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Caribbean News – Jun 05

St Maarten gets youth fund rolling

At a ‘Thank You’ party held at Port de Plaisance, The St Maarten Charter Yacht Exhibition announced it will be donating $10,000 to a special fund set up to bring local youngsters into the marine industry. This benevolent fund was established as one of the key aims of ‘SCYE’ from the outset, in preparation for a future where more and more skilled local workers will be required to keep up with an expanding marine sector.

The second SCYE will take place December 5-8. Registration information available on www.mybacaribbeanshow.com

Apple improving

Antigua’s Apple is making a rapid recovery, reports his cousin, who recently returned from Miami. As reported in the May issue, the Nelson’s Dockyard Water Taxi operator just received treatment for a brain tumour, and is expected to make a full recovery and lead a healthy life. Those wishing to make a donation towards the cost of treatment should contact Gay on 460 1246 or email amta@candw.ag

Didier urges St Lucia rethink

Rodney Bay Marina General Manager Cuthbert Didier, has called for a Board of Control to look at questions of joint patrols and general security in the lagoon. Noting that Customs and Immigration operated at the Marina for 10 hours until 6pm, Didier asked: “What happens if in the dead of night, as happens some times, a yacht comes in and drops anchor with Customs and Immigration closed?” While Rodney Bay Marina is an official point of entry into St Lucia, it is privately owned.

The lagoon has become a hive of “uncontrolled activity” according to Didier, for which the Marina was being blamed.

Operated entirely by St Lucians, Rodney Bay Marina houses 232 slips and is the home of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), which marks its 20th anniversary this year.

On the subject of the latter, Didier believes that the ARC can grow to become as big as the annual St. Lucia Jazz Festival. But the problem and challenge, he says, is that most St. Lucians do not sail.

Didier feels that St. Lucians need to start taking greater advantage of the yachting sector and getting involved in it. He did note, however, that government and private sector entities in the region were now beginning to see the real potential of yachting as a Caribbean product.

Free Curacao shuttle

Budget Marine Curacao is now providing a free shuttle service for boaters from the Sarifundi Marine Bar and Restaurant.

Vreugdenhil Supermarket and Budget have teamed up to provide this daily (except Sundays) free service to accommodate the provisioning needs of cruisers. Boaters can grocery shop, visit an ATM and buy marine supplies conveniently.

For additional information, Call 5999-462-7733 or email budmar@curinfo.an

BVI boat catches fire

Tortola – a test run in Road Harbour for the BVI Government’s new vessel Vigilante II was brought to a premature end recently when a fire broke out in the engine room. Sea Tow International was first to respond to the ship’s emergency call and eventually towed her to The Moorings. Damage was said to be ‘considerable’.

Dennis Bixler dies

Both the catamaran and larger sailing world was saddened to hear of the death of Dennis Bixler, who died on April 7th, aged 67. Dennis ran the Florida brokerage of The Multihull Company.

Dennis was a charismatic character for all who knew him, born in Ohio to the late Cleveland Browns coach Paul Orlando, and Mary Alice Bixler. As well as working as a Yacht Broker, his career also included stints as a coalmine owner, nightclub owner and chair of the Agricultural Arts and Science Foundation.

As a delivery skipper, and having come into sailing relatively late in life, Dennis logged more than 20,000 miles along the East Coast and Caribbean.

Grenada Race Management Seminar

On March 31st, Grenada held its first Race Management Seminar, promoted by the GSA and Grenada South Coast Yacht Club. The presenter was Martin Bedford, principle Race Officer for the Easter Around the Island Regatta. Attendees included Jacqui Pascall, President of the Grenada Sailing Association, and representatives from the Carriacou Regatta, Grenada Sailing Festival and Grenada Yacht Club.

Bedford used the occasion to outline two main points: 1, Competitors are Customers – make them happy and 2, In a difficult situation people are more important than boats – safety is always the prime objective.

“It is hoped that seminars like this one will become a regularly scheduled event,” said Pascall. “Having learned from this first seminar, it is our intention to plan and promote more seminars on boating-related topics. We believe they will attract interested participants both locally and from other islands.”

Spice Island Graduation

Grenada’s Marine Apprentice Skills Training Programme came to a close on March 31 when 53 out of 60 students graduated at a ceremony held at the Yacht Club. The programme was put in place through the efforts of the Marine & Yachting Association of Grenada and others.

According to MAYAG President, “ The course included theory on tourism generally, the history of the sector, environmental considerations and the twelve skills of the marine industry (Marine Engineering & Technology, Yacht Maintenance and Maritime Studies)”.

An estimated 15% of students have been offered permanent jobs at their work placement, while others are utilizing the experience to apply in related fields eg: cruise ship positions.

Puerto Rico duo win Hobie Tiger Worlds

Olympic duo Enrique Figueroa and Jorge Hernandez beat off a field of 89 boats to snatch the Hobie Tiger World title in Santa Barbara, California in April. For 40-year-old Figueroa, the win provided the extra satisfaction of beating many rivals from the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, in which he finished 7th in the Tornado Class.

Since winning his first Hobie World Title aged 17, Figueroa has dominated the class for three decades. In Santa Barbara, the boats raced together in one group. The Puerto Rican duo missed the first race, but came back to win the 4th, 5th and 6th races to secure overall victory ahead of the reigning champions.

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