New host destination. New classes. New round-the-island course. These are just some of what sailors can look forward to at the 5th annual Culebra Heineken International Regatta (CHIR) and Culebra International Dinghy Regatta (CIDR), both set for March 20 to 22.
“This year, Costa Bonita Villas is again onboard as the regatta’s host resort,” says regatta director Angel Ayala. “This is where we’ll host registration and Customs & Immigration officials on Friday. Rooms will be available for those who want to stay ashore for the weekend. We’ll also have three bars and food service available here. Of course, everyone loves to gather around the pool in the afternoon and discuss the day’s racing.”
The expected 70-plus fleet’s mother ships can anchor a dinghy-hop away in Ensenada Honda, Daiquiri Bay or Fulladosa Bay, all beautifully sheltered spots.
Entries are swiftly coming in and include a mix of boats from throughout the islands, U.S. mainland and even Germany. Last year, 62 boats with crews from as near as the Puerto Rican mainland to as far away as the Southern Caribbean, United States and Europe competed, with 27 junior sailors racing in the dinghy event.
In addition to the assorted makes of boats in the racing and cruising classes, Ayala says, “We expect to have one-design classes for Melges 24s, J/24s, IC24s, and new this year for J/80s. There will also be a large beach cat fleet and our native Chalanas.”
The first day of competition will see windward-leeward courses for the racing classes south of Punto Soldado and round-the-cays courses for cruisers. The second day, the course will be an island circumnavigation for all but the one-design IC24 and J/24 classes.
“We’ll start the round-the-island race once again from inside Ensenada Honda bay so spectators can see the spectacular start from shore,” says Ayala.
This year, the circumnavigation will be a bit longer as the fleet will round both Culebra and Culebrita, a small offshore island to the east. The channel between Culebrita and Culebra has become too shallow for safe navigation.
The CIDR offers Optimist, Laser and Laser Radial racing for kids in Ensenada Honda while the big boats sail offshore.
Classes of entry to the CHIR will include CSA Spinnaker Racing, CSA Spinnaker Racer-Cruiser, CSA J24, IC24, CSA Performance Cruiser, CSA Jib & Main, IC24s, Beach Cat and native-built Chalanas.
“We would be happy to dual score IRC-rated yachts that request it, but they must also have a CSA rating,” Ayala says.
There is an entry fee of US $200 for all classes except Beach Cats and Chalanas; the Beach Cats fee is US $100 and the Chalanas fee is US $150. Entries received after February 20, 2009 will be charged $250 for all the classes except Beach Cats and Chalanas. Entry fee for Optimist and Laser Classes is US $50.
An Awards Ceremony will take place on the last day of racing. For more information, call: Tel: 787-413-7702, 787-785-2026, 787-948-2835 or for accommodations, Costa Bonita Villas; Reservation Tel. (787) 463-0013, (787) 377-0770, Mr. William Bush.
C.O.R.T. Act Two
The CHIR marks the second leg of the Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle, or C.O.R.T. Series, which began February 20, 2009 with the St. Croix International Regatta and concludes April 3 to 5, 2009 with the BVI Spring Regatta in Tortola.