Seven Windsurfing Wonders of the World
Cabarete, in the Dominican Republic, is the eastern Caribbean's top boardsailing destination. Reliable 20-knot sideshore winds can be expected five days a week from November to April, and June through August. Air temperature is in the high 70s to 80s year-round, and the water temperature is a warm 75 degrees even in winter.
The north shore of the Dominican Republic offers ideal conditions for all levels of boardsailors. An offshore reef keeps the waters close to the beach flat even in high winds, offering a good training ground for intermediates, while experts achieve some impressive speeds on the flats inside. Five hundred yards offshore, where the swell and wind-waves hit the reef, there is prime-time wave-sailingconsidered by many to be the best outside of Hawaii.
Major air carriers serve the Dominican Republic, so you can bring your equipment without great difficulty, provided your board is under eight feet six inches (larger boards will be surcharged). For a 160-pound sailor, a four-foot-seven-inch slalom sail is a good choice for summer, a five-foot-two-inch for winter. With good package vacations available, you may want to leave all the gear at home, however. Vela Windsurf Resorts (800.223.5443. www.velawindsurf.com) offers Cabarete holidays at beachfront condos and resort hotels. Cost per person for a double ranges from about $500-$1,000 per week, depending on the season. Sailboard Vacations (800.252.1070. www.sailboardvacations.com) also offers competatively priced package holidays at a vareity of Cabarete resorts.
Of all the windsurfing concessions, Vela's is the best. Its boards are light, new, and fast, the sails were kept pre-rigged, making life easy. At all the major boardsailing resorts, equipment was high quality, with Neil Pryde, North, and Gaastra sails, carbon masts, and a variety of custom and production boards. You won't get the very latest equipment that you might see in Maui, but in general, the rental rigs are quite good, and far superior to the stuff you find in most Club Med-type Caribbean resorts.
Cabarete is becoming increasingly popular, and you can expect prices to go up as more sailors discover these waters. For now, it offers great wind and water, and relatively uncrowded sailing.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication