What started as a
race between Capt. Don Stewart’s fishing sloop
Sislin and Hubert Domacasse’s Vella for a prize of 27 cases of beer has turned into
Bonaire’s most popular and biggest annual sailing event.
Set for October 9 to 15,
“the 38th Bonaire International Sailing Regatta is shaping up to be one
of the best ever,” says Bryon Tromp, ace regatta organizer who, with
co-director Elvis Martinus, has been nicknamed the
‘Dream Team’ for their directorial acumen and resourcefulness
that has allowed the event to grow each year. About 120 boats
and sailors from the surrounding southern Caribbean islands as well as
and the U.S.
are expected to participate.
if it has a sail, we’ll be racing it at the regatta,” Tromp adds.
Indeed, there are some dozen entry categories for everything from classic
wooden yachts to high performance J-boats, traditional fishing yawls,
windsurfers, Sunfish and Optimists. There’s even a special microboat class where these small model craft are remotely
guided by their skippers stationed on shore.
The racecourses mirror the
diversity of the divisions. For example, there’s the Round Bonaire Race
that circumnavigates this 112-square-mile island. There are also shorter
courses like the windsurfing sprints sailed off Bonaire’s
famous boardsailing beach in Sorobon.
Once the sun goes down and the
day’s races end, regatta participants are invited to venture into town
for live music and dancing. Each evening, Bonaire’s capital city of
Kralendijk will be
the destination for the Regatta Festival. Here, you’ll find local and
international bands and dancing, and the opportunity to sample local foods and
tropical drinks. Not to be missed is the regatta’s grand finale, the
closing ceremony, that will feature distribution of
the plaques and trophies amidst its own special festivities.