Donald Street: Observations of a legend
Published on March 24th, 2022
Sailing legend Donald Street, who at 91 has consumed more saltwater than most of us will sail on, offers his observations on recent Scuttlebutt topics:
Caribbean charter business:
In the late 1970s, there was a strong movement by politicians to tax charter boats as they claimed the yachting industry contributed nothing to the USVI economy. This was despite the fact that there was a blanket VAT tax on everything.
I do not remember the amount, but when someone calculated the VAT being collected each year on marine equipment and repair bills, the total was quite considerable. However it fell on deaf ears as politicians continued giving yachts and the charter businesses a hard time
Ultimately, the vast majority of St. Thomas charter boats moved to the British Virgin Islands, thus creating the BVI charter industry we see today. But now things seem to be operating in the reverse as politicians throughout the entire eastern Caribbean have never really understood the yachting industry and its contribution to the local economy.
Complicated racing rules:
Back in the middle 1980s, Grenada Harbor Yacht Club passed a rule for any GHYC regatta or series where a discard was allowed, but a disqualification was not allowed to be discarded. However, a withdrawal, or hoisting the I flag and accepting penalty, could be discarded. This rule also held for a series of races where there were no discards.
Cold water safety:
Having spent 60 years cruising, racing, exploring, and writing about the eastern Caribbean, I feel that any water temperature below 75° Fahrenheit is cold hence I do not swim where I sail in the summers. However, in Glandor Harbor (Cork, Ireland), there are well over a dozen females and half as many males that swim winter and summer without wetsuits. The water temperature December through February must be well below 55°F. I can only deduce how the Irish must have been crossbred with seals.