How sailing is helping the Caribbean after Hurricane Irma

Updated 1047 GMT (1847 HKT) March 26, 2019
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Sailing is at the forefront of helping to regenerate parts of the Caribbean devastated by Hurricane Irma in 2017. The British Virgin Islands Spring Regatta (pictured) will welcome 90 yachts this year. Courtesy BVI Spring Regatta
Sailing events have also helped the recovery in neighboring nations like St. Barts, which hosts an annual superyacht regatta for boats of 30 meters (100 feet) or bigger. Courtesy Saint Barthelemy Tourism Committee
The Nanny Cay Marina is host to the BVI Spring Regatta. Courtesy BVI Spring Regatta
The 2018 edition was dubbed the "miracle regatta" by event director Judy Petz, who was determined to get the region back on its feet after Irma. Ingrid Abery/BVI Spring Regatta
Much of the BVI was leveled by Irma, including buildings on the island of Tortola pictured here.
Five people died in the BVI during Irma while 39 people lost their lives throughout the Caribbean.
An aerial view shows yachts piled high after the 185 mph winds lashed Tortola. Andrea De Silva/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock
Petz, director of the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, says sailing has helped the country bounce back. Courtesy BVI Spring Regatta
This year's event takes place out of Nanny Cay from March 25-31. Courtesy BVI Spring Regatta
"The sailing industry has a foundation here that even a category five hurricane can't destroy completely," Petz adds. Courtesy BVI Spring Regatta
The St. Barths Bucket "let the people of St. Barths know that we had confidence in them and were willing to put on the event regardless of where the recovery stood or how many yachts entered," event manager, Peter S Craig told CNN.
courtesy seadream
In Antigua, the annual Antigua Sailing Week is big business, bringing in an estimated $4 million to the local economy. Paul Wyeth/
The spectacular coastline, warm winds, dazzling seas and pristine beaches are a major draw. Paul Wyeth/Antigua Sailing Week
The event was first established in 1968 and is one of the Caribbean's most celebrated regattas. Paul Wyeth/
Hosting the event in 2018 was vital to the recovery efforts on nearby Barbuda, which was 95% flattened by Irma, local officials said. Paul Wyeth/
Boats come from as far afield as the UK, Germany and France to attend Antigua Sailing Week at the end of April. Paul Wyeth/Antigua Sailing Week
More than 1,000 sailors enjoy local hospitality during Antigua Sailing Week. Paul Wyeth/Antigua Sailing Week