If it is March, then it is Miami
Published on March 1st, 2015
One hundred seventy-three boats will travel to Coconut Grove to compete in the 88th Bacardi Cup and the 6th BACARDI Miami Sailing Week (BMSW) presented by EFG Bank in Miami, FL. While there is no venue in the U.S. that is perfect year round, it is hard to beat Miami in March for its warm weather and great sailing conditions.
The event begins on Monday, March 2, with the racing of the Bacardi Cup for the Star Class, and then on Thursday, March 5, the J/70, Viper 640, VX One and M32 classes will join the Stars to race the sixth edition of the BMSW, which all continue until Saturday, March 7. On the water activities are coordinated by Coral Reef Yacht Club in collaboration with the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club and with the help of the U.S. Sailing Center and Shake-A-Leg Miami.
This year’s 172 boats come from 15 foreign nations, including Italy, Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Ukraine, Australia, Sweden, Argentina, and Great Britain.
The Star Class, consisting of 60 entrants, includes defending champions Lars Grael and Samuel Gonçalves (Rio de Janeiro, BRA); 2003 Yachtsman of the Year, Augie Diaz (Miami, FL); two-time Star World Champion (1995, 2000) and three-time Olympic medalist (1992 Gold, 1988 Silver, 2000, Gold) Mark Reynolds (San Diego, CA); 1992 Finn Olympic Silver medalist, Brian Ledbetter (Medina, WA); and 1990 Star World Champion and current National Champion Torben Grael (Niteroi, BRA).
The J/70 Fleet continues to pick up steam with 46 entrants in this year’s BMSW. The top 3 finishers from last year’s event, Will Welles (Portsmouth, RI), Brian Keane (Weston, MA), and Peter Duncan (Rye, NY), will all be present at this year’s event to fight for the top position. However, they will also have to add this year’s J/70 World’s runner up, Joel Ronning (Minneapolis, MN) to the mix.
Reaching a record number of entrants with 35 boats registered, the Viper 640’s are competing not only for the BMSW title, but also in their final event of the EFG Pan-American Championship. This year long event culminates in the Championship Regatta during BMSW. Tight racing is in the near future for this fleet as last year’s top 3 finishers, which includes the current North American Champion, Brad Boston (Point Edward, CAN), last year’s BMSW winner, Phil Lotz (Ft. Lauderdale, FL), and Justin Scott (Greenwich, CT) will all be present.
Returning for their second appearance at BMSW is the VX One, racing this year with 25 entrants. Last year’s BMSW winner, Donovan Brennan (Mobile, AL) will have to work hard to defend his title this year as some other great sailors have been added to the mix, including Chris Alexander (Ocean Springs, Ms), the current North American Champion and Midwinter Champion, and Brian Bennett (Yemassee, SC), winner of this year’s St. Pete NOOD.
Making their first appearance in the BMSW is the M32 catamaran class. With only 6 entrants, the M32’s will have the smallest class, however, their participation in this event shows how much the class has grown in the past year. This high performance boat has had a winter series consisting of 4 events that all take place in Miami.
Similar to year’s past, the BACARDI Village hospitality for BACARDI Miami Sailing Week will be set up in Kennedy Park, where sailors will enjoy BACARDI Rum, food and music. A special art exhibit, Sailing Dreams by Vicki DaSilva, will be set up in Coco Walk, Unit 115, and open every day. DaSilva will exhibit 10 light paintings (made by moving a hand-held light source while taking a long exposure photograph) that present to the community how she interprets the beautiful sport of sailing into art.