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Sailors to Watch this Season

Behind every rating lurks a character, behind every results sheet a legend. With the 2006 racing series just a short countdown away, All At Sea got in touch with some of the Caribbean’s most respected competitors to give you a better of idea of whom you might be up against.

Claude Thelier ( Guadeloupe)

Which Regattas will you take part in this year?

The Zoo Regatta in January 2006, the St Maarten Heineken, Rolex Antigua Sailing Week and the Tour de la Guadeloupe. But the biggest project is the Route du Rhum at the end of 2006 in a 50’ Trimaran.

What has been your best result to date in the Caribbean?

I won the St Maarten Heinken twice (in 2001 on the 40’ Tri Kelly Services and in 2003 on the 28’ Cat An nou Ay). After 30 years living in the Caribbean, my dream is still to win Antigua Sailing Week, but it’s never happened.

Your career best?

I think the 2nd place in the 2000 Hobie 16 Worlds is one of the best, because it came at the end of 12 years of training. Or the 2002 Route du Rhum, where I replaced the skipper just 20 days before the start. I’ve also coached for the Guadeloupe Hobie Cat 16 youth team for a few years and we got four French youth titles, three French Open titles and the 2004 World Open Championships in Mexico.

Geoffrey Pidduck ( Antigua)

Plans this year: Recovering from knee surgery, Geoffrey resumed combat with the Triskell Cup in Guadeloupe in November.

Boat: Despite owning a total of 32 Lasers during his life, Pidduck is best known for sailing the modified Six-Meter Trouble, which will be renamed BiWi Magic for this season.

Last Season: Wins at the BVI Spring Fling and the Heineken Regatta. Third place in Cruiser Class at Antigua Sailing Week, having dismasted.

Caribbean Honors: Manager and Coach for Antigua & Barbuda for 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics.

Career High: 8th out of 185 in 1979 North American Laser Championship, and held Masters title from 1989 to 1991 at the South American Masters Laser Championship.

Mike Green, ( St Lucia)

What Regattas do you expect to compete in for 2005/6?

Bequia in a J24 and St Maarten or Antigua. Then the Nations Cup in St Thomas, the North Sails Regatta in St Maarten and the IC24 One Design series in St Thomas.

What is your Caribbean regatta 'list of honors'?

Won St Maarten Heineken Regatta twice, Antigua Sailing Week, St Lucia Regatta, Martinique Easter Regatta, Bequia Easter Regatta, Caribbean Dinghy Championships, St Maarten Laser Championships, Caribbean Match Racing Championships, North Sails Regatta.

What has been your best Caribbean regatta performance to date?

Winning Antigua Sailing Week on Immigrant back in 1993.

And your overall career high, whether outside the Caribbean or not?

Among others, two Olympic Games (once for Barbados, once for St Lucia), Central American Championships and Pan Am Games, and leading the last race of the 1998 Seoul Olympics in a Star.

What is your ambition for this season ahead?

Would love to qualify for the 2007 Pan Am games in Rio.

Frits Bus, St Maarten

Which Caribbean Regattas do you expect to participate in for 2005/6?

St.Croix, Electec, Zoo, Dom. Rep. Laser Championships, Heineken, BVI Spring Regatta, St Thomas Rolex, Anguilla Mix-Up, Captain Oliver’s Carib Beer Regatta, North Sails, Caribbean Laser Championship, St Barths Laser champs, Nations Cup, CAC games in Laser in Venezuela.

How was 2004/5?

Very successful. We won our Heineken and Culebra Classes with the Melges 2ContactCarib/Buccaneer Bar, overall winners at the Anguilla and Carib regatta, and the SXM Laser champ and Electec regatta.

Which victories have meant the most to you?

St Barths regatta 1992, Antigua 2000, Rolex 2001, Caribbean Laser Championships in 2001.

What has been your favorite Caribbean regatta moment?

A whale jumping out of the water in front of my boat while racing…. and winning the race overall.

What is your racing ambition for 2005/6?

Have fun and try to win the BVI Spring Regatta and the North Sails One Design.

Paul Amon, ( Trinidad)

Which Caribbean Regattas do you expect to participate in for 2005/6?

