Each year at the beginning of the tourism season, world champion catamarans and their sailors descend on the island of Aruba. Lured by the incredible weather and perfect sailing conditions, participants in the prestigious Heineken Aruba Catamaran Regatta will race this year from November 10-16. Though a limited number of boats will be featured in the daily races, this world-class sailing event also features plenty of activities for tourists. As the races and special events take place at Palm Beach – home to some of Aruba’s most popular resorts and tourist destinations – the Heineken Aruba Catamaran Regatta will provide a little extra fun for everyone during one of the most exciting weeks of the year.
Now in its 17th year, the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta will feature 40 European sailing teams and five boats local to the island. During the races, all sizes of catamarans will sail side by side. Additionally, world champion sailing teams will share the waters with less experienced sailors, adding to the event’s playful camaraderie. Over the course of a week, several different types of races will be held off the coast of Aruba. The short track races (also known as gate courses) and triangular races are estimated to take about one hour each. The most exciting event, for sailors and spectators alike, is the long distance race that hugs the island’s coastline and finishes up in the harbor surrounding Palm Beach.
After the races each day, tourists can also sit in on the award ceremonies. Daily prizes are presented to the top three catamarans in each handicapped category. As all sizes of boats start each race together, the results are separated into fast and slow heats. With more awards to go around, the daily award ceremonies and their accompanying happy hours have come to be known as the event’s most entertaining evening activities.
Even before the Heineken Catamaran Regatta became an annual event, Aruba was known as a premier sailing destination. Nearly all year round, the winds offshore create perfect sailing conditions. These gentle Caribbean breezes are always consistent enough to fill the sails of world champion regattas, yet pleasant enough for amateurs to enjoy the water. Likewise, the waves are mild and the crystal-clear water allows sailors to enjoy the underwater sites while racing. For tourists, the event falls at the beginning of Aruba’s tourism season. Throughout the winter, uninterrupted sunshine is the norm while temperatures remain in the high 70s and low 80s.
For all the visitors not participating in the races, there will be plenty of activities throughout the week, all focused on Aruba’s most famous beach. As the boats race close to the shore at Palm Beach, you can watch the races while relaxing in the sand. The Heineken Catamaran Regatta will also provide spectator boats during the races. Visitors can hop aboard and sail next to the racing sailboats, right in the heart of the action. Throughout the week-long event, there will also be a number of special dining and entertainment opportunities open to the public.
With one of the best sailing events in the world on the island during the exciting start to the tourism season, visitors can enjoy some extra fun outside of their itineraries. As perfect weather is almost a guarantee in Aruba, tourists will have a chance to see – and potentially participate in – an exclusive sporting event from their own stretch of powdery sand on Palm Beach. Most importantly, the conditions that make Aruba so popular for sailing can also be enjoyed by you and your family throughout the year.