The 11th Club Nautico de San Juan International Regatta (CNSJIR) was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Sailors from six islands and countries took home trophies.
'The regatta couldn’t have been better,' says Club Nautico de San Juan Commodore, Gustavo Hermida. 'We had great weather, sunny skies with winds 10 to 15 knots all three days, and excellent competition on the water.'
Pino Hernandez, CNSJIR regatta chairman, agrees. 'The last three days were magnificent. We had a good group of sailors, nice wind and weather, and we invite all sailors to come back next year.'
Competition was closest in the beginner Optimist Green Fleet where only three points separated the first through third place finishers. In the end, it was St. John’s Mateo Di Blasi, who sails out of the St. Thomas Yacht Club, who won.
'This is my fifth regatta and the first one I’ve ever won,' says 10-year-old Di Blasi. 'It was hard, but I kept trying to always do my best.'
The Advanced Optimist was the largest fleet of the regatta with 31 boats. Puerto Rico’s Ponce Yacht & Fishing Club’s (PYFC) Andre Reguero handily won with a 10-point lead.
'I’ve been practicing a lot,' says Reguero. 'My goal was to stay consistent and stay on top.'
The CNSJIR is a qualifier for sailors to make Puerto Rico’s national team and compete later this year at the Optimist South American Championships, Optimist North American Championships and Optimist World Championships. Reguero’s performance has secured him a spot on this team.
The BVI’s Mollee Donovan finished the regatta with a nearly flawless string of first place scores to win the Laser 4.7 Class.
'I was fast on the upwinds,' says Donovan, describing what led to success in her second regatta in Lasers after a multiyear and successful Optimist career.
Club Nautico de San Juan’s Juan Carlos Perdomo won the Laser Radial Class with an impressive 19-point lead.
'Consistency paid off for me especially in the heavier air,' says Perdomo, who is looking forward to elite level Laser competitions in the U.S., Europe and Australia this year.
Puerto Rico’s David Alfonso, who is taking a semester off from studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to campaign for a 2012 Summer Olympic spot, topped Laser Standards by 2-points over the Dominican Republic’s Guillermo Flaquer.
In the Club 420, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Nikki Barnes from St. Thomas and Agustina Barbuto from St. John won with nine out of 10 first place finishes.
'I really enjoyed sailing here because the races were well organized, the other racers were eager to compete and we had lots of races,' says Barnes, who with Barbuto earned the Virgin Islands’ first bronze medal at the ISAF Youth World Championships in Croatia last summer in the International 420.
Puerto Rico’s Elvin Aponte, sailing for the BoRinquen Islands Sailing Association (BRISA) Sur, successfully defended his Sunfish Class title.
'I am very happy and proud to have accomplished this win and defended my title,' says Aponte. 'It was fun to have many sailboats on the water, challenging courses, and chance to sail with so many international competitors.'
Finally, PYFC’s Fraito Lugo topped the IC-24 Class.
'We really enjoyed having eight boats in the class this weekend and look forward to the class increasing in the next two months to 13 boats,' says Lugo. 'The class is becoming more competitive for me as it grows and harder for me to win, but that’s what I like.'
Full results are available online
A record 100 sailors from 12 islands and countries – Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, all three U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Maarten, Curacao, Guatemala and the United States – set sail in this year’s CNSJIR. Final Results:
Optimist Green (21 boats) 16 races
1. Mateo Di Blasi, St. Thomas Yacht Club, 36
2. Emmanuel Esteras, Club Nautico de San Juan, 37
3. Caroline Teare, St. Thomas Yacht Club, 39
Optimist Advanced (31 boats) 12 races
1. Andre Reguero, Ponce Yacht and Fishing Club, 11
2. Miguel Monllor, Ponce Yacht and Fishing Club, 21
3. Luca Miranda, Club Nautico de San Juan, 24
Laser 4.7 (8 boats) 12 races
1. Mollee Donovan, Royal BVI Yacht Club, 10
2. Matthew Oliver, Royal BVI Yacht Club, 27
3. Victor J Rodriguez, Club Nautico de San Juan, 35
Laser Radial (14 boats) 12 races
1. Juan Perdomo, Real Club Nautico de Juanky, 10
2. Andrea D Aldana, Los Sauces, Guatemala, 29
3. Jose Soler, Flako Sailing Team, 30
Laser Standard (6 boats) 12 races
1. David Alfonso, MIT Sailing Team, 13
2. Guillermo Flaquer, Dominican Republic, 15
3. Ramon Gonzalez, PURPS, 29
Sunfish (7 boats) 12 races
1. Elvin Aponte, Brisa Sur, 13
2. Gregg Fyffe, N/A, 28
3. Miguelina Feris, Club Nautico Santo Domingo, 29
Club 420 (5 boats) 10 races
1. Nikki Barnes, St. Thomas Yacht Club, 9
2. Jose Lazo, Ponce Yacht and Fishing Club, 17
3. Thomas Walden, St. Thomas Yacht Club/Pleon, 28
IC24 (8 boats) 11 races
1. Fraito Lugo, Ponce Yacht and Fishing Club, 17
2. Gregory Fink, Ponce Yacht and Fishing Club, 35T
3. Fernando Irizarry, Club Nautico de San Juan, 35T The CNSJIR is an outgrowth of the Club’s junior sailing program, which was launched in the 1970s by Andres Nevares and strengthened in the late 1990s by then-Commodore Richard Christiansen and Ricky Adsuar. The program, which is now directed by Berríos since 1998, combines technical knowledge with practical hands-on sailing experience. It’s a combination that definitely works. For example, the Puerto Rican sailors who won fleet and team racing awards at the 2008 Optimist World Championships were graduates of the program as were six of the island’s sailors who won five gold and one bronze medal sailing at the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games in Mayagüez.
The Puerto Rico Tourism Company and JetBlue Airways are official sponsors of the CNSJIR. Event website