Culebra, one of Puerto Rico’s offshore islands to the east, and home of the Heineken Culebra International Regatta, now has its own yacht club.
“We formed the Club Internacional de Regata or International Regatta Club last October,” says Angel Ayala, the club’s president and director of the Heineken Culebra International Regatta. The regatta itself prompted the formation of the club.
Ayala says, “According to ISAF, to host an international regatta, you have to have an organizing authority. So, we formed the club and the club is now the recognized authority by virtue of it being a part of and recognized by the Sailing Federation of Puerto Rico.”
By the end of the year, the new Club had a membership of over 30 sailors, and leadership that includes Ayala, Jose Pastrana as vice president, David Kerr as secretary, and Jose Casanova as treasurer.
The Club’s clubhouse is located in Las Pelas Bay, found between Culebra and Culebrita. Dr. Roberto Nevarea, an avid motor sailor whose son sails Lasers, owns it. In addition to the house itself, there’s a gazebo and dock where both Optimists and Lasers will be stored in the future.
“Our goal and real purpose in starting the Club,” says Ayala, “is to bring the sport of sailing to Culebra. Currently, most sailors on the island are those who come during the weekend from the mainland of Puerto Rico. To interest those living in Culebra in sailing, we plan to introduce the Optimist in the two public schools on the island. We’ll be working with the Department of Sports & Recreation to do this. So far, we have 10 Optimists earmarked for the program.”
In addition, Ayala adds, “Roberto Puig is the new president of the Puerto Rico Laser Federation and I’m sure he’ll be active in bringing this boat to the island. There are plans to have both Optimist and Laser lessons right from the Clubhouse.”
In the future, the Club plans to host more than just the annual Heineken Culebra International Regatta. “We’ll have other events too,” Ayala says. “For example, Efrain ‘Fraito’ Lugo is trying to get the IC Worlds here. He’ll have his sixth boat converted by March, so that’s should add to a nice size fleet.”