spring, Virgin Islands waters are replete with sailboats of all kinds—and plenty of regattas to appeal to their varying classes. But when word got out that this season would welcome the Melges 32 Virgin Islands Sailing series, a new wave of excitement rolled into the territory. The series, slated to begin at Yacht Club Costa Smeralda on Feb 21-24, will welcome nearly 20 of the top Melges 32 teams in the world. As of press time, there were 12 solid confirmations for the one unsanctioned and three sanctioned events scheduled to run through April in the British and US Virgin Islands, including classes in the International Rolex Regatta at St Thomas Yacht Club March 22-24, the BVI Spring Regatta (unsanctioned) on March 2931, and rounding off at the Caribbean Championship at Peter Islands Resort and Marina from April 26-28. Global interest in the Melges 32 one design racing brand has grown with more than 80 teams competing worldwide. According to their website, the company has sold more than 150 of these grand prix vessels since 2005. Their one design build and design have attracted some of the most skilled tacticians and trimmers in the world. I recently spoke with Harry Melges— one of the most competitive and storied sailors in history—about the familyowned company and its renowned stake in the industry.


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“People get excited to sail our boats because they are fast and fun,” he said. “I think beyond the boats, though, we have a fantastic group of owners and teams that migrate into our classes. Some of the best sailors in the world rub elbows with amateurs—Corinthian sailors—on any given day, creating a great environment both on and off the water.” Melges was originally approached by a group of Virgin Islands sailors, who lobbied for our waters as an ideal location for the premier events, which had previously called the shores of Florida home. For the veteran sailor and businessman, the choice was clear. “The Virgin Islands offers some of the best sailing conditions in the world, not to mention a great place to take your family and spend time in the warm sunshine,” he said, further elaborating on future events here. “The plan is to make the Virgin Islands series an every other year event. We hope to gradually attract more owners to the beautiful waters for years to come.” The regattas are expected to attract international attention, and bring in some 200 crewmembers and families—many who have booked Moorings catamarans and hotel rooms for their visit. Organizers said they anticipate an exponential boost to the local economies as attention grows. Tortola Melges 32 boat owner Mark Plaxton, who took down last year’s cup at the St Marteen Heineken Regatta on his prided vessel, led the push here to bring three events to BVI waters. He called upon the support of veteran pros Peter Holmberg, Anthony Koutoun and Ben Beer of the USVI to help lobby for the event. Holmberg, an Olympic medalist who hails from St Thomas, was part of a small group of VI residents who approached Melges with the concept of coming to the two territories. Holmberg,

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Melges owners and their crews travel the world to race their boats.

who has raced on Melges 32 teams for the past two years, described the racing machines as “extremely difficult to sail, but highly rewarding when you do.” “Attracting this class of boats for a winter series is a huge achievement for our territories,” he said. “The class is regarded as one of the best in the world, so the press and public will take notice of them coming here.” The celebrated local sailor said he remains confident that the premier event will encourage the boat owners to consider the territory for future events.

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“This will in many ways be a trial for us in hosting grand prix events,” he said. “We must be very careful not to under promise … Hopefully we will have good weather, provide good race management, and everyone who comes has a good experience with all facets of the trip.”

Regatta Calendar 2013

Feb 21 - 24 Feb 26 Feb 28 - Mar 3 Feb 28 - Mar 3 Mar 1 - 4 Mar 11 - 15 Mar 20 - 23 Mar 22 - 24 Mar 28 - 31 Apr 26 - 28

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Beginning The EIA Process By Clive Petrovic

Previously, we had a brief look at the Environmental Impact Assessment process in the BVI. It was an introduction to the general process required for government approval for any type of construction, whether a single family residence, a commercial building, or a major hotel development. Of course, getting approval for a project can be a complex procedure. Obviously, there is a big difference between a residential project on a small parcel or a large resort on the coast with a marina and tons of amenities. Permission for any project will come from the Planning Authority. Hillside homes like this one in Sea Cows Bay need an EIA performed in order to safely build without damaging the surrounding environment. Photo by Dan O’Connor.

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Nearly everyone would agree that the trademark of the BVI embodied by the slogan Nature’s Little Secrets should be preserved.

