Held in tandem, the Puerto Rico Heineken International and Puerto Rico International Dinghy regattas distinguished themselves as the most diverse duo of sailing events in the Caribbean. Held June 11-12, and hosted out of Puerto del Rey, in Fajardo, organizers welcomed a record 107 sailors in 17 classes aboard everything from keelboats to kites.
“We set up three racing areas for our competitors: the Heineken venue south of Puerto Del Rey for the big boats and kites, dinghy venue just north of Puerto Del Rey and Optimist green in the turning basin inside the marina,” says David Kerr, who served as race officer on the first-mentioned of these course locations.
“The weather was perfect all weekend, with winds blowing from 120 to 150 degrees at eight to twelve knots with two-foot waves.”
In the seven-boat one-design IC-24 class, it was Orion, helmed by Fraito Lugo (with his 13-year-old son Alejandro as part of the crew), that won the class and earned the Star Cup for championing the regatta’s most competitive class.
“It was very tough,” says Lugo. “We had good competition, especially from Cachondo and Urayo. Ultimately, minimizing mistakes, good pin work and consistency was what led to our win.”
Jonathan Lipuscek’s J/105, Dark Star proved the bright light in the CSA Racing Class by winning all eight of its races.
“Having a core crew that sailed together all spring on the boat, in all kinds of sailing conditions and in the Caribbean’s biggest regattas, as well as having excellent boat-handling and a boat ready to race were key in our success,” says Rafael ‘Rafi’ Martinez, tactician aboard Dark Star.
An impressive fleet of twenty-three kite-surfers came out to sail in one of three classes: surfboard, twin tip and foil kites.
Winds fell a little short for the surfboard and twin tips, but the foils were able to compete without problem.
“We were able to run four races with a total of ten competitors in the Kitefoil Class,” says Manuel ‘Kiko’ Dalmau, who finished third. “It was really a great idea to be included with the big boats in the regatta. The race committee was much more formal than what we are used to, since most of our participants are fairly new to racing, but this will really help us for other major events in the future. Among the other benefits of participating in such an event was the great music and parties.”
Optimists, Lasers, Sunfish, Club 420s and Sunfish classes were all represented in the Puerto Rico International Dinghy Regatta. Luca Perino won the Optimist Blue fleet, while Rafael Tirado bested the Laser 4.7s.
“Both Perino and Tirado have been practicing hard and constantly,” says Jose Berrios, owner and head coach at Y-Sailing, based in San Juan. “This has helped their competition level to get better every day. Also, the donation to our program of a well maintained second hand Laser also helped Rafael. Finally, we had Andy Recalde from Argentina join our coaching team and he has been working with both boys.”
Excellent race management thanks to principal race officer Jaime Ramón, one of the most experienced Race Officers in the Caribbean, a first-class marina as host venue, strong sponsorship, two regattas held simultaneously and an organizer’s desire to make this a world class event makes the Puerto Rico Heineken International and Puerto Rico International Dinghy regattas must-do events for teams to round out the region’s spring sailing season in 2017.
For full results of both events, visit: www.yachtscoring.com
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.