The West End Yacht Club, known locally as the "Loyal" WEYC, was formed in 1978 by a group of sailors in Sopers Hole, West End, Tortola. Feeling a need to add legitimacy to their races and serious parties they joined together and asked Walter and Inez Hyman, of locally owned Walters's Superete, if they could meet there.
It was then that The West End Yacht Club elected Morgan Sanger (Margaret Sanger's grandson - she invented the first know birth control pill and was the mother of Planned Parenthood) as their first Commodore and took steps to register themselves as an official yacht cub. One of their first races was the Sweethearts of the Caribbean held on the closest weekend to Valentines Day. It was dedicated to the true Sweethearts of the Caribbean, the Schooners. That was 25 years ago in 2003.
The following year they added the Classic Yacht Regatta, which used to be held in March. The declining numbers of schooners, due to hurricanes and the relocation of many of the old classics over to Europe, called for the races to be combined.
Over the years the yacht club has gone into remission and been reborn three times as people have come and gone. Its last rebirth was in 1991 when Carter Powell, Dave Cooper & Robin Pinfold revived it once again
The WEYC is known for their fun low-key races, holding seven regattas a year each at the same scheduled time. Their usual start for home races is at the Jolly Roger Restaurant & Bar in West End - home of the WEYC.
Regattas use the many islands in the western waters of the BVI as marks, so you might find yourself starting outside of the JR, out around Little Thatch, Sandy Cay, the Great Harbor buoy and Great Thatch with the homestretch back to the finish at the JR- always in a very interesting order and with different directions for each race.
When yachts register they are given a "ditty bag" usually worth more than the nominal entry fee and everyone always wins a prize at the Awards Ceremony. If there are 50 entries then there are 50 prizes. This is only one of the reasons why the sailors of the BVI love the WEYC.
As the "JR" is the home of the WEYC, their treasury is always in the black allowing extra monies to be spent to support the Island Sloop Program. One of the sloops in this program is Vigilant, an island sloop that was built in Tortola in 1882 and still sailed annually in Foxy's Wooden Boat Regatta until 2002 - some 120 years after she was built.
All BVI Island Sloops are owned by the H. Lavity Stout Community College and are maintained by the members of the Marine History Division, the members of the board of the WEYC and the KATS (Kids and the Sea) Program.
The WEYC has been honoured in many ways but the best is the fact that our racing sailors keep returning year after year after year. Dave and I truly enjoyed our 15 years of active involvement in this great sailing society!
*note - most of us belong to, and support, other BVI clubs also, but we do have our favorites!
ABOVE IS DEAR FRIEND, FOXY'S WOODEN BOAT RACE CHAIRMAN AND CLUB VICE COMMADORE, ROBIN PINFOLD, WHEN HE WAS AWARDED A PLAQUE IN HONOUR OF HIS YEARS OF SERVICE AND CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE CLUB.
DAVE AND I ALSO SPENT A GREAT DEAL OF OUR TIME AND ENERGY IN THE BVI INVOLVED WITH THE WEYC - EITHER AT THE HELM, AS CREW, REPORTING OR ON THE RACE COMMITTEE. IT WAS AN ACTIVE PART OF OUR LIVES.
ON THE FOLLOWING PAGES I SHARE SOME OF OUR MEMORIES
VALENTINES WEEKEND WAS ALSO A VERY SPECIAL TIME FOR YOURS TRULY WHEN I WAS PRESENTED WITH A PLAQUE OF APPRECIATION AND A DOZEN ROSES FROM THE WEST END YACHT CLUB. THE MOST SPECIAL THING ABOUT IT WAS THAT IT WAS GIVEN TO ME BY MY PEERS WITH THESE WORDS -
THANK YOU FOR KEEPING
US IN THE FOREFRONT OF
CARIBBEAN MEDIA FOR
ALL THOSE YEARS
THE LOYAL WEST END YACHT CLUB