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HRH Princess Anne Visits the BVI Watersports Centre

In conjunction with the BVI Department of Youth Affairs & Sports, The
Princess Royal, Anne, the second child and only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II
and The Duke of Edinburgh, was in the BVI on February 24th to open
the RYA BVI Watersports Centre at Manuel Reef, Sea Cows Bay, Tortola.
Beautifully organized by owners Colin
Bramble and Alison Knights-Bramble, Princess Anne, as President of the
International Royal Yachting Association (RYA) came to the BVI especially to
open the only RYA center in the Caribbean.
This was quite a treat and very exciting for us all as she awarded
certificates to select students during the ceremony.
Receiving Awards at the Powerboat Level were Charles Luckham,
Ricky Johnson & Saul Poll.Kelly
McCarthy, Shavo Mercer & Eben Meyers received awards in Youth Sailing.

The event was chaired by Robert Chalwell, BVI Director of Youth Affairs
& Sports. BVI Governor Tom Macan
and Chief Minister Dr. Orlando Smith gave opening remarks and saluted members
of the Legislative Council.The
highlight of the day was a “Sail Past” with some 60 youth sailors parading
their water skills in Sea Cows Bay, demonstrating to all present how to have
safe fun on the water.The Princess
Royal greeted the participants as they returned to dry land and I must say that
I was most impressed with her sincere graciousness towards the students.
She spent at least 15 minutes chatting with
them.

She then christened the “Nobel Harty” (Wayfarer) and “Over Easy” (Lasar)
with champagne.HRH was then presented
with gifts – a pottery plate, a broach of a Tortola sloop and a local fly
fishing fly presented by Elsa Meyers (13) and Kenzie Turnbull (8).
Elsa is the owner of “Over Easy”, is a
champion racer and just happens to be the daughter, as does Eben Meyers, of BVI
Olympic Sailor, Elvett Meyers.Diyana
Simmonds (5), whose family owns the land that the Watersports Centre is located
on, then presented Princess Anne with a large bouquet of flowers.
All in all, it was great fun and a real
treat for the kids.

The Watersports Centre is a RYA Recognized Teaching Center, which enables
them to provide the RYA National Sailing Scheme including the Young Sailors
Program to BVI youngsters.They are
also a RYA Powerboat School.All
courses are certifiable and at the completion of each stage log books and RYA
certificates are awarded.

The RYA Council meets in London four times a year.  Meetings are regularly
chaired by The Princess Royal, who is an active sailor with a close personal
interest in the RYA’s affairs.  The President is elected annually at the
Association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).
The Princess Royal has been re-elected each year since 1987. RYA
Council’s primary responsibility is to agree and oversee the implementation of
broad RYA strategy and specific International Association-wide policy. Its
workings are reported formally to members in the Association’s Annual Report
and Accounts, although issues on which its policy decisions have an immediate
impact are covered as they arise on the RYA website and in RYA Magazine.

The
YRA formally became the Royal Yachting Association in 1953. The RYA’s first
involvement in the organization of Olympic sailing was with the 1908 London
Games, when racing took place off the Isle of Wight in yachts. Its role as the
national organization for powerboat racing dates from 1961, following the
closing down of the then Marine Motoring Association.

The
Association first set up a committee to oversee its training activities in
1967.  By 1968, seventy-two schools had applied for RYA recognition. 
The armed forces adopted the RYA training scheme one year later while the
Yachtmaster Qualifications Panel was set up in 1971. The BVI Watersports Centre
is the most recent school and the only one in the Caribbean to receive RYA
status.

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