I am welcoming you to the magazine this month as Chris recovers from back surgery. We wish Chris a speedy recovery!
Our thoughts continue to be with people recovering from the wrath of Irma and Maria in Florida and the Caribbean. They face a tough road ahead with homes flattened and communities left with no power, sanitation or water. And then, there is the imminent economic fallout from this tourism season.
Our Northeast boating community is eager to help with money, supplies and labor. It was the topic everyone was talking about at the Newport International Boat Show.
On the way to Newport, less than a week after Irma devastated our southern paradises, I wondered whether my friend John Glynn would even be present in the Bitter End Yacht Club booth, as the Bitter End’s facilities on Virgin Gorda, BVI were destroyed. Impressively, the Bitter End WAS present to raise money for the people of the entire Island of Virgin Gorda to help them get back on their feet. And showgoers, many in their Bitter End Yacht Club, Foxy’s, St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and Key West Race Week t-shirts and hats, lined up to help. To date, the Bitter End has raised over $240,000 and intend to donate funds to what is needed most, i.e. housing, schools, supplies, etc. To learn more about contributing, log onto beyc.com. If you are near Darien, CT, there is a fundraiser at Jimmy’s Southside Tavern on October 5 with food, drinks, music and an auction.
Offshore Passage Opportunities (OPO) members have been rallying annually from Newport to St. Maarten for seventeen years. The past few years, OPO has been raising money for transient moorings for the island of Dominica. The residents of that lovely island now need more than new mooring buoys. “We have spent many years on two of the hardest hit islands,” said OPO Founder Hank Schmitt. “Many of the fundraisers are geared locally to help those that people know. Our efforts are concentrated in St. Maarten and Dominica, giving 100% of every dollar to someone on the island.” The OPO membership knows that residents need more than money, so they are also planning to bring supplies and volunteers. To donate or hear more as plans develop, visit sailopo.com.
Sunsail, The Moorings and Dream Yacht Charters are busy assisting their staff, assessing property damage and rearranging fall charters. Sunsail and The Moorings have set up an employee relief fund at moorings.com. Dream Yacht Charters and their yacht owners are raising funds for their employees at dreamyachtcharter.com. We will pass on more information as soon as we can (many other Caribbean bases are unaffected so charters are available).
The Key Lime Sailing Club & Cottages in Key Largo, FL suffered serious damage but are getting themselves back to business – all while housing first responders and a few locals who lost their homes! It could be a good getaway this winter. keylimesailingclub.com
Port Sailing School in both Port Washington and New Rochelle, NY will contribute to the relief efforts by returning to the BVI for their 15th season. “From January through March 2018, our Winter Sailing Courses will return to the BVI and continue to offer sailors 7 days and 6 nights of sailing lessons and camaraderie along with a chance to directly assist the residents of these special islands. Along with daily sailing lessons, our participants will help support these island communities by cleaning, repairing docks, and assisting in the disposal of debris,” said Port Sailing School owner Chris Nihill.
There are numerous other donation sites available. We cannot verify all of them but below are some that have been brought to our attention.
Hurricane Irma BVI Relief – The aim of this site is to collate the ways that you can send help, be it through supplies or donating money. bvirelief.com
The Community Foundation of the [US] Virgin Islands (CFVI) has been serving St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John for more than 25 years. cfvi.net
Sailors Helping is activating the cruising community to help rebuild by working with resorts and marinas to understand the needs of their employees and source and deliver materials. sailorshelping.org
To support wider relief efforts, consider The Red Cross. redcross.org/donate/hurricane-irma-donations
If you have information that we can help circulate to our Northeast boating community, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.