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1st Annual Culebra International Regatta

Superb starts and superior boat speed propelled by top-notch
tactics led St. Maarten’s Frits Bus to victory in the Melges 24 Class, aboard
his 2ContactCarib at the first annual Culebra International Regatta (CIR). The
event was sailed out of the new Costa Bonita Resort, in Ensenada Honda, March
18 to 20.

“Light winds the
first day made it tricky. We kept getting into the pressure all the time and
getting into the speed,” Bus related. “The second day, there was more pressure
and it was easier. But, there were lots of shifts as we sailed around the
island. It separated the men from the boys.”

Bus, a rock star
sailor himself, had a stellar crew: Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) chief
measurer, Jeffery Chen from Trinidad; CSA measurer, David DeVries from St.
Maarten; and multi-talented sailor, George Lane from Tortola.

Thirty-six yachts
from Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Croix, Tortola, St. Maarten and Antigua
competed in this inaugural event that was initiated by a group of trend-setting
Puerto Rican sailors who wanted to race under a CSA handicap and maintain a
connection with fellow Caribbean sailors. Earlier this year, the directors of Club
Nautico de Puerto Rico, who host the annual Bared Puerto Rico International
Regatta out of Fajardo, announced their affiliation with the Yacht Clubs of
South East Florida and switch to a PHRF handicap system.

“The Culebra
International Regatta was created to re-insert Puerto Rico into the Caribbean
competition in response to requests by both Puerto Rican and Caribbean sailors.
We want C.O.R.T. (the Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle) to happen again and we
want Puerto Rico to be part of it,” said regatta director, Angel Ayala.

The response from
Caribbean sailors for the CIR was fantastic, as evidenced by the caliber of
competitors such as Bus and his crew. In fact, it’s fair to say that the cream
of the crop of northern Caribbean sailors – such as Puerto Rico’s Efrain
“Fraito” Lugo, St. Thomas’ John Foster, Tortola’s Peter Haycraft, and Antigua’s
Jamie Dobbs – showed their support by competing in this regatta.

Mother Nature,
however, could have made her presence better known. The first day, Principal Race
Officer Michael Thompson delayed the first start for over an hour waiting for
wind. Ultimately, Thompson was able to set a windward-leeward course in the
channel south of Culebra and north of Vieques and pull off two races for the
fleet in winds that averaged 6 knots. The second day, winds blew 10 to 12 knots
and the fleet set out to complete a circumnavigation of Culebra.

At the Awards
Ceremony, it was Antigua’s Jamie Dobbs who won the Spinnaker Racing Class. “Our
secret is to have all crew on deck and get information on winds from all
directions,” Dobbs said.

Tortola’s Michael
Masters, sailing his Black Pearl, bested the two-boat one-design IC-24 Class.
“I was disappointed that more IC-24s didn’t show up. We loved this venue. For
us, the race was strictly about tactics and it paid off,” Masters said.

Puerto Rico’s
Lugo, helming his Orion in the one-design five-boat J/24 Class, saw stiff
competition from Jose Fullana’s KQ LO, yet pulled off a class win. “The light
air was tough. It took a lot of concentration,” Lugo said.

BVI veteran
sailor, Peter Haycraft, aced the Spinnaker Racer-Cruiser Class aboard his
Sirena 38, Pipedream. Meanwhile, St. Croix’s Tony Sanpere skippered his Soverel
27, Cayennita, to a first in the Cruising Class. “The Soverel 27 is a light air
boat. We did so well, in fact, that we even corrected above some of the
spinnaker boats,” Sanpere said. Enjambre, a J/29 sailed by Puerto Rico’s Felix
Gonzalez, won the Jib & Main Class.

Finally, Olympic
veteran, Enrique Figueroa topped the Beach Cat class on his Hobie 18, Suzuki
Red Bull. “Yes, the cats did need more breeze. But I think this regatta was the
best thing to happen since sliced bread.”

 

RESULTS

 

Class A – Spinnaker Racing

1. Lost Horizon II, Olson 30, James Dobbs, Antigua (4)

2. Magnificent 7, J/27, John Foster, St. Thomas, USVI (6)

3. ThreeFulca, Olson 30, Andy de Jesus, Puerto Rico (8)

4. Willy T., Olson 30, Kevin Rowlette, BVI (12)

5. Sun Bum 2, J/80, Angel Ayala, Puerto Rico (15)

6. Malolo, J/80, Jaime Font, Puerto Rico (18)

 

Class B – Melges 24

1. 2ContactCarib, Frits Bus, St. Maarten (4)

2. Don Q Limon, Enrique Torruella, Puerto Rico (6)

3. Crewed Clothing, Tami Thompson, BVI (8)

 

Class C – IC-24

1. Black Pearl, Michael Masters, BVI (4)

2. Brand New Secondhand, Chris Curreri, St. Thomas, USVI (5)

 

Class D – J-24

1. Orion, Efrain Lugo, Puerto Rico (5)

2. KQ LO, Jose Fullana, Puerto Rico (7)

3. Saudades, Leo Loria, Puerto Rico (9)

4. Urayo, Gilberto Rivera, Puerto Rico (9)

5. Colibri, Eduardo Ortiz, Puerto Rico (15)

 

Class E – Spinnaker Racer-Cruiser

1. Pipedream, Sirena 38, Peter Haycraft, BVI (3)

2. Dehlerious, Dehler 34, Derek Flynn, BVI (6)

3. Tempest, Beneteau 38, John Haracivet, St. Thomas, USVI
(9)

 

Class F – Cruiser

1. Cayennita, Soverel 27, Tony Sanpere, St. Croix, USVI (4)

2. Balaju 2, C&C 37, Jose Sanchez, Puerto Rico (7)

3. Poco a Poco, Pearson 30, Agustin Rodriguez, Puerto Rico
(8)

4. Adelante, C&C 30, Raul Serra, Puerto Rico (13)

 

Class G – Beach Cats

1. Suzuki Red Bull, Hobie 18, Enrique Figueroa, Puerto Rico
(4)

2. Flywind, Hobie 16, Francisco Figueroa, Puerto Rico (6)

3. HF Mortgage, Hobie 18, Ibrahim Mustafa, Puerto Rico (8)

4. Exodus, Hobie 16, Enrique Figueroa, Puerto Rico (16)

5. Spooky Monkey, Hobie 16, Martin Roldan, Puerto Rico (18)

6. Sunset, Hobie 16, Jose Perez, Puerto Rico (18)

7. La Gatita, Nacra Inter 17, Alex Carbonel, Puerto Rico
(21)

 

Class H – Jib & Main

1. Enjambre, J/29, Felix Gonzalez, Puerto Rico (4)

2. Nemesis, Hunter 38, Edwin Romero, Puerto Rico (6)

3. Dottie II, Pearson 33, Chuck McLaughlin, Puerto Rico (8)

4. Evolution, Beneteau 30, Arturo Guzman, Puerto Rico (15)

5. Valkieryie, Morgan 40, Keith Smith, Puerto Rico (19)

6. Gacela, Swan 65, Eric Tulla, Puerto Rico (20)

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