The Puerto Plata Report: news and travel info from the Dominican Republic's north coast

Freestyle Catamarans

Beneath the mild morning breeze, the two Freestyle catamarans put out to sea. “Today this boat is yours”, says Captain Robert, an English expatriate whose skin is craggy from years of sun and salt air, “so do whatever you want but just remember you’re here to have a great time”.

About one hundred passengers have come aboard these two gleaming, 55-foot catamaran sailboats that for years now have been sailing off Playa Dorada beach. With 50 people on-board you’d think it would feel cramped, but it doesn’t. This highly popular day trip attracts budding seamen from everywhere. Today English and Germans are the majority; it’s the European season. During the winter, Canadians and Americans dominate the decks. The crew is cosmopolitan too: an English captain, a Belgian, an Australian and the Dominicans who make the crew.

These catamarans, one built in the United States and the other in Sainte Croix, were designed for racing. Heading east, the cats actually motor their way upwind from Playa Dorada to Sosua Bay. This leg of the trip is a relaxing, 90-minute ride that belies nothing of what’s to come on the return trip: the rush and excitement of racing downwind at full sail.

For now things are scenic and relaxing, gliding along close to a nonstop strip of white sandy beaches, coconuts and exotic mountainscapes far inland. The morning sea is calm, the catamarans cut effortlessly through the waves. Passengers make themselves comfortable, some taking sun on the wide net suspended across the forward hulls, others seeking shade in the lounge. Here we see some fancy villas, there some rough hewn shacks. Closer to Sosua, the shoreline turns to cliff. Iron-shore, they call it. Looking out to sea everything is deep blue sea, except for a few small fishing boats bobbing in the waves.

Catamarans Sosua Beach destinationOur destination is Sosua Bay, a picturesque cove with with a wide beach where resorts and shops share the seafront. The catamarans anchor offshore near the coral reef and before long most of the passengers are snorkeling around the rocks and through schools of exotic fish.

It’s been “beer o’clock” for awhile now and upon reaching Sosua Bay out comes a hearty buffet lunch. There’s time for relaxing siesta before anchors are lifted for the short ride along the shore to yet another beautiful dive site called The Three Rocks.

Bataille d'eau on the catamaransMid afternoon and it’s time to set sail again. And now, as the cats point their bows towards the open sea, and as the giant sails fill with wind, we begin to appreciate what these racers were built for: the true sensation of really sailing.

“Sometimes you go on touristy boat trips and the whole thing is just so lame”, says a passenger, “but this is real sailing, brilliant”!

Forging through the waves neck in neck, and just a few meters apart, passengers line the hulls yelling and cheering on their respective skippers. Crew members pass out pails and instigate a water war between the boats. Amid bursts of laughter and sopping wet clothes, passengers begin to feel the excitement, exhiliration and adrenalin of racing in the open sea with only the wind for power.

By late afternoon the Freestyle catamarans are pulling up to their moorings at Playa Dorada Beach. Sun burnt, wind burnt, still coming down off the catamarans trip, passengers await the tenders to take them to the beach. The sun is low over the mountains, casting a golden hue on the scene. The bartender still has time to serve a few last cuba libres. People converse over plans for the evening with new found friends. It’s a quiet moment after an hour long rush of adrenalin.

Freestyle catamarans excursions can be booked in destination through tour representatives or at the Sea Pro water-sports booth at most hotels. Or click here to inquire or reserve online

Filed Under: Puerto Plata Top Tours

Tags:

About the Author:

RSSComments (2)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Diane says:

    Can this trip be paid for by credit card? also, to tip the guides, american money or domincan pesos? Can’t wait to visit!!

  2. John Magner says:

    Didn’t think that I would want to do this but now I look foward to my next trip and jumping on board.

Leave a Reply