Working with government The primary role of the Planning Authority is to encourage development and all the prosperity it brings. However, that prosperity should be guided so the perceived benefits are not outweighed by the negatives of development. Nearly everyone would agree that the trademark of the BVI embodied by the slogan Nature’s Little Secrets should be preserved. We all want a clean, healthy environment. We do not want traffic congestion or stresses on electricity, water and other services. So, how do we get the best of what development has to offer while not damaging the essence of what attracts people in the first place? The answer is: planning. The Town & Country Planning Department has the responsibility to balance the needs of the community for economic progress while preserving the current lifestyle. To accomplish their mandate, they work toward that goal by reviewing every application and balancing all the pros and cons. In the real world, that is not always easy to achieve. A major tool at government’s disposal is the EIA process. A set of published guidelines provides the information necessary to start the process. Thus, anyone wanting to embark on a building project can quickly get an idea of what will be required. This is especially important in the early planning stages, and even before the land is purchased. So, where do we begin?

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Survey the land Before you purchase the land for your dream home, or that big resort and marina, you want to build, perhaps a little homework would be useful. As stated in the first article in this series, some professional advice early in the process can save a lot of frustration, headaches, and wasted time later on. If you have located that ideal property and are ready to take the plunge, consult with an architect, an engineer and an environmental professional. There may be features of the land or ecology that will limit your options. Other factors related to cultural, economic or logistical conditions might also restrict what you can do. A good place to begin is with a brief environmental survey, sometimes called an environmental audit. The purpose of such a survey is to quickly identify the characteristics of the property and any features that may severely curtail development plans. Examples may include issues related to the slope and bedrock. The geology of this part of the Caribbean has a long history of seismic activity. Geologic forces operating over millions of years, and still ongoing, affect the land and what can be done with it. Some slopes may be unusually steep or consist of unstable rock that is prone to landslides. While a good engineer or architect will take such conditions into account, the structure of the land may limit design options and drive up construction costs.

Flora, fauna & topography The hydrology, or water flows, of the property are also important considerations. The Virgin Islands are steep and contain numerous channels, locally called ghuts. During torrential rains that often accompany tropical weather systems, the ground becomes saturated and excess water will flow downhill in torrents. The natural flow will be along these ghuts. Typically, dry streambeds become raging rapids for brief periods of time. The power of the water should never be underestimated. Besides the erosion we know so well, entire slopes can become destabilized. Such impacts must be considered in any development plan. Luckily, government is well aware of these conditions and is ready to offer advice to any potential builder. Further, the T&CP will often place restrictions on a proposal where risk to life or property seem unacceptable. Perhaps the most obvious characteristic people see on a parcel of land is the vegetation. In the past, a builder would strip the land of all vegetation to make construction easier. We now know that is not a good idea. At the very least it will increase erosion on a steep slope. Not only will valuable topsoil be lost, but when it washes into the sea, corals, fish and all marine life will be harmed. It is better to retain the soil on the site. In addition, saving part of the existing vegetation will reduce landscaping costs and keep some of the natural beauty. Certainly, homeowners love to have palms and exotic flowers surround their house. Resorts want all the tropical plants associated with the Caribbean, despite the fact that most are not even native to our region. In addition to keeping much of the native vegetation, the fauna will also benefit. The native butterflies, hummingbirds, and other animals are adapted to the native flora and will be happier in such habitats. Wouldn’t it be better to identify the interesting trees and plants and incorporate them into your design?

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One purpose of the environmental survey is to identify important creatures and habitats. There are rare and endangered species on the island and their welfare will be considered during the approval process. Clearly, habitats such as mangroves and coastal wetlands are recognized for their role in the health of the environment. Planning to construct a house or development in such an area will raise red flags and require considerable data for the planning authority. A little preliminary information will help clarify what will be required in the EIA to follow. When considering the purchase of land for any type of development, numerous characteristics must be considered. A little due diligence and homework at the beginning can save lots of time and expense down the road. While it may be possible to build on most any type of land, not every idea will work on every parcel. As an Owner, you want a beautiful project that is harmonious with the environment and is a credit to the community. Before you embark on the designs to fulfill your dreams, check out the geology and hydrology of the land. Get an environmental survey to find out what is there and if there are problems on the horizon. Then you and your architect can create your dream project. In Clive’s next installment of this 6-part EIA special, he’ll take a closer look at the application process and the steps before the EIA can begin.


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Right: Young sailors race in the Christmas Regatta. Below right: Princess Anne is welcomed to the centre during its opening. Photos provided by Alison Knights Bramble and by Dan O’Connor.

