Sailfest started 19 years ago when a group of cruisers decided they should do something to raise money to build a classroom for local children. It has grown into one of the major cruiser events in Mexico. The monies raised through the event now go to building new schools and classrooms, maintaining existing schools, providing meals at the schools and a scholarship program. More information on the charity and its works can be found here https://porlosninos.com/sailfest-2020/
We came here with the intent of “helping out” where we could. We ended up doing 9 nights of sunset and music cruises, the “rally around the rock” and the boat parade. Taking a total of 55 guests out with us and raising 23,000 pesos or about 1700 Canadian dollars. Way more than we were expecting, a big thank you to all those that came out with us. Especially the repeat guests. We were only one of 23 boats that participated in this year’s event. Some of the larger yachts took almost 200 guests out over the course of the event.
The sailing events are just part of what’s happening. On shore there were concerts, chili cook off, silent auction and a gala dinner. With the help of almost 200 shore based and boat crew volunteers the organization raised more than 3,000,000.00 pesos or over $200,000 this year.
While it is mandatory for children to attend school and there are no tuition fees, the students must still provide their uniforms and school supplies. These costs alone are often out of the reach of many families and as such become barriers to the children’s education. We were part of a tour of one of the schools (grades 1-6) that had been built with Sailfest funds. What started as a one room school is now about a dozen classrooms and a kitchen for 300 students. The uniform requirements at this school are relaxed. If the children don’t have the right shoes, a clean uniform shirt, they are still permitted to attend school. The organization tries to help out with the cost of supplies and uniforms for as many children as they can. What ever can be done to remove the roadblocks and educate the children becomes a priority.
We are very happy to have been a part of this and while we’re not sure of our plans for next year, we may be back.