Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Log in Register

Login to your account

Username *
Password *
Remember Me

Create an account

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.
Name *
Username *
Password *
Verify password *
Email *
Verify email *
Captcha *
Welcome, Guest


TOPIC: Coming back from 7 days in Bonaire

Coming back from 7 days in Bonaire 5 months 3 hours ago #1

  • Gregory
  • Gregory's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Gale Force
  • Posts: 125
The island is rugged and dry but beautiful. It is small and easy to drive around and discover. The locals are friendly and welcoming for the vast majority. The water is amazing, warm and crystal clear. Of course, diving/snorkeling is outstanding - tropical fish everywhere...

We stayed a couple of days at the Sorobon Resort on Lake Bay. The location is right on the lagoon and literally a few yards away from the windsurfing rental place. The chalet we had was right on the ocean and it was as if we had our own private beach! This was nice. The down side is that the place needs serious remodeling and upgrades. The chalets are old and not particularly comfortable. The bathroom is what I would say dingy. If you go there, you know you are paying $$$ for the view and the access to the beautiful lagoon but that's it. The rest of the time, we rented a beautiful condo right on the beach in a different part of the island, 3 times larger, super luxurious, far more comfortable, with a pool, and 1/3 less expensive than at Sorobon Resort. That condo was on the first floor with a beautiful terrace, lounge chairs and an amazing view on and access to the ocean. It was better equipped and looking than at my own home! Outstanding!

Windsurfing on mostly flat water is really amazing: water temp is like getting into my bathtub - i think the water had to be 84 degrees! Crystal-clear, and with that surreal turquoise color. Paradise! The spot is fantastic to perfect all your transitions and freestyle moves as for the most part, the water depth is not deeper than 3 feet. You fall, you jump on the board and effortlessly you can try moves over and over. There are quite a few shallows as well and falling in 20" of water hurts, so that is really the only true risk out on the water. This also leads to boards equipped with fin sizes that are severely too small for large sails (above 6.0). So i had to push the mast foot forward as far as it could go to help with spinouts.
Maybe it was an unlucky week but the wind wasn't that strong. I never sailed with a sail smaller than a 7.0, and was most of the time on the water with an 8.0 or 8.5. Out of the 7 days, I sailed only 4 days in 14-19 knots. I rented my equipment from Bonaire Windsurf Place. The food at the bar was great and the beach is large and much more pleasant than at Jibe City next door. The place is more low key than Jibe City, the staff is professional and reasonably friendly. But I could sense some fatigue with tourists or maybe just blasé... The boards were in great shape: 2015 and 2017 Starboard Atome IQ was the top of the line at the Place. However I didn't like Hot Sail Maui sails at all. They are bullet-proof construction but super heavy and I felt they lacked power and range. I sailed a couple days on 100l boards and that was such a better and easier experience than sailing 120l+ boards. A revelation! The 100L IQ with a 7.0 is big but was such a pleasure to sail. Instant planning, nimble, light, fast, easy to carve. Just what I need for Lake Michigan in 17+ knots. Got to pull the trigger on a Naish Starship or similar this winter...

Now comparing Jibe City and Windsurf Place, I'd say the JC has more board and sail choices: Freerace and freeride Severne, NorthSail, a few Ezzy's and NeilPryde in top conditions made me drool. They seemed to have a broader choice of boards as well with brand new Fanatic of all kinds that I wish I had tried. The staff and overall feel at JC is more snobby, seems a bit younger and hip as well. Went a couple of time to eat and buy stuff in their shop and didn't felt really welcome...

Overall, Bonaire is just a very special place to beat the cold winter climate. Accommodations via VRBO is outstanding in choice, quality and price. Windsurf Place for good gears but limited choices, great beach/lounge, low key, laid back and friendlier staff. Jibe City for more upscale and more windsurfing equipment choices. Clearly, there was twice as many people on the water from JC than WP, so I never had to "fight" for a board or a sail at the Windsurf Place. The one morning with 18-20 knots, there was 40+ windsurfers on the water! I haven't seen this since 1990 in Europe! Nice. Next time I go it will be late March or April for more wind!

Coming back from 7 days in Bonaire 5 months 3 hours ago #2

  • Greg S
  • Greg S's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Fresh Breeze
  • Posts: 6
Can you provide details on the condo you stayed in? How far of a drive was it from Lac Bay sailing site?

