Christmas is in the air, and while it may not be the ‘traditional’ scents and sounds, the “Trini” traditions are alive and well. The sounds of parang and the decorated malls are always sure signs that the season is fast approaching. A relatively new tradition that appeals to both yachtsmen and locals alike is the YSATT Christmas celebration which is held in early December. “It’s timed so that those departing to spend the holidays in other islands have a chance to experience some of the food and fun that is associated with a Trini Christmas”, says Jacqueline Clarke, General Manager. This year, the “Christmas Lime by the Sea” will be held on Dec 4th at Peake Yacht Services in the Bight Restaurant parking lot. YSATT contractors will be turning their skillful hands to cooking pots and barbecue pits to provide many sumptuous dishes including geera pork, corn soup, Indian delicacies and sushi. Drinks will be on sale and DJ Dale and a live band will liven up the festivities. A small admission fee will be donated to the Grenada relief effort. With over four hundred party-goers at last year’s event, this year’s is expected to be even bigger and better.
Marine Relief Fund
The outpouring of help and assistance for Grenada from the marine community in the days immediately following Ivan was almost overwhelming. YSATT became just one of many coordinating efforts for receiving donations and sending relief supplies to Grenada. The Trinidad cruising community reached out to their colleagues in Grenada and organised the purchase of relief supplies, relief boat trips, a dinghy brigade to assist those sailing into Trinidad, a temporary easing of Immigration arrival regulations, vouchers for meals, booked haulings and slips and most importantly provided camaraderie and support for the shell-shocked victims.
The establishment of the Marine Community Relief Fund enabled many of those who wished to help to give the monetary donations that were used in many ways. Donors included some of the boatyards and marinas in Trinidad, yachtsmen, contractors and a charity based in the U.S. The donations were used in four main areas – providing relief supplies (food, water, fuel, emergency boat repair materials) to the yachtsmen who were stranded in Grenada immediately after the hurricane; providing emergency supplies to the boatyards and their staff to help them to get back onto their feet; funding for the reestablishment of the VHF repeater system in Grenada; and funding assistance for the Grenada Youth Sailing Programme, specifically for the repair of the Optimist dinghies that were damaged during the hurricane.
The Trinidad marine community continues to offer their assistance to the affected yachtsmen and their colleagues in the marine industry in Grenada. “The Trinidad industry has no intention of trying to profit from the disaster in Grenada”, says Jacqueline Clarke, General Manager, YSATT. “To my knowledge, the boatyards, marinas and contractors have not increased their prices in the weeks after Ivan. Contractors have been under pressure to service all those needing repairs but they, and the boatyards and marinas, are doing everything possible to accommodate those in need. Space is limited but as far as I am aware all boats that needed to be, were hauled soon after arrival from Grenada. Boatyard space and contractor time will become more easily accessible this month as Trinidad’s hurricane season customers return and launch their boats”. To better manage their businesses, a few of the contractors may charge a service fee for quotations that require more than one day to prepare, i.e. for very extensive repair jobs. The fee is usually a percentage of the total value of the work and will be credited to the boat owner’s account should the contractor be selected for the job. The majority of contractors continue to provide quotations free of charge.
New YSATT Office Hours
Effective October 18th, 2004 YSATT’s office hours have been adjusted. The office is now open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 12noon. The Yacht Services Association of Trinidad and Tobago (YSATT) is an association of the businesses that provide services to the foreign yachts. YSATT is conveniently located in the Village Square at Crews Inn (below the Immigration office) and provides contractor referrals, tourist information, a membership feedback forum and moorings within Chaguaramas Bay ($TT25/day).