Sight-seeing by land and sea was the fun focus of the first annual Emerald Triangle Yacht Rally, held November 5 to 11 and organized by Guadeloupe’s St. Francois Yacht Club, the newly-formed Dominica Marine Association (DMA), and the council groups on the Saints and Marie Galante.
“The St. Francois Yacht Club contacted us about two years ago to help them host such a rally,” says Hubert Winston, DMA president. “A rally was suggested as the event is really a cultural exchange through the islands and not really a race.”
Indeed, the Emerald Triangle Yacht Rally is part of a project to develop watersports tourism in the Caribbean, with the specific focus for 2007 on the islands of Guadeloupe and Dominica. Registration was open to all types of sail boats. Participants—from Guadeloupe, Antigua, Dominica, Martinique and Europe—were private sailors or in the yacht cruise and charter industries.
“We had close to 100 people and 24 yachts of all sizes and shapes from Hobies to Trimarans,” Winston says.
The fleet launched off on the week-long rally from the marina in St. Francis, a beautiful seaside resort village located on the easterly point of Grande-Terre, Guadeloupe, en route to an anchorage off Terre de Haut, the Saints, in the evening.
“Rally participants sailed by day and partied by night with island tours, treasure hunts and other cultural experiences taking place by day as well,” says Winston.
In Dominica, the fleet was met by live steel pan music as the yachts anchored off of Portsmouth.
“We had two nights of pulsating music and food,” says Winston, “first at the Purple Turtle Beach Club and then at Big Papas Restaurant. Dominica is famous for its authentic island food and music and we didn’t disappoint. For example, the first night’s party started at about 7 p.m. and wasn’t over until daybreak the next morning. The next night, after dining on jerk chicken, fish and other lovely Dominican dishes, most people could only dance for an hour before retiring to their yachts.”
By day, rally participants chose a number of activities to enjoy such as hiking to Dominica’s famed Boiling Lake, taking a dive excursion, or trip to visit Indian River, Chaudiere Pool, the Syndicate Trail or Carib Territory.
The next day, the fleet departed Dominica for Marie Galante, anchored off L’Anse Canot and enjoyed a beach barbecue. The following day, the fleet anchored at Saint Louis, with racing at I’llet du Vieux Fort. Prize giving took place the day after, back at the Saint Francois Yacht Club.
“This was the first event for the newly formed Dominica Marine Association and we are excited to say, it was a success. Now we are looking forward for the upcoming season of yachts and the showcasing of our virgin island to all. We’re also already planning for next year’s rally,” Winston says.