Coming back from 7 days in Bonaire 5 months 3 hours ago #3

I did the ABK freestyle clinic there exactly one year ago. Agree that Jibe City is WAY busier. If they seem snobby, it's because it's home to like 10 of the best freestylers in the world, including the 2014 world champion (Kiri Thode). All those guys have a place in the back where JC lets them keep their personal gear. Andy Brandt runs his clinics through them, and they get ALOT of europeans, who feel probably feel a little entitled.
Pretty awesome place to sail.

Coming back from 7 days in Bonaire 5 months 54 minutes ago #4

  • Ady
  • Ady's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Hurricane Force
  • Posts: 704
Hey Gregory welcome back! Outstanding review of the place man, very detailed! Are you still editing the pictures and footage? Can't wait to see it all!

Coming back from 7 days in Bonaire 4 months 4 weeks ago #5

  • Gregory
  • Gregory's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Gale Force
  • Posts: 125
Greg S wrote:
Can you provide details on the condo you stayed in? How far of a drive was it from Lac Bay sailing site?

Sure. The condo is named Bellevue. I believe that there are 9 units. You can find it on VRBO.com with a simple search. Actually, there are plenty of good lodging options on VRBO with villas with pool that are for rent at an acceptable rate. Just browse and you'll find something you will like.
Our condo was located just a couple of miles south of the airport and it is a 10 min drive to Lake Bay. Very easy. The airport has a handful of flights a day and its appearant proximity has never been an issue during our stay.

Ady, yes I came back with some video footage. I'll post when put together.
Eric, The UK guys from Get Windsurfing were having a 5-day clinic off of Jibe City when I was there.

Coming back from 7 days in Bonaire 4 months 3 weeks ago #6

thank for a great review, I am glad you enjoyed the trip.
I have been to Bonaire a number of times, always rented from JC, for a broader board selection, I just like to try new things :)
I also found that vrbo or google in general will provide good lodging choices at reasonable prices.
Paces I stayed at: gowindsockbonaire.com/en/ and a couple other places that I cannot find a link for.

Also there is always Ann Phelan, the local windsurfer - travel-agent, she helped me get discounted rates on accommodations and at JC.
her contact info is here: www.bonairecaribbean.com/home/contact/

Coming back from 7 days in Bonaire 4 months 2 weeks ago #7

  • Gregory
  • Gregory's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Gale Force
  • Posts: 125
Finally finished editing the Bonaire trip video.
Check it out in the Video section or on YouTube:

Coming back from 7 days in Bonaire 4 months 2 weeks ago #8

that's a very well made impressive video, thanks for sharing!

Coming back from 7 days in Bonaire 4 months 2 weeks ago #9

  • Gregory
  • Gregory's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Gale Force
  • Posts: 125
Thank you, Serge.
Thanks also for the additional info.

Coming back from 7 days in Bonaire 4 months 2 weeks ago #10

  • Ady
  • Ady's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Hurricane Force
  • Posts: 704
Something odd came to my attention while watching your video-all of the sails you are using are rigged flat and your boom is very low / which effectively adds even more outhaul/! I cant say anything abot the downhaul, because the upper half of the sails are not visible, but I suspect that it may have been too little. This mistakes are probably the reason why you disliked the sails and felt that they are too heavy and lack range. Because of that you 've been forced to use a 1 m bigger sails than what you needed for the conditions with all the negative consequences. You've been lucky to have the flat water and constant wind, because with a setup like this youll be in trouble in our unforgiving conditions.

Coming back from 7 days in Bonaire 4 months 2 weeks ago #11

  • Gregory
  • Gregory's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Gale Force
  • Posts: 125
You are right. Good observation! The 7.0 is way too outhauled. When I noticed that, I was about to switch to something else and didn't bother if I recal. None of the sails were downhauled enough either. The 8.8 and the 7.5 were outhauled ok as they were developing a nicer curve and had less backhand pressure. And yes, I like riding with the boom slightly lower than shoulder-height. I find it more comfortable that way as it seems to generate less stress on my shoulder joints (have a tendency to easily develop tendinitis...). Nonetheless, even with not very well tuned rig, the sailing was a blast!
Time to create page: 0.167 seconds