The weekend of July 24th – 27th was full of pre and post-regatta fun activities for all participants in this renewed race around the island of Culebra, organized by BRISA (Borinquen Islands Sailing Association). On July 24th, thanks to the generous support and sponsorship of Heineken and its distributors, preregistration at Villa Marina’s San Seba Lounge saw participants register for the event and sign release documents. On Saturday July 25th at 1000 hours, nine boats met in the waters west of Palomino Island and left together on a port tack towards Las Piraguas seeking a good lay line for Bola de Funche or Luis Peña. Winds were 17-20 knots and seas were from 3-5 feet at least between Bajo Blake and the first large reefs near Luis Peña. Once inside the Luis Peña channel, it was a relief beating and tacking between the big island and Luis Peña up to Punta Soldado, with a light chop and gusts created by the hills on the big island. Most boats were in by 3:30pm and anchored or took a mooring in Dakity, a breezy and beautiful anchorage at the entrance of the Ensenada Honda harbor.
In the evening, participants went into town for music and partying with Millo Torres playing at the town plaza. Others stayed in Dakity for a good night’s rest to be in shape for the race around the island the next morning.
On Sunday the start sequence began at 1050 hours with all boats circling inside Ensenada Honda, including Botox Barbie, a Hunter 54 sailed by St. Thomas Captain Warren Stryken who, along with his young and radiant crew of three, had ventured down from the neighboring U. S. Virgin Islands to join the race and festivities.
The start line was between the Committee boat and a red nun buoy in front of Punta Cabras, with race Officer Jose Cacho Pastrana and other BRISA volunteers directing the proceedings. Before the first gun, the schooner Russame with Capt. Mike Brown at the helm departed towards the east. With all five sails drawing, he set the pace for the two fleets (Jib & Main and CSA Spinnaker Racing) to follow. The simple course of Culebra to port and back to the finish line between a buoy and a flag-bearing committee member on Punta Aloe was a challenging mix of reaching or running westward and tacking duels eastward.
The sailing was delightful with a 15-18 knot breeze and stronger gusts in the channel between Culebra and Luis Peña. In CSA Spinnaker Racing, Sergio Sagramoso’s 54ft Grand Soleil, Lazy Dog, finished first, followed by Yoyo Berríos & Mike Finley’s YSailing J-92. Jerome O’Neil’s J-39 Crystal finished third. In Jib & Main, Frank Inserni’s J-35 Tinglar claimed the victory, Warren Stryken’s Hunter 54 Botox Barbie took second place and Carlos Sellés’ Bavaria 44 Glory Days took third.
The awards ceremony took place at the Club Seabourne Hotel and Restaurant in Fulladosa Bay, where participants enjoyed delicious paella, many Heinekens and a beautiful setting.
Organizers say that thanks to good weather, the BRISA organizing committee, Heineken, Smile and Wave Sailing, Yacht Scoring, Culebra Mayor William Solís Bermúdez and Club Seabourne, among others, the regatta was a total success. “We hope that next year many more sailors from Puerto Rico and neighboring islands come and share in the fun regatta around the beautiful island of Culebra,” they said.