Curacao - 1st Heineken Regatta 7,8,9 November 2008
In the afternoon we headed for town and Regatta Village. We found Karin
and confirmed that they needed us for tomorrow and collected our goody
bags, so that was me happy, but I still had to race.
Dressed in our Heineken STAFF T shirt, we waited for the boats and the
other crews. There were 4 elimination races and then play offs, so I
expected 8 boats and 8 crews. The boats arrived, 2 20' open Centaurs. We
took the dark full named Baracuda, so presumably the crews take turns with
No, there were 2 boats, 2 crew and a list of celebrities; who were the
only people that changed. So we had 7 matches this morning and again this
afternoon and tomorrow afternoon.
We had to put the sails up and the ropes and fenders out, it was rather
like playing with dinky toys they were on such a small scale. Compared to
cruising boats, even mine.
The course was the other surprising feature. All the race boats had
courses outside in the big bay, we were in the canal between the opening
sea bridge and the cargo docks and refinery. We were to give the
spectators something to watch while the racers were out. We had to race
from our starting buoys to a buoy on the other side and back, twice. The
other traffic still continued, us going back and forth, the other boats
going up and down, with the kids in the sunfish and optimists going round
and round amongst us. We did have to stop when the tankers and cargo
ships came in, oh so close, and the tugs created a huge wash.
The winner of the first race came back, about 65 footer, and was enjoying
its victory lap up the canal in front of the crowd and we were shouting at
them that we were trying to race, to the buoy that they were right in
We had no time to practice and get used to the boat and they started
before we even had all our fenders in, but we muddled along. Jimmy used
to race a lot and he did very well. The races took about 10 minutes each,
with a couple of minutes to get in and swap our celebrities. Sometimes it
was more difficult than others getting round the celebrities and it
depended on whether they wanted to help. but by the end of the morning we
had won 3 and lost 4 matches and I had blistered knees.
Just over an hour for lunch and then we had to do it all again. The last
celebrity was a navy guy, young and cute. He told us that the boats
belonged to the Dutch Navy and he was an instructor on them, so I let him
do this race, which we won. We had Rob for the final, but still lost the
first of three. By the time we had stopped for a freighter to come in the
other boat had its sails off and the rest of the playoff was abandoned.
We were towed to the marina up the river to leave the boats and came back
and went for dinner. We were tired and dehydrated and one of my blisters
had torn, ouch.
We went in and collected the boats. Jimmy had the bright idea of sailing
them in, but the tow boat had to go back anyway. The afternoon started
very well, we won the first 2 races. We were rushing to get the races in
before the freighter outside arrived in the river. So we did one more, and
then another one. I was very hot and it was too exhausting without some
kind of a break. I am used to tacking with miles in between, in racing it
is with seconds in between. We lost those 2 and I got off and Bob took
over from me. It continued to be close all afternoon, but again we just
lost the final.
I did 3 races on the Medway in Tony's boat 6 years ago and decided that I
was not a racer, I stand by that decision. I like it when we win, but the
taking part is not enough when we lose. I can say that I took part in the
first Heinekin Regatta in Curacao, which was an experience and that is
what life is about.
We got a lift back to the boatyard in a small fishing boat with 350hp
engine, which he used to the max for us and then we hopped in the back of
a pickup. Which was a nice, non-sailing end to the weekend.