Delroy “Ital” Anthony keeps the beat going aboard Sliver Cloud as Guy Benjamin School students enjoy a sail to the flotilla on the Coral Bay tall ship.
About 25 local captains hoisted their sails on Saturday morning, March 24, and headed out of Coral Bay for a day of music, food and fun while raising some serious cash for Guy Benjamin School.
With locals and visitors alike aboard the vessels, the sailors set off for Miss Vie’s campground on the East End of St. John, to take part in the 16th almost annual Coral Bay Yacht Club Flotilla fundraiser benefitting GBS.
Among the 22 boat fleet headed to the flotilla was Coral Bay’s own tall ship Silver Cloud which transported about 35 GBS students out to the East End beach for the party.
Even more attendees arrived by car as early morning clouds quickly parted and a postcard perfect day unfolded for the cruisers, GBS students, parents, faculty, friends and those just looking for a beach party for a great cause.
From entrance fees, day sails and raffle tickets, CBYC was looking to raise about $13,000 for the Coral Bay public elementary school. Several private donors, however, sent the total way above what even the most optimistic organizers had envisioned.
“We had a lot of sailors take people out to the beach and even more people who drove out,” said CBYC Commodore Stephen Hendren. “We were hoping to raise about $13,000 or so when I heard that someone had just handed over a $15,000 check.”
Lisa de Kooning, who also made a sizeable donation to last summer’s Team River Runner Chaotic Kayak Race fundraiser, wrote a $15,000 check and another resident added an additional $1,000 to the fundraising pot. In total, the flotilla raised $28,500 for GBS, far more than previous years.
“So many people helped out and got involved,” said Hendren. “It made me proud to be a part of the community.”
GBS Principal Dr. Whitman Browne, while unable to attend the event, was thrilled with flotilla’s success.
“I’m really pleased with how the day went,” said Browne. “It’s really wonderful and it shows that there is a commitment to the children and people are willing to help.”
Local reggae sensation Inner Visions entertained the crowd as GBS PTO members and teachers served up West Indian fare, explained Hendren.
“Inner Visions was fantastic as always; they showed up early and played all afternoon,” said Hendren. “GBS parents and PTO members made unbelievable food. There was chicken and ribs and fish and all the fixings from macaroni and cheese to potato salad and everything.”
In addition to the local fare, CBYC members were also serving up fresh grilled hamburgers and hot dogs with plenty of side dishes with which to fill those plates and bellies.
With this year’s flotilla such a success, CBYC members had no doubt they plan to be back next year once again to host the fundraiser, Hendren added.
“We’ll be back next year for sure,” said the CBYC Commodore.
Residents don’t have to wait until March to support GBS. Contact the Coral Bay Community Council at 776-2099 to find out how to make a donation to the school.
Up next for the CBYC is the annual Commodore’s Cup in May. Hosted in conjunction with the St. John and Nauti Yacht Clubs, the regatta is scheduled this year for Saturday, May 5, and will be the start of a new tradition.
“We decided to have the Commodore’s Cup on the first Saturday of May each year now,” said Hendren. “That is Derby Day, so people can sail in the morning and then take a break and a shower and have plenty of time to watch the horse race that afternoon at 6 p.m.”
So mark those calendars for May 5 and be sure to be in Coral Bay for all the Commodore Cup sailing action.