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3rd Fete du Nautisme

St Martin’s third Fete du Nautisme, held 20-22 May, recorded an impressive 6,500 visitors, many of whom were enjoying their first encounter with marine or nautical activity. This year’s theme was the marine environment, with a special emphasis on the Reserve Naturelle.

Some 60 stands representing local and regional marine businesses filled up the area in front of the Marina Fort Louis, while the marina itself hosted the first St Martin Caribbean Used Boat Show. 35 boats – motor, sail and multihull – took part in the latter, with brokers and owners alike reporting a steady stream of genuinely interested viewers who came to request further viewings and not just ‘kick the tyres’.

“A lot of people came here and realized that boat ownership or chartering is not as expensive as they thought,” said Serge Ruelle of Anchorage Multicoques.

Despite oppressively humid conditions, crowds paid their entry fee and pored over the stands, while the younger end of the spectrum hurled themselves with gusto into the scores of water-related activities. These included excursions on the Rapid Explorer, Lord Sheffield, local Charter yachts, waverunners and dinghies. The new youth nautical passport on the French side allowed children to participate in numerous activities with the parents required to give their consent once and once only.

The helicopter rescue display by the SNSM once again stole the show, while a firework display to round the event off was a perfect way to send visitors home.

Metimer President Yves Kinard said he was, “very, very happy,” with the event. “We had enlarged the show with the Used Boat Show and youth passport and we had an enormous amount of people who came with a lot more activities than last year.”

For the SNSM, the event was a chance to raise funds towards the 75,000 Euro they need to stump up for a new rescue vessel, which costs 150,000 Euro in total.

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