Strong winds and waves marked the 20th Edition of the Heineken Premium Light-sponsored Caribbean Laser Championships held in Orient Bay June 6 and 7. A total of 19 sailors from around the region participated in the event with the weather taking its toll on both sailors and equipment.
The Dominican Republic’s Olympic sailor Raul Aguayo showed the rest of the sailors what a professional approach, focus and preparation can do, as he executed a perfect score in each of the event’s seven races. The 28 year old sailor was clearly on the top of his form with perfect boat control even in the 27 knot winds experienced on Sunday. He was enthusiastic about the event, commenting on the highly professional standard of race organization and excellent sailing conditions being perfect preparation for his sailing campaign which includes the June North American Championships in Canada followed by the Laser World Championships in August.
The USA took second place with Tim Landt pressuring Aguayo in every race. “This is the 15th time that I have participated here and the organisation just gets better and better” he said after the event. “I love the island and will be back to win next year”. Benoit Meesemaecker from St Barths got the final podium position in the overall standings.
Young Dennis Van Den Berg from Curacao was also clearly in a class of his own in the radial class and spent most of his time battling with sailors with the larger standard sails, creating an inspiration for St Maarten’s young sailors and tying for fourth place in the overall points standings.
Jorge Abreu, also from the Dominican Republic, won the Masters class, edging out Brett Wright from Bermuda in second place and Frits Bus from St Maarten who was plagued by equipment failures in the first races of the event.
The commodore of the Sint Maarten Yacht Club, Frank Hoedemaker, was present at the prize giving, thanking all sailors for attending the event despite the economy – and especially thanking John Leone from Heineken for his continued commitment to sailing on the island, especially in this event which provides a worthy goal for all youth sailors. Sunsail once again provided a perfect committee boat for the race officers for the weekend and were also shown the appreciation of the SMYC.
Report and photos submitted by St. Maarten Yacht Club