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20 March 2003, 10:52 am
Caribbean Waters Provide Superb Racing For Leg 2 of Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle (CORT)
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Puerto Rico International Regatta
San Juan

The annual Puerto Rico International Regatta concluded on Sunday organised by Club Nautico Puerto Rico in San Juan.
In stark contrast to the weather-beaten St Croix International Regatta, first leg of Cape Air CORT (Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle) the Puerto International Regatta hit the start with gentle seas and typical 15-20 knot trades.

A good breeze in the morning dropped to 10 knots in the afternoon and saw the fleet waiting for an hour while the race committee moved the marks before the third and last race. After moving the course to the right, the wind clocked even further in that direction after the start leaving some boats wishing they hadn't pushed some of their rivals right only to see them tacking back onto a rather nice lift. The dying and constantly shifting breeze saw the last race of the second day turn into a modest lottery as competitors found themselves on the wrong side of the course.

The last day of the Puerto Rico International Regatta dawned with a blissful 18 knots of breeze. However, the wind gods unleashed a 30-35 knot squall on the start of the second and last race. The winds lashed the fleet in a style reminiscent of the St Croix and then dropped right off.

Antigua's Lost Horizon II displayed, as usual, both consistency and performance and finished Puerto Rico International Regatta, second leg of Cape Air CORT, with a total of 30 points and healthy and probably insurmountable 17 point lead over next in line John Foster's Magnificent 7 in the racing class. The BVI's Willy T is third with 49 points and a mere two points behind Magnificent 7.

Frits Bus is comfortably leading the two-boat Melges with a 25-point margin against the BVI's Mistress Quickly. Owner Guy Eldridge, who recently bought Mistress-ex-Island Water World, had a rough St Croix Regatta with a major keel problem and is still finding his form in a boat that is deceptively hard to sail fast.
With the no-show of Tempest and Arawa in Puerto Rico, racer/cruiser is a three-horse race and they're all BVI boats. Pipedream won the class in Puerto Rico and closed the gap with Cold Beer. Pipedream improved its performance by tweaking their new rig, a replacement for the one that came crashing down in Antigua last year, as well sailing for the second time with a new crew. They also benefited from a little less wind than St Croix. "The racing was less predictable in Puerto Rico" said Chris referring to the heavy weather St Croix regatta. Pipedream is more suited to the lighter conditions that were present in Puerto Rico and also performed better downwind. "We did a lot of damage downwind with Bob [Phillips] onboard," said Chris Haycraft.

However, barring some disaster for Cold Beer, Pipedream needs at least ten races in the BVI - and to win all of them - to take top slot in this class. Dehlerious looks set to comfortably round out the class in third place.

Puerto Rico had 11 classes for 50 boats with Cape Air CORT boats divided over four classes. For the BVI Spring Regatta they'll all be back together on busier start lines and more boats to mix it up with.

Cape Air CORT (Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle) is as much as about consistency as it is about performance. Competitors are now 18 races into the series with one leg to go - the BVI Spring Regatta -which could see up to 25 races according their notice of race. This brings the grand total of potential races for Cape Air CORT participants to 43 races and means that with one event left to go they may not even be half way through.
Alastair Abrehart/ISAF Secretariat
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