Curacao's End of the Year's Race, traditionally held on the last Sunday of the year, was organized for the 26th time by race director Ivo van Dooren and the Sea Scouts of the Mgr. Verriet Group. Weather conditions were variable this year: 18 knot winds at the start, contrary to the calm on entering the Anna Bay, zoomed by the famous tall, colorful buildings, which usually causes unpredictable wind shifts.
Forty-three participating boats and windsurfers faced the feared calm, abruptly breaking off the pleasant and competitive headway at sea. For passengers of the cruise ship Zuiderdam, the crossing sails in the Bay were an additional attraction. The terraces in Punda also did well, providing a relaxed view at the races for locals and tourists. Renaissance's Riffort at the Otrabanda side provided the best view with the famous Handelskade as a beautiful backdrop.
The End of the Year's Race traditionally is a catch up race with all types of sailboats and windsurfers starting at various times on handicap. Among the first finishing participants were catamarans, yachts from different classes, Sunfishes, and windsurfers.
Loes de Ruiter and Michiel Bot managed to pass the finishing line first in their catamaran, and won the race. Venus Calippyge surprisingly finished second, followed by the Marlin, manned by Sea Scouts – some came over from Holland, where they study, to participate in the race.
The race was concluded with the prize giving ceremony and the traditional "oliebollen" baked by the Sea Scouts Group which recently celebrated its 60 anniversary.
Els Kroon is a Dutch former teacher who now lives and works as an award-winning free-lance photojournalist on Curacao.