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Friday 20th October 2017

Top M/Y Slipstream, Bottom Left M/Y Va Bene, Bottom Right M/Y Sequel P all bringing aid to the region.

The industry that is one of the most affected by the passing hurricanes immediately reacted to the tragedy by beginning fundraising efforts both in cash and in kind, and the evidence of their efforts have started arriving in Antigua. Last week with M/Y Grey Matters bought in aid which was loaded along with locally bought and collected items onto the tug, the Flying Buzzard who headed for Dominica at the weekend, and then last night M/Y Va Bene headed to Dominica.

YachtAid Global (YAG) is in the business of coordinating the acquisition and delivery of humanitarian aid to coastal communities in need or impacted by natural disasters year round and works in collaboration with a global network of volunteers, vetted NGOs and disaster relief experts. YAG abides by agenda-free aid and leverages vetted strategic partners and proven processes in ensuring timely, needs-verified, ethical and responsible aid delivery.  

Their model enables and accelerates larger quantities of donations and timely global distribution at no cost to recipient communities.  Through a collaborative networking model they work with vessel owners, crew and industry professionals to assess needs on the ground, acquire goods and transport and distribute them where needed. Right now they are mobilising yachts worldwide who are on their way to the Caribbean, or plan to be in the coming weeks, putting calls out for aid, and assisting with the logistics planning of the whole effort and are still interested in hearing from any yachts who either need help in planning logistics or are up for getting involved.

Closer to home and working with Yacht Aid Global, regular visitor to Antiguan shoes M/Y Va Bene arrived from Palma with aid for Dominica earlier in the week, loaded further aid in Antigua and left the docks at 8pm yesterday. They are on their way back as we speak. We had a quick chat with Captain Nick Line during the return leg and his summary was ‘We were so humbled by the welcome we received and how helpful everyone was, from the clearing agent, Cobra, to the officials. Everyone pitched in to assist in the offload, customs cleared us out before we had finished and within 8 hours of arriving we are on our way back to Antigua. We really could not have asked for, or received any more help than we were given.’

M/Y Sequel P is due to leave on Monday 23rd October for Antigua and are collecting aid for Barbuda with a focus on aid for rebuilding. Since yesterday they have been moored at the Club de Mar on the Paseo in Palma with the crew happy to receive donations until they depart. They have expressly asked that boxes are not sealed as they still have to prepare a manifest for landing at customs on arrival in both Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica.

Also no stranger to Antigua or to lending a helping hand when here, M/Y Slipstream who are currently at STP (Palma) will be headed to St. Maarten before they get to Antigua loaded with supplies and have put out a call for tools, screw, nails, bedding, children’s toys and kitchen equipment at this point. We wrote about this boat and Captain, Phil Stevens and crew back in 2012 when they arrived with a boat full of aid for the then Amazing Grace Foundation, spending their own tips and time to assist in redecorating, gardening and even buying food and drinks.

They are co-ordinating their efforts together with M/Y Sequel P as Sequel P leaves earlier so the more urgent aid will be put onto Sequel P with the balance arriving on Slipstream once they reach Antigua following their stop off in St. Maarten.

Outside of arriving yachts the industry has rallied asstoundingly. One such effort is a new collaboration called Sail Aid UK, led by PR legend Peta Stuart-Hun. They started making headline news immediately following the storms about co-ordinating fundraising efforts in the UK. Their Black Tie/Loud Shirt Dinner is therefore taking place at Land Rover BAR's Flight Deck in Portsmouth on 11th November to kick start their efforts. Look out on social media for their #SailAidUK campaign which has involves THE names in UK sailing and sailing media.

The level of support is incredible and we know that many more boats and individuals are doing just the same both in the US and Europe and we give them a huge thank you in advance for helping the region get back on its feet. Antigua may be totally unaffected but the yachting industry is a regional industry and when boats leave from the US and Europe they plan to visit the islands, not just Antigua which is why our role in assisting aid reaching other islands is so vital.

Written by Alison Sly-Adams

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