A bit of rain couldn’t keep members of the Virgin Islands’ boating community away from one of their industry’s biggest events this month. The BVI Charter Yacht Society held its Fall 2023 Charter Yacht Show at Nanny Cay, kicking off on Nov. 7 and ending Nov. 10.
CYS Executive Director Janet Oliver said the 37th annual show was a success, drawing 45 crewed yachts and 117 charter brokers from a dozen countries ahead of what is expected to be a busy season.
“We’ve got some excellent boats that are participating, and we have a really good showing of agents from around the world,” Ms. Oliver said as she prepared for the evening’s “Thoughtful Thursday” event.
That day, attendees were encouraged to wear outfits representing their favourite charities as they perused the event booths, attended a rum-based cocktail contest, and witnessed an award ceremony over the final dinner.
Ms. Oliver said she was pleased with this year’s participation, which included many brokers based in the Americas as well as an influx from the Mediterranean.
“Their clients are starting to develop an interest in the Caribbean, so they feel the need to get here, see the boats, meet the crews for themselves,” she said.
What makes the VI desirable in the world of boating is the combination of friendly, professional crews and high-quality vessels, according to Ms. Oliver.
“It’s important that the brokers are able to sell the vacation with confidence, and part of that is how to get here,” she said.
Ms. Oliver remembers navigating tourism after the 2017 hurricanes, and the importance of bringing brokers out for tours and showing them that the territory was still standing. Now, following the Covid-19 pandemic, VI captains get to enjoy putting their best foot forward.
“It’s always been a quality destination,” she added.
The event was a first for Cheryl and Kevin Simmons, owners of the catamaran Sun Goddess.
“The boat show has been fabulous,” Ms. Simmons said. “We’ve met so many nice other captains and crew and brokers. We’re excited to get started since it’s our first year.”
The 2014 Royal Cape catamaran has four cabins, and the couple said they were inspired to take up boating in the territory after taking a charter here 15 years ago.
“We fell in love with the BVI,” Ms. Simmons said. “Since then, we’ve done several bareboat charters and made a goal to buy our own boat.”
They added that they were eager to meet new people, entertain, and get better acquainted with the rest of the boating community.