Elton Taty Frans 

Bonaire windsurf pro, Elton “Taty” Frans raced from Bonaire to Curacao on March 29. He successfully beat the previous record of 4 hours by arriving in Jan Thiel 2 hours and 15 minutes after departing BOPEC in Bonaire.

Taty was racing to raise money for Erwin Muller, a dive master and the 4 hour record holder for the sail from Bonaire to Curacao almost twenty years ago. Muller suffered a massive stroke in Jan. and has been in Curacao for medical treatment. Erwin needs rehab and home modifications all very costly.

Because Erwin is a former windsurfer it made sense to have a windsurf fundraiser. Spearheaded by many including Elvis Martinus the race occurred March 28. Taty had dreamed of sailing between the two islands.

No stranger to long distance events, Taty circumnavigated Bonaire last year. For this fundraiser challenge he sailed his 7.6 Maui Sail and his 122 liter Starboard Isonic Board.

He left early in the morning from the northern tip of Bonaire under 15-20 knot winds. The waves were 2.5-3.0 meters at times. A small flotilla of support boats assisted Taty. Taty met a hero’s welcome in Curacao including a guest appearance by Prime Minister Mrs. De Jongh- Elhage and his friend, Erwin Muller.

It was a grande finale to support a fellow man of the sea, Muller.

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Bonaire 

As the sport grows and expands it makes sense to bring slalom windsurf racing back to Bonaire. Bonaire is proud to welcome the IFCA slalom Pro Kids Junior Worlds and Youth and Masters World Championships. The event will be held on Sorobon Beach, Bonaire from 12th to 18th July 2009.  

The island is proud to add slalom racing to its annual event.

Bonaire offers perfect race conditions with water temperatures in the low 80’s. 

Lac Bay is a protected area affording all racers safe and challenging courses. Bonaire has great pride for the unofficial national sport, windsurfing.  The entire island warmly welcomes freestyle and slalom competitors in July.

Bonaire has a long seafaring history.

This Dutch Caribbean island is situated 70 miles from Aruba, 30 miles from Curacao and about 50 miles from Venezuela.

The island enjoys year round trade winds and is out of the hurricane belt making it a lovely year round sailing and watersports destination.

Locals have fished the waters for hundreds of years sustaining their lives living off of the sea. Boat builders still live on island preserving their lifestyle and culture crafting and maintaining their traditional Bonairean boats.

About 20 years ago a few locals took to the water on different sea vessels. The first windsurf board may have been brought to the island thanks to a Dutch sailor. He lent the board to an Antillean fisherman, Erwin Muller.

The rage caught on and others became windsurfers. These sailors included Elvis Martinus, Ernst Van Vliet, Bob Meldebom and Constantine Saragoza to name a few. They sailed offshore at the former Sunset Beach Hotel.

There were races to Curacao and even a few hardy souls windsurfed to Venezuela. Since the advent of windsurfing on this island of 14,000 people windsurfing is now big. The island is proud of their pro windsurfers who travel the world to compete and represent Bonaire.

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Macquarie Innovation 

Last Thursday night, sailing history was made when Macquarie Innovation powered down the 500 meter course at Sandy Point, Australia at an average speed of 50.43 knots.

Macquarie Innovation reached a maximum speed of 54.23 knots (100km/hr) in winds of only 24 knots and became the first sailing boat in the world to complete an official 500 meter run in excess of 50 knots.

Macquarie Speed Sailing Team is now preparing the record claim for ratification by the sport's governing body - the World Sailing Speed Record Council.

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