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8 February 2007, 11:12 am
Class Leaders Enjoy Brilliant Day In Dominican Republic
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Casa De Campo Regatta Presidente Cup 2007
La Romana, Dominican Republic

The inaugural Casa de Campo Regatta 2007 Presidente Cup got underway in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, in a building trade wind that helped the three classes complete two races.
The three class leaders - Pepe RODRIGUEZ' Celtic V, Juan LEHOUX's Lehmar and Sven HOLMBOM's Orion - each posted at least one first place in the two races. RODRIGUEZ and HOLMBOM enjoyed two bullets as the southeasterly trade wind built from around 8 knots for race 1 to 14 knots in race 2.

'This is a special place to sail and race,' said RODRIGUEZ, owner of the Frers 45 Celtic V. 'The sea is usually flat and the wind is steady.'

RODRIGUEZ and his crew, which includes his uncle Xavier as tactician, easily won both of their races in the racing division. They finished about 20 minutes ahead of the second place boat on elapsed time in race 1 and nearly 28 minutes in race 2.

'In the first race we got two shifts, one on the upwind and one on the downwind,' said tactician Xavier RODRIGUEZ.

Teething Pains

Celtic V's performance is impressive considering it is a ten year old design racing against the new Bellissima, a Comet 51 Sport owned by Gianfranco FINI. Bellissima, sailing its first regatta, experienced some teething pains. It was late to the start of race 1 and in race 2 had problems changing headsails.

'We expect Bellissima to improve,' said Xavier RODRIGUEZ. 'It's brand new. Time will tell.'

Division 2, for performance cruisers, has a tie for first between LEHOUX's Lehmar, a Beneteau 34.3, and Juan REYES' Grande Blu, a Beneteau 47.3. Both boats have four points, but Lehmar has the tiebreaker by virtue of winning race 2.

'I'm not happy with our day, but we're in first,' said Lehmar helmsman Joaquin PACHECO. 'The others did it more wrong than we did.'

REYES, with a 2-2, looks forward to taking on Pacheco.

'We didn't use the spinnaker today because we didn't feel ready for it,' said REYES. 'Everyone was making mistakes with spinnaker, dropping it in the water. So we didn't use it. But we're going out tomorrow morning and practicing to use it.'

Battle For HOLMBOM

HOLMBOM, sailing his Hunter 301 Orion in Division 3, also for performance cruisers, had to fight for his lead. He won the first race on both elapsed and corrected times, but relied on his rating in race 2 to claim a narrow, 1 minute victory on corrected time.

The Presidente Cup was created to help promote the Casa de Campo Yacht Club and Marina. The deepwater port features 400 slips and has a 120 ton TraveLift. It is part of Casa de Campo, a five-star resort on 7,000 sprawling acres on the south side of the eastern end of the Dominican Republic.

The overall winner will receive the Presidente Cup and a watch from event sponsor Corum.

The Casa de Campo Regatta 2007 Presidente Cup is sponsored by Presidente beer. Official sponsors include Casa de Campo Yacht Club, Corum, Casa Life magazine, Bleu Marine, Naked Fish restaurant, Peynado Group, Tropigas, Sunix and Silgon.

Sean McNeill (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Action from the Dominican Republic:© Casa De Campo
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