Margaret Penicaud’s new kayak has been sitting in storage since she won it last fall in the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. When Ms. Penicaud took home the kayak after hauling in a 40-inch striped bass, she had Haiti, not future fishing trips, on her mind.

Hurricane Matthew hit the coast of Haiti during the time Mrs. Penicaud was fishing the derby. At the end of July the 15.5-foot Bassyak motorized fishing kayak will be auctioned off, with all proceeds going to benefit children in Haiti.

The kayak raffle is part of a longstanding Island-to-Island connection between the Vineyard and Haiti. Mrs. Penicaud is the founder and director of the Martha’s Vineyard Fish Farm for Haiti project, a nonprofit organization that began in 1998. Fundraising efforts through the Vineyard organization have helped establish a tilapia fish farm and primary school in Lilavois, Haiti.

Last fall Hurricane Matthew struck the southeastern side of the Island. The category five storm killed hundreds of people and left widespread damage.

At the time of the hurricane Mrs. Penicaud was fishing the derby. She already had a grand slam went she went out fishing with her kayak and her nephew Chris.

“I’m out there, I get this fish, I’m getting turned in circles,” Mrs. Penicaud said. “It was very exciting. The Vineyard sleigh ride.”

With help from Chris she reeled in a 23.58-pound, 40-inch long striped bass. “There I was with this fish,” Mrs. Penicaud said. Her maiden name is Mayhew and her brothers are avid fishermen. “I’m not even the fisherman of the family.”

Like the freshwater tilapia grown in Lilavois through the Fish Farm Haiti project, Mrs. Penicaud thought her prize-winning fish could do some good. The striped bass earned Mrs. Penicaud the top prize in the kayak challenge, the brand new Bassyak. Mrs. Penicaud decided she would use her grand prize to help the area of Haiti devastated by the hurricane.

The kayak will be raffled off on July 29 (in honor of the feast day of Saint Martha, Mrs. Penicaud notes).

Raffle tickets can be purchased for $25 a chance, online at or through a check made out to Fish Farm Haiti and sent to P.O. Box 1803, Vineyard Haven, MA, 02568. Ms. Penicaud has also been selling raffle tickets at Cronig’s.