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PODIUM FINISH FOR PUERTO RICO’S SMILE AND WAVE IN RORC CARIBBEAN 600
Monday 27th February 2012

Press Release - February 25, 2012

Photo by Dean Barnes

Falmouth Harbour, Antigua. It’s their second year sailing together as a team, they were the second smallest yacht in a fleet that included a 214-footer, and they weathered squalls and a snapped tackline and still came out smiling. Puerto Rico’s Jaime Torres’ Beneteau First 40 Smile and Wave pulled off a spectacular podium finish in the RORC (Royal Ocean Racing Club) Caribbean 600, finishing third in the IRC 1 Class and earning the top Caribbean boat award.
 
“Getting ready for the race was a much bigger challenge than we anticipated,” says Torres. “The racing itself became more a test of focus and endurance than of sailing skill, but it has been a truly enriching experience.”
 
A fleet of 40 racing maxis, superyachts, Class 40s and Classics from 32 nations – with Volvo Round The World, Vendee Globe, Olympic and America’s Cup veterans aboard as crew – made their start Monday February 20 from outside English Harbor, Antigua, on a 600 nautical mile course that circumnavigated 11 islands. Most finished in 3 days and indeed Smile and Wave drove over the finish just before midnight on Thursday February 23 with an elapsed time of 3 days 13 hours 19 minutes and 39 seconds.
 
This awesome fleet was divided into 12 different classes, 7 that were scored by either the IRC or CSA handicap rating rules. A yachts elapsed time was corrected by handicap to determine class leaders. Smile and Wave ultimately finished an impressive 3rd out of 7 yachts in the IRC 1 Class, 4th out of 19 yachts in the CSA Overall Class, and 11th out of 32 yachts in IRC Overall.
 
“The weather was picture perfect with everything from 25-knot squalls to glassy parking lots,” Torres recaps Smile and Wave’s race. “We won our start and did extremely well against our competition when going straight upwind and when the course took us more downwind. The long reaching legs favored the older lower-rated but faster long-waterline boats. I'm stoked that just about everything we could control went okay. We made a few mistakes and paid the price, but ultimately the courses made it a huge challenge to sail to our rating. Still it was an amazing race that brought world-class competition to Antigua.”
 
Joining Torres for the RORC Caribbean 600 were Puerto Rico- and USA-based crewmembers: Carlos Hernandez, Anson Mulder, Joe Goulet, Bob Hillier, Evan Tolan, Gretchen Ortiz, George Polish and Fernando Padro.
 
In addition, the Smile and Wave team recruited its own ‘Media Crew Member’, Alan Block, senior editor of the popular Sailing Anarchy website (www.SailingAnarchy.com) to sail with them and send out daily text, photos, and video reports from their Explorersatellite.com-equipped race boat. Watching the video reports especially makes viewers feel like they were racing right along with the Smile and Wave team. Additional reports, photos and videos are also available on the event website: caribbean600.rorc.org
 
“I am honored to have represented Puerto Rico with a podium finish and as top Caribbean yacht in our first regatta of the season,” says Torres. “We have learned a ton, and we are a better team for it. We can't wait to switch to buoy racing mode for the upcoming events!”
 
Next up, Smile and Wave will take their start in less than a week in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and Commodore's Cup, March 1 to 4.

Smile and Wave is sponsored by Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Discovery Bay Resort and Marina and Sebago.
 
Follow Smile and Wave via their website (www.SmileandWave.ws) and give the team a ‘Like’ on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/SmileandWaveSailingTeam

Smile and Wave’s 2012 Caribbean Regatta Schedule
 
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - March 2 to March 4 - St. Maarten
International Rolex Regatta - March 23 to March 25 - St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
BVI Spring Regatta - March 30 to April 1 – Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Voile de St. Barths - April 2 to April 7 - St. Barths, French West Indies
Antigua Sailing Week - April 29 to May 4 – Antigua


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