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« Back Post Date: Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Sint Maarten Yacht Club, hit by Hurricane Irma
Sint Maarten, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is a country on the southern part of a Caribbean island shared with Saint Martin, a French overseas collectivity. The island was struck hard by Hurricane Irma and the General Manager of Sint Maarten Yacht Club wrote to ICOYC President Andy Anderson asking that ICOYC help spread the word of SMYC's efforts to rebuild its teaching fleet. Click on the article title to read the full message from SMYC's GM.

From: Michele Korteweg [mailto:smycmanager@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, 6 January 2018 9:01 AM
To: President@icoyc.org
Subject: Sint Maarten Yacht Club


Dear Mr. Anderson,

I found out about the International Council of Yacht Clubs and absolutely love the idea about cooperating and joining forces between yacht clubs world wide. In the last few months we have learned how special this support among yacht clubs really is after hurricane Irma hit the island.

St Maarten lay right in the middle of Hurricane Irma’s monster path and devastation happened. The entire island was smashed, including the Sint Maarten Yacht Club. The docks, deck and fleet got severely damaged or wiped out.

The Sint Maarten Yacht Club was established in 1980 with the aim to bring the sailing community on the island together and communally promote the sport of sailing. The St Maarten Heineken Regatta was started in the same year as one of the major efforts to accomplish this goal, as well as increasing tourism on St Maarten. Over the years the event grew from 12 participating boats to close to 300, making the economic impact for St Maarten stand out significantly and driving tourism in March when the high season started to come to an end.

With the success of the regatta, the Yacht Club continued to grow and focused on annual local and regional sailing events, as well as a successful youth sailing program that included a sponsor program for local youth that wouldn’t be able to afford lessons otherwise. In addition, the Club’s social committee grew and brought the community together, planning fundraisers and activities with other organizations such as the yellow and white cross, emphasizing on giving back to the community.

As a result of the devastation, the young students enrolled in sailing lessons as part of our Youth Sailing Program no longer have the opportunity to sail until we rebuild our docks and replace the fleet. We have organized a temporary solution for the students still on island off the beach, however this significantly reduces the capacity of kids we can take sailing with a limited number of boats. With all the devastation surrounding the children of St. Maarten, we are determined to rebuild and to provide the youth with a positive activity and distraction from the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Rebuilding the Sint Maarten Yacht Club will also allow us to continue our efforts to promote sailing, increase tourism through sailing events, and to bring the local community together. 

Every year we organize the St Maarten Heineken Regatta, the largest regatta in the Caribbean. This event has a huge impact on the island's economy and the continuation is of significant importance for the recovery of St Maarten.

We have reached out to our members, supporters worldwide and of course international yacht clubs and received heartwarming support. However, the damage is significant and estimated at approximately $350,000. 

We are inquiring whether the ICOYC could assist us in generating awareness and perhaps even with raising funds. 

I have included some photos to visualize the scope of the devastation, there is also 1 photo showing the SMYC in better times. Hopefully we can join forces and you can help us rebuild the Sint Maarten Yacht Club & Sailing School.

Thank you in advance.

Best regards,

Michele Korteweg

General Manager SMYC


Sint Maarten Yacht Club