Competition and camaraderie are key elements of the Discover the Caribbean Series 2006, a trio of sailboat regattas that take place along the southern coast of Puerto Rico during three successive weekends in October.
Michael Serralles, an avid racer and one of the originators of the event, explains how the series started: “ Club Nautico de Puerto Rico was going to host the Kelly Cup in Fajardo in October of 1989. But then, Hurricane Hugo devastated the island in September. We sustained relatively less damage than Fajardo and fewer of our racing yachts suffered damage since many were trailorable J/24s. Therefore, we offered to host the event in Ponce that year.”
Through the years, the event’s location changed permanently to Puerto Rico’s southern shores, the Kelly Company opted out to sponsor golf events instead, and backers such as Don Q, Volvo, Cutty Sark and most recently UBS/Paine Weber came aboard. The regatta expanded from three days to three weekends with an average of 60 vessels participating.
“The name, ‘Discover the Caribbean’ Series came about at the same time as the regatta grew and Puerto Rico celebrated its 500 th anniversary of discovery by Columbus in 1992,” says Serralles.
This year’s Discover the Caribbean Series kicks off with Early Bird Registration on Thursday October 5, at 6 p.m., at Club Nautico de San Juan. A Feeder Race from Fajardo to Salinas gets underway at 8 a.m. from Puerto del Rey Marina on October 14. The fleet will then enjoy a Day Afloat at Caja de Muertos or Coffin Island, about eight miles south of Ponce Harbor, after setting sail from Marina de Salinas at 9 a.m. on October 15.
The UBS Regatta takes place October 21 and 22, with registration held on October 20, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., in the pool area of the Ponce Yacht & Fishing Club.
The series concludes October 27 to 29 with the DonQ Gold Regatta. Registration takes place in the Marlin Room of the Ponce Yacht & Fishing Club from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on October 27.
There will be classes for Racing, J/24 One-Design, Jib & Main, Cruising, Hobie Cats, Chalanas, Snipes, Lasers, Sunfish and Optimist dinghies.
For more information, call the Ponce Yacht & Fishing Club at 787-842-9003.