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Culebra Heineken Intl Regatta Set for March 17

More
boats, more classes, and more fun are highlights of this year’s second
annual Culebra Heineken International Regatta, set for March 17 to 19 out of
Culebra, Puerto Rico, and the second leg of
the Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle Series.

“We
are expecting big boat participation to double from last year to at least
70-plus,” says regatta director Angel Ayala. “In the dinghy
classes, we will be qualifying the Optis for the
North American Championships to be held in Ponce
this summer, Laser and Snipes qualifications for the Central American Games in
Cartagena, Colombia,
and Hobie 16s as well. So, that’s about
65-plus.”

Classes for the big boat regatta
are: Spinnaker Racing, Racer-Cruiser, Racing Non-spinnaker, Jib and Main, IC/24, J/24 and Beach Cats.

Native boats called chalanas will
also sail this year. “Chalanas are boats from 20 to 24 feet made out of wood, with hi-tech rigging
such as is used in J/24 or Melges boats.
There’s no ballast. The daggerboard is used as
the keel. Hiking gear is needed for at least two crewmembers to balance the
boat going to windward and the spinnaker is used on the downwind leg as any
racer,” Ayala explains.

He adds, “We will
have participation from the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, St.
Maarten, Antigua and other neighboring
islands. The Mexico Sailing Federation has showed interest in coming to Culebra
and we are extending our invitation to them. The Mexican sailors would compete
in the Opti, Laser and Hobie
16 classes. We missed the invitation from
Venezuela to race in November at
the Sunfish Worlds but we are inviting them to participate in Culebra this
coming year.”

There will be course changes from
last year, says Ayala, and two race committees to handle the number of boats
expected. Bahia Ensenada will still be the site for the dinghy regatta.

Michael Thompson will be senior
race officer, while Arthur “Tuna” Wullschleger
will serve as chief international judge.

Sailors can register at the Costa Bonita Resort in Culebra on March 17, before 1900 hrs. Dinghy
registration can be done through Internet, or at the
resort on March 18 at 0900 hours. Customs & Immigrations will be available
at the hotel Costa Bonita Resort and the hours will be posted on the website.

“We will offer breakfast for
all competitors at no charge. There will be an open grill cash bar at lunch and
dinner and this year we will have fantastic music to dance and party all night
long,” Ayala says.

In addition, “water taxis
will be available to take people from their boats to the hotel and we will be
having additional floating dock for the dinghies,” Ayala adds.

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