The End of the Year Regatta was dedicated to wind wizard, Pieter Zweers, known to many as the fastest man in and on Bonaire's waters. He was awarded a plaque with a vintage photo of him winning first prize in the very first windsurfing race on Bonaire in March 1987. Pieter says, "I won because I had the best board at the time!" Among others in the photo were head of the Tourist Corporation of Bonaire,  the late Niki Tromp, and windsurfing czar,  a very young Elvis Martinus.   
Of course, Pieter and his crew, Eduard Vingerhoets, using a spinnaker, won first prize in the catamaran class. "It was the nicest finish of a race ever," Pieter says. They beat
Giro Bank, who had started 20 minutes ahead, by only about 10 seconds.

Overall Winner Pieter Zweers and son

Optimist Class competitors hang out waiting for the race results. Can you find the adult organizers Mabel and Fernando Simal in this photo?

The almost-all-woman crew of Argo III included three generations of  the Sweers family.

The always fun End of Year Sailing Regatta attracted dozens of local sailors as well as a couple of crews from Curaçao. All classes except Optimists raced either once or twice around Klein Bonaire counterclockwise. The winds were light, around 10 knots, and more southerly than usual providing comfortable conditions for all competitors. The racing was organized by the Bonaire Sailing Association Foundation and sailed from Regatta House.
Following the races was a BBQ and awards ceremony. In keeping with tradition in lieu of trophies, useful items like boat paint, boating gear, hams, beer and other items were the prizes. Sponsors included
The Windsurfing Place and Jibe City. Consales donated fat Christmas hams, Malta and giant three-liter bottles of Heineken Beer. Lele Davidson of El Navegante Boat Services and Supplies gave life jackets, cans of two-part boat paint and a case of Polar Beer. Peter Werdath of Budget Marine came through with fishing rods, line and a GPS.
Results were:
In Optimist A,
Axel Berben, third place, Yuti Lieuw, second place and Cars Yasperse, first. In Optimist B, Stephany Anthonio, third place, Lisa Schut in second place and Shernic Winklaar first. In Optimist C, Daniela Simal won third place, Theursten Winkaar, second and Danny Gerharts, first.  In Sunfish Junior Edmond Obispo took third place, Vianco Silberie, second and Daniel Everts, first. In Sunfish B, Clifford Paula took third place, Riangelo Ignacia, second and Genaro Girigorie, first. In Sunfish A, Yosephart Carlo, won third place, in second place Franklin 'Kachan' Soliano, and Sipke Stappert was first. In Krioyo Class Fishing Boats Tu y Yo gained third place, Super Gagu, second, Arantza of Jopie Soliano won. In Fishing Boats B Class, Barabas was in third place, Laurita in second and Tino Thielman, Ta Mi So won first. In Windsurfing Junior, Clay Emers took third place, Choko Frans, second and Juvannie Thielman was first. In Windsurf Men, Tonky Frans sailed to third place, Christiaan Dammers, The Bonairean Jet, recently named Junior Sportsman of the Year, second and Elton 'Tati' Frans won.
In a return of the exciting Catamaran Class,
Marjolein Swiebel of the Sailing Cat Center took third, Gerard took second and Peter Zweers won. In Yachts I, the Soling, Pantha Rei di Bonaire, sailed to second place beaten only by the all-out racer Giro Bank Team of Curaçao. In Yachts II, Sea Star took fourth, Screech third, sailing cat Argo III, second, and the winner was Ocean Gypsy of Curaçao. Fittingly, the  Overall Winner, incidentally the person the Regatta was dedicated to, was Peter Zweers (see sidebar) and his crew Eduard Vingerhoets.
The Sailing Association wishes everyone a happy holiday season and prosperous new year. The next regatta will be in January 2001.
 G.D.


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