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Young Sailors at the Top in Curacao Sail-In

The annual Curacao Sail-In for open sailing boats on Spanish Waters was characterized by calm sailing conditions. The Antillean Sailing Association NASAF organized the December 14 event. It’s an overtaking race, handicapped by the start time.

All kinds of sailing boats sailed against each other in this unique race, which number of participants increased to more than 60 in Sturdies, Centaurs, Ynglings, Sunfishes, Lasers and Optis. The Sail-In is called the funniest sailing event of the year. Participation is still free and all sailing clubs of the island join in as well as individual sailors. From the start boat at Sailing Club Asiento, manned by organizers Jan Ackermans and Tijn Siebels, all boats had to round seven buoys in a morning—and an afternoon race before returning to Asiento for the finish line. The Optimists sailed alternative tracks.

The sail-In was another race in an increasing series of sailing races and competitions on the island, in which the participation of many youth sailors strikes the most. Not only in their Optimist dinghies, not as a double, but solo in Sunfishes and in Laser Radials, the new Olympic class single-handed dinghy. The performance of Ard van Aanholt in the first race was remarkably fast. His name however was not among the winners because he had to attend an important hockey game in the afternoon. That gave way to the two brothers Eugene and Louis Hendrikx, who surprisingly finished the second race in the forefront and took the overall top honors of the day. Vincent Pietersz took third in his Laser Radial.

Sea Scout Mitchell Amasia and his young crew mate finished first in the Centaur class, leaving veterans like Hetty Braat behind. 

Members of the Van der Gulik family, well known Sunfish champs Wim and Hans, chose to act as a three-generation crew in an Yngling. (Grand) son Tijn, who skippered the “Jaro”, proudly took the Yngling trophy home.

The Sail-In is always a nice prelude to the traditional “Eindejaarsrace” the End-of-the-Year-Race, which will bring all participants into the Anna Bay in the heart of Willemstad, well known among sailors thanks to the recently-held first Heineken Regatta Curacao and of course by the 24 preceding editions of the End of the Year race.

Els Kroon is a Dutch former teacher who now lives and works as an award-winning free-lance photojournalist on Curacao.

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