Yacht rally sails into Essequibo
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Some of the yachts
Some of the yachts

 

A YACHT rally bringing visitors from around the world has sailed into the Essequibo River and is being seen as one of the positive moves towards this country becoming a yachting destination.

Called the Nereid’s Yacht Rally, 10 of the yachts are currently anchored off the Hurakabra resort in the Essequibo River.

Yachters chilling out at Hurakabra resort
Yachters chilling out at Hurakabra resort

Together with those on board, three other yachts will join the flotilla. The visitors will spend 10 days before heading off to Suriname and then French Guiana. It’s the perfect choice of destinations for the yachters looking to escape the harsh weather along the Caribbean chain this time of the year.

Tourism Minister Cathy Hughes on Friday welcomed the yachters, who are from the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, Canada, Scotland, and Russia among other countries.

Hughes described Guyana as the “melting pot” of cultures for people the world over to visit and enjoy, along with a rich tourism product being driven under the “Guyana, South America Undiscovered” brand, which is being sold in the diaspora at various trade fairs.

She singled out for special mention the Italian David Matelacani, who came to Guyana during a storm several years ago on his yacht. He fell in love with Guyana and has been instrumental in the development of yachting here.

Hughes said Matelacani has worked tirelessly to promote Guyana overseas and as such, the yacht rally was conceptualised and Guyana welcomed the concept.

The minister said during a visit in the twin- island republic three weeks ago, she met some yachters and encountered a very extraordinary woman – Jean Petty. She had sailed solo from Trinidad and Tobago to Guyana before and is on the current trip.

She told the gathering that as the subject minister she will ensure that more is done to facilitate and develop yachting in Guyana and extended her hand in assisting Matelacani to promote a local marina.

The minister disclosed that the marina will be positioned for the storage and maintenance of yachts and it will provide jobs for the people in the Bartica area.

She highlighted too, the efforts of Kit and Gem Nascimento for their hospitality in welcoming the yachters to their resort for the event on Friday.

During remarks, Kit Nascimento welcomed Minister Hughes, since it was her first time at the location as minister for the yachters rally.

He said that one of the largest yachts was anchored a short distance away from the resort which he owns. He voiced his approval with government’s commitment to support Guyana becoming a yachting destination.

Nascimento added that one thing that needs to be addressed is to make the checking in and out process easier with less paperwork, but pointed out that the yachters said the current process is relatively easier in Guyana than in the Caribbean.

He urged the yachters to see as much of Guyana during their stay here.

Making remarks too was Region 7 chairman Gordon Bradford, who also urged the yachters to enjoy the Guyanese hospitality and visit as often as possible.

Matelacani said the rally will conclude in French Guiana and he has made a proposal to the government to further enhance yachting in Guyana and it is his hope that something could materialise.

He said the yacht rally was an idea conceptualised after his first visit to Guyana and since then there has been a lot of work behind the scenes to make the event possible.

He said: “I am thrilled today to see what was just a dream become a reality here in Guyana, a place that I have become a great fan of and finds very attractive and is of the hope others find [it] too.”

First Vice- President of the CCOG Western Community of French Guiana M. Bernard Brieu, who headed the delegation at the yacht rally on Friday, said he is very pleased to be in Guyana and pledged his support for the continued relations and the development of tourism between the two countries.

On behalf of the yachters, Rick Payne told the gathering that it took him three days to get to Guyana from Trinidad and Tobago and he is very happy to be here and will enjoy Guyana for a week.

 

By Michel Outridge

 

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