It’s been a long time since I raced on a 40-foot cruiser/racer, but a gracious invitation from Puerto Rican entrepreneur Jaime Torres led to a long conversation that convinced me to join his team for a month of the Caribbean season. Torres has perhaps the most race-ready Beneteau First 40 anywhere on Earth (which is for sale, BTW), and he’s dedicated his race program to both training young people to become racing sailors while at the same time spreading the word about the great racers and sailing grounds of Puerto Rico.
Smile and Wave became instantly recognizable to both racers and shoreside spectators, the Latino crew (including two spunky and accomplished sailor chicks) becoming the ‘mosh pit’ at pretty much every regatta party, our all-night-dancing sailor chicks attracting tons of attention, while Torres himself grabbed headlines at almost every event, befitting both his stated goals and commercial sponsors Banco Popular and Discovery Bay Resort.
While Torres didn’t get the big win he was looking for this season, he was nearly in tears at being honored by the BVI Spring Regatta Organizers, who awarded to him the Guy Eldridge Award for True Spirit and Enthusiasm. This meaningful trophy is named for the legendary Caribbean cheerleader and longtime racer responsible for bringing so many people to the sport, but who tragically died during a St. Thomas Rolex race just a couple of years ago.
I sat down with Jaime just after he missed out on the Rolex St. Thomas victory by a half a point, on the anniversary of his Rolex-winning performance on the bow of his dad’s boat 36 years earlier. All owners should be as dedicated, generous, hardworking, and humble as this guy, and I hope you enjoy meeting him as much as I did. There are piles of pics on SnW’s Facebook site if you want to get to know the team.
2012 Results: Caribbean 600: 3rd in Class, 4th Overall, Top Caribbean Boat
Gill Commodore’s Cup: 1st in Class, 1st Overall
Heineken St. Maarten: 6th in Class
St. Thomas Rolex: 2nd in Class
BVI Spring: 2nd in Class, Guy Eldridge Perpetual