The Royal BVI Yacht Club has a wonderful and colorful history. The founding members were a fun, dedicated group of sailors looking for something to do on the island. It all began in the spring of 1972, in a donated house when a group decided to have a yacht club and named it the British Virgin Islands Yacht Club. The first commodore was Peter Wright, along with Gary & Jean Turpin, El Richardson and Elizabeth Harley, John Osman, Peter Clarke, Eddie Anchor, Roosevelt Smith, Peter Haycraft and Albie Stewart who looked after the new club with 28 family and 19 single members.
By 1974, 100 members strong, the club was growing. Charlie and Ginny Cary, the founders of The Moorings, which was in its infancy then, offered the use of their recreation room at Fort Burt, and the Club moved there on 9 April 1974. Recognition and acceptance demonstrated themselves that year when we became members of the Royal Yachting Assn. and the West Indies Yachting Association.
The present and permanent clubhouse was completed in 1993! This land is leased to us by the BVI government for 25 years, with an option for an additional 25-year lease. It took only 20 years to finally find a permanent home, but this one’s a beauty! The club’s membership has increased and the racing is far more serious than before. The racing boats are more serious too, and that always alters the cruise/race events.
The yacht club is the ISAF’s Member National Authority for the British Virgin Islands and as such designates sail numbers that are raced at home and internationally. Over the years, the club’s members have traveled with multiple teams to race in Caribbean, Mediterranean and European regattas, many times bringing home the Gold for the yacht club and the country. Robin Tatersall sailed in two Olympics in Los Angeles and Barcelona. His yachting successes include being overall Champion at Antigua Sailing Week and the Rolex Regatta. Also, a young Robbie Hirst was a member of the BVI’s Soling team in Barcelona and raced Laser Open Class in Savannah Georgia in 1996.
By 1999, the official papers had been submitted and accepted to unite the BVI Yacht Club with the honorary list of Royal Clubs from around the world. As a Royal club, the BVI is recognized and allows its members reciprocal privileges that would otherwise not be garnered.
The largest regatta for the club is the BVI Spring Regatta. Started 34 years ago, by the same founding members of the yacht club, the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, held the first weekend of April, now hosts 140 boats with well over 2500 people coming from all over the word to race in the Sir Frances Drake Channel. This year, the regatta will run March 28 to April 3 and more information is available at www.bvispringregatta.org
The club house is extremely social and has special events each week. For years, John Cope has been the MC for a popular Quiz night on Wednesdays. Every other Thursday the best Sushi in the BVI is rolled to huge, hungry crowds. And sailing is just as important — each Sunday morning members meet at the beach and gear up our Laser fleet and return to the club for our Traditional Sunday Roast dinner.
The yacht club’s most important mission has always been to teach everyone about watersports and safety. Today, the club has over 16 annual races and regattas. In addition, the new fleet of IC-24’s has graced the waters and many members buy and race them. The fleet of boats has grown with the membership, and many of the founding members are still racing in local and international regattas. For more information on the RBVIYC please see our web site at www.rbviyc.com