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Mixing Sailing Fun & Fundraising at Z-Fest

Young scholars who do well in school get a big reward: a ride on a sailboat in the annual Z-Fest boat parade.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The coastal town of Zihuatanejo has long been a favoritie stop for cruising sailors, as it has maintained it’s laid-back, ‘old Mexico’ charm, in contrast to the rampant ultra-modern development at nearby Ixtapa and elsewhere along the Mexican mainland. And we’d be willing to bet that a small procession of cruising sailors is heading to Z-town right now, as the town’s largest annual watersports event begins in 12 days.

During the beach games, kids, cruisers and expats all join in the fun.

© Margaret Reid

Slated for February 7 through 12, Zihuatanejo Sailfest combines sailing, smoozing, and partying with a variety of fun-based fund-raising efforts. All the profits go to direct support of education for underpriviledged local kids — many of whom would not have an opportunity to get an education otherwise. Through Sailfest’s ongoing partnership between expats-in-residence, local community leaders and visiting sailors, this multi-facetted event has raised more money than any other cruiser-funded charity. Its coffers have funded the construction of new classrooms, whole new schools, in addition to giving financial support to exisitng facilities and individuals in need.

In Mexico, kids must be able to speak Spanish in order to enroll in a typcial government-funded elementary school. Sailfest funds have helped thousands of indigenes (non-Spanish-speaking) children to overcome this ‘language gap’.

Mexico’s education rules create a classic ‘Catch 22’: If you don’t speak Spanish, you can’t attend school, but if you can’t learn the national tongue in school, where can you learn it? Sailfest funds solve the problem.

© Margaret Reid

We can tell you from personal experience that Sailfest is also a whole lot of fun. With boat races, beach activities, a live music concert, parties, raffles, auctions and more, Z-Fest is the place to be next week. Learn more about the event here. And more about the educational support program here.

Racing in light air with Louis Kruk and Laura Willerton aboard the San Leandro-based Beneteau 42s7 Cirque.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

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