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A Triumph Over Disaster: The Antigua Yacht Show 2017

December 19, 2017

The 2017 Antigua Charter Yacht Show was a huge success for both the international yachting industry and the Caribbean community in general: a fabulous fleet of 70 elegant sailing yachts and luxury motor yachts for charter converged in the island’s ports and many heart-warming contributions were made to the hurricane recovery efforts across the region.

After Hurricane Maria and Irma left a trail of destruction across most Caribbean Islands, some feared that the winter yachting season would be dramatically affected, thus creating a knock-on effect on many islands’ economies.  But concerted efforts were made to ensure that the Caribbean region – one of the most popular cruising grounds in the world – is open for business in the 2017/2018 season.  It is clear that some islands will need more help recovering and might take a little longer to be fully operational, but seafarers will not be deterred and the exuberant Caribbean spirit lives on with resilience.

The 56th Antigua Charter Yacht Show paid testament to this indefatigable spirit; event organisers declared that the show would go on just days after the hurricane struck and vowed that Antigua and most surrounding islands would be ready for the season. In trademark Antiguan style, the charter show was a high-spirited triumph. Yachting professionals from across the world enjoyed yacht viewings, marina nights & yacht hops, industry seminars, and crew competitions. The annual Yacht Chef Competition and the Tablescaping Competition, which have become hotly anticipated events at the Antigua Yacht Show, did not fail to disappoint in 2017.

Taking the prizes in their respective categories, the winners were:

·         Chef Caitlin Kennedy – M/Y ANDIAMO – yachts larger than 164ft.

·         Chef Harriet Mansell – S/Y SARISSA – yachts 126ft-163ft.

·         Chef Talev Schieb – M/Y VIGILANT 1 – yachts up to 125ft.

·         Tablescaping: M/Y BROADWATER – yachts larger than 164ft.

·         Tablescaping: M/Y THREE FORKS – yachts 126ft-163ft.

·         Tablescaping: M/Y VIGILANT 1 – yachts up to 125ft.

While the joviality created a pleasant atmosphere, the hurricane damage was far from forgotten and a strong spirit of solidarity was made evident throughout the show. A fantastic charity event called ‘Let’s Rebuild Barbuda’ earned a great deal of money for hurricane recovery on the island. Also, in the build-up to the event, the Antigua Charter Yacht Meeting Charity Fund worked hard to raise funds and materials for the relief effort.

A trade-only event, the Antigua show offered brokers and yachting press the opportunity to get to experience first-hand the charter vessels and their crew. For the first time in 2017, the event was extended to six days in duration, with an extra day added to allow for a Day Sail on the final day. This enabled brokers and members of the press to experience a ‘micro-charter’ along Antigua’s spectacular coastline.

The top yacht brokerages assert their presence on the Antigua Charter Yacht Show each year, sending luxury motor and sailing yachts from their charter fleet to gain visibility and begin the Caribbean winter season in style. The occasion is always a vital event on the yachting calendar, but in the wake of the hurricanes the Antigua Charter Yacht Show was more important than ever in 2017; it defiantly sent the message to the world that the Caribbean is most certainly still the foremost yachting destination.

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