The land met the sea on Tuesday evening when vendors mingled with yacht brokers and crew during one of the first events of the Charter Yacht Society’s annual BVI Fall Charter Yacht Show.
“My family has been provisioning for yachts since the seventies, so we’ve been doing this for a long, long time,” said Aragorn Dick-Read, owner of Good Moon Farm. “My father would bring in all kinds of exotic and foreign stuff from all over the world to supply boats, and now I’m supplying everthing that’s local.”
Mr. Dick-Read’s farm was one of nearly three dozen businesses represented at Vendors’ Night.
The turnout pleased CYS Executive Director Janet Oliver. “It’s probably the biggest that we’ve ever had,” Ms. Oliver said. “We have about 35 businesses represented tonight.”
However, the number of boats registered for the show — 27 — was lower than hoped, Ms. Oliver explained. In 2019, just before the pandemic, 50 boats participated in the fall event. Nevertheless, this year’s turnout was not exactly bad news, she said.
“We would’ve expected more, but actually the VI is in high demand since Covid-19, so the vast majority of our members are on charter,” she said. “We have 27 boats, which is more than last year, but it’s not really our standard.”
Ms. Oliver added that the season has started earlier than usual and that she expects a strong tourist season.
“Charters began as early as October,” she said.
“We have some members who have closed out their calendars for the year.”
On Tuesday, vendors were busy setting up stalls near Peg Leg’s during the day.
Mr. Dick-Read and others remained focused on what the brokers and their clients were looking for in land-based services.
“People come expecting to find local food,” he said. “When they come to the supermarkets and see all exported food, they get very disappointed.”
Ms. Oliver said the Vendors’ Night is geared toward connecting vendors like Mr. Dick-Read to the yacht industry.
“These are the businesses that look to the industry to be their clientele, and the reverse: These businesses help make the guests’ vacation of a lifetime a good experience,” she said.
Last year, the event was held in a nearby location on Nanny Cay due to Covid-19.
“We had everyone bring their own tents,” Ms. Oliver said. “Last year we had to have a certain amount of distance, and it created much more of a marketplace where people were able to customise their own booths better.”
However, this year’s venue worked out well too, she added.
The yacht show started on Sunday with an orientation where new crewmembers met at Peg Leg’s, according to organisers.
The next day, yacht crew were welcomed as they registered during the late afternoon hours. In the evening, they were invited to socialise at Omar’s in Nanny Cay.
Tuesday was the first day that brokers were invited to view the boats. Registration began early in the morning, and then brokers were invited to take a trip to Anegada aboard a Virgin Charter Yachts vessel.
There, brokers got a chance to visit the conch shell mound, tour the sister island, and eat lunch before returning to Tortola.
Those who opted out of the tour had the opportunity to view yachts and talk to crewmembers.
The show continues today with yacht viewings and the annual cocktail contest sponsored by Mount Gay Rum. During the evening, a crew and broker dinner and an awards ceremony will be held.
The final day of the show is tomorrow when all events will wrap up by noon.