Epic finale at Bacardi Cup Invitational

Published on March 10th, 2018

Miami, FL (March 10, 2018) – An up and down breeze of 10-15 knots in a choppy sea and tropical temperatures on Biscayne Bay presented a whole new set of race conditions on the final day of the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta 2018.

One concluding race for the Star Class awarded victory to Italy’s Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi, with top spot in the J/70 seized by Joel Ronning and his crew on ‘Catapult’ from two races.


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Star Class:
In the 72-boat Star fleet, Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) managed to maintain the lead they opened the day with, retaining pole position as the battle heated up behind, with three teams neck and neck on 