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Yacht Club News March 2010

Royal British Virgin Islands Yacht Club

The club recently welcomed Kieren Williamson, who hails from Ryde on the Isle of Wight in the UK, as new Director of Sailing. Kieren started sailing when he was eight and joined the Royal Navy at the age of 18 on nuclear submarines and got into "big boat" sailing then. His wife Kelly, an accountant for Sunsail, had an opportunity to travel abroad with the company, which is how Kieren arrived in the BVI. After teaching people to sail for years, Kieren became a RYA and ASA qualified instructor shortly before arriving in the BVI in 2008. Welcome, Kieren!

St. Maarten Yacht Club

Commodore Robbie Ferron reported at the end of the old year to the club's membership on a great 2009 that included well-functioning committees: Building Committee (Chairman Rob Gilders), Social Committee (Elona Philips), Youth Sailing Committee (Ernst Looser), and Keel Boat Committee (Ian Hope Ross). "Our premises have been upgraded; we have extended our clubhouse, thanks to super builder ex-Commodore Frank Hoedemaker … the entrance has been upgraded and looks far more presentable than before. Petra has done dozens of little upgrades all around the club. The gardening is being done and our furniture has been replaced. The kitchen has been significantly upgraded and ready for peak action. Our docks are larger: we have extended the dock on the north end and have a nice floating dock and docks that are being well used. The social programme of the yacht club is better than ever. Our keel boat racing is on track, has a great programme laid out and is being managed by persons determined not to fail." In summary, the Commodore said, the club is in great shape for this month's 30th Heineken Regatta.

"But there is one development that should be heralded more than others. That is the great Silver fleet Optimist group that has assembled itself with the assistance of our coaches Maaike and Remy. If we can keep these kids sailing we are going to have a very active and energized yacht club," Ferron advised, asking all members to continue showing support to the junior sailors. And, in fact, the St. Maarten Optimist sailors "cleaned up" shortly thereafter at the Anguilla Dinghy Regatta in January. Silver Fleet sailors Nathan Smith, Ferdinand Unser, Ilian Halbertsma and Kevin Salem, took the top four slots. Seven-year old Smith was St Maartens' youngest participant. In the Gold Fleet, 13-year old Rhone Findlay took first, defending his title, and nine-year old Alec Scarabelli took second place, defeating the competition from St. Barth.

St. Lucia Yacht Club

Sailing Instructor Callum of the SLYC reported on the club's inaugural "Carol's Afloat" held on December 22. "Thirteen uniquely decorated boats and two IGY RBM boats participated in what was hopefully the first of many Carols Afloat Christmas events. The boats that participated brought the joy that is Christmas spirit from their hearts and souls to many boats around the Rodney Bay Area.

"On Tuesday afternoon, if you happened to be passing the IGY Rodney Bay Marina around 4.30 p.m., a great many preparations could be seen, be it large inflatable Santas (palm tree included) or as many large decorative flags as could possibly be acquired from various sources!

"The 15 boats participating met outside the entrance to the Rodney Bay Marina, craft participating ranged in size and shape from the lead boat Hullabaloo through various sizes of yachts (some of which had only just arrived on island through the ARC event last month) down to the St Lucia Yacht Club's crew on board Lucia, an Impulse 21 keelboat.

"Come 6 p.m., the whole graceful procession set off with our in-house DJ piping an eclectic mix of traditional carols with a few carib vibes mixed in for good measure.

"After tying up, all crews converged on H20 restaurant and bar for the Prize giving and free beer, courtesy of Heineken brewery. Prizes, donated by local companies, were given to the best decorated, most improvised, best crew uniform as well as a whole host of others!

"Special thanks goes to IGY Rodney Bay Marina (free birth for the night for the participating boats and DJ Mickey), St. Lucia Yacht Club, all sponsors and the boats: Hullabaloo, Lucia, Catar, Kaiso, Gizmo, Nomad, One Time, Boldly Go, Reel Extreme, Twice Eleven, Guiding Light, Fair Encounter, Endless Summer and both IGY boats that participated. I'm sure that next year the fun will continue and for many years to come."

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