The Black Boaters Summit celebrates its twentieth year
The Black Boaters Summit, a staple of the BVI cruising circuit, will be celebrating its 20th year this summer. Inspired by Paul Mixon, a travel agent and event planner specializing in the US African American community, BBS is comprised of a fun-filled week-long sailing expedition around the British Virgin Islands, with stopovers and parties at the islands’ best and most beautiful anchorages.
Paul, an avid sailor, had been cruising the San Francisco Bay area for years. In 1997, working as a volunteer at the Strictly Sail BVI booth in Oakland, California, a SunSail rep asked him if he would like to help the BVI based charter boat firm market charter vacations to the National Brotherhood of Skiers. It was a natural fit. Sunsail had lots of boats available in the summer and the skiers had no snow. Paul said yes, and they gave him 10 boats for five days to see what he could do.
It was such a success that the event morphed into the Black Boaters Summit. “I started BBS because of the size of the African American community and wanted to introduce more black folks to sailing,” explains Paul. “The secret to the success of BBS, he adds, “is that a crewed Moorings 5800 is a great vacation.”
This year 13 former Black Boat Summit participants and former BBS captains have taken over the organization from Paul and put together what they term, “The Reunion.” Sixty boats and many dozens of party-loving black sailors are expected to participate.
The 2017 event kicks off on Friday, July 28th with a sail to the Virgin Gorda Baths, followed by a party that evening at Leverick Bay in North Sound.
On Saturday Summiteers will raise anchors and head for a snorkel on Sandy Cay and then sail on to Cane Garden Bay and the beachside hotspot, Myetts. Other Summit stops include the Norman Island Bight, and Jost Van Dyke where a beach party at White Bay will start off the day. The evening will conclude with a shindig at Foxy’s, home of the famed JVD troubadour, in Great Harbour. Also on the itinerary are Sopers Hole, Cooper Island and Scrub Island. If you are not sailing with the BBS crew but want to party like one, join up with this fun loving group at any one of their stopovers.
Over the years, says Paul, BBS has created “lifelong friends and many marriages.”