Puerto Rican sailors Raul Rios and crew Fernando Monllor were dubbed ‘one-point wonders’ in the wake of winning the highly-competitive Snipe Western Hemisphere and Orient (WHO) Championship, sailed September 8th–12th 2014 out of the San Diego Yacht Club. The two college-age sailors earned a narrow one-point victory over the team of Luis Soubie and Diego Mini Lipszyc from Argentina after ten races in five days.
“Each race was a new one for us,” explains Rios, who added that water and wind conditions over the two courses ranged from flat and shifty to big swells with breezes blowing four to 12 knots. “We focused on making a plan based on what we saw during the pre-start routine we did every day. Then, after each start, we knew we were fast and just had to round in the top group after the first mark. Our biggest successes were in our starts and speed. Thanks to college sailing, I have now worked on a few new approaches towards starting in tight spaces and being more conservative at the line.”
This marks the third time Rios, now a junior at Boston College, has competed in this event. The first time was 2008, just as he aged out of Optimists, with Ernesto Rodriguez as crew. The second happened in 2010, immediately following the Central American & Caribbean Games (CAC), where Rios and crew Marco Teixidor finished in sixth place. Rios and Monllor’s win at the 2014 Snipe WHO in which 43 teams from 12 countries participated, earned the Puerto Rican team a slot for the Pan-American Games. The Pan-Ams will be held July 10th to 26th 2015, in Toronto, Canada.
“Receiving a slot for the Pan-American Games was our first goal, but we knew if we sailed well we could win it,” says Rios. “For me the biggest thing was not getting the slot, but the way in which we got it. With good preparation this event tells us that we are on the right path towards achieving our real goal of gold in both the CAC Games this fall and the Pan Americans in 2015.”
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.