Sailors battled it out on June 6th during the 12th edition of the Budget Marine Challenge in Curacao for the coveted Budget Marine Challenge Cup. The Budget Marine Challenge in Curacao is characterized by a downwind start at the inshore Spanish water in the first part of the race and an unusual, spectacular starting method during the second part of the race at Fuik Bay. This is an anchor start, where competitors are required to anchor with sails down and keep their crew below decks until the start gun goes off. At that time, the crew is able to hoist sails and raise their anchor and set sail. This requires a certain skill set and teamwork from the participating sailors and made for a nice spectacle for the spectators.
Although there were fewer competitors than in previous years, the competition was as fierce as ever. In the Cruising Class, Venus Callipyge was not able to hold on to her two-year title, as the crew of Melody was in top shape and crossed the finish line first.
In the Racing Class, the anchor start in the second leg of the race played a big role in deciding the winner. Budget Marine Merlin team was the first boat to get their anchor up. They were hoisting their sails but unfortunately, due to a knotted bowline, the jib sheet came loose and the mainsail got stuck half way giving Chamba II a head start. After leaving Fuik Bay the yachts started the downwind leg. It was very windy (5 to 6 Bft with gusts of 7 Bft) with high, steep waves. Not all participants dared to run with spinnaker, but the two competing J-24 rivals Budget Marine Merlin and Chamba II carried their bags, surfing at high speed to the next mark. It took really good concentration on steering and following the wind gusts to avoid a broach. As the two boats both sailed a very good race without any mistakes, it was impossible for the Budget Marine Merlin team to make up the time lost during the anchor start, leaving Chamba II in the lead, finishing first in class as well as being the overall winner. Newcomer Keetje, with a completely “novice crew”, came in last, but got a good taste of what the Budget Marine Challenge is all about.
As a title sponsor Budget Marine operated the dinghy service while the boats anchored in Fuik Bay for crew members that chose not to cool down and swim to the beach for lunch. We also took care of a variety of drinks and snacks, including the popular spicy crab sandwich, resulting in a cozy and jovial atmosphere among the competitors.