Refurbished catboat almost ready for display

Kem Jackson is a longtime member of the Catboat Club and is dedicated to preserving knowlege about the traditional boats for future generations. - Photo: Eziethamae Bodden

Kem Jackson poses with the catboat he has spent several months painstakingly restoring for the new Kimpton hotel, where it will serve as a sculptural installation.

Mr. Jackson believes the Blew Bayou was built around 1990 by catboat builder Elford Dilbert and used as a fishing vessel. After lying idle, it was restored in 2009 by Rommell Ebanks, who raced it in the annual Cayman Islands Catboat Regatta until 2015.

Mr. Jackson says that in his restoration he strived for perfection in bringing out the Blew Bayou’s original details and beauty, so that when it is displayed at the hotel it will be able to represent an important piece of Cayman history for years to come.

A Caymanian cultural treasure, nimble catboats were once the pickup trucks of Cayman’s times gone by, used for hauling cargo, carrying people between the districts, and stacked aboard schooners and transported by fishermen to Cayman’s traditional turtling grounds in places like the Miskito Cays off Honduras.