Bonaire, famous for its strong and consistent trade winds left us short during the Sunfish World Championships. With the buoys set up for the standard winds in over 1000 feet of water, the low variable winds, presented a real challenge. The officials had to amend the rules to allow marks to be inside a boat so that they could meet the upwind / downwind requirements of the course. Races forged out in every direction! Through the great team work of the officials, all of the races in each event were completed.
The result was a top three from the South and Central American countries Peru and Guatemala with very close-results! David Misael Hernandez from Guatemala took the giant rotating trophy, winning the tie-breaker beating the Peruvian Renzo Sanguinti who placed second. Both scored 43 points total with Hernandez winning two of the 12 races over Sanguinto who won one. Also from Peru, Alonso Collantes, a two-time Sunfish World Champion, ended up in third-place, with 42 points, just one point behind the leaders! During the award ceremony, the 10 best Sunfish sailors were awarded a trophy with in fourth place the Colombian Simon Gomez Ortiz finished in a tie together with Eugene Hendrikx from Aruba, who due to a lower score in the last race received fifth place. The 2018 champion, Jean-Paul de Trazegnies from Peru finished 6th , followed by American Eugene Schmitt (7), Andre Quitero from Colombia (8), Alejandro Mago of Peru (9), and Matias Rosenberg (10) from Guatemala. Chinese sailor Nancy Huang Yineng received the Marco Polo prize for the sailor who had to travel furthest to participate.
In the week following the Open Championships, the Youth and Masters event took place. For the first time the two sailed together in a combined event. In the Masters Alex Zimmermann from Peru took first place with Sipke Stappert of Bonaire in second followed by Jason Pigot from the USA in third. Besides Sipke’s great finish others on the Bonaire team had notable finishes. Ton Nuijten one of the main Organizers won the Grand Masters category. Ezra Buys topped the Apprentice Masters, and Ramon –Yellow- Martis was fifth overall. Hans van der Gulik (Curaçao) finished fourth in the Masters and just missed one point to place in the top three. Darius Berenos, from Curaçao finished fifth.
In the Youth competition, Simon Gomez Ortiz from Columbia finished in first place. Fernanda San Roman from Peru took second and Diego Castro from Guatemala took 3rd. Fernanda Higueras also from Peru was a very close 4th and at only 15 years old was the youngest competitor in the worlds open competition and placed 15th in that. At fourteen Jeaneau Thode from Bonaire was the youngest participant. The full results can be found on the sunfishworlds.org website.
Laser Performance and sponsor Maclaren brought down 72 brand new boats to make the event fair for all. The graphics of the event, provided by Smart Design Bonaire, popped off the sails of the boats as well as the full print shirts sponsored by Budget Marine and Marlow ropes, which gave the whole event a cohesive look and feel. Bonsailing president and manager of Budget Marine, Pam Teitel said: “The boats were nicely lined up and rigged with the yellow and blue sail specially designed for these world championships on Bonaire proudly displaying the Blue Destination Logo. We are proud to say that the Image and Identity project to feature Bonaire as a Blue Destination made a great impact. The sailors and their supporters were reminded of the importance of the Bonaire Blue Destination concept with among others new ecological items for sustainable use, such as drinking cups, water bottles, paper straws and biodegradable cardboard containers, supplied by many of our business partners. Stream to Sea sunscreens and after sun lotions were supplied to all sailors by Oduber Agencies as these products do not carry the oxybenzone component which is harmful for the coral reefs. Three recycle stations were placed at the closest beaches to encourage proper recycling.”
The Ministry of VWS (health, welfare and sports) and OLB (the Bonaire government) were instrumental in making this event a reality. Blue Bay was a tremendous support with VIP boats, and boats for press, coaches and officials alike. Hang Out Beach Bar kept the crew on the water fed and Jibe City provided a fun day when the sailors had a break. Tropical Travels got them there in style. BonSailling would like to thank the over 75 volunteers and 30 business partners that helped make this event successful.