Key West, BVI, Antigua, Tobago, Barbados.

On which boat?

The new Crash Test Dummies, owned by Tim Kimpton. It’s a Melges 32 - the 5th that Tim has bought from us at Soca Sailboats..

How was 2004/5 compared to previous racing seasons?

A bit quiet. We sold Guardian Star before the season so the crew had no boat. I did not sail any regattas until Antigua when we sailed Storm, the Reichel/Pugh 44 I built for Les Crouch.

What are your Caribbean regatta honors to date?

I have won Racing class overall in every major Regatta in the Caribbean except Antigua. The three most memorable regattas were Key West, racing Storm out of the box. We won our Division with a day to spare. Puerto Rico Regatta in 1999 where we won with Crash Test also out of the box and after a 70-hour nonstop delivery. The 2000 Rolex Regatta in St Thomas racing Crash Test Dummies, which we won and also ended up with Caribbean Boat of the Year. The watch is still a prized possession!

Is there a particular regatta that you still haven't mastered?

I guess it must be BVI. I won it once with Luis Juarbe in his Henderson 30 in light air but every year since we have got hammered. Not so much the shifts but the pressure differential makes it a challenging regatta.

Efrain ‘Fraito’ Lugo, ( Puerto Rico)

Current Boat: Our J/24, Orion. I have my Melges 24 in my garage. Puerto Rico has just purchased 10 J/24s from the US Naval Academy and we have started to convert these to IC24s.

Last season’s performance? I started out sailing with a customer on Lazy Dog, a Beneteau First 40.7, and we won our class and overall in the St. Maarten Regatta. Then we sailed the J/24 and won the Culebra International and Rolex Regatta.

Regatta Honors: My first Puerto Rico Heineken Cup, Rolex Regatta, BVI Spring Regatta and C.O.R.T. wins were the most exciting to me. This was all in 1997.

Career High: Sailing in the J/24 Worlds for the first time last year. We placed mid-fleet, but we learned a lot from some of the best sailors in the world.

Favorite regatta moment, either on or off the water: It was at the BVI Spring Regatta. We were headed upwind in the Melges 24 when the lifeline snapped and all the crew fell into the water. I sailed along for about 30 seconds before I realized what happened and picked them up.

Seasons Ambitions: I’ll sail Lazy Dog in St. Maarten again. For St. Croix, my crew and I will likely sail a Henderson 30 named Siapp, owned by Michael Serrales. We’ll also go up and do Key West Race Week and the J/24 Midwinters before coming back to do the Puerto Rico Heineken Regatta, Culebra International Regatta and Rolex. If we have an IC24, we’ll do BVI as well. Then it will be either Lazy Dog or the Henderson for Antigua.

What other say about him/her: “Fraito is one of the better sailors because he not only sails well, he is a sportsman…always smiling and helpful…a true gentleman!” (John Holmberg).

John Holmberg, (USVI)

Current Boat: An IC24, Stinger.

Last season’s performance? We were off the mark. Seriously.

Regatta Honors: The highlight was definitely in 1994. That’s when Dick Johnson, my stepfather, won, and both me and my brother, Peter, won our classes at Rolex and each received Rolex watches.

Career High: It’s my son wanting to go out in an Optimist without me ‘pushing’ him.

Favorite regatta moment: Definitely, any time I beat Enrique Figueroa in the beach cats is a favorite moment for me. And, winning the final race and the regatta in St. Maarten at the 2004 North Sails Keelboat Championships.

Seasons Ambitions: My ambition? To have fun!! And, maybe give the Hirst’s a run for their money without entertaining them too often with my mistakes.

What other say about him/her: “John is a very good sailor. He’s coming from the beach cat fleet and has spent a lot of time with Kike. That’s good. Sailing against another really good sailor increases your knowledge and skill. I don’t care what I sail as long as I have really good sailors like John, or Chris Rosenberg, Robbie Hirst or Morgan Avery to compete against. Its fun that way.” ( Fraito Lugo).

Interviews conducted by Callie Frisell, Carol Bareuther, Nick Marshall.

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