Catboaters race to survive

Cayman Catboat Club members and supporters are hoping it could be fairly plain sailing to get their hurricane-damaged home back in full action again.

When Hurricane Ivan struck last year it left their Whitehall Bay, North Church Street headquarters and their boats badly damaged.

And ever since then the members and enthusiasts of the traditional old boats have been licking their wounds and trying to get things back on to an even keel again.

‘We are planning to get it going again and are hoping the government, who own the property, will let us stay there,’ said Kem Jackson.

But it could cost an estimated $100,000 to get the club building back in shape, said Kem.

‘When we get the OK from the government we are going to try and raise the money,’ he said.

The enthusiasts are looking for financial help from companies and others who might be interested in giving support or in helping with the work involved.

Since the storm, Kem has been extra hard at work putting new ribs, planks and other things into the damaged boats and that work is nearly finished.

Even at the best of times the traditional old craft require plenty of loving attention.

‘Most people don’t realise the work that it takes to keep them going. They need a lot of maintenance work,’ says Kem.

Much work still needs to be done at the club’s HQ and Kem and the other boat lovers are looking for help.

One immediate need is for plywood to put up to try and keep the building as secure as possible, he said.

Kem and the others are planning to hold fundraising events and are looking forward to the day when catboat racing is back in full sail again.

And they would particularly like to have a race in memory of the late David Foster who, said Kem, was a great friend and supporter of the catboats.

Anyone who wants to help can contact Kem on 925-7217, Jerris Miller on 949-4381, Austin Ebanks on 527-5319 or Johnson Mendoza on 926-3425.