Gusts blowing 20-plus-knots and rolling seas created challenging yet exhilarating conditions for nearly 100 sailors from five islands that competed in the 13th Club Nautico de San Juan International Regatta (CNSJIR), held January 31-February 2, out of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico's Fraito Lugo on his Orion leads Carlos Sierra on Fuakata in the IC24 Class.
The CNSJIR Race Committee reveled in the brisk conditions launching as many as 13 races in one of the six classes that sailed both on and outside San Juan Bay.
'We are very happy with the success of this year’s regatta,' explains Luis Fabre, chairman of the CNSJIR organizing committee. 'We wondered a few years ago how the addition of the bigger boats would fit in with the dinghies, but it has worked well by giving us a good diversity of classes. We have the perfect venue here at Club Nautico de San Juan both onshore and offshore.'
In the 7-boat CSA Spinnaker class, which included three Melges 32s, it was Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Lipuscek’s J/105 Dark Star that won with a decisive five firsts in six races. 'We did very well considering the conditions and the competition,' explains tactician, Rafi Martinez. 'Our strategy was to focus on good boat handling, make few errors and on the downwind when the Melges plane to maximize the waves and puffs to our advantage.'
The Melges 32s weren’t far behind. Puerto Rico’s Luis Juarbe, on SOCA, finished second while fellow islander, Jaime Torres, driving Smile and Wave, was third.
The second keelboat class of the regatta, the 7-boat IC24s, saw Puerto Rico’s Fraito Lugo’s Orion take the lead and hold it until the end scoring eight firsts in 13 races. 'It was close racing as the younger sailors are very good,' says Lugo.
'We are in the selection process to see what J24 team will represent Puerto Rico in the Central American-Caribbean Games in November in Mexico,' says Lugo. 'The IC24 is excellent for practice for the J24 because the CAC Games format calls for a jibe and four crew.'
Puerto Rico’s Marco Teixidor driving his IC24, Cachondo, finished second, with Puerto Rico’s Carlos Sierra aboard Fuakata in third.
The dinghy classes have long been the foundation of CNSJIR. In fact, true to past years, the largest class was the Optimist Advanced with 13 boats. Antigua’s Daniel Smit, who finished first in this regatta last year in the Optimist Green Fleet, won the overall this year as well as the 11- to 12-year old Blue Fleet.
'We’ve been practicing in heavy winds back home in Antigua these last few weeks. That really helped a lot in this regatta,' Smit tells. 'In one race I was pretty far ahead, so that was cool.'
Close competition in the Optimist class on San Juan Bay.
Anguilla’s Huekeemi Hughes won the 13- to 15-year-old Optimist Red Fleet, while Puerto Rico’s Jose Mendez scored a win in the age 10- and under Optimist White Fleet. This year’s Optimist Green fleet leader was Puerto Rico’s Marc Thys.
The Laser fleets were equally full of talent. Puerto Rico’s Agustin Lazaro-Lugo won the 8-boat Laser Radial class with six first place finishes in 12 races. 'Last year I finished second in this regatta,' says the 17-year-old Lazaro-Lugo. 'I learned a lot a month ago sailing at the Orange Bowl Regatta in Florida, especially how to get good starts and hold my lead.'
Lazaro-Lugo is attempting to qualify to represent Puerto Rico in the Laser Radial class at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, which will be held in Tavira, Portugal, July 12-19, 2014.
Second place Laser Radial finisher, Rhône Findlay, will be representing his home island of St. Maarten in the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships.
Rounding out third in this competitive class was Puerto Rico’s Pedro Fernandez Gamboa. Puerto Rico’s Ricardo Valenzuela led the Laser 4.7 class.
Full results are available here and here.
The 14th CNSJIR will be held February 6-8, 2015. The CNSJIR is an outgrowth of the Club’s junior sailing program, which was launched in the 1970s. The addition of CSA classes in 2013 has expanded the opportunity for more sailors to participate. Over 75 volunteers contribute to the success of this regatta.
For more information, contact principal race officer, José ‘Yoyo’ Berrios at email@example.com or Club Nautico de San Juan at (787) 722-0177, Fax: (787) 724-8059 or Visit: www.nauticodesanjuan.com/sailingprogram/regatta_int.htm