The weekend of December 10-12, twenty Hobie 16s and their crews competed in the 3rd annual Puerto Rico Hobie 16 National Championship sponsored by the Puerto Rico Hobie Cat Association. The event was held at beautiful Isla Verde Beach.
Event activities started on December 9 with cocktails at the Papaya pool area, with appetizers provided by the Isla Verde Marriott Courtyard Hotel and beer supplied by Heineken.
The first day of racing started with shifty southeasterly winds of 7-12 knots and a challenging wave pattern that made beach launching tricky. This unusual wind direction meant the start line was just to windward of the reef and its large breaking waves. Three races were held on Friday, with the Heineken crew, Francisco Figueroa and Jolliam Berríos, taking the lead for the day.
On Friday night sailors had dinner at the Red Monkey restaurant in Old San Juan. Two of the event sponsors, Red Label Scotch and Don Q Rum, provided a free open bar for the first hour of the night.
On the second day, sailors had unusually light winds (5-6 knots) from the north, with a large shore break. Two challenging races were held, which allowed Enrique ‘Quique’ Figueroa and Victor Aponte to take a one point lead over second place finishers Francisco Figueroa and Jolliam BerrÃos.
On Saturday night a mid-event party was held at the Lienzo Art Gallery and Restaurant located on Canals St., at the well-known ‘Placita de Santurce’, a popular hangout in Puerto Rico. Dinner was provided – along with another hour of free open bar – by the sponsors. After dinner a raffle was held with prizes donated by many of the regatta sponsors including: Heineken, Hobie Cat Company, Zhik and Beach Cats. The night ended after a performance by a local group of ‘pleneros’ called Yuviplena.
The third day started slowly due to lack of wind and this caused a postponement in the morning. The wind finally filled in from the northeast with 10-12 knots and two races were held. The last race ended at the Sailing School (Escuela del Deporte de la Vela) located at the Isla Verde public beach facilities. Beach Cats sponsored a BBQ and the awards ceremony during a beautiful Caribbean afternoon.
Later that night second place finisher Jolliam Berríos invited the participants to her home to enjoy a tasty Puerto Rican ‘asopao’ and to drink all the leftover beverages supplied by the event sponsors.
Sailors came from New Jersey, California and various towns around Puerto Rico to compete. Local crews, Enrique ‘Quique’ Figueroa and Victor Aponte, Francisco Figueroa and Jolliam Berríos, and Pedro Colon and Martin Roldan dominated the first three positions, with California sailors Jeff Newsome and Michelle Eatough finishing in fourth place with 28 points after seven races, including one throw out.
Captain Tony Miró is a life-long sailor, photographer and web developer who currently lives in Puerto Rico with his family, where they sail aboard their Hunter 376 Â¡Nada Mas! He runs sailboatspecs.com, caribesailingadventures.com and tonymiro.com