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QUOTABLE: Making sailboat racing fun again

Published on May 5th, 2013

“In general, sailing in the Caribbean and in particular, Puerto Rico is great. Steady tradewinds blowing over gin clear water with hundreds of islands as natural marks just can’t be beat. That’s why there is always so much sailing down here, and there really is no end to growth in sight for Caribbean racing. Strong winds and occasionally boisterous seas can be punishing on smaller boats like the Melges 32, but Melges builds a very tough boat that stands up well to the elements.

“Sailing a planing boat in non-planing conditions isn’t that fun, and in Puerto Rico (and most of the Caribbean) we are almost always in 15 knots or more. When it does go light, the powerful sailplan still delivers – but pegging the speedo into the high teens, surfing down big waves always puts smiles on the crews’ faces – and on mine!

“Sailing, in all of its forms, could use a big boost in Puerto Rico. The days of 50 or 60 boat regattas that we used to enjoy in the 70’s and 80’s need to be revived, and the only way to do that is to make sailboat racing fun again. And, there are precious few things in sailing that are more fun than racing boats this fast. I doubt we’ll ever have massive fleets of Melges 32s in Puerto Rico, but with two boats already here, we only need one or two more to really stand out and build buzz amongst other Puerto Rican boat owners.” – Jaime Torres, Melges 32 owner of Smile and Wave, based in Puerto Rico, full report

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