From the editor
The than trio 200 of people hurricanes—Harvey, and made tens Irma of thousands and Maria—that of people killed homeless more in the Caribbean, Texas and Florida also did heavy damage to many wonderful sailing areas. Marine communities and infrastructure from Guadeloupe to Georgia were devastated, and it will take time and money to rebuild them.
The Florida Keys had just been reopened to tourists as we went to press, and the resilient Conchs were doing what they’ve always done, cleaning up and carrying on.
In the Caribbean, though, the picture was gloomier. Most of the charter businesses that have provided unforgettable vacations for countless sailors were hit hard, with their island bases heavily damaged and their fleets decimated. These companies employ large numbers of local people and they are a vital part of island economies that rely on tourism. The hurricanes cost many of these charter company workers their homes as well as their livelihood.
A number of fundraising efforts have been set up to help the islands in general, and also assist the charter staff to get their lives and businesses back on track. You will find a list of these efforts at www.sailmagazine.com/cruisingisland-hurricane-disaster-relief. Please, go there and help out.
That aside, the best thing we as sailors can do to help the islands recover from these disasters is to go and charter a boat there. Work in rebuilding the basic infrastructure is proceeding quickly and most of the companies were aiming to resume operations by late December or early January. Yes, facilities will be scarce, but the beach bars will be serving Painkillers, the locals will be really happy to see you, the waters will be the same spectacular shades of blue, and it’ll be a great opportunity to experience the islands the way they were a few decades ago.
Peter Nielsen, Editor In Chief
Bob Bauer, Group Publisher