By F. Martin
The regattas season in the Caribbean, about to begin, needs support and encouragement after the intense hurricanes that hit the region in 2017, according to experts.
The Caribbean Sailing Association announced its five-year Winter Series International Race Calendar with events starting as early as November and the CSA website lists many additional events. The organization said in its official web site that most of the member nations from the islands affected by the passing of Hurricane Irma have checked in and confirmed that planning continues for the coming season.
“We are confident that regattas and sailing events will proceed without interruption, even in the most severely affected islands. CSA members and friends are working together with those islands to assist in the recovery process”, a statement added.
However CSA requested support. “You can make donations and send aid for those in need but one of the most helpful things you can do is proceed with your plans to visit our shores, participate in our regattas and recommend to your friends and peers that they do the same. Don’t delay until next season. Tourism is the life blood of Caribbean economies and they need your continued support to ensure they recover and those hit hardest bounce back quickly”, the organization asked for.
“Our hearts go out to our friends, neighbours and colleagues who have been severely impacted by Hurricane Irma and we wish you a full and speedy recovery, the president of association, Kathy Lammers said in the statement.
A study on the subject published on the Internet observed that with many hotels in St Barths, St Martin and the BVI closed for repairs this season, most visitors and participants associated with these events will rely on renting private villas which will serve as an important source of revenue for each island’s governments.
The St. Barths Bucket Regatta will be held from March 15th through 18th, marking its 24th year. Twenty-six yachts will participate this year—a figure that is down 30% from a year ago.
The study added that with 90% of local hotel rooms in St. Barths closed for repairs this year, private villas will house most crews and sponsors, and represent a significant source of revenue for the local government. St. Martin announced the decision to go forward with the annual Heineken Regatta that was announced shortly after hurricane Irma hit the island.
The regattas in the Caribbean usually attract tourism and income to the region every year. Other islands such as Puerto Rico that usually organize regattas in which Caribbean and US islands participate every year still face a serious situation due to the hurricanes of 2017.
“The CSA is confident that our regattas and events will go on so please proceed with your plans to visit us this season and submit your online entries early. The sun still shines, the water is still warm and the ever-present trade winds won’t let you down”, encouraged the president of the CSA in her statement.