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Caribbean News – Jan 07

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Sanderson and “Black Betty” sign on for St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

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Look for Mike Sanderson, named ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2006, at the helm of ABN AMRO ONE during this year’s St. Maarten Regatta.  Sanderson’s numerous achievements earned the sailing world’s top honor, including leading the winning team in the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race.
According to organizers, the main focus for Sanderson and his team will be to beat the Around the Island record for monohulls, possessed for the past six years by Brunel Sunergy.  “It is great to see a boat of this stature choosing the Caribbean as its winter grounds,” said Regatta Director Mirian Ebbers. Last year, 255 boats competed in 21 classes at the regatta.

Charleston joins the 2007 US-IRC Gulf Stream Series

Charleston Race Week, April 12-15 2007, has accepted an invitation from the US-IRC to be part of the 2nd annual Gulf Stream Series.  The event will offer a transitional regatta as boats make their way North following winter racing in the Caribbean. Each Gulf Stream Series competitor must complete a certain number of events in each of four groups: 1. Medium Distance, 2. Long distance, 3. Southern and 4. East Coast Around the Buoy Races. Group Three events require each competitor to complete two of the following series: Acura Key West or Acura Miami Grand Prix or Charleston Race Week or International Rolex Regatta or the BVI Spring Regatta or the St Maarten Heineken Regatta or Stanford Antigua Sailing Week.  For details: www.gulfstreamseries.com or www.us-irc.org .

ARC Skipper aids rescue

Nick Lewis of Flying Start helped Spanish authorities in an early morning rescue mission of illegal immigrants 200 miles off the west coast of Africa and 400 miles south of the Canary Islands where they were headed. On November 29, Lewis came across a small craft with about 15 people on board.

After consultation with the MRCC (Marine Rescue & Coordination Centre) in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Flying Start was asked to remain with the craft while a ship was sent to help rescue the immigrants. The hospital ship Esperansa del Mar arrived on the scene at 0430 the next day and successfully rescued the immigrants. Of the 34 that had initially been on board, only 15 remained, one of whom had recently died.

Commenting on the rescue later that day, Lewis, a retired solicitor from Bridgend, in South Wales said: “We did the right thing by the Spanish rescue authorities. It’s been a long hard night and we are now just pleased to have rejoined the ARC and be on our way again towards St. Lucia”.

Flying Start was one of the 225 Yachts participating in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers 2006, a course of 2680 nautical miles.  The rally departed from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on November 26 and was expected to arrive at Rodney Bay, St. Lucia by mid-December. 

U.S. CBP offers “Local Boater Option” Plan

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection implemented a “Local Boater Option” program in November.  The free, voluntary plan, available to frequent small boat operators and passengers in the Tampa, Miami, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands’ waters, is designed to expedite “low risk” boaters.  The option will allow participants to report arrival of the vessel by telephone.  To register, applicants must contact CBP at the nearest registration location and make an appointment to present documentation. 

All at Sea goes to a boat show

The 47th Annual Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show from Oct 27 to 30, 2006 was billed this year as the world’s largest boat show. According to event promoters, 1.6 billion dollars worth of boats and accessories and were located at Bahia Mar Yachting Center, Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, Ft. Lauderdale Grande Hotel and Yacht Club, Hyatt Pier 66 Hotel & Marina, Hall of Fame Marina and the Las Olas Marina.

Boats ranged in size from 8’ dinghies to Oceanfast’s 228’ superyacht, Floridian. New boats, such as Young Boat’s Young 24 and Sailfish Boat’s 30-06 Center Console made their US debuts at Ft. Lauderdale. World debuts included Cigarette Racing Team’s 39’ Top Fish and Generation Marine’s 60 McKinna Pilothouse Motoryacht.

Amid approximately 1150 indoor and on-the-water displays, All at Sea and First Mate, the Caribbean’s marine service directory, were on hand and distributed to attendees.  Report by J. Summer Westman

Brief Notes

Budget Marine launches 2007 Catalogue
At a fiesta theme event, Commissioner Louie Laviest of the St. Maarten Government accepted the first edition of Budget Marine’s latest book from Fitzroy “Bright” Daniel, a local young man who is completing his internship with Budget Marine in conjunction with the YACHT program.  Fitzroy Daniel worked on the production of the catalogue.

The bridge is fixed
Neil Rooney at the Buccaneer Beach Bar sent word that, after some anxious days, the John Sainsborough Lejuez (Simpson Bay) Bridge is now repaired and operating on its regular schedule.  Rooney provided All at Sea with a photo of the 170’ Sunrise entering the Simpson Bay Lagoon on November 10 to prove it.

First arrival at Yacht Haven
Yacht Haven Grande on St. Thomas officially welcomed its first mega-yacht, a 192-foot Lurssen, into port on November 16, marking the start of a new era for Charlotte Amalie. Located between the two shopping districts, the 32-acre Yacht Haven marina will feature in-slip high speed fueling and used oil or waste removal, internet access, extra-wide fixed docks, as well as four restaurants.

Rowing to Antigua
Word comes from the Antigua and Barbuda Marine Association that the Ocean Rowing Society is organizing a Transatlantic Row (not characterized as a race—but one of the pairs is trying to break the record of 40 days.) ETA for the first boat is 18th January and the last 10th March. 

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