Cruisers give back

Aid to Haiti being delivered on volunteer sailboats

Donna Lange with Jean Phelix Joseph on Ile a Vache, Haiti in 2009 Everyone has heard what has happened in Haiti, now a number of cruising sailors are organizing themselves into flotillas of private yachts to attempt to supplement aid being delivered by governments and NGO’s.

OceansWatch is helping to coordinate a fleet of sailing vessels to take food, medical aid, relief supplies and support to Haiti. A growing number of sailboats in Florida and Jamaica are preparing to depart in February for Haiti. They will take as many supplies as they can carry and get to them before they depart. Others will follow when the situation and security stabilizes somewhat and others are making plans for longer term sustainable aid delivered by yachts.

OceansWatch North America is working to help coordinate members, boats, donations, materials, supplies and crew preparing to shove off and deliver aid.

The 74’ Schooner WOLF ( an experienced veteran at providing aid relief based in Key West, can carry 20 tons of cargo and is bound for Haiti on February 8th along with other vessels in a flotilla carrying aid supplies and volunteers.

OceansWatch member vessel 56’ TRANQUILITY is collecting food, supplies and donations to purchase more to deliver to Haiti in the next few weeks, also departing around February 8.

In Jamaica, the 52’ Ketch KARAKA is organizing a flotilla of aid vessels. They were in Ile a Vache, Haiti when the earthquake stuck and retreated to Jamaica for safety due to hoards of refugees, and also so they could stock up on supplies for a return voyage with other boats.

If you would like to support these efforts, you may make tax-deductible donations to OceansWatch and 100% of funds donated will go directly to purchase aid supplies to be delivered by yachts heading for Haiti to deliver aid.

Please use the Donation page at Oceans Watch and the link to donate from your Paypal account or by credit card. Cash and check donations can be mailed to Haiti Relief, OceansWatch North America, P. O. Box 616, Norwalk, CT 06856 USA. Please make any checks payable to OceansWatch and put Haiti Relief on the Expense/For line.

Press Release from the Conch Republic Navy:

Conch Republic Navy’s Flagship Schooner WOLF Announces Haiti Mission of Mercy Flotilla

January 21, 2010

The Conch Republic Navy is organizing a relief mission to help the victims of January’s catastrophic earthquake in Haiti. Led by the Conch Republic’s Flagship Schooner Wolf, the flotilla includes sloops, catamarans and schooners, all with volunteer crews, and hopes to carry 20 tons of relief supplies. The flotilla is planning to depart the Key West Bight in historic Old Town Key West on February 9th, laden with a bounty of donated supplies, medicine, and tools donated by Keys residents and businesses. The flotilla vessel’s shall drafts will allow them to reach this coastal village inaccessible by larger relief ships.

“The idea is to make a direct and substantive impact in one cut off area. We want to share the compassion and aid of our island community with another island community,” stated Mary Martin who is heading up communication and general coordination of the efforts.

Schooner WolfThe Schooner Wolf, with Admiral Finbar Gittelman at the helm, is no stranger to such relief efforts. Over the years, he has taken donated relief supplies to Port Antonio, Jamaica after Hurricane Gilbert (1987), Guanaja, Honduras after Hurricane Mitch (1998), Hope Town, Abaco Bahamas after Hurricane Floyd (2004) and to West End, Grand Bahama after Hurricane Ivan (2005.) In 1998, the Wolf transported members of the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage to Cuba on their journey of retracing that ancient route of slavery.

Money and supply collections are underway. Donation boxes have been set up at Florida Keys Community College, Albertson’s, and Fausto’s locations. Other businesses are collecting items for the efforts include Mel Fishers, Home Depot, Mos, Ocean Key Resort, Blue Heaven, and Salute. The list grows daily. Collected items can be brought to the storage container on Lazy Way Lane across from Schooner Wharf Bar from 9:00a.m.-7:00p.m., where they will be sorted, tagged, bagged and weighed.

The Conch Republic Navy is asking for the following items: water, dry beans, rice, powdered milk, basic medical supplies, and small hand tools. Currently we are in desperate need of basic medical supplies. Water, in particular, is a critical need. Water Water at 5179 US 1 on Stock Island is matching dollar for dollar contributions for water. A $12 donation will purchase a 5 gallon jug of water. The jugs will be left behind for reuse. You may also bring in old 5 gallon jugs and Ken will clean and sterilize them for use.

For those wishing to help the Conch Republic Navy (CRN) and the flagship, Schooner Wolf but are unable to provide hard goods due to time or distance a relief account has been set up at the Key West Bank, 701 Whitehead Street. Checks can be made out to: CRN – Haitian Relief. Money donated will be used to purchase additional supplies locally to fill any gaps in any of the categories of things needed and will be taken directly to Haiti.

Contributions will be gratefully accepted and collected through February 6th. The hulls will be loaded on February 7th and 8th on the city dock of the Key West bight behind Schooner Wharf Bar. Expected departure of the fleet will be February 9th.


Julie McEnroe, Schooner WOLF
January 21, 2010 PHONE: 305-296-9694


Mary Martin, Florida Keys Community College
PHONE: (c)305-304-1754. (w)305-809-3230

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