Thursday, February 14, 2013

J's Dominate San Juan Regatta

J/80 sailing off San Juan, Puerto RicoKQLO Wins J/24s, J/105 UMAQUA Smokes CSA Spinnaker
(San Juan, Puerto Rico)- With the winter sailing season in the Caribbean beginning to wind-up into a higher gear, it would be natural that it all starts on the western end of the island chain and have everyone simply migrate eastward in "baby-steps" to the next island, headed upwind against the mighty trade-winds of course, to ultimately end up sailing in Antigua Week at the far eastern end sometime in April. What a plan for awesome sailing and a party, eh?  Makes sense to many sailors, especially the happy-go-lucky, incredibly social, fun-loving Puerto Rican sailors.  Seems they got it right.  Start in San Juan, then go to Fajardo, then successively head down the Windward-Leewards to sail the RORC 600, Heineken St Maarten, Rolex St Thomas, BVI Spring Regatta Tortola, St Barts then, finally, Antigua! 

Starting with the San Juan International Regatta, the racing takes place in San Juan Bay where temperatures reach a comfortable high in the low 80s and winds customarily blow 10 to 15 knots in February.  The event was hosted by Club Nautico de San Juan from February 1 to 3 and welcomed over 140 sailors in 102 boats racing in 10 classes.  Postcard-perfect sailing conditions prevailed, just as advertised.  Generally, "perfect" with mostly sunny skies and winds blowing under 10 knots the first day and gusting to nearly 20 knots on the final day of competition. The mark of a truly great regatta is the opportunity for lots of racing. 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. Next year we hope to add a CSA Jib and Main class as well.'

In the nine-boat CSA class, it was a fleet of six J's that dominated the class. Puerto Rico’s Julio Reguero from the host club CNSJ sailed his J/105 UMAKUA fast and consistent.  They showed everyone how to get it done, scoring an impressive 4.5-1-1-DNS-1-1-1 for  9.5 pts net to win by a landslide.  Hanging in strong over the course of the regatta and grabbing third overall was the J/122 LAZY DOG skippered by Sergio Sagramoso from the Ponce Yacht and Fishing Club. The DOG's scores of 2-6-4-1-3-DNF-3 for 19 net pts was just 3 pts from 2nd!  Also finishing in the top five and taking fourth in class was the J/105 DARK STAR sailed by another "local",  Jonathan Lipuscek, managing a 7-2-2-5-7-3-2 scoreline for 21 net pts.  Other J's having a great time included the J/80 KOSA LOKA (or OTRA COSA?) sailed by Caribbean racing veteran Kike Gonzales from Club Nautico Puerto Rico; the J/39 CRYSTAL helmed by Jerome O'Neill from Ponce Yacht and Fishing Club and the J/80 VENTUS skippered by Hector Melendez from CNSJ.

The J/24 class had a great series with twelve races sailed.  In the end, it was Puerto Rico’s Jose Fullana on KQLO that probably stunned the fleet by taking eight 1sts, four 2nds and tossing a 2nd!  One might call that a "spanking", or perhaps a "schooling" for their colleagues on how to do it right!  Rising to the challenge, but not quite getting there, was Jaime Balzac's RAZZMATAZZ accumulating an equally impressive two 1sts, six 2nds and three 3rds while tossing a 3rd to take second overall.  Third position on the podium was TAX RETURN sailed by Carlos Feliciano; they started slowly but like a runaway freight-train down a hill, finished with a flourish, winning the last two races!  Thanks for the contribution from Carol Bareuther.   For more San Juan International Regatta sailing information