Land Sailing Bonaire: An outstanding windy adventure
As an experienced windsurfer I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about land sailing. My thoughts were – why, why, why? If you fall off your board while windsurfing on Bonaire you fall into some turquoise pool like water – or as my family calls the color,”Lac Bay.” At worst you’ll swallow some salt water and maybe a little pride. If you fall off of your “Blokart” while land sailing you hit dirt, earth, cactus, rock, rock and more rock. I was scared.
So why risk it on wheels? And if windsurfing is as challenging as it is then how could one possibly get this right and not get hurt?
How it’s done
Well, it turns out that land sailing is a lot like going go-carting. Anyone can do it. On Bonaire Land Sailing’s website they advertise it as “fun, fast, safe and easy!” Control of the sail is a lot like control of a gas pedal. A handlebar shaped wheel steers the blokart, unlike a windsurf board where you have to steer using sail technique. And then a pulley controls your speed. The more you pull, the more wind you expose to your sail and the faster you go. The wind on Bonaire blows steadily in more or less the same direction and the land sailing course is designed with this in mind.
You speed around the same track over and over and you always have wind in your sail – you just control the amount by pulling on a rope. Some real life human help (with a smile) awaits you at the sharpest turn where power goes out of your sail and you may need help getting moving again or making it around that one tough turn. The wimpier you are – uh…me… the more help you need because you’ll slow waaaay down for the sharp right and need help to speed up again.
The people running the show are fun, friendly and laid back. You’ll get a good explanation of what to do, how to sail, how to start and stop and what not to do prior to starting to sail. The lesson lasts about 10 minutes. Everyone gets a helmet, seatbelts and gloves to keep a good grip on things.
What can go right and what can go wrong…
My daughter, age 10, got distracted at one point and managed to go straight over the middle of the course, over all that rock and earth I was just mentioning. I am not sure the people working there even noticed. I also had a bit of a hard time at the end of my course and sort of crashed… It hurt. I’d counted on my windsurf expertise but instead I think my fears got the most of me. Despite the crashes and burns it was an exhilarating ride and we WILL be back.
The kids loved it. This makes the list of kid-friendly Bonaire activities and will certainly win you some points with yours. You do need some wind and it can’t hurt to make reservations in advance. When we were there we only saw 8 blokarts, making reservations all the more meaningful. Fun, fast, safe, easy… well, for some of us. Some went fast, some stayed safe, some found it easy and we absolutely all had fun!
- Location: Road to Rincon beside Arawak Center on the East Coast of Bonaire
- Hours: Open Monday to Friday from 1 – 5pm and weekends and holidays or by appointment starting at 9am
- Reservations are encouraged but you can drop in M-F 1-5pm
- Number to call for reservations +599-786-1572
- price $30 for 30 minutes, $50 for an hour and $60 if you need a ride from your accommodation on Bonaire, $350 for the entire track if you are hosting a special event or have a large group