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Carriacou Childrens Education Benefit Tops $100000

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Nine-year tradition by cruisers—it’s for the kids

At what point does an event become a tradition? This is the ninth consecutive year the Carriacou Children’s Education Fund (CCEF) has been an integral part of the Carriacou Regatta activities. Conceived by a group of cruisers in 2000, the CCEF activities bring together support from cruisers and local individuals, businesses and organizations. This year, the event raised $17,866, with donations still coming in, pushing the accumulated nine year total over $100,000.

All, 100%, goes to supporting needy kids with uniforms, books, supplies, hot lunches (Meals from Keels), technical upgrades to support computer labs in the schools, and scholarships to the community college; all in Carriacou and Petite Martinique. The CCEF activities have become a part of the cruising landscape and helped the Carriacou Regatta grow as well but, in the end, it’s for the kids.

This year’s activities began with the welcoming pot luck and barbeque at the Carriacou Yacht Club (CYC) on the evening of July 29, hosted by Judy and Gordon on S/V Dreamcatcher. Cruisers from 29 yachts, sailing under a variety of North American, European and Caribbean flags, gathered with a strong representation of local folks to share the dishes they brought, renew old friendships and form some new ones. Music for the evening was provided by DJs Kelly and Edwin.

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The squalls marching through the bay did little to dampen the enthusiasm of attendees anticipating the activities of the coming days and the opportunity to repay this cruiser-friendly island for its hospitality through CCEF. Funds for CCEF were generated through the modest admission fee and a raffle.

On the afternoon of 30 July, 15 cruisers joined hosts Nancy and John of S/V Silver Seas in a dominoes tournament. The afternoon of relaxed fun provided a good way to avoid the still advancing squalls and the modest entry fee provided another contribution to CCEF.

On the afternoon of 31 July, for the ninth consecutive year, the activity called “the auction” was held, again at CYC. The squalls gone, hosts Melodye and John of S/V Second Millennium were grateful for the break in the weather.

Throughout the year, visiting yachts to Carriacou drop off items to be accumulated for sale at this auction–boat parts (large and small), clothing, crafts, books, DVD‘s, etc.. Additionally, many local businesses donate certificates for meals or services. On event day, there are tables set up, flea market style. At 15:00 hours, the actual auction of the near 130 larger items begins, a task comparable to herding cats.

John of S/V Second Millennium and John of S/V Drisana handled this task in expert fashion. Great fun was had by all until after 18:00 hours, and the nine year goal of $100,000 was achieved.

In the midst of the auction, we were visited by the Honorable Senator George Prime, Minister of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs. He thanked everyone for all that CCEF has done for the islands, past and present, and supported future activities.

Amid the almost chaotic activity of the auction, some interesting stories were woven. One local gentleman saw a three gallon fuel tank and a five horsepower outboard among the items to be auctioned. He stalked these until each came up for bid and, in the end, walked away with equipment probably beyond his financial reach from any other source.

A hand-made doll, complete with wardrobe and even a little sister doll came up for bid. Two little girls sitting in the front row became enchanted with this treasure. But suddenly the older of the two sisters realized aloud, “But we have no money!” The auctioneer announced, “We have a bid of $20 EC. The next bid we will entertain is $2000 EC. Once, twice, SOLD!” The $20 EC note had somehow appeared in his hand and the smiles and applause of the crowd certified the auctioneer’s deft handling of the situation.

Melodye and John of S/V Second Millennium have been the driving force of the CCEF since the concept was created and deserve the thanks and admiration of the cruising community. There is not room here to list all the people and yachts which, in one way or another participated in this event.

As in the years before, cruisers have gathered in Carriacou and tales have been told, races run and winners toasted. But left in their wake will be the means for some children here in Carriacou and Petite Martinique to also chase a dream, each their very own. It is for the kids!

Report by John Rowland, S/V Silver Seas, and photographs, submitted by CCEF

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So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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