As the editor of All At Sea, I am lucky enough to live on the Caribbean island of St. Martin/St. Maarten, one of the world’s great nautical crossroads. Arguably, Dutch St. Maarten led the marine industry forward taking the initiative at a time when other islands were happy to drift along, content with what they had and comfortable with a laid-back “take it or leave it” attitude.
How times have changed, and over the last few years islands that once happily watched yachts sail by on their way to somewhere else are now in a headlong rush to update their infrastructure, spurred on by developers and entrepreneurs more than ready to trade marine services for spiraling amounts of disposable income. Fortunes have been made in the Caribbean yachting industry and it is beyond doubt that yachting benefits an island’s economy.
Yes, the big money is at the top. Docking a 130ft yacht doesn’t come cheap, then again, marina maintenance and providing an attractive environment decent enough to lure yachts away from the competition is a costly business. Apart from industries servicing the actual seagoing, the so-called financial trickle-down effect, much vaunted by politicians and those at the top, is an established fact. I see this every day on my own island, where cash generated by the yachting industry sustains everything from car rental, taxis, flower sellers, bar owners and a myriad of restaurants and local shops. Yachting and local business working together to promote a destination, up-and-coming or well established, is essential if that destination is to prosper. Even more so where high and low seasons are a defining factor.
Having benefited immensely from the upsurge in recreational and sports yachting, it’s nice to see marine service providers taking it a step further by becoming involved in the local community. This month we are delighted to report on an initiative put together by the behemoth of the marina business Island Global Yachting. Their ‘Inspire Giving through You’ scheme is taking place on a massive scale that reaches far beyond the Caribbean. IGY has set a precedent and hopefully other organizations and marine businesses will follow suit. Such initiatives, large or small, are of benefit to us all. You can read about ‘Inspire Giving through You’ on page 47.
Every month, we bring you features and stories on a wide range of topics and this month is no exception. As we went to press, sixty or more adventurers were abroad on the wide Atlantic Ocean, rowing toward Antigua. I have crossed the Atlantic in a very small boat, but a rowboat! Now that takes guts and determination and it probably helps if you are a little crazy. In this extreme sport, which traditionally is dominated by men, one team of four female rowers are competing under the brazen name Row Like a Girl, and right from the start they were giving the guys a run for their money. All At Sea have their eyes on the team of four men from Antigua who are, in effect, rowing home. By the time this edition hits the stands, the drama will have played out. Some teams will have rowed to glory, while others will have abandoned the row for various reasons. There are certainly easier and more comfortable ways of reaching the lovely Caribbean but I doubt any garner as much respect. Page 30 has the story.
In December we ran a series of book reviews, which we also broadcast in our monthly Podcast. Our book reviews, print and audio, were so well received that we are going to do it again. I already have a couple of books lined up but we are happy to take more.
If you have written a book and would like to submit it for review, then drop me an email. Books should have a nautical theme, fiction or nonfiction, and you must be willing to send us a copy, print or eBook.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
Every month Gary records a podcast. The podcast is available on iTunes or you can download it to your mp3 player, tablet or computer by following the links on our websites: allatsea.net and: garyebrown.net/audiovideo.html