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Brisk Winds Make for Keen Competition at Puerto Rico Heineken International Regatta

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Mother Nature dialed up the breeze to 20-plus-knots on this second day of racing at the Puerto Rico International Regatta, putting both sailors and their boats to the ultimate test.

“Sailing today was much tougher than yesterday,” says Puerto Rico’s Jaime Torres, who is skippering his Beneteau First 40, Smile & Wave, in Spinnaker A. “We started in about 15 knots of breeze, but by the afternoon it was blowing 22 knots with 4- to 5-foot seas. This made for challenging racing. At one point we broached and had the spreaders in the water.”

In spite of being over early at the start (OCS) of the second of four races sailed today, Torres and his crew drove Smile & Wave to within one point of class leader, St. Maarten Frits Bus’ Melges 24, Coors Light.

“That OCS may have cost us the regatta,” says Torres. “Then again, we’ve been very consistent in our boat speed and our tactics. We hope we will be able to hold off Coors Light tomorrow and win.”

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Puerto Rico’s Luis Juarbe’s Henderson 30, Soca, rounds out the top three boats on the scoreboard in the Spinnaker A class after two days of racing. The good news is that Juarbe had a lot of talent on board, including boat builder Glen Henderson. The bad news was that a break down in the third race put them out of competition for the day.

Forty-five boats in nine classes sailed offshore between Puerto Rico’s southeastern mainland and the island of Vieques, racing on a mix of windward-leeward courses and courses with reaches for the cruising classes.

While the big boats reveled in the brisk breeze offshore, 15 junior sailors in Optimist dinghies and 2 juniors in Lasers competed closer to shore in the Puerto Rico International Dinghy Regatta. Even inshore, just off Punta Candelero, the winds were blowing 15 to 20 knots with 2- to 4-foot waves.

“The advanced sailors are accustomed to heavy winds and rough weather,” says Jose ‘Yoyo’ Berrios, sailing instructor at Club Nautico de San Juan, who brought some of his sailors to compete. “So for them, it was great conditions and an excellent experience. It was also a lot of fun.”

In results, Puerto Rico’s Jorge Gonzalez leads the Optimist class, followed by fellow islanders Augustine Lazaro and Julio Rojo in second and third, respectively. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico’s Jesus Rosario is currently first in Lasers.

On Sunday, there will be a first-ever stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) exhibition and competition. The event will start at 10 a.m. Paddle boarders will have two courses to choose from, one that starts within the marina and a longer course that starts at Punta Candelero and then winds through the canals of Palmas del Mar.

Meanwhile, Sunday also marks the final day of racing in both the Puerto Rico Heineken International Regatta and Puerto Rico International Dinghy Regatta. On this day too, ONDECK Sailing’s Farr 65, Spirit of Juno, will welcome a yacht full of crew from Club Nautico de San Juan who will be out to enjoy the competition.

The Puerto Rico Heineken International Regatta is the second leg of the Cape Air Caribbean Ocean Racing Circuit (CORC), which started in February with the St. Croix Yacht Club Hospice Regatta, continues with the International Rolex Regatta in St. Thomas, March 25 to 27, and concludes with the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, March 28 to April 3 out of Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola.

For more information, visit: www.prheinekenregatta.com.


TOP 3, DAY 2

 Spinnaker A

  1. Coors Light, Frits Bus, Melges 24, St. Maarten (12)
  2. Smile & Wave, Jaime Torres, Beneteau First 40, Puerto Rico (13)
  3. Soca, Luis Juarbe, Henderson 30, Puerto Rico (26)

Spinnaker B

  1. Geronimo, Felix Cruz, Olson 29, Puerto Rico (10)
  2. Otrakosa, Kike Gonzalez, J/80, Puerto Rico (12)
  3. Magnificent 7, Paul Davis, J/27, St. Thomas, USVI (20)


  1. Lazy Dog, Sergio Sagramoso, Grand Soleil 54, Puerto Rico (11)
  2. Umakua, Julio Reguero, J/105, Puerto Rico (15)
  3. Abracadabra, Carlos Camacho, J/105, Puerto Rico (20)

Performance Cruiser

  1. Bonne Chance, Bernardo Gonzalez, Beneteau First 35, Puerto Rico (12)
  2. Cayennita Grande, Antonio Sanpere, J/36, St. Croix, USVI (17)
  3. Freshair, Fernando Mora, CS 40, Puerto Rico (23)

Jib & Main

  1. Crystal, Jerome O’Neill, J/39, Puerto Rico (16)
  2. Rafaga, Hipolito Hernandez, Beneteau, Puerto Rico (29)
  3. Adelante, Rodolfo Serra, C&C 30, Puerto Rico (32)


  1. Urayo, Gilberto Rivera, Puerto Rico (10)
  2. Banana Boat, Leopoldo Loria, Puerto Rico (17)
  3. KQ-LO, Jose Fullana, Puerto Rico (25)


  1. Orion, Fraito Lugo, Puerto Rico (13)
  2. Team Maximus, Jorge Santiago, Puerto Rico (21)
  3. Fuakata, Carlos Sierra, Puerto Rico, (27)

 Hobie Cat

  1. DRD-Suzuki, Enrique Figueroa, Hobie 16, Puerto Rico (5)
  2. Exodus, Keki Figueroa, Hobie 16, Puerto Rico, (21)
  3. Heineken, Francisco Figueroa, Hobie 16, Puerto Rico (33)


  1. Revolution, Johnny Maldonedo, Puerto Rico (6)
  2. Monje Loco, Johnny Velazquez, Puerto Rico (6)
  3. Dragon del Mar, Orlando Rives, Puerto Rico (7)
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Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.

So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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