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UPDATE: Premier’s Seamoon wins Sloop Shoot Out!

In a choppy sea and with gusting winds “Seamoon” and the Premier’s Representative, the Honourable Marlon A. Penn held off the feisty challenge of “Moonbeam” and the Governor’s Representative, Vincent Wheatley to retain the Premier’s Cup on Saturday, August 3, 2013. Photo: Provided
The 10th Annual Festival Sloop Shoot out became an exciting race as both boats were level half way around the course with gusting winds first driving the boats forward and then becalming them as the wind died. Photo: Provided
The 10th Annual Festival Sloop Shoot out became an exciting race as both boats were level half way around the course with gusting winds first driving the boats forward and then becalming them as the wind died. Photo: Provided
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – In a choppy sea and with gusting winds “Seamoon” and the Premier’s Representative, the Honourable Marlon A. Penn held off the feisty challenge of “Moonbeam” and the Governor’s Representative, Vincent Wheatley to retain the Premier’s Cup on Saturday, August 3, 2013.

The 10th Annual Festival Sloop Shoot out became an exciting race as both boats were level half way around the course with gusting winds first driving the boats forward and then becalming them as the wind died.

However, Marlon Penn and his crew of Alec Andersen, Thad Lettsome and Wellington “Butch” Romney caught the lucky break and had their sails filled at a crucial moment to speed home ahead of Wheatley, Elvett Myers and John Shirley.

The Sloops, including new addition to the fleet, Intrepid and Youth Instructor will now rest at anchor in the harbor, on display, until racing concludes on Tuesday with another race around the harbor followed by a beat home to Nanny Cay, marking for the first time a transition from just a Shoot Out to a full blown Regatta.

Such is the interest now in rebuilding the Tortola Sloop that two more boats, one from Anegada and one from Sea Cows Bay, will be joining the fleet in time for next year's event.

See previous story posted August 3, 2013: 

It's Dr Smith against Archibald in Sloop Shoot Out!

ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- At 11 A.M. this morning, Saturday August 3, 2013, the 10th Annual Festival Sloop Shoot Out will feature in the Road Town Harbour with a new format and much anticipation.

Sailing and Sloop building has been part of the VI culture for generations and today’s activities will mark a turning point in the celebrations as there will be four boats taking part in the races, extending the event above and beyond the usual matchup between the Premier and the Governor for the Premier's Cup.

This year will see the two boats helmed by the Premier, Dr the Honourable Dr. D Orlando Smith competing against the governor’s representative as well as two additional boats. The Governor is off island and will be replaced by Deputy Governor V. Inez Archibald.

Archibald will be on board Moonbeam, the Premier on Sea Moon while the other sloops will be Intrepid, the “newest” member of the fleet, and Youth Instructor.

Premier Smith is considered the founder of the event and he has always held the desire to see the races extend into a small Regatta. This year’s races will see that dream take a step nearer to reality.

Today, Saturday August 3, 2013, sees the Sloop Shoot Out with the Prize Ceremony to held in the re-enactment Market in the Sir Olva Georges Plaza and then, between that race and the next one scheduled for Tuesday, the sloops will be on display in the water by Craft's Alive and the Road Town Ferry Dock.

“While you wait for the parade, people can turn around and admire the boats in the water,” said Geoffrey Brooks, co – organizer of the Races.

Although there are few records of how the boats originated, they are of a unique design and have certain aspects that make them stand out as coming from the Virgin Islands, including a big fatness in the middle called “moonsheen”.

Previous generations will still remember that almost everyone was a sailor or boat builder throughout the Territory and Tortola used to supply St Thomas almost all of its meat via the sloops. During the 1960’s, the boats became less used for trade, but seeing the colourful sloops bobbing up and down in the waters in the harbour will bring a nostalgic tear to the eyes of many.

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