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Puerto Rican Catamaran Sailors Compete and Celebrate in California

Multihull sailors, Enrique Figueroa and his wife, Carla Malatrosi, left the Caribbean to celebrate their 12th wedding anniversary.  Figueroa competed in the A-Class Catamaran North American Championships in Santa Cruz, California and immediately afterward the couple sailed in Hobie 40th Anniversary Regatta in Dana Point, California. 

Figueroa and Jorge Hernandez’ Olympic training partners in the Tornado encouraged Figueroa to compete in the A-Class Catamaran North American Championship in Santa Cruz, CA, which took place in early October.  “A lot of my friends in the Tornado Class have been sailing in the A-Cats and have been telling me for a long time how much fun the boats are,” said Figueroa. 

Figueroa adapted to California’s cold water and the single-handed A-Cat in no time and moved through the fleet in the 11-race series to finish seventh.  Malatrosi relaxed onshore and explored the beaches, bluffs and eclectic coastal villages around Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Francisco, California.  Both then made preparations to head south to Dana Pont, California so that the 2002, 2005 and 2006 Hobie 16 North American Champions could come out of retirement and join the Hobie reunion.

In Dana Point, Figueroa and Malatrosi found themselves in the company of numerous World, Hemispheric and National Hobie champions including Hobie Alter Jr., Paul and Mary Ann Hess, and Jim Sadjak.  At Friday night’s reception at the Dana Point Yacht Club, over 350 Hobie sailors and their friends and families celebrated a six-person regatta that took place off of Wayne Shafer’s Dana Beach home 40 years earlier. 

Shafer, who turns 80 in four months. and donned a wetsuit to sail a Hobie 14 in the regatta, had no idea of he worldwide craze that he and his friends, Hobie Alter, Sharon Alter, Sandy Banks and Bobby Patterson had started. 

Breakfasts, paddleboard races, volleyball, kayaking, barbeques, a band, raffles, videos, a Hobie legends presentation and some light air sailing kept everybody busy from Friday afternoon until well after the trophies were awarded on Sunday evening.

Figueroa and Malatrosi also spent time with Pedro Colon and Monica Cabrera from San Juan.  Said Figueroa, “I haven’t seen some of these people in 20 years.  It’s not because they don’t sail anymore.  It’s just that many of them don’t leave California.”

Colon crewed for Figueroa in the Tornado in the Sydney 2000, and as he surveyed over 100 Hobie Cats hundreds of sailors and surfers on the sunny southern California beach, he said, “From the bottom of my heart, I’m a Hobie sailor.”

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