Paying Homage To The Caicos Sloop

Original article posted on Lovin Turks & Caicos

“You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.”

 

As the TCI continues development at a rapid pace, the TCI Sailing Association believes it is important to remember the resourcefulness and shared sense of community of the Turks and Caicos Islanders who laid the foundations.

The traditions of boatbuilding were critically important to the livelihood of Turks & Caicos Islanders through the 70’s and early 80’s.  Locally built boats were the backbone of the TCI economy…smaller boats provided fish, lobster and conch and larger boats traded primarily dried conch with our neighbours.  Boats also moved people and goods throughout the islands.

A fisherman with crew could hook and process over 1000 conch in day.  Those conch were consolidated into a large cargo of dried conch and sailed on Caicos Sloops overseas where they were traded for durable goods.

The TCI Sailing Association pays homage to the Caicos Sloop and Sloop builders and sailors by launching the Caicos Sloop One Design project on April 21st at the Provo Golf Club.

It is our stated mission to preserve, honour and enhance the heritage of the Caicos Sloop and to inspire a new generation of Sloop craftsmen and sailors in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The traditions of TCI boatbuilding were once crucial to the survival of local communities that had to make a living from the sea.  Our purpose is to celebrate that independent spirit of this small island nation by helping to keep the TCI traditions of wooden boat building and sailing alive.

We plan to produce a series of the One Design 17′ TCI Sloops, built along traditional lines but with modern methods and materials. To achieve this goal we are planning the following:

  • To sell these craft on a commission basis to sailing enthusiasts, and to grow a sizable fleet.
  • To create a self-sustaining boat-building, sailing and racing regimen that will demonstrate and teach the skills for all three disciplines.
  • To provide vessels, skippers and expertise for current and new regattas, and in so doing help to promote the TCI brand.
  • To introduce our boat-building and sailing programs as curriculum in all TCI schools, and in so doing, help tell the story from whence we came.
  • To establish a Caicos Sloop Sailing Centre that will, with the support of the TCISA, stand the test of time.

We believe this important National Heritage project will help to perpetuate the art and craft of sloop-building/sailing and showcase TCI boat-building as a cornerstone of our culture.

We have assembled a dedicated team from various sectors to ensure that this unique and important program becomes firmly embedded in our community, serving as a clarion call for the preservation of TCI boat-building and sailing heritage.

We welcome all interested parties who would like to join this initiative as a student, apprentice, member, sponsor or most importantly, as a boat owner.

Help support our Caicos Sloop One Design program by joining us on April 21st for our project launch event at the Golf Club.