The Marina at Christophe Harbour is gearing up to host the third annual four-day CrewFest that starts on 17th January, and it promises to be the largest one since its inception.
The event will attract about 200 crew members of some of the super yachts cruising the Caribbean. According to Aeneas Hollins, the director of yachting at Christophe Harbour, about 20 super yachts will visit for the occasion.
Hollins said that CrewFest is now firmly established on the international super yachts calendar, and has become an event of note. The festival is primarily for super yacht crews, although at times yacht owners and guest join the occasion.
Commenting on one of the key reasons for introducing CrewFest, Hollins said, “It is a great way to drive new vessels that we have not seen before to our shores to experience and to learn to love St. Kitts and Nevis, as we do.”
CrewFest is organised in partnership with an international professional development company called Acrew. It is the combination of informal developmental sessions for crews, as well as the leisure aspects that make CrewFest attractive.
Hollins, who was recently awarded the Certified Marina Operator (CMO) designation, explained how it works, “There are professional development classes in the morning, so that might be mixology, or good marine stewardship, or medical courses, those kinds of things in the morning, so that a crew has a team building exercise in a not-so-formal environment, but an enjoyable learning environment doing things they might not normally do on regular academic courses.”
He continued, “In the afternoon, they can go out to see the island and have destination awareness experiences, whether it’s a tour, or a visit to a particular site, they understand a little better about what we do on the island, and what they can give to their guests, when they return to their guests.”
So the overall idea is to have crews visit the island, enjoy it, learn to love it, and talk about it with their guests.
“They will become our best ambassadors,” Hollins said, adding, “They will bring many more people back to our shores.”
Other activities include the CrewFest Games, held on the third day, a bit of a cross-lake challenge, and this is followed by a grand party. So what’s registration like this year?
“This year, I currently have fourteen large yachts on the books, and we are aiming for 20 large yachts and over 200 crew,” Hollins said. “There will be growth in the size of the event. Every year the yachts get bigger, the number of crew gets bigger, and the number of yachts attending gets bigger.”
Hollins explained that with 20 boats on the dock, it is equivalent to the operations of a mid-sized hotel.
“It is also an important day for the island, and that is why the St. Kitts Tourism Authority has sponsored the event and will be present at the event, because they too recognise the consequence and importance of CrewFest,” Hollins said.