Justin Smit - Boatshed BVI
My Family and I have been living in the British Virgin Islands for 13 years. My wife, Cayley and I were in the BVI charter industry for 6 years on the same ONE catamaran. A Lagoon 570. What can I say, good gig, good owner and great life style.
Prior to that, we worked together on a 140ft Heesen power boat with 6 other crew. We were up and down the Caribbean, East Coast USA with one season in the Mediterranean doing way to many charters.
We ventured through the BVI once, and never left. We have two kids here, Lilly and Rylan. This forced us to be land based after which I got a position as Captain only on a Private 62' Gulfstar. I looked after it for a family and then captained for them when they came down for vacations.
That job was not enough to keep me busy, so I got busy helping to manage a quaint little marina on the East End of Tortola called Penn's Landing Marina.
We cater to the " snow birds " of North America who like to come and go through the winter months. We manage their boats and look after maintenance for them but basically customise our approach to each individual as everyone has a different approach.
I grew up on a farm in rural Eastern Cape South Africa. Never did a lot of boating until after school. My Dad built a ferrous cement boat in the days of Rhodesia and chartered for many years in the Seychelles and Mauritius. I used to visit him regularly as a kid and have fond memories of flipping Hobi Cats in crystal water.
It was in my early twenties that I decided to follow in Dad's footsteps and went to an academy in Durban. Here I met Cayley and the rest is history.
The academy month zero to, "some what a hero" turned out to be a life changing experience. Off the infamous coastline of SA, we came across the rogue waves you often hear about. There was a weather system off the country that had turned cyclonic and long story short, we were dis-masted after a complete 360 degree roll. My Dad was very happy with the academy and commented that, "They sure teach you everything there!!"
I don't own a boat now. I am constantly around boats and the love of the water and people keeps me here in the BVI.