Set­ting Sail

From the ed­i­tor

SAIL - - Contents -

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.sail­­is­land-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

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