Sunny skies, minimally choppy seas and a steady breeze blowing 14 to 16 knots out of the east made for perfect conditions on this first day of racing at the Puerto Rico Heineken International Regatta, held out of Palmas del Mar Yacht Club & Marina, in Humacao, Puerto Rico.
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.
A last minute amendment by the International Judges officiating over this regatta – who included Curacao’s Cor Van Aanholt, Antigua’s Geoffrey Pidduck, Venezuela’s Elliot Levi, and Puerto Rico Eric Tulla and Juan Torruella – created some extra fun and excitement for sailors.
“We had several classes, but many of the classes were small, so the judges made the decision to combine some of the classes for the starts,” says regatta director, Angel Ayala.
This meant that boats in Spinnaker A, Spinnaker B and Racer-Cruiser, 14 in all, started each race together. In addition, the J/24s and IC/24s, a total of 10 boats, launched off the line together. The other classes, Performance Cruiser, Jib & Main, Hobie Cats and Chalanas, each had their own individual starts as usual.
“We really enjoyed this,” says St. Thomas’ Paul Davis, who skippered his J/27, Magnificent 7, in Spinnaker B. “Having more boats on the line at the same time was a lot of fun.”
To give an idea of just how exhilarating this was, one of the yachts that started with Magnificent 7 was over twice its size. For the first time ever, ONDECK Ocean Racing brought two of its four Farr 65s to Puerto Rico for corporate charters. The Farrs raced in Spinnaker A.
“We wanted to do something different as a reward for our employee and celebrate sales,” says Manuel Santos, commercial director for Ricoh of Puerto Rico, a branch of the well-known international office equipment and electronics company. “Everyone had a really great time. It was a fun day. We sailed almost to Vieques.”
Santos and his team raced aboard the Farr 65, Spirit of Juno.
The Farr 65s were built for the 1999 Millennium Round the World Yacht Race, and purchased by ONDECK Sailing, based in Cowes, Isle of Wight, in 2004.
On Saturday, the two-day Puerto Rico International Dinghy Regatta will begin. This event is based at adjacent Punta Candelero and includes Optimists, Lasers and Snipes as well as Kite-boarding.
New this year, says Ayala, “We will offer a one-day stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) exhibition and competition on Sunday. 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.”
The Palmas del Mar Yacht Club is located inside the resort community of Palmas del Mar, in Humacao. TheÂ 162-slip marina is managed by Island Global Yachting and offers state-of-the-art facilities for yachts up to 200-foot.
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:Â www.prheinekenregatta.com.
PROVISIONAL RESULTS (Pending Protests)
TOP 3, DAY 1
- Smile & Wave, Jaime Torres, Beneteau First 40, Puerto Rico (5)
- Coors Light, Frits Bus, Melges 24, St. Maarten (7)
- Soca, Luis Juarbe, Henderson 30, Puerto Rico (12)
- Otrakosa, Kike Gonzalez, J/80, Puerto Rico (6)
- Magnificent 7, Paul Davis, J/27, St. Thomas, USVI (8)
- Geronimo, Felix Cruz, Olson 29, Puerto Rico (10)
- Umakua, Julio Reguero, J/105, Puerto Rico (5)
- Lazy Dog, Sergio Sagramoso, Grand Soleil 54, Puerto Rico (11)
- Abracadabra, Carlos Camacho, J/105, Puerto Rico (11)
- Bonne Chance, Bernardo Gonzalez, Beneteau First 35, Puerto Rico (5)
- Cayennita Grande, Antonio Sanpere, J/36, St. Croix, USVI (10)
- Freshair, Fernando Mora, CS 40, Puerto Rico (11)
Jib & Main
- Crystal, Jerome O’Neill, J/39, Puerto Rico (11)
- Adelante, Rodolfo Serra, C&C 30, Puerto Rico (11)
- Dottie II, Chuck McLaughlin, Pearson 10M, Puerto Rico (12)
- Urayo, Gilberto Rivera, Puerto Rico (10)
- Banana Boat, Leopoldo Loria, Puerto Rico (13)
- KQ-LO, Jose Fullana, Puerto Rico (15)
- Orion, Fraito Lugo, Puerto Rico (10)
- Team Maximus, Jorge Santiago, Puerto Rico (14)
- ArtimaÃ±a, Rafael Martinez, Puerto Rico (16)
- DRD-Suzuki, Enrique Figueroa, Hobie 16, Puerto Rico (5)
- Kike, Kike Figueroa, Hobie 16, Puerto Rico (13)
- Heineken, Francisco Figueroa, Hobie 16, Puerto Rico (19)
- Revolution, Johnny Maldonedo, Puerto Rico (6)
- Monje Loco, Johnny Velazquez, Puerto Rico (6)
- Dragon del Mar, Orlando Rives, Puerto Rico (7)