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Participation Grows for 7th Annual Club Nautico de San Juan Intl Regatta

Shifty winds made racing challenging for the 75 sailors competing in the 7th Annual Club Nautico de San Juan International Regatta, held January 31-February 3, out of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Regatta director Jose Gilberto ‘Yoyo’ Berrios says, “We expanded the event from two days to three so it became worthwhile to attend for those sailors who traveled from a distance.”

True to plan, the fleet represented Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, U.S. Mainland (Washington state, New Jersey, New York and Florida), British Columbia, Canada, Germany, Guatemala and Brazil.

The fluctuating winds, which averaged from 10 to 20-plus knots, blew over some 10 courses – both windward/leeward or trapezoidal – set to the south of San Juan Bay.

By far the largest participation was in the Optimist class. Puerto Rico’s Ivan Aponte, of the Las Palmas Sailing Center, beat out fellow islander, Raul Rios-de Choudens, for Top Overall and first place in the Red Fleet (ages 13- to 15). Interestingly, Aponte and Rios earned the title of North American Optimist World Champion in 2005 and 2006, respectively, so the level of competition was hot.

“The shifty winds were the most difficult,” says Aponte. “I just tried to stay consistent. That is, I tried to find a pattern in the fleet and on the scoreboard as well. It was really a mental race, much more so than physical.”

Lasers were divided into 4.7s, Radial and Standard.

St. John, USVI’s Hugo Roller, topped the Laser Standard fleet, a feat he achieved with bullets being traded back and forth with the second place finisher, Patrick Carolus of Club Nautico de Puerto Rico.

“The winds were challenging and so was the chop. It wasn’t that the waves were high, but rather lots of short choppy waves that made it hard to keep the boat flat and fast,” says Roller. “Boat handling was key.”

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico’s David Alfonso won the Laser Radial class, with St. Thomas’ sailors, William Bailey, Max Nickbarg and Tyler Rice, nipping at his heels and ultimately finishing second through fourth, respectively.

“I just sailed as fast as I could, with good starts and being very aware of the shifty wind,” says Alfonso. “Apart from sailing well, winning meant catching the lifts and I was really consistent in this. I think I only won two races, but I remained consistently in the top three and I had a comfortable lead going into the last day.”

Hobie cats were once part of this regatta, says Berrios. “We decided to discontinue this fleet due to safety reasons. Like last year, we again had a Snipe Class due to growing interest in this class.”

The Puerto Rican team of Jesus and Ricky Rodriguez topped the Snipe class competition.

“Our strategy was to gain time on the downwind as our competitor, Ernesto Rodriguez and his crew, Gabriel Bonin, were heavier,” says Jesus Rodriguez. “We won three out of four races and were very satisfied with the results.”

He adds, “We now hope to go to the DonQ competition in Miami and prepare for the Center American Games in 2010 here in Puerto Rico.”

The Snipe Class in Puerto Rico is definitely expanding. There are nine boats and crews actively racing, and two more teams are expected to join in the coming year.

Berrios wrapped up the event by saying, “We are all very happy with the way the regatta ran this year. It was a very good competition with lots of sailing talent out on the courses.”

Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.

 

RESULTS

OPTIMIST OVERALL (Top 3)
1. Ivan Aponte, Puerto Rico (26)
2. Raul Rios-de-Choudens, Puerto Rico (35)
3. Fernando Monllor, Puerto Rico (45)

OPTIMIST RED FLEET (Age 13- to 15; Top 3)
1. Ivan Aponte, Puerto Rico (26)
2. Raul Rios-de-Choudens, Puerto Rico (35)
3. Fernando Monllor, Puerto Rico (45)

OPTIMIST BLUE FLEET (Age 11- to 12; Top 3)
1. Juan Perdomo, Puerto Rico (18)
2. Victor Aponte, Puerto Rico (22)
3. Luke Muller, New York, USA (26)

OPTIMIST WHITE FLEET (Under Age 10; Top 3)
1. Andre Reguero, Puerto Rico (16)
2. Nic Muller, New York, USA (16)
3. Manuel Martinez, Puerto Rico (23)

OPTIMIST GREEN FLEET (Beginner; Top 3)
1. Victor Rodriguez, Florida, USA (17)
2. Alvaro Zimerri, Guatemala (39)
3. Lucas Miranda, Puerto Rico (56)

LASER STANDARD (Top 3)
1. Hugo Roller, St. John, USVI (14)
2. Patrick Carolus, Puerto Rico (20)
3. Eduardo Leal, Puerto Rico (34)

LASER RADIAL (Top 3)
1. David Alfonso, Puerto Rico (22)
2. William Bailey, St. Thomas, USVI (30)
3. Max Nickbarg, St. John, USVI (32)

LASER 4.7 (Top 3)
1. Carmen Rivera, Puerto Rico (13)
2. Sylvette Perez, Puerto Rico (25)
3. Matias Fernandez, Puerto Rico (32)

SNIPE (Top 3)
1. Jesus and Ricky Rodriguez, Puerto Rico (6)
2. Ernesto Rodriguez and Gabriel Bonin, Florida, USA (8)
3. Enrique Torruella and Mickey Diaz, Puerto Rico (15)

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