Two students from the Peter Stuyvesant College in Curacao proved that organizing a sailing race is not only a matter for older, experienced, and accomplished sailors. NASAF (Netherlands Antilles Sailing Foundation) chairman Jan Ackermans complemented Stephanie Brouwer (age 18) and Chris Hellburg (age 19) at the conclusion of the first Heineken Curacao Race upon the perfect way they organized the race, after-sailing event, and prize giving ceremony. Teachers Shonma Felipa and Barbara Francisco spent their Sunday free time to watch the results of this school project, which partly determines the exam mark, with their own eyes. They both got a ten out of ten!
Six participating yachts in the racing and racing-cruising class encountered tough conditions, first in the downwind track to the Anna Bay, where they had to round an offshore buoy, but even worse in the upwind part of the plotted course to the finish in Spanish Waters. Brouwer and Hellburg showed good team work at the helm of the race.
Ten years of sailing practice provided Hellburg a solid base for the technical organization. Brouwer took care of the sponsors and made beautiful driftwood trophies by hand. Real works of art! Since February 25th Curacao has now a Heineken race of its own!
The successful completion of the school project and the cheers of the participating sailors made Hellburg decide to say yes to the challenge of organizing a second edition in 2008—but without Brouwer. She’ll leave the island next July to continue her study in Holland. To Hellburg, it doesn’t matter who is going to assist him as organizing partner, except for one condition: he or she has to be young! (Michiel van Wickeren’s name was heard during the after-sail party.) It’s a new trend to have the youngsters around, not only on the sailing boats but also in the organization of sailing races. Hellburg and Brouwer proved they can do it!