The name is still basically the same, but a new tag line announces there are major changes to the Ponce Yacht & Fishing Club’s (PYFC) ’22nd Discover the Caribbean Series (DCS), A Sailing Festival’, which will take place all four weekends in November, in Ponce, Puerto Rico.
“We’re celebrating PYFC’s long sailing history as well as having a regatta,” says sailing director, Joel Santiago. “We want everyone to join in the celebration, so we expanded our shore side events to create an exciting festival for spectators, families and sailors.”
These new shoreside activities include numerous kiosks for food and beverages in the regatta village, as well as children’s activities, a volleyball tournament, motorbike race, fashion show and live music. Yet the focus is still the sailing. For example, new this year is a Paddle Board Race to Coffin Island on November 6th. The traditional sailing series kicks off with a Feeder Race from Fajardo to Salinas on November 5th, then back-to-back big boat regattas on November 11th-13th and November 18th-20th, and ends with a dinghy regatta on November 25th-27th.
“The race committee has added classics and couples cruising classes to other divisions such as one-design, bareboat, racing, cruising and multihull to make it easier for every sailing enthusiast to participate,” says Santiago. “The race committee has also studied the various race courses and plans to customize coastal courses to suit various types of boats and classes in addition to the windward- leeward races for one-designs.”
Over 60 big boats and 50 dinghies, including some 20 Sunfish, are expected to set sail. The competition will be keen. Two North American Sunfish Champions – Fernando Monllor and Ivan Aponte-Taboas – are registered, as are Puerto Rico’s Optimist sailors who placed second in team racing at the 2011 Optimist North American Championships. In the bigger boats, competitors will include Fraito Lugo, who won the IC-24 Class eight times at St. Thomas’ International Rolex Regatta; the Ramos brothers (Robbie and Ronnie) from Campechano and Syndicate who are also Rolex watch winners; Bruno Bruchhof on Geronimo, who won third place in his class at the 2011 BVI Spring Regatta; Jorge Santiago, second place finisher in the IC-24 Class at the 2011 BVI Spring Regatta; and veteran winning skipper of many Don Q’s, Michael Serralles. New this year too will be a Match Racing exhibition between Lugo and Santiago.
The PYFC is offering free dockage to DCS participants a week before and after the races. Those who are sailing in from 60 miles or more will receive an extra week dockage free. The 168-slip PYFC boasts facilities such as a restaurant, swimming pools, mini golf, playgrounds and tennis courts. The regatta entry fee ($350 prior to October 20 and $375 between October 21-November 11 for big boats and $75 until November 10 and $100 after for dinghies) includes free breakfast, dinner, and cocktails during all race days in addition to the free dockage and prizes.
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.