Sailors from six islands took home trophies from the 12th San Juan International Regatta (SJIR). The February regatta hosted by Club Nautico de San Juan welcomed over 140 sailors in 102 boats racing in ten classes. Conditions proved perfect with generally sunny skies and winds blowing under ten knots the first day and gusting to nearly 20 knots on the final day of competition. True to reputation, the SJIR Race Committee ran as many as 13 to 16 races over three days for the dinghy classes and seven races for the newly-added CSA spinnaker class.
“What is so good is the participation of sailors from so many islands and in so many classes. It really levels the playing field and creates a great competition,” says regatta chairman, Luis Fabre. “It is also wonderful to welcome the first-time addition of the CSA Spinnaker class. This has added a whole new dimension to the regatta.”
In the nine-boat CSA class, it was Puerto Rico’s Julio Reguero helming his J/105, Umakua, who won. Jaime Torres aboard his Melges 32, Smile and Wave, finished second and Sergio Sagramoso’s J/105, Lazy Dog, third.
There were two keelboat classes. Puerto Rico’s Keki Figueroa won the six-boat IC24 class by one point over second place finisher and fellow islander, Robbie Ramos. Fernando Irizzary rounded out third place. In the J/24 class, Puerto Rico’s Jose Fullana on KQLO placed first with Jaime Balzac driving Razzmatazz into second and Francisco Levy on Blow Me third.
The Optimist dinghy represented the largest one-design fleet of the regatta with 60 boats.
The BVI’s Sam Morrell won the 13 to 15-year-old Red Fleet and the Advanced Optimist overall, followed by the USVI’s Scott McKenzie second and Paige Clarke third.
“The conditions were generally good, but it was sometimes shifty,” explains Morrell. “The Lasers started before us, so my strategy was to look ahead right before our start to see how the wind was affecting them.”
In the 11 to 12-year-old Blue Fleet, Antigua’s Rocco Falcone led with fellow islander, Louis Bavay second and the BVI’s Thad Lettsome third.
“The winds here are just like where I train at home at the Antigua Yacht Club. That helped,” says Falcone, who receives expert coaching not only from the AYC sailing director, but also from his father, Carlo Falcone, of Caccia Ala Volpe fame.
St. Maarten’s Nathan Smith won the age ten (and under) White Fleet with a sizable lead over fellow competitors, Mateo Di Blasi and Julian van den Driessche, of the USVI, who finished second and third, respectively.
Antigua’s Daniel Smith championed the 23-boat beginner Optimist Green class. Puerto Rico’s Mauricio Porrata finished second and Jose Guillermo Mendez third.
In the Laser 4.7 Class, it was the BVI’s Matthew Oliver who triumphed. The race for second was a keen one with Puerto Rico’s Julio Rojo handing the BVI’s Mollee Donovan third. Though both tied in points, Rojo ended with a greater number of first place finishes.
Puerto Rico’s Pedro Fernandez led the Laser Radial Class with fellow islander, Agustin-Lazaro-Lugo, second and St. Martin’s Rhône Findlay, third.
In the Sunfish class, Puerto Rico’s Gregg Fyffe won with nearly flawless first place finishes.
For full results, visit: www.nauticodesanjuan.com
Report by Carol M. Bareuther