St. Maarten's marine section of the Government-run Secondair Beroeps Onderwijs (SBO) training programmes was recently given use of a 26-foot Dufour 1800 sailboat from the newly formed St. Maarten Sailing School, owned and managed by Garth Steyn, following a launching ceremony at Island Water World on November 9. The donation gives a boost to the SBO which offers a basic introductory course to students entering the marine industry.
The yacht named Little Poe owned by Alfred Kiel for the past five years was driven onto the rocks during one of this year's hurricanes. Kiel, who no longer wanted to keep the vessel, offered it to the sailing school. Steyn arranged to have the yacht salvaged by Sea Cure Marine, and once repairs were done to the rudder and hull and the vessel had been repainted, offered use of the yacht to the SBO Foundation anytime they wanted, at no charge. The sailing school will henceforth maintain the yacht for the SBO.
Material costs of fixing up the yacht following the salvage were sponsored by Island Water World marine store while Aqua Mania Adventures took care of the labour.
"It's with a little sadness that I say goodbye to the yacht, but at the same time I'm very happy that it will be put to good use," said Kiel who is due to return to Holland. "Finding a new purpose for it is the greatest thing that could have happened. My wife and I can always sail on my neighbour's boat in Holland."
Commented SBO training coordinator Rien Korteknie: "It's a wonderful gesture from Alfred and the sailing school. The SBO Maritime Assistant course is very grateful. We do not have the funds to buy or pay for the upkeep of a boat, so this way we get a free ride for years to come."
Robert Luckock is a British journalist and freelance writer residing in St. Maarten since 1984. He is currently The Daily Herald's correspondent for French St. Martin and was one of All at Sea's very first contributors.