Dear Islander….

Firstly I would like to wish all our readers, advertisers and friends a very happy and healthy New Year.

I am sat writing this editorial at the end of our first visit to the Antigua Yacht Charter Show, overlooking some of the finest yachts on the planet such as Nero, The Maltese Falcon, Nomad, ( holder of the trans Atlantic sailing record), Vertigo, Elixir, Axioma etc etc

It has been a pleasant way to spend a week in December, but seeing Christmas Trees everywhere in this heat just doesn’t seem right somehow !

The brokers seem happy with the outcome of the show, and many of the yachts are leaving today to start their first charters of the Caribbean season. The show is a very laid back affair, with surprisingly low numbers of visitors compared with your normal yacht shows, but this is, of course , controlled by the organisers in order for the right people being able to spend time with each yacht. The Yot Hops in the evenings gave us the opportunity to sample some of the hospitality on offer, and a special mention should go to Nero who provided a circus theme, aboard such a gorgeous yacht after a significant refit. She really has a special feel.

Back in Palma the second half of the refit season gets underway after the holiday break, and STP is crammed full of some major refit projects, providing plenty work for our local contractors. It has been noticeable here in Antigua hearing of the superb reputation which Palma enjoys. The standard of work and the quality of life whilst in refit has been mentioned on several occasions this week, reminding us how lucky we are to be based in such an iconic yachting centre.

I had some very sad news yesterday hearing of the passing of my all time sailing hero, Paul Elvstrom. A four time winner of Olympic Gold, plus countless world championships made him probably the most talented sailor the world has ever seen. He was the pioneer of so many new ideas and technology in his day, but it was his sportsmanship which separated him from the rest which shone through. His famous quote “ If in the process of winning, you have lost the respect of your competitors, you have won nothing” So true.

He was certainly a big inspiration to me when I was starting out in sailing in the 1960’s, and I am sure to many reading this column. RIP.

Fair Winds !

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