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Yacht Club of the Month – Curacao

“Bon biní!”

That’s “welcome” in Papiamentu, a Creole language spoken by native inhabitants of Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles. Tucked below the hurricane belt in the southwestern Caribbean, just 35 miles north of Venezuela, the Dutch island of Curaçao warmly welcomes visitors.

Founded in 1963, the Curaçao Yacht Club today has approximately 630 members. Though many are sailors, the club is primarily home to those who enjoy fishing and cruising on motor yachts. Abundant docking facilities include a 100-meter dock especially for visiting yachts and fuel is readily available. A clubhouse offers dining accommodations and a bar open every day till late in the evening.

“All visiting yacht club members are more than welcome to use our facilities,” says club representative Tariq Welhous. “For the time they are visiting, they become automatic members.”

Adult activities are plentiful and, like most clubs, the Curaçao Yacht Club offers social activities for kids like beach volleyball, junior fishing tournaments, and sailing competitions.

Club members of all ages love sport fishing and will celebrate the 40th anniversary of their International Blue Marlin Release Tournament in March 2006. This three-day event draws about 140 men and women, both locals and international visitors, and is sponsored by major corporations like banks and insurance companies. Fishing is conducted according to international “Tag & Release” regulations.

The Curaçao Yacht Club 803 Challenge during the weekend provides a major prize like last year’s unclaimed Jeep Grand Cherokee for the first participant to weigh in a Blue Marlin that beats the 21-year record of 803 pounds. An opening ceremony is followed by two days of great fishing in the waters surrounding the island of Curaçao. On Saturday, a kids’ fishing tournament gives children their chance at pier fishing in and around the club premises. Sunday, after a second day of fishing, club anglers hold an award ceremony and dinner, and announce a donation to a charity from event proceeds.

In addition to the club’s major tournament event, some members compete in nearby sailing races each year such as the Bonaire Regatta in October, held for the past 38 years.

Welhous says Curaçao is a one of a kind destination worth visiting. For sightseers, it offers the charm of an 18th century Dutch village, fascinating museums, and the oldest Jewish synagogue still in use in the Western Hemisphere. A full 69 dive sites, 38 beaches, and Amstel Brewery tours are available for daytime fun, followed by eclectic dining and several alluring casinos at night.

The Curaçao Yacht Club is managed by a board with Roli Perret-Gentil as current president. Inquiries can be directed to Irvin Yrausquin, telephone: (599-9) 511-9046 or Tariq Welhouse, (599-9) 518-3313.

For more information and to send email, visit the club’s web site: www.curacaoyachtclub.com

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