T o r t o l a y o u t h sa i l i n g ce n t r e c l o ses i t s d o o r s

Through Closure, a Legacy Lives On By Traci O’Dea

There are few things more joyful than a youth Christmas regatta in the British Virgin Islands; it has a guaranteed formula for happiness: kids, racing, Christmas, trophies, candy, sun, wind, and sailboats. This year’s Christmas Regatta at the BVI Watersports Centre in Manuel Reef contained all those elements but also a few tears as the regatta represented the last event to be held at the BVI Watersports Centre in Manuel Reef.

Since Princess Anne opened the RYA-recognised sailing centre in 2005, it has been a vital part of the BVI boating community, teaching kids and adults of all ages and abilities how to swim, sail and drive powerboats. Additionally, the Centre functioned as the home of BVI Special Olympics team, with the Centre’s Principal, Alison Knights Bramble, serving as the National Director and coach who led the team to win gold and silver medals in 2011. I first interviewed Alison Knights Bramble in the September 2009 issue of BVI Yacht Guide. At that time, I witnessed her passion for sailing and for teaching the sport to students at every level. During the interview, I learned of her strong belief in integrating students with special needs alongside other sailors. Shortly after interviewing Alison, I was approached by her husband, Colin Bramble, the Managing Director of the Centre, who notified me of the transatlantic crossing of quadriplegic sailor Geoff Holt whose paralyzing injury had occurred in Cane Garden Bay 25 years prior.

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Over the next few months, I interviewed Geoff, tracked his journey online, cheered as his catamaran arrived in the BVI, and spent time with the sailor, his family, and Alison and Colin during his stay in the territory. This internationally reported event promoted the British Virgin Islands and the concept of sailing for all—two great loves of the BVI Watersports Centre. A few months later, Alison contacted me about an article I’d written that mentioned my fear of sailing. The seasoned instructor suggested I try capsizing in order to dispel my fear. Shortly afterward, she put me in a dinghy and taught me to sail with the other students then had them flip me over. In the photos from this session, I’m beaming as I grope through the water towards my capsized dinghy. Some of the sailors that I sailed with during my dinghy instruction sessions at the Watersports Centre went on to represent the BVI in the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2011. Alison took six sailors to compete in the event in Athens, and the Watersports Centre’s

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Youth sailors and their parents listen to an emotional speech by Alison at the Centre’s last regatta.

commitment to treating all sailors equally paid off when the team picked up two gold, two silver, and two fifth-place medals. I next witnessed the Watersports Centre’s commitment to sailing, Special Olympics, children, and literacy when I worked with Colin and Alison to publish Alison’s novel The Eye of the Storm through aLookingGlass Books. Alison had written this adventure novel on her own time and dedicated 100% of the sales from the book to Special Olympics BVI. aLookingGlass Books procured sponsors to pay for the cost of publication in order to ensure that all profits would go to charity. The engrossing tale recounts the Caribbean adventures of a group of teenagers as they explore the islands by land and sea. Alison’s story was inspired by her years of teaching sailors and boaters of all ages and abilities who have taken lessons from Manuel Reef, including the first BVIslanders to hold the Royal Yachting Association Dinghy Instructor’s qualification, Elsa and Eben

Alison took six sailors to compete in the event in Athens, and the Watersports Centre’s commitment to treating all sailors equally paid off when the team picked up two gold, two silver, and two fifth-place medals.

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Meyers. Elsa and Eben, along with Daniel Petrovic and Abby Maddox, have been fixtures at the Watersports Centre over the years. At the Christmas Regatta prize giving, Alison honoured these four sailors, among others, for their commitment to the Centre and to sailing for all. My last experience at the Watersports Centre was serving as part of the race committee for the Youth Christmas Regatta. I watched the enthusiasm of the kids, from the “Baby Greens” class all the way up to the Laser sailors, as they navigated the race courses. Fellow race committee member and BVI Watersports Centre Trustee Kay Reddy expressed her regret at the Centre’s closure. “They were the first organization to cater to the special needs kids,” she said. Several parents conveyed similar sentiments. Janet Oliver, Director of the Charter Yacht Society of the British Virgin Islands said, “It’s a loss to the community. So many kids started with [the Watersports Centre] then they went

“It’s a loss to the community. So many kids started with [the Watersports Centre] then they went on to race to represent the BVI internationally.”

