Kimpton’s catboat arrives at its new home

From left, Dart Enterprises CEO Mark VanDevelde, Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd. president Jackie Doak, and Kem and Ola Jackson

After months of anticipation, a catboat restored by West Bayer Kem Jackson is now settling into its new home on Seven Mile Beach.

According to a press release, a crowd of onlookers watched as the symbol of Caymanian maritime heritage was hoisted to its new home in the ceiling of the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa’s lobby on Sept. 15.

Versatile and nimble, catboats were once used for a variety of purposes, including hauling cargo, carrying people between the districts, and in the turtling industry.

Originally built by noted master boat-builder Elford Dilbert, and later raced in catboat regattas by Rommell Ebanks as the “Blew Bayou,” the boat was lovingly restored by Cayman Catboat Club vice president Kem Jackson.

Eight men used a series of levers and pulleys to lift the boat up to the ceiling where it now skims the air as if floating on water.

In recognition of Mr. Jackson’s labor of love, the boat was renamed “Miss Ola” after Ola Jackson, Mr. Jackson’s wife. The boat will be officially rechristened during the resort’s opening events in November.