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BVI Bulletin - Apr 06


My sincere congratulations to both Claire Burke, of the Royal BVI Yacht Club, and Martin Van Houten, of the ‘Loyal’ West End Yacht Club, on their new roles of Commodore. It looks as though each club has chosen wisely in their elections and I thought that AAS readers might like to know more about these dynamic leaders.


Born in Ireland, Claire received her Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Finance from Dublin City University and holds a Diploma in Offshore Finance & Administration from the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators. She is the Manager of Tricor Services (BVI) Limited, a part of the financial sector of the BVI. Claire began sailing at college and as Watch Director on the Irish Sail Training vessel, the Asgard. “I then moved on to cruising as well as crewing at the Royal Cork Yacht Club. My first regatta was Cork Race Week in 1996. After suffering through miserable weather and racing in full foul weather gear for several years, I decided it was time to look for somewhere warmer.”

Claire arrived in BVI in January 1999 and quickly joined the racing circuit. She raced with Eddie Brockbank on Fastidiots for four years, on Dehlerious with Bungie and Di Flynn for two years and recently joined the Haycrafts on Pipe Dream as permanent crew. She bought a Laser in 2004, finishing 3rd in the BVI Spring Regatta, in the new laser class in 2005. She also races regularly on the IC 24’s out of Nanny Cay and has been part of the Doyle BVI/Latitude 18 women’s team winning the “Women’s Caribbean Keel Boat Champion” in St Maarten. High on her goals as Commodore is to involve more people in the financial sector in the sport of sailing. “With the growth of the financial services sector in the BVI, the profile of our potential members has changed significantly. I am hoping that through my involvement in that industry, I will be able to encourage more people to get involved in the sport that we all love so much.”


Born in Canada, Martin grew up on boats and has been sailing all of his life. “My father always had a boat of some type – a trawler, a houseboat and sailboats. We were always on the water and belonged to yacht clubs or sailing clubs. I came to the BVI in 1998 as a Marine Engineer for North South Yacht Charters. I worked for them for eight years until I became the Engineering Manager for Yacht Restorations at Nanny Cay. I started racing first with Bill Bailey on Second Nature and then raced for three seasons on Mermaid II with Bill Beredelli – we campaigned it for the CORT Series and down island. During that time I would also race on Pat Nolan’s Boomerang, Tom Mullens’ Rumb Squall and Shamrock V as well as racing on my own boats in the Culebra and St. John races, doing various regattas.”

Martin has been active in the BVI community as both a VISAR volunteer and a KATS IC-24 instructor and coach. He joined the West End Yacht Club in 2002 because he loved the camaraderie and the spirit of fun that all of their regattas seem to have. Before becoming Commodore he was the Race Captain for the Firecracker Regatta, Gustav Wilmerding Regatta, Foxy’s “Cat” Fight and has assisted, in one way or another, in all of their other annual venues. When asked his goal for the club he replied, “I want to make the club more assessable for the cruisers who want to come in and race and have a lot of fun. We want to make them more as “fungattas” – we want for people to come out and race with their cruising boats or as couples having fun. We have always been known as the fun yacht club and we want to continue with that.”

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