Cruisers Rally Brings Potable Water to Islanders

Byline: Capt. Pat Rains

This year’s cruising rally to El Salvador has public service as its goal.

A project called “Just Water” is aimed at donating special drinking-water filter kits to 260 impoverished residents of El Cordoncillo. Although the Bahia del Sol hotel and marina have their own generators and water systems, the village on the barrier island around them has no sewers, no electricity and no potable water.

“For the 2012 rally, we formed a project called Just Water that will provide clean water to the island by giving each family a water-filtering system,” said Jean Strain, organizer of the annual spring rally to Central America. “We are working with Homespun Environmental, a company that specializes in water-filtering components. They made a Cruisers Rally kit for us.”

She said each kit costs about $26 after a discount and consists of a pre-filter sock, a ceramic filter, a special siphon, a spigot and two large buckets. Strain said the cost of shipping the components from the U.S. to El Salvador would be prohibitive, even without the buckets, which can be purchased locally for an additional $3.

So, the rally needs to raise at least $2,700 to buy the drinking-water filtering kits, plus $1,500 a year to pay for replacement filters for the village. The cost to register and participate in the Cruisers Rally to El Salvador is zero, so organizers are accepting charitable donations for the Just Water project via PayPal. All the proceeds from the sale of rally logo T-shirts will go to Just Water, as well.

But shipping remains a quandary.

Any vessel coming down to El Salvador could volunteer to bring some of the kits on board, whether the boat owner is signed up to participate in the rally or not, Strain said. To order a filter kit, visit the rally’s website, click on the Homespun logo and use the promotion code “RALLY” to get a discount for your donation. Or, go to homespunenvironmental.com and click Filtration Kits, then click “Cruisers Rally.”

A record number of yachts have signed up for this year’s Cruisers Rally, which runs from March 10 through April 29. More than twice as many yachts as last year had signed up by early December.

“We are still looking to sign up more powerboats,” Strain said. “It is the perfect venue for them because of the normally smooth seas and availability of ports with fuel services.”

For details about the rally, visit elsalvadorrally.blogspot.com.

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