The Wagner Sailing Rally 2015 was held in February and was the second edition of a commemorative celebration of the life of Polish sailor, Wladek Wagner (1912 – 1992) and his significant ties to the British Virgin Islands.
Broadsword was approached by the Polish organizers to serve as the on-the-ground event coordinator and manager of all the local aspects of the programme.
Bellamy Cay and Trellis Bay were home base for the Wagner family where Wladek, his wife Mabel and a work force from the Long Look/East End community laid the foundations and built the stone buildings that currently house local businesses.
The weekend-long event was a cross-cultural party and the connection of the Wagners to the districts of East End/Long Look was at the center of the activities.
The importance of the history garnered the support of the Offices of the Governor and the Premier as well as the Representative of the 8th District. Broadsword was responsible for enlisting the participation of the territory’s leaders as well as driving the participation of the Department of Culture, the BVI Tourist Board and The Royal BVI Yacht Club and coordinating the businesses on Trellis Bay and Bellamy Cay and the VI Maritime Museum. The final result was a memorable three-day party with some 400 visiting Polish sailors and local residents.
In addition to coordinating the participation of the local elements of the programme, Broadsword solicited sponsorship for the event and undertook the local promotion and publicity of activities to media and the targeted audience of the 7th and 8th District. The weekend’s activities which included opening and closing ceremonies and a friendship party on Saturday night were televised locally.
About Wladek Wagner
Wagner was the first Pole to circumnavigate the world and was just 20 years old when he started the navigation. It took him 6 years and 3 boats to finish the journey between 1932 and 1939. World War Two prevented him from returning to Poland and he settled in Bellamy Cay and Trellis Bay where he became fast friends with Mr. Obel Penn and many others.
From 1949 – 1958, Wagner, his wife, Mabel Wagner, Mr. Penn and others worked together to develop Trellis Bay, Bellamy Cay, and build the first runway at Beef Island.