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3rd Fete du Nautisme

St Martin’s third Fete du
Nautisme, held 20-22 May, recorded an impressive 6,500 visitors, many of whom
were enjoying their first encounter with marine or nautical activity. This
year’s theme was the marine environment, with a special emphasis on the Reserve
Naturelle.

Some 60 stands representing local and regional marine businesses filled
up the area in front of the Marina Fort Louis, while the marina itself hosted
the first St Martin Caribbean Used Boat Show. 35 boats – motor, sail and
multihull – took part in the latter, with brokers and owners alike reporting a
steady stream of genuinely interested viewers who came to request further
viewings and not just ‘kick the tyres’.

“A lot of people came here and realized that boat ownership or
chartering is not as expensive as they thought,” said Serge Ruelle of Anchorage
Multicoques.

Despite oppressively humid conditions, crowds paid their entry fee and
pored over the stands, while the younger end of the spectrum hurled themselves
with gusto into the scores of water-related activities. These included
excursions on the Rapid Explorer, Lord Sheffield, local Charter yachts,
waverunners and dinghies. The new youth nautical passport on the French side
allowed children to participate in numerous activities with the parents
required to give their consent once and once only.

The helicopter rescue display by the SNSM once again stole the show,
while a firework display to round the event off was a perfect way to send
visitors home.

Metimer President Yves Kinard said he was, “very, very happy,” with the
event. “We had enlarged the show with the Used Boat Show and youth passport and
we had an enormous amount of people who came with a lot more activities than
last year.”

For the SNSM, the event was a chance to raise funds towards the 75,000
Euro they need to stump up for a new rescue vessel, which costs 150,000 Euro in
total.

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