Last April 24 – 26, Eddie Rodriguez (Gordo), an avid boardsailor from La Parguera, on the Southwest coast of Puerto Rico embarked on a three day, 45-mile sail from La Parguera, around the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse all the way to Crashboat Beach on the Northwest town of Aguadilla on an Exocet Pacer 290 Sport board with a 7.5 Aerotech Dagger Course racing sail. He called the event Curso Oeste Tabla Vela.
The purpose of this event was threefold: to call the attention and ask for support for the celebration of the 2010 Central American Games to be held in the city of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico; send a message to the people, specially the young, of the opportunities offered by the sport of sailing, and call the attention on the positive impact of sailing on people and the environment.
The event was divided in three stages: La Parguera to Club Deportivo del Oeste in Cabo Rojo on day one; Club Deportivo to Villa Cofresí Hotel in Rincón on the second day, and Villa Cofresí to Crashboat Beach
(Aguadilla) on the third day.
The first two days were a big challenge, with very light winds and sometimes no wind at all. The third day started the same but by the time he reached Punta Higuero (Domes) in Rincón, the wind was 15-18 knots and Rodriguez really enjoyed the long beat to Aguadilla. After finishing, asked if he was tired of the ordeal, he just smiled and said that he was ready for another three to four hours of sailing. What really impressed him was being in close contact with lots of dolphins, sea turtles and sea birds.
This event was very carefully planned, with FURA’s marine unit escorting him in the water while on land a group of volunteers kept visual and radio contact and kept trackof his position during the entire sail.
They also carried backups of essential equipment that,thanks to the detailed preparation,was not needed. Gordo carried with him a GPS, VHF radio, video camera and a strobe light.
We want to thank all the sponsors that readily jumped on board when presented with the idea, and especially the shore crew (known as Los Changos): Ricardo Freites, Carlos Hernandez, Jose Pelegrina, Bob Castro and Naheli Peregrina. See you sailors in Boquerón Bay in 2010!
Article and photos submitted by Bob Castro