The Argentinean J/24 fleet just concluded its regatta series called the Campeonato Centro de la Republica. The series starts February in gorgeous Mendoza and ended this past weekend in a red-hot regatta with a huge fleet on the beautiful Andean mountain lake: Lago San Roque and its village called Villa Carlos Paz. It all started out on the February 20-21 weekend sailing on the Potrerillos Reservoir, west of the mountain town of Mendoza. The event was organized by members of the Mendoza Fleet with the support of the Córdoba Fleet. In a wonderful atmosphere, the fleet was blessed with strong winds between 15-25 knots with almost no waves, blowing in the dominant direction from the southeast. After measurement Thursday and practice racing Friday, the fleet retired to shore for a massive feast and fabulous Malbec red wine, plus all the drinks you could want. Saturday’s racing had four hard races with winds up to 25 knots. After the conclusion of the day’s racing, the fleet was led by Ezequiel Despontin’s INDIGO, followed by Nicolas Cubría’s RINA, Sebastian Halpern’s MORRUCHO and Javier Moyano’s GRAN CARAJO. After these four grueling races, another excellent assortment of refreshments met the weary sailors. Sunday dawned with lighter winds, much to the relief of all the crews. After a morning postponement, another three races were run with wind in the 15-20 knots range. Again, by 1700 hrs, the fleet was home, showered and ready to put on their best attire to attend another party at a nearby farm where the sailors spent a wonderful evening with music, dancing, food and even more fine wines! The fleet approached Monday’s racing a bit less ambitiously than they had the first two days. At this point, it was clear the Despontin’s INDIGO had an unassailable lead. The real battle was going to be for the balance of the podium and the top five. In the end, Cubria’s RINA sailed fast and smart on the last day to post a 1-1-4 to take second overall by one point with 24 points total. Moyano’s closing effort of a 2-3 was just good enough to hang onto third place with 25 points. Nearly catching them and taking fourth place was Halpern’s MORRUCHO with 28 points due to a strong closing series of races with a 2-8-5. Fifth place went to Alvaro Abate on CAMBURY. After this memorable event, the fleet then traveled 672 km and re-grouped on yet another picturesque lake: Lago San Roque. The fleet expanded even further to 28 boats, one of the largest turnouts in recent memory! The fleet was blessed with good conditions all weekend for the final event of the Championship. Teams came from all major fleets in Argentina, including Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Mendoza, Rosario and Salta. The hosts for the final event were Club Nautico Cordoba and 400 Yacht Club, both in Villa Carlos Paz along the lake. Again they hosted rather remarkable events after sailing each day for all three days. The PRO and the clubs’ volunteers managed to conduct eight races over the three days: two on Saturday, three on Sunday and three on Monday. The good winds on the last day were to Despontin’s liking, as he and his INDIGO crew managed to close with a 7-1-1 to take the Cordoba regatta by one point to also be crowned the “Triple Crown” winner of Argentina with his crew composed of Franca Pesci, Daniel Merlo and Martin Costa. Bridesmaid again for the second time in a row was Nicolas Cubria’s RINA with 31 points. Nico’s crew included Mario Cubria, Fernando Bertrand and Viviana Florencia Grau. There was a real battle for the balance of the top five. The three players included Pablo Despontin’s CARRER, Gustavo Saul’s ON LINE and Javier Moyano’s GRAN CARAJO. After the first three races, Saul’s ON LINE was winning the regatta with an enormous lead due to their 1-2-1 tallies. And, Despontin’s CARRER also had some flashy finishes during the regatta that included a 1-2-3. However, neither team could sail consistently. Sailing steadily but just a touch off pace was Moyano’s GRAN CARAJO. The last day proved to be a tough one for the ON LINE team; their hopes for even an easy top three getting dashed by a 3-21-2 closing scoreline and being forced to eat the 21 as a counter instead of dropping a BFD in race #5. As a result, Despontin’s CARRER finished in third with 40 points, Saul’s ON LINE in fourth with 47 points and Moyano’s GRAN CARAJO in fifth with 48 points. For more Argentinean J/24 sailing information, visit http://j24arg.blogspot.com/.