On the hard…

The 2014 Rally Logo

The 2014 Rally Logo

So while I was off gallivanting around the world on more conventional modes of transport (like aircraft…, how novel), Eileen sat on the hard in Trinidad waiting for the 2014 edition of the Nereid’s Rally.

Well before the start, and the pre-rally seminar in mid August, I was meeting with sponsors in French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana. Just to make sure all was ready for the fleets arrival.

Yes, the Nereid’s Rally has sponsors!

There is even an association called “Friends of the Nereid’s Rally” recently formed  to promote it and raise funds for the official receptions.

This way the whole venture is non-profit rather than a net loser for me.

Thanks again:

Soreidom

Guyacom

MachDeal

mets

LOGO-OT-SLM

Hurakabra

Now you can see how another couple of months seemed to go astray…

And the final result?

Mixed… But more on that later.

Apart from the hype!

Lots of hype!

Lots of hype!

So the rally was a success, and apart from a few photos which follow, I’ll leave it to others to share the details of what we did.

What others?

How about the Lion King’s blog. (This link runs it through an English translator). Be sure to scroll to the end and click “Newer Post” to read the rest.

And here are the photos I’d like to share:

Feels like Club Med...

Feels like Club Med…

As you can see it’s been tough!

Peak hour rush on Galibi beach...

Peak hour rush on Galibi beach…

Extremely hectic in fact….

Lucky we had the new jetty to make our safe landing ;)

Lucky we had the new jetty to make our safe landing 😉

Just getting on and off our yachts was a challenge, what with all that sandy beach to contend with…

They've spotted Susie's dogs on the jetty...

They’ve spotted Susie’s dogs on the jetty…

Don’t take my word for it…. You can see it in the expressions of this French couple…

I got to play bus driver thanks to Tropic Cata

I got to play bus driver thanks to Tropic Cata

Getting around town was a chore too!

A great meal at Le Mambari in Saint Laurent

A great meal at Le Mambari in Saint Laurent

But it was the only way if we were to get fed…

OK, I admit it. This was not the rally control centre.

OK, I admit it. This was not the rally control centre.

Can you imagine the logistics? Luckily rally mission control was at hand to take care of any eventuality.

We had it all covered,

I just thought I'd throw this photo in...

I just thought I’d throw this photo in…

land,

The Gendarmerie were keeping an eye on us...

The Gendarmerie were keeping an eye on us…

sea,

I'm the little dot by the jetty...

I’m the little dot by the jetty…

and air…

That's not a torch..... This is!!!!

That’s not a torch….. This is!!!!

Well I hope that this little picture gallery has been enough to shed some light on our adventures… If not I’m sending you Susie.

Would you care to hear my story?

Would you care to hear my story?

I know it all sounds like a tall tale, and it might not be as riveting as I’d like it to sound.

The stars and stripes never looked so good...

Look familiar? The stars and stripes never looked so good…

So I’ll leave you with a crowd pleaser… Just to let the boys back at the office know that I’m not really working too hard playing rally organiser.

And now that it’s all over for this year!

How many yachts are taking part?

on my way

Eileen of Avoca is on her way!

Not such an easy question to answer. If you ask me how many yachts have shown an interest in taking part in this year’s rally. No problem, the answer is 21.

I just tally up the number of emails that people sent me saying they would like to participate.

How many of those actually registered?

And by registering I mean how many paid the fee via the official web site to join the rally, the answer is also easy. 12.

But I still have not answered the first question. How many yachts are taking part?

Do I include the ones that at the last minute were still waiting on parts held up for various reasons but will set sail in a week? 10. Joe and maybe Ron, we will be waiting for you at the next stop (Saint Laurent du Maroni)!

Or the ones that due to a medical emergency had to fly back home? 9.

That had a relationship breakdown just days before the start and now have more pressing concerns than a rally? 8

That changed their mind and decided to sail back to Europe during the hurricane season the day of the start (to pursue a whirlwind romance) instead? 7 Good luck Katina.

Or had to turn back during the rally because something broke on the yacht? 5

Well there you have it.

A handful of yachts are currently at sea battling an unexpectedly fierce current off Trinidad on the 1st edition of the Nereid’s Rally.

Nothing like a rally to separate the sailors equivalent of the wheat from the chaff.

More on the contestants later…

What happened to August?

Who want's to join the Nereid's Rally?

Who want’s to join the Nereid’s Rally?

Apparently time flies when you are having fun. According to this distilled bit of wisdom I must truly have been having a ball.

Or not?

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).

Guyana tourism authority delegation gives their presentation

Guyana tourism authority delegation gives their presentation

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!

 

The 2013 Nereid’s Rally

Here be dragons!

Here be dragons!

OK, it’s official.

The web site is up and yachtsmen can now register for this years Nereid’s Rally, sailing from both Trinidad and Tobago on to Guyana and French Guiana.

Why is it called the Nereid Rally?

Because what better way to dispel the myths of sailing south from the Caribbean than to host a mythical themed event?

And Dave’s Rally was given the thumbs down… 😉