Apparently time flies when you are having fun. According to this distilled bit of wisdom I must truly have been having a ball.
First order of business upon my return to Trinidad was to organise a seminar for prospective Nereid’s Rally participants. While there has been plenty of publicity in the local and international yachting media, (The Boca, Caribbean Compass, Yachting Monthly, Voiles et Voileries, Sailing Today, Guyana News, etc) sometimes it’s a more personal approach that’s needed to woo a participant or two.
That was my plan at any rate.
Kit Nascimento of Hurakabra Resort kindly volunteered to fly to Trinidad with a delegation from the Tourist board of Guyana to help showcase the region as a yachting destination, when we last met, .
For several days I handed out flyers and made announcements on the morning VHF radio net, for the coming event. It was also publicised in the Grenada Cruisers and Guyana Suriname facebook groups.
Not surprisingly there was plenty of interest, especially from the yachting community currently in Chaguaramas. Even too much! Though I wonder if perhaps it was because there wasn’t anything better to do on the day. “Shall I change this cutlass bearing today or go to the seminar? “
The conference facilities at Power Boats were kindly offered by Mr Stollmeyer as the venue but about a week before the event I was approached by a small group of yachtsmen that convinced me to change plans. They were determined to visit Guyana, but not with the rally. Were keen to attend my information seminar, but not at the current venue. Were happy to make the necessary arrangements, but… (you get the idea…)
“By all means! The more the merrier!”, (Another supposed bit of wisdom that has me wondering on the veracity of idiomatic speech).
Let’s just say that at the last minute I was left holding the proverbial bag on this… Nothing that throwing money at didn’t fix (how do you like my new 40 inch flat screen TV that I used for just 2 hours before giving it away?), but I’ll think twice in future before allowing myself to be swayed into making logistical changes for non-participants. Especially when they quote the 80 Euro entrance fee as the reason they are not joining the rally.
“Why should I have to pay when I can do it for free. What do I get for my money?”
An information seminar with a nice new 40 inch flat screen TV to view for a start. 😉
Let’s see, what else…
Tide tables, guide books, latest buoy positions, etc… But of course they can get this from the Rally web site for free too. And failing that, they can always pocket the guidebook reserved for participants when they think I’m not looking. (I kid you not!)…
But apart from that… You get…
- Facilitated check in and check out,
- A welcome to remember,.
- A free shuttle bus to help you provision in Saint Laurent du Maroni
- Increased presence of the Coast Guard and Gendarmerie (they even mind the boats when we are out playing tourist!),
- Free entertainment and functions at each stop including music, traditional dance, food and drinks,
- Plus, the arguable pleasure of my company!
Ah, but “this is all just a trick! Next year the cost will be much higher.” I’m told…
Well you’ve got me there. Next year the entry fee will probably double to a staggering 160 Euro! 🙂
The question I need to ask myself is whether it is worth all the effort on my part?
Difficult to quantify the returns, but I think so. There are certainly many more people talking about visiting Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana with their yachts than there were a year ago, and that’s a must if I’m going to play marina developer. Some have even promised to take part in the 2014 edition of the Nereid’s Rally!
So with the continued support of local tourism officials and sponsors, I will be hosting it all again next year.
See you there!