Dinghy sailing is on the rise throughout the Caribbean. One event that has long provided small boat sailors with a wonderful venue to pit their skills against one another is the International Regatta hosted by Club Nautico de San Juan in Puerto Rico. On this 10th anniversary, 42 sailors from Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and St. Maarten competed in Optimist dinghies, Lasers, 2.4 Meter, Sunfish and Snipes in near ideal conditions in San Juan Bay.
More than half of the regatta's sailors raced in the Optimist, underscoring a growing fleet of talented newcomers to the sport. Puerto Rico's Jorge Gonzalez won Best Overall and in the 13 to 15 year-old Red Fleet, followed by fellow islanders Miguel Monllor in the 11 and 12 year-old Blue Fleet, and Savannah Baus in the 10 and under White fleet. Noah Vilariño, also from Puerto Rico, won the Beginner Green Fleet. The award for Best Overall Girl went to the BVI's Mollee Donovan.
"It was good to go to San Juan again this year as I knew I would do well," says Donovan, who has several international regattas to her credit. "I decided to give it 'my all' as this is the fifth consecutive year that I've been attending."
Puerto Rico's Manuel Inserni won the Laser Radial class by one point over fellow islander, Ramon Gonzalez. Meanwhile, Laser Radial sailor, Starlin Rosario, won a sail-off in his home waters and the opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico, thus becoming the event's first entry from the Anguilla Youth Sailing Club.
In other classes, Puerto Rico's Julio Requero won the 2.4 Meter, Elvin Aponte topped the Sunfish and the team of Raul Rios and Marco Teixidor won in Snipes.
"Marco and I have been training together after CAC's games and now preparing for the Pan-American Games in Mexico," says Rios. "Since we had more speed than everyone on the course it was a lot easier to lead the regatta from the beginning."
For full results, visit www.nauticodesanjuan.com
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.