Like the preceding 24 years, Curaçao sailors in all kinds of sailing craft from windsurfing boards and sunfishes to 50-foot yachts gathered the last weekend of 2008 for a special edition of the most enjoyable race of the year, logically called the "End-of-the Year” race.
Organizer Ivo van Dooren again was at the head of a group of enthusiastic volunteers for this remarkable 25th anniversary edition.
Traditionally, the 17.7 nm course from Spanish Water via Fuik Bay to Anna Bay in the heart of Willemstad and back is an overtaking race, so almost all boats start at different times.
If everybody sails a perfect race, all participants should finish at the same moment so, in the end, skill, determination, hard work and luck decide who finishes first and is then automatically declared the overall winner. Venezuelan yacht Ludovic that took top honors in the anniversary race.
At the prize giving ceremony, Van Dooren looked back on 25 years of fun, tension and camaraderie. His speech was larded with remarkable facts and figures. For the statisticians among us: 25 times an End-of-the-Year Race means:
25x average of 40 participants = 1000 participants
25x average of 4 = 100 sponsors
25 x 4 x average of 1,000 Antillean guilders = 100,000 guilders
25 x average of 10 employees involved = 250 volunteers
25 x average of 40 liters = 1000 liters of soup
25 x average of 1,000 donuts = 25,000 “oliebollen”
25 x 40 participants, each about 20 miles sailed = a total of 20,000 miles (and that’s 1x around the globe.)
But what’s most important: 25 years of fun and togetherness in the holiday season.
The End-of –the Year Race is synonymous with Sea Scouts, Dutch donuts, soup and Christmas ham. The local Sea Scouts Group Mgr. Verriet hosted the event –as always- and took care of all the food and drinks. All participants were happily surprised by more sponsored prizes than ever, one for each and every one, drawn as lots.
Photos from 25 years of racing were shown on a big screen. It was an event never to forget!
Els Kroon is a Dutch former teacher who now lives and works as an award-winning free-lance photojournalist on Curaçao.