How Can Sailors Help the Victims of Hurricane Dorian

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September 10, 2019 by John A

Hurricane Dorian wreaked havoc from Barbados to Nova Scotia. Amongst the toppled trees, rain and floods no place was more completely savaged than the once-beautiful islands of Abaco. Long a cruisers paradise within easy reach of the eastern seaboard the Abaco islands were battered by Dorian at the peak of its fury. 

Many Summer Sailstice sailors have cruised the Virgin Islands, chartered in the Abaco Islands, or sailed up the East Coast via the Intracoastal Waterway. All these typically alluring destinations were impacted by Dorian but only Abaco faced the full 185 mph winds and 200+ mph gusts. It was devastating. As they dig out it now appears hundreds of people have died.  

Hopetown Harbor Abaco

You've seen the disaster photos. We remember the widely recognized candy-striped lighthouse in Hope Town Harbour still stands over a now-battered Elbow Cay.

© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

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Right now, the Bahamas have suffered the worst from Dorian, and are in need of short-term relief efforts. The population, government and relief agencies are now assessing the damage and trying to manage with the completely disrupted infrastructure. We’re sure they’ll appreciate anyone’s help and, as we know from Irma and Maria in the Virgins a couple of years ago, the waters, reefs and bays will recover faster than the land facilities. That will create opportunities for self-sufficient sailors to bring what they can. Until then, we urge sailors to offer whatever help you can to the people attempting to recover from the wrath of Dorian. (The Red Cross has a site here.)

Remembering the pictures of the Bitter End Yacht Club in the BVI obliterated by Irma, we know that rebuilding comes slowly, but surely. Like the lighthouse in the aptly named Hope Town, the islands will return to their former glory. In the meantime, there’s a long, slow recovery ahead.

Our friends at the American Sailing Association sent out an email with a couple of suggested charities which we want to pass along.

The needs are great for Hope Town and all of the Abacos.

Before and after in the Abacos

© 2019 Matt Winslow / HTVFR

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Donations can go to the Bahama Red Cross and the Hope Town Fire & Rescue. Someday they’ll need your business to return but there are much more immediate needs right now.

The Optimist Daily has a few other suggestions here.

As the enormity of the catastrophe in the Abacos unfolds lets do what we can to help them recover and restore this beautiful destination and the home for so many who have welcomed sailors for decades.

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