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Sailing the Queen’s Baton

Tortola, British Virgin Islands, March 29, 2010 – The sea leg of the Queens Baton Relay 2010 Delhi, from The BVI Watersports Centre’s headquarters at Sea Cows Bay through to Road Town – due to be completed by 18 Junior and Youth sailors, turned out to be a challenge all of its own on Tuesday morning.

With extremely strong winds and high seas, the sailing fleet was reduced to the three keelboats Faith, Hope and Charity supported by safetyboats – including Nanny Cay's RIB and Carina Brundenell-Bruce’s Chicane.  

  All photos by Melville Lettsome

The Baton was carried by Pink Panther the BVIWSC flagship, driven by 15 year old Jaye Noel, crewed by Jahmoi Albert and Baton Bearer – Joseph Wells. Pink Panther was escorted by a full complement of the Territory’s ‘peacekeeping’ and ‘safety at sea’ organisations, with vessels from all marine Government Departments keeping her safe as she drove around the exposed edge of Havers and Road Reef.  

The Virgin Islands Shipping Registry’s emergency response craft – Vigilant II manned by Dave Smith and his crew, together with the Marine Police Launch St Ursula with Inspector Charles and his team, BVI Custom’s impressive Midnight Express and the Crew of VISAR all formed a close formation around the pink RIB.

The Squibs that had pounded their way around the same piece of water in advance of the powerboats earlier that morning, waited at the mouth of Road Harbour, reaching up and down as the young sailors showed off their heavy weather skills. The Queens Baton Relay was the historical occasion selected for these three Sailability / Rotary restored boats to be sailed together for the first time, having being christened in the New Year.  

 

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As helms Eben Meyers, DonTae Hodge and Delroy Gordon saw the flotilla approaching, they began the last part of their sail towards the ferry docks and the watching crowd. Once safely moored, the Baton was passed to Mark Chapman and continued its land based course. Youth Instructor the Tortola Sloop arrived just in time to see Vigilant II and her crew, display impressive fire fighting ability as she sprayed gallons of high pressure water from her bow. Some of the junior sailors couldn't resist the opportunity of driving under the moving waterfall!

Thanks to Captain Chris from White Squall, a cannon was fired both at Manuel Reef as the Baton departed and then at the Ferry Dock as it was passed back ashore. Not to be outdone by the sailors, Special Olympics BVI were also honoured with a single salute as they finished their relay leg at the A. O. Shirley Recreation ground.

Media contact
Alison Knight- Brambles
BVI Watersports Center
Tel:(284) 494 0669
Email: sailonbvi@surfbvi.com

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