Once again the yachting community has shown its strong sense of community in helping out with the post Hurricane Gonzalo efforts to provide the families of St. Maarten with much-needed supplies. With just 30 minutes’ notice of what was thought to be a tropical storm had turned into a Category 3 hurricane, the island residents were unable to install proper protection from the elements and considerable damaged was caused.
With the 2014 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show set to open on the 30th October, YachtAid Global Volunteer Event Advisor, Dhardra Blake headed out to see which superyachts would be able to help out. She commented: ‘YAG’s mission simply is to seek out and find like-minded captains and owners to participate in our humanitarian efforts. There are so many yachts which travel close to areas in need, whatever the cause. It’s our suggestion to deploy private yachts as a transport vehicle for donated aid and relief supplies.’
Sir Richard Branson is renowned for his philanthropic outlook and his ‘Necker Belle’ Captain Beez Evans, along with his crew were keen to participate despite his vessel’s short turnaround time. The 32m/105ft luxury charter yacht was then stocked up with relief aid supplies from local yachting industry firms including Yacht Chandlers, Medical Offshore Support Limited, MedAire and The Ditch Kit. In St Maarten IGY Marinas has donated a slip for the offloading of the aid and supplies as well as an overnight stay for the crew.
The St. Maarten recovery efforts are still ongoing and Founder of YachtAid Global Mark Drewelow is still calling for help from yachts: ‘We are still seeking more yachts to deliver needed supplies to Antigua which was also affected by Hurricane Gonzalo, and would like to assist the island in preparation for the 2014 Antigua Charter Show coming up in a few weeks.’
32m CMN Yachts, 2003 / 2013