Bonaire has just completed its 48th International Sailing Regatta. This year, it took on a new beginning with a new location and a new energy. In previous years, the Regatta and the surrounding festival were at two different locations. Many people would know that Regatta has something to do with boats, but more importantly it meant a week off from school, lots of party’s and good music at night.
This year, the entire Regatta moved back to a home from the distant past, Sunset beach / Playa Lechi. Combining the sailing, the festival and the beach brought all parties back together. The spectators actually enjoyed the sea, cheered on the boats and had their party bringing all aspects of the event together. The food court, made up of stands from local restaurants and chefs, provided that the sailors and spectators were well fed throughout the event. There were also booths with a variety of knickknacks and art pieces to buy, kids activities and a floating pier and beach for swimming. Each day, there were lots of visitors at the beach and the evening saw several thousand visitors for the music and food.
Over 115 participants from Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba, Venezuela and Holland joined in the races in a variation of classes. Races where held in the classes Optimist (youth), sunfish, yachts, beach cat, windsurfing and Kite surfing. With most of the starts from the beach on Klein Bonaire, a small island just in front of the main event, and the finish in front of the festival beach, the spectators could view the boats during most of the races and particularly during the exciting finishes.
Sailing Results in the yacht racing classes:
Racing class 1
1. CASSE TETE - CUR
2. PANTA RHEI - BON
3. PAPYRO - BON
Racing class 2
1. CHAMBA II - CUR
2. MERLIN - CUR
1. EVA LUNA – ARU
2. VENUS CALLIPYGE – CUR
More results for other classes can be found on the regatta website www.bonaireregattta.org
The Regatta was dedicated to 4 great sailors who passed recently. Hubert “Ibo” Domacasse and Captain Don Stewart, founders of the event and Jan ‘Skip’ Ackermans an avid supporter of sailing on Curacao and the most consistent participant of the event ever and Roy Winklaar the force behind the micro boat racing on Bonaire.
Besides live music from local and international bands, the festival featured dance shows and cultural events. The Jong Bonaire swim to Klein Bonaire added an official International competition with 27 competitors. There were over 500 swimmers in the fun swim which is a great fund raising event to support the after school activities for high school teens. The round trip to Klein is about a mile, but there are plenty of boats for those who only wish to swim part way. There was also beach soccer and tennis. Next year we look forward to the walks, bike rides, running races, dominos and more rejoining the activities. Over 5000 people visited the festival for one or more days.