While it has been over a month after Hurricane Dorian devastated the Abacos and Grand Bahama, the yachting industry hasn’t forgotten about the destination that holds a special place in their hearts. M/Y Lazy Z and her crew couldn’t be there in person, but they came up with an idea to raise money to help rebuild the community that has given them great memories.
Each of the nine crewmembers involved will run a total of 1,000 kilometers over the period of their Atlantic crossing, roughly 16 days. To reach the goal, the distance each day is 7.5 km, but some crew have gone as far as 10 km a day. To collect donations for their challenge, they’re using GoFundMe to reach their $10,000 goal: www.gofundme.com/f/lazy-z039s-atlantic-crossing-bahamas-relief-run.
"Whenever there's an opportunity for a good challenge and to raise money for something that hits so close to home, I'm always up for it,” says Capt. Michael James. “Lazy Z spends most of our winter based in The Bahamas, and this is our chance to give back to the people who welcome us into their country with open arms.”
The money they raise will go toward NGO non-profit Global DIRT (Disaster Immediate Response Team) that aids in disasters around the world and fills the void between the time of a disaster occurrence and that of the traditional response effort. DIRT also helps with recovery, and Lazy Z wanted to support a small company trying to make a difference and found what they’ve already done and what they plan to do inspirational.
“We have a great crew assembled for this challenge/crossing and we hope to not only reach our goal but to surpass it,” he says. “There has been many boats within the industry who have done some amazing things for this cause, and we are happy to do whatever we can to assist."
Lazy Z plans to visit The Bahamas this winter season, and her owner will donate a lump sum at the end of their challenge to add to the total amount raised. They understand that a hard part of rebuilding the homes and lives is getting supplies to and from the islands, so the vessel and crew are more than happy to transport any goods from Florida to The Bahamas.
"I'm a strong believer that the energy you put into the earth is what you get back. Because I can't physically be in The Bahamas to help with the aftermath, we decided to help out the best way we know how, which is putting our 16-day crossing and sporty nature to a good cause and reaching out to our contacts, friends, and family in hope for them to support us, supporting The Bahamas,” says Third Stewardess Nicole Rouse. “Hopefully we can get the awareness out there to give back what was lost. Hopefully soon The Bahamas will flourish back into what it once was."
Check out Lazy Z’s daily progress, activities, and all they’re up to on their 16 days at sea by following their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/LazyZAtlanticCrossing.
The crew are all enthusiastic to be a part of the challenge and fundraising for The Bahamas. Here is what the rest of the participating crew had to say:
First Officer Simon McNeish: "Coming from a recent charity event to a boat that is holding another charity event, I am more than happy to participate. I did join the boat with no running trainers, but I'm still running barefoot and I'm loving it! (Not all heroes wear capes.) All jokes aside, I've spent a lot of time in The Bahamas and to see somewhere like that get destroyed is heartbreaking, and I'm more than happy to help out!"
Bosun Henry Louis Fouire Schreuder: "Natural disasters are never an easy thing to deal with, especially to extent that Dorian affected certain areas of The Bahamas. I have spent a couple of seasons in The Bahamas and surrounding areas, and this is an area that I hold close to my heart. I'm very excited and committed to know we are making a change with our fundraiser and help where we can!"
Chief Engineer Ben Hanlon: "I've always admired other vessels in the past that have undertaken charity events on crossings so was happy to take part."
Second Engineer Mack McKaig: "I think it's awesome that we can put something back into the communities that welcome us into their countries when we visit and help them rebuild after the devastation. And who doesn't love a bit of healthy competition amongst crew!"
Chef Nate Post: "I feel fantastic! It gives you a sense of gratitude and wellbeing and also gets you extremely fit. Teamwork makes the dream work, whatever it takes to hero The Bahamas get back to its beautiful self."
Second Stewardess Ashley Kimball: "If a time came where I was personally affected by a national disaster, I would hope someone somewhere around the world would [care] enough to do what we're doing for me. It doesn't take much to be kind. As people, we should care for one another and help each other in times of need. Even small efforts can make a big impact."
Deckhand Nick Wanliss: "I feel extremely positive about what we're doing. I think the cause is motivation enough. I'm very grateful to be a part of it knowing that I can put my personal capacity to good use for people in need. We're an extremely strong, fit crew who provide natural motivation for one another. I'm sure this will be a successful fundraiser!"
When the crew of M/Y Lazy Z made it to West Palm Beach on October 25, they ran a total of 1,647 km and raised $17,336, including a $10,000 contribution from the vessel’s owners. During their pursuit of the challenge, crew ran two full marathons and five half marathons.
Capt. Michael James says, “Thanks to everybody who donated... You kept us going when times were tough. Also a massive Thank you to the owners of Lazy Z for their large contribution.”
It was a huge achievement for the crew. “Running that distance everyday was very strenuous and tiring but I’m so happy everyone encouraged each other and kept positive vibes going. It was amazing to see people setting alarms in the middle of their sleep routine just to make sure we went above and beyond to reach our target,” says Third Stewardess Nicole Rouse. “I’m overjoyed with the amount we have collectively raised and the difference we will make! My body feels great, my mind feels greater, and I’m excited to head to The Bahamas!
Chef Nate Post echoed her sentiments. “Such an epic challenge! What a great way to get fit and raise money for a great cause during the crossing! I’m going to take a break from running for a couple weeks.”