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The Watersports Centre has instilled knowledge of the water and memories that will live on. Photos by Dan O’Connor.

on to race to represent the BVI internationally…[the Centre] reached out to all walks of the community, to give them the opportunity to experience the thrill of sailing, and that’s where the loss comes.” When I asked Alison and Colin about their future plans, they assured me that Special Olympics BVI will continue, despite the Centre’s closure, due to their strong belief in the cause. Ross Munro, Chair of Special Olympics BVI reinforced this fact. The team’s training location is yet to be confirmed. Additionally, Alison will continue to teach Royal Yachting Association powerboat courses. She is also working on a sequel to The Eye of the Storm, chronicling the ongoing adventures of her young characters, and she continues to promote the first book to continue to raise funds for Special Olympics BVI. After the Christmas Regatta prize giving, the kids and parents seemed hesitant to leave, knowing this was going to be the last event at the Watersports Centre. Alison expressed her pride in what the Watersports Centre accomplished, especially in watching junior sailors grow up on these waters and “develop into special young people, athletes and instructors” including those who “have left school and are currently working and pursuing careers in the marine industry both here and abroad,” all of whom “will never lose the lifeskills and experiences gained through an RYA Training Centre.”

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Tel. (284)494-5580 Fax: 284)494-5446 Email: spsservices@surfbvi.com

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Alison expressed her pride in what the Watersports Centre accomplished, especially in watching junior sailors grow up on these waters and “develop into special young people, athletes and instructors . . .�

Restaurant Hotel Gift Shop Spa Live Music

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Schedule Flights Private Charters Arial Tours Day Trips Air Ambulance Service Aircraft Maintenance

WHEN GETTING THERE MATTERS............. www.vipropertyyacht.com

February 2013

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A Romantic Night In By Fran Morrell and Kate Henderson

This Valentines Day, why not surprise your loved on with a carefully planned dinner at home? You can create a tailor-made evening, catered entirely around your special someone. It’s all about the ambience

From the music to the lighting to the table setting—the small details can make a huge impact on a night in. When planning your table setting, stick to one colour or theme, and try to keep it as simple as possible. Too much can distract from the food, the mood and the company. Red is always a winner for valentines, or simply choose classic white with some of your partner’s favourite flowers to accent. Lighting can make the biggest difference to the feel of a room or dining area, and candles always provide the kindest lighting. Try stringing around white fairy (Christmas-style) lights, which can be an inexpensive way to create that special occasion feel. Whether your partner is more into Bon Jovi than Barry White, try to choose music that means something to the two of you, or create a special playlist. There is little point in dressing up the dining table and going the extra mile with dinner if you show up in jeans and t-shirt. Dust of that cocktail dress or dinner jacket, and make a special effort for this important night.

Whether your partner is more into Bon Jovi than Barry White, try to choose music that means something to the two of you or create a special playlist.

Everything you need to make your house a home... Located next to Tico and HIHO, Wickhams Cay 2, Tortola, BVI

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5 Tips to a stress-free dinner 1. Plan the menu Although you might be tempted to experiment with cooking something new, it may be best to stick with your foolproof favourites. However, new cookbooks will always help inspire different ways of preparing the classics or fabulous presentation ideas. Carefully think about each course and try to continue a theme throughout the entire meal. For the added special touch, get your menu professionally printed or write it up on a chalkboard.

2. Shop around It may seem there are a limited amount of places you can buy provisions on island but it is amazing what you can find when you look around. Fresh fish and seafood can be specially ordered from the BVI Fisheries or specialty cuts of meat can be prepared by most supermarket butchers.

3. Think like a boyscout It’s all in the preparation so try to get as much done ahead of time as you possibly can. The most important part of this romantic evening is spending time together and not in the kitchen. Ideally, you should just need to quickly take something out of the oven or garnish a prepared dessert, with minimal time away from the table.

The Dove

& Voted Reader's Choice 2012

“Best BVI Restaurant” – Virgin Islands Property & Yacht

Acclaimed Chef Travis Phillips. Delectable French/Asian Cuisine. The BVI’s Largest Wine List.

Open for dinner Tue-Sat 6 -10 pm RSVP (284)494-0313 Champagne Happy Hour 5 - 6 pm Lounge Menu 6 - 11 pm 67 Main Street, Road Town, British Virgin Islands

4. Tidy up as you go During the preparation time, try to clean up as much as you can as you go along. There is nothing worse than having all the food prepared and the dining table looking beautiful only to have a large pile of dirty dishes winking at you from the kitchen.

5. Most importantly, have fun! While preparing and cooking, play some music or have a glass of wine. Remember: this shouldn’t be a stressful experience. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. If you feel that planning and cooking a meal, may be a bit beyond your scope, then consider hiring someone to help out. Remember, this is your evening too, so you might prefer being able to relax and enjoy it. In the Virgin Islands, we have a fantastic selection of freelance chefs and caterers to pick from, to come to your house and prepare a meal of your choice. You can also find staff to help serve you and, ideally help with the clean up afterwards, too. Your partner will love the fact that you have gone to the extra effort to plan a special evening just for them.

Bon Apetit! www.vipropertyyacht.com

February 2013

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Squalls and strikes are not words I typically associated with Valentine’s Day. Chocolate and champagne are the more familiar words. Yet, one of my most memorable—and ultimately, most enjoyable— Valentine’s Days came a few years ago amidst stormy skies, as my husband Matt and I sailed from Guadeloupe to Antigua.

Fondue for two By Susie Younkle

We had hurriedly left the French island after labor strikes over the cost of living turned into protests, accompanied by fuel and food shortages. In contrast to the steady trade winds and Caribbean sunshine we typically experienced, our day of sailing to Antigua was marked by one squall after another. It certainly didn’t seem like a romantic way to spend Valentine’s Day. By the time we anchored in Antigua, I was wet, tired and in a rare crabby mood, which was compounded by the realization that our later-than-expected arrival meant customs and immigration were closed for the day. I had been eager to go ashore in Antigua for the first time but would have to wait until morning to explore the island. Matt gently reminded me that there was no need to be frustrated. I was living on a boat in the Caribbean and we had ingredients for a lovely Valentine’s dinner—even if we couldn’t leave

foxy’s taboo

Diamond Cay. Jost Van Dyke . BVI. VHF Channel 16 Tel: 1 (284) 340 9258

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our boat. So I tied on my apron and started cooking—a surefire way return to my usual cheerful mood (although the champagne definitely helped, too). In fact, the evening was more special because we couldn’t leave our boat. The squalls that chased us all day had subsided, and we enjoyed a lovely meal in the cockpit under a starry sky. Exactly how I like to spend Valentine’s Day. While many people prefer fine restaurants, I’d rather avoid crowds and dine in the comfort and privacy of my own home—or even better, on a boat in a secluded anchorage. Taking everything you need and literally getting away from it all is the perfect way to relax with your special someone. Create a festive mood by stringing lights under your bimini and setting your table with cloth linens and candles (battery powered on a boat). I like to add a luxurious feel to Valentine’s Day by purchasing premium ingredients and cooking a leisurely, though not complicated, dinner. (See my February 2010 Virgin Islands Property & Yacht article for more ideas.) Abundant champagne and chocolate for dessert are a must. For the best combination of ease and celebration, think chocolate fondue to end your meal. I’ll admit that fondue for Valentine’s Day sounds slightly cliché. Yet, it is fun to eat and an ideal boat dessert: it takes only minutes to whip up and requires just three readily available ingredients. Traditional accompaniments include strawberries or other fresh fruit, dried fruit, marshmallows and cake. To give my fondue a Caribbean flair, I like to include island fruits such as banana and pineapple slices and small orange sections. Dip anything that pairs well with chocolate – the options endless.

Dessert Fondue for Two No fondue pot? No problem. A simple bowl and saucepan of simmering water will do the trick.

4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped 1/3 c whipping cream, room temperature 3 Tbl cream liqueur, such as Cruzan rum cream Cake, marshmallows or fruit for dipping Combine chocolate and cream in a medium glass or metal bowl. Set the bowl of chocolate on top of a pot of simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the bowl. Stir frequently until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and stir in liqueur. Serve immediately with cake, fruit and other items for dipping.

www.vipropertyyacht.com

February 2013

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(284) 495 3000

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Call in to our offices at Nanny Cay Marina (Tortola) or Spanish Town (Virgin Gorda). www.vipropertyyacht.com

February 2013

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T h e C a r i b b e a n’s m o s t e x c l u s i v e s a n c t u a r y

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Profile for Virgin Islands Property & Yacht

VI Property Yacht February 2013  

Virgin Islands Property and Yacht Magazine for 2013

VI Property Yacht February 2013  

Virgin Islands Property and Yacht Magazine for 2013

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