Bacardi and Miami Good Mix for One Design Racing
Published on March 3rd, 2016
Looking forward to warm weather and great sailing conditions, 175+ one-design sailing boats will travel to Coconut Grove to compete in the 89th Bacardi Cup and the 7th BACARDI Miami Sailing Week (BMSW) presented by EFG.
The event begins on Monday, March 7, with the racing of the Bacardi Cup for the Star Class, and then on Thursday, March 10, the J/70, Viper 640, VX One and A-Cat classes will join the Stars to race the 7th BMSW, which all continue until Saturday, March 12. This year’s 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 racing boats come from 16 foreign nations, including Australia, Austria, Argentina, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Great Britain Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Sweden and Switzerland. These competitors travel to Miami for it’s renowned racing conditions and elite competition.
The Star Class, consisting of 70+ entrants, will compete in the highly competitive Bacardi Cup, which takes places over 6 days. Returning to defend their back to back title is duo Lars Grael and Samuel Gonçalves (Rio de Janeiro, BRA), who won last year’s Bacardi Cup with a 2 point lead over the team of Jorge Joao Zarif and Bruno Prada (San Paulo, BRA), and a 7 point lead over U.S. sailors Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedahl (San Diego, CA).
But these three teams will have to look out for other world-class sailors racing in their class including, the 2003 Yachtsman of the Year, Augie Diaz (Miami, FL); America’s Cup skipper and Star World Champion (1988) Paul Cayard (San Francisco, CA); the 1992 Finn Olympic Silver medalist, Brian Ledbetter (Medina, WA) and the 1990 Star World Champion and multiple National Champion Torben Grael (Niteroi, BRA).
The J/70 Fleet continues to be the second largest class of BMSW with 40+ boats. Two of the top three finishers from last year’s event, Julian Fernandez Neckelmann from Mexico and Carlo Alberini from Italy, will be present at this year’s event to fight for the top position following a first and a second place in J/70’s 2015 World Championship.
With 30 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 as always for this fleet that in the past 18 months staged numerous outstanding local, regional, and national regattas. The Viper was also selected by the Gulf Yachting Association as its new boat staring 2018.
Returning for their third appearance at BMSW is the VX One, racing this year with 20 entrants. Last year’s BMSW winner, John Potter (Beaufort, SC) and 2014 winner Donovan Brennan (Mobile, AL) will have to work hard to defend their previous titles as some other great sailors have been added to the mix, including longtime VX One sailor Timothy Pitts and Wild Deuces’ Paul Currie from Toronto, Canada.
Making their first appearance in the BMSW is the A-Cat class. With 20 entrants, the A-Cat’s will have the smallest class, however, their participation in this event shows how much the class wanted to be included in this event. The A-Cat catamaran is the most actively raced high performance single-handed boat in North America. Capable of reaching speeds over 22 knots in 12 knots breeze; the catamaran is getting popular by the day.
BACARDi Miami Sailing Week is not only for the competition, but also the charity aspect of sailing, which is demonstrated in the 4th Pro-Am Regatta and Gala, both benefiting Shake-A-Leg Miami, Team Paradise and Sailing Heals. The Pro-Am Gala, which will take place on Saturday, March 5th, 2016, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., will be filed with auctions, food, music and plenty of BACARDI Rum.
The following day (Sunday March 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) will be the Pro-Am Regatta, which gives people from the local community the opportunity to sail the Sonar 23’ with elite helmsmen, like Lars Grael, Torben Grael, Magnus Liljedahl and Wendy Lotz.
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. Two special art exhibits, “Yesteryear Boatbuilding” and “Offshore” by Roberto Fiorentino, will be set up in CocoWalk and open everyday. In the Pipistrello Workshop, with the support of Wooden Boat Magazine, boat builder George Krewson will build a Shellback sailboat in one-week time while Roberto Fiorentino will exhibit sailing inspired paintings.