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Caribbean News April 2011

Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation Restore Bimini Moorings
Alice Town, Bimini - As they say at Guy Harvey's Big Game Club Outpost in Alice Town, "Eco is On!" Putting those words into action, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation has awarded a grant to restore mooring balls that identify fifteen of Bimini's best dive sites.

Under the direction of Neal Watson, Dive Bimini and its team of Bimini scuba divers will direct the efforts to find the missing underwater anchor pins and install the mooring buoys widely used to protect sensitive reefs from indiscriminate anchoring.

"The original mooring balls were placed many years ago, mainly to serve the larger live-aboard dive vessels" said Watson. "Storms, time and neglect have taken their toll, and its time to restore the buoys in an effort to preserve Bimini's delicate eco-system, which makes our diving so unique."

It is expected that the project will be completed by April 1 in time for the summer diving season.

"Projects such as this are central to the mission of the Ocean Foundation," noted Guy Harvey in announcing the grant. "Here we have an opportunity to target our financial resources to both the benefit of a local community, and a larger community of dive enthusiasts who come to Bimini from around the world to enjoy its unique character."

End of an Era the Beginning of a New One
Don Street, the man who opened up the Caribbean to thousands of cruising sailors writes to say he has sold his beloved yawl Iolaire.

Street, who is approaching his 80th birthday says it was time to quit sailing Iolaire while he was still fit enough to get around on deck and do everything. "I am not quitting sailing," explained Street, "and this 80 year old WPOF (well preserved old fart) is sailing a 73 year old Dragon and giving the youngsters (at 80 anyone under 60 is a kid) a hard time."

Street has temporarily swapped the warm waters of the Caribbean for the colder temperatures of Glandore harbor on the west coast of Ireland where he maintains a home. "Good starts, good sail trimming, good spinnaker work and some old native animal cunning has kept us competitive against the fiberglass dragons," say the man who brought us Street's Cruising Guides and Imaray Iolaire charts.

Street owned Iolair for 53 years and four months and notes that the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) is 85 years old and that Iolaire has flown the RORC burgee for 80 years.

"I think those two numbers must be records," he said.

"I delivered Iolaire to Devon, in southern England, with the new owner - he as skipper, me as sailing master," said Street. "It was a slow start out of Glandore, and then the wind filled in. I went to sleep and woke up two hours later. Iolaire did not feel right. I went up on deck to discover the new owner struggling with heavy weather helm, everything miss-trimmed. I sorted things out, properly reefed the main, re-sheeted the yankee to the end of main boom, set up a boom vang, doused the mizzen and we took off at 7.5 kts with neutral helm. Glandore to Seven Stones light ship 150 miles in 24 hours!"

End of an era, indeed.

Alfred Koolen: 2010 Sailor of the Year
St. Maarten - This year's Lagoon Sailboat Rental and St. Maarten Yacht Club Sailor of the Year award was presented to Alfred Koolen.

The prestigious award was given in honor of his ongoing contribution to the Sint Maarten Yacht Club (SMYC), local racing, and sailboat racing in general. Along with the accolade, Koolen was awarded a GILL WOII Regatta Master II watch and a framed, inscribed, photograph.

Koolen has been active in the SMYC since its inception in the early 1980's, when its most popular racing centered on a handful of keelboats, Sunfish, and windsurfing, in which Koolen excelled. He played a pivotal roll in the development and success of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and was influential in establishing the Caribbean Sailing Association's handicap rating rule.

Today, Koolen is one of the CSA's senior measurers. He regularly volunteers as Race Officer at the Antigua Classic Regatta and many other sailing events in the region.

To top it off, this past year, Koolen has contributed to a very successful racing season with Jamie Dobbs on Lost Horizon, winning almost all the regattas they've entered.

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