September 19, 2020

Catboat club bouyant over Dart donation

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Left to right: Kem Jackson, club Vice President, Mark Vandevelde, Chief Executive Officer of Dart Enterprises Ltd, club President, Jerris Miller, Camana Bay Town Centre Manager, Ken Hydes

Cayman Catboat Club has received a welcome donation from the Dart Foundation so they can carry on rebuilding and refurbishing an important part of Caymanian heritage.

Catboat Club President, Jerris Miller and Vice President, Kem Jackson, received CI$100,000, and a further pledge of CI$75,000, to be paid annually over the next three years, from Dart for the support of club activities.

“I’m very excited,” Mr. Jackson said. “I would like to thank Dart Camana Bay, for this wonderful donation and say an especially big thank you from me to all the staff there.”

Mr. Miller said: “The CI$100,000 donation is going to be for sponsoring our biggest catboat, the 24ft Whittaker Cat. It will be used for anything it needs, such as repairs and maintenance, as well as for our educational and outreach programmes.

“Some of that CI$100,000 donation will also be used for the building fund, and for administration as well.”

The club is currently involved in renovating their new clubhouse at Whitehall Bay in George Town, a 2-story building that was badly damaged during Hurricane Ivan.

Catboat club president, Jerris Miller, signs the agreement to the CI$175,000 support package, on behalf of the club.

“I’m really delighted about the sponsorship because it means we can continue on the refurbishment of our clubhouse, ‘Careening Place,’” Mr. Miller said.

“Careening” is a term used for repairing and cleaning the hulls of wooden schooners and catboats, which used to be what the building was used for in times past.

“Careening Place will include our meeting place, office, our workshop, and a museum,” Mr. Miller added.

“The workshop will be used for constructing new catboats from scratch and repairing our old ones.”

So far, the Catboat Club has concentrated on repairing old catboats, often in terrible condition and they currently have a fleet of seven boats.

Left to right: Kem Jackson and Jerris Miller, from the Cayman Catboat Club

“As far as we know we have found all the old ones and repaired them already,” Mr. Miller said. “All the people here who used to build catboats, apart from Kem Jackson, have died. But there are presently two men, Ned Miller at Rhode Island and Tom Sargison, who is in England, who are learning boat building and wooden boat restoration. They will be here by summer next year and then we will be able to build traditional Cayman catboats once again.

“The CI$25,000 a year will be used for sponsoring a minimum of two races a year. One of them will be the traditional Cayman Catboat Easter Regatta at Seven Mile Beach and the other one is the Camana Bay Catboat Championship in November. The money will cover all the costs associated with those races including cash prizes.”

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