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Caribbean News March 2011

Teen Solo Circumnavigator Laura Dekker Underway
Fifteen year old Dutch solo circumnavigator Laura Dekker resumed her voyage in January. Dekker arrived in St. Maarten shortly before Christmas to a heroes welcome. During her stay, Dekker and her bright red ketch Guppy attracted the attention of the world's media. Many businesses and individuals helped the youngster during her stay by donating dockage and equipment and helping with repairs to the boat.

Dekker is hoping to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world, a voyage she must complete before her 17th birthday. From St. Maarten, Dekker sailed south for Curaçao. She intends to transit the Panama Canal in April and then set out across the Pacific.

Eclipse … Big and Bold
The world's largest superyacht Eclipse is now cruising the waters of the Caribbean. The magnificent vessel, which is more like a cruise ship than a private yacht, is said to belong to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. The 163.5m (536ft) yacht was spotted recently in the commercial harbor in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, where it was thought to be taking on fuel. Built at the Blohm and Voss yard in Hamburg, Germany, Eclipse carries a crew of 70 who take care of two helicopter pads, 24 guest cabins, two swimming pools, several hot tubs and a disco hall.

OceansWatch International Visit Caribbean
OceansWatch, the international not-for-profit organization that works with sailors, divers and scientists worldwide to help coastal communities conserve their marine environments, develop sustainable livelihoods and access primary education, has arrived in the Caribbean.

The OceansWatch yacht, a Beneteau 50 skippered by Andy Clarkson, departed the Canary Islands just before Christmas bound for Trinidad, but problems with the yachts charging systems forced a change of plans and the boat diverted to Grenada. From Grenada, the boat set out on a slow cruise north along the Caribbean Island chain. On the way, the OceansWatch team talked to sailors at anchor, in marinas and at yacht clubs, spreading news about the organization and what their plans are for the Caribbean. Look for the Beneteau flying the OceansWatch flags; they will be in the Dominican Republic in March before leaving for Panama and the Pacific. Info: Oceanswatch.org

Seahawk Paints Win Award
The Small Business Commerce Association (SBCA) has awarded the 2010 Best of Business Award in the Marine Paints category to New Nautical Coatings, Inc., parent company of Sea Hawk Paints, based in Clearwater, Florida. According to the SBCA the Award Program recognizes the top 5% of small businesses throughout the US. The selection committee chooses the award winners from nominees based on statistical research information taken from monthly surveys, a review of consumer rankings and other consumer reports. The SBC say award winners are a valuable asset to their community and exemplify what makes small businesses great. For more on Seahawk Paints, visit: seahawkpaints.com

Curaçao Purchase 'Harpoons'

Curaçao – As the Lionfish infestation continues to spread, authorities in Curaçao have ordered 150 special 'harpoons' to combat the invasive species. The equipment used with success in neighboring Bonaire consists of a rod from which three extension 'arms' are shot out to capture the fish without damaging the reef. The use of more traditional grab nets, while effective on sandy bottoms, proved difficult to use around coral.

Superyacht Association
Hold St. Maarten Briefing

St. Maarten, Simpson Bay – The US Superyacht Association held their sixth annual Captains and Crew Briefing at the Yacht Club Isle de Sol in January. Keynote speakers included Billy Smith of Trinity Yachts, Gene Sweeney of Marshall Islands Yacht Registry, Peter Southgate of Cayman Island Registry, Donna Bradbury of BWA Yachting and John Mann of Blue Water Books and Charts. Topics for discussion ranged from the proposed changes to the codes governing the construction and manning of large yachts; clearance procedures for yachts entering the United States, and security issues that are affecting the marine industry. Info: ussuperyacht.com

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