Paroma, the Salona 44 owned by Luis Balzac, is sailing with a lively crew this week, including a group of four young kids from St John’s High School in Puerto Rico who are learning to race, and 18-year old Lana Coomes who was recently selected to sail the upcoming South Africa to Brazil leg on Maiden, the all-women crewed boat famous for competing in the 1989-90 Whitbread Round The World race.
“She is a tough cookie, she’s our boss on the boat,” Balzac smiled. “It’s exciting that she’ll be sailing on Maiden, she’s an awesome young sailor.”
Paroma was tied for first going into the last day of racing at the 50th Anniversary edition of the BVI Spring Regatta, so the crew were excited about getting off the dock and back on the water today.
“The competition has been really good – our new friends on Lady M from the Dominican Republic are not only extremely nice people but they’re fierce competitors and we’re tied for first so today we’ll see who gets it!” Balzac said.
Last year, Balzac took second in class on Paroma, and in previous years he won BVI Spring Regatta multiple times in class on his former boat, Flako. He purchased Paroma, a Salona 44 designed by J&J and built in Croatia, a few years ago and he’s really happy with his new boat.
“We’ve owned Paroma for two years, and we chose the boat because we got her for a great price during the pandemic,” Balzac noted. “We found this one in Panama and sailed it to Nanny Cay. It was built in 2015 and probably used twenty times, it was barely used. We love it.”
Paroma races with twelve on board; “We have a big fan club,” Balzac joked. “My wife Sara is in charge of the programme, and other crew include friends I sail with all the time at home, some are friends from New Jersey (US), and we have some of the Quantum guys with us – we’re racing with Quantum sails – and they’ve been instrumental in our great performance this week.”
Balzac added, “The racing this week has been outstanding. Being from Puerto Rico we like it when the breeze is above 15 knots and upwards, we’ve seen 20-22 knots this week which is good for us – we’re fat!”
Balzac has been visiting Nanny Cay since he was five years old, and his sister lives on her boat in Nanny Cay Marina.
“We love Nanny Cay and always love Spring Regatta,” Balzac smiled. – Michelle Slade