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Peru takes the prize at first-ever World Avocado Cup

San Diego Bay was the setting of the first-ever World Avocado Cup Regatta, hosted by the World Avocado Organization in partnership with the San Diego Yacht Club. This one-of-a-kind sailing event was designed to highlight the global origins of this celebrated superfood -- with 10 boats representing the world’s participating avocado-producing countries, which also boast vibrant sailing communities.boatPhoto courtesy of Bob Betancourt

“We are thrilled with the first-ever World Avocado Cup Regatta –- an action-packed weekend celebrating our favorite superfood, along with sailing,” said Xavier Equihua, chief executive officer of WAO. “The San Diego Yacht Club hosted an exceptional event which we hope will be the first of many World Avocado Cup Regattas to come.”

The world famous San Diego Bay offered a stunning backdrop for the teams, racing SDYC’s J/22 sailboats featuring custom sails and spinnakers bearing country flags and logos of the avocado producer organizations from Peru, California (representing the U.S.), South Africa, Colombia, Spain, Portugal, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Saturday's conditions in the San Diego Bay saw light winds and bumpy water, creating challenges for the sailors. Improving on Sunday, the breeze picked up, paired with choppy seas and plenty of weekend boat traffic.

SDYC’s Nico Landauer and skipper of the Avocados from Peru sailboat took home the trophy with his crew, the “Peruvian Brothers,” Giuseppe and Mario Lanzone. Second place went to the “Fruit of Life” team -- Skipper Molly Pleskus, with Al Pleskus and Grace McCarthy -- representing the flagship sailboat of the World Avocado Organization. In third place was the Avocados from South Africa sailboat led by Skipper Danny North, with crew Susan Dijkman, Tim Fleming, Julie McPherson and Jim Dorsey.

“It’s awesome to win the inaugural World Avocado Cup -- I feel like a pioneer,” said the multiple regattas winner Landauer. “The Lanzone brothers and I are already really stoked about participating in the World Avocado Cup every year.”

“We had a really good team,” Giuseppe Lanzone said of their success. “Nico was a really good skipper, Mario was able to tell where the boats were very well, and I was able to help with the tactics. I’ve always wanted to sail in San Diego, and my first race here was the World Avocado Cup.”

Mario Lanzone added, “This was our first time in the J/22 but we have sailed a J/24 and have been sailing since we were little kids. The knowledge of being on the water our entire lives was very helpful. We didn’t win out of beginners luck. We worked hard and had an amazing team.”

The winning crew took home the coveted sterling silver World Avocado Cup in a waterfront award ceremony at the beautiful San Diego Yacht Club.

Following the tradition of the Lipton Cup, the World Avocado Cup Regatta featured two days of competitive sailing (with a total of nine races) on the San Diego Bay. The World Avocado Regatta weekend kicked off with an opening reception at the SDYC on Fri., July 12 featuring avocado-inspired food and beverages.

“It was an outstanding weekend -- from the opening reception, to the competitive racing and the closing award reception at the SDYC. We were thrilled to combine our love of avocados with our love of the ocean in this picture-perfect inaugural event,” said Equihua.