Sailors from throughout Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and World are setting their sights on Palmas del Mar Yacht Club in Humacao, Puerto Rico, March 18-20, for the Puerto Rico Heineken International Regatta. For the first time ever to Puerto Rico, regatta organizers welcome ONDECK Ocean Racing, which will bring two of its four Farr 65s for training and charter.
The regatta is the second leg of the Cape Air Caribbean Ocean Racing Circuit (CORC), which started in February with the St. Croix Yacht Club Hospice Regatta, continues with the International Rolex Regatta in St. Thomas, March 25-27, and concludes with the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, March 28 to April 3 out of Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola.
“ONDECK presents an opportunity for corporations to charter these large yachts as an incentive for their employees,” says regatta director Angel Ayala. “Ricoh will be the first corporation to partake of this opportunity. Fifty of their sales people will come out and watch the first day of racing. This is a wonderful door that is opening for nautical tourism to Puerto Rico.”
The Farr 65s, built for the 1999 Millennium Round the World Yacht Race, and purchased by ONDECK Sailing, based in Cowes, Isle of Wight, in 2004, will come from the company’s Caribbean-based branch in Antigua and will be available for pre-regatta training and for regatta racing by individuals and corporate businesses.
“We are delighted to bring the Farrs to Puerto Rico and have been impressed by the welcome and by the determination of the regatta organizers to make this event a premier one on the circuit,” said Peter Anthony, chairman of ONDECK. “For our part, we will build on this and aim to bring many more yachts and people to future events. We are making great inroads in introducing Caribbean regattas to a new North American as well as our traditional European audiences and believe the Puerto Rico Heineken International Regatta will have great appeal with them and locally.”
Over 40 yachts are expected to compete in this three-decade-old-plus event that is the premier sailing event of the year in Puerto Rico. Classes will include Racing, Racer-Cruiser, Performance Cruiser, Jib & Main and one-design classes for J/24s and IC/24s. There will also be a one-design Hobie 16 class in the Puerto Rico International Dinghy Regatta, March 19 and 20, an event that will be based at adjacent Punta Candelero, along with Optimist, Laser and Snipe racing as well as kite-boarding. The one-design J/24 and Hobie 16 fleets will especially be out in force. Teams will be coming in both fleets from the Dominican Republic and Mexico in order to train for the Pan American Games, set for Guadalajara, Mexico, this summer.
“New this year we will offer a one-day stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) exhibition and competition,” said Angel Ayala. “The event will start at 10 a.m. on March 20. Paddle boarders will have two courses to choose from, one that starts within the marina and a longer course that starts at Punta Candelero and then winds through the canals of Palmas del Mar.”
The skipper’s meeting will take place at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 17, at the Palmas del Mar Yacht Club. Racing will start at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 18 and continue through Sunday, March 20. The awards ceremony will be held following racing on Sunday.
Regatta festivities will kick-off with a captain’s meeting on March 17. The fleet will race March 18, 19 and 20, with nightly parties and an awards ceremony on March 20.
There is an entry fee of US $350 for all classes except Beach Cats; the Beach Cats fee is US $100. In the dinghy regatta, the entry fee for single-handed boats is $75 and double-handed boats are $100.
The Palmas del Mar Yacht Club is located inside the resort community of Palmas del Mar, in Humacao. The 162-slip marina is managed by Island Global Yachting and offers state-of-the-art facilities for yachts up to 200-foot. There is a restaurant, bar and grill, private lounge area, shower facilities, swimming pool, resort wear shop, convenience store, deli and much more on property as well as up to a dozen restaurants within walking distance of the marina. Shore side accommodations at Palmas del Mar Hotel & Villas include rooms that will be offered at a discounted rate for regatta participants. In addition, there are villas for rent that sleep 12 and come with a private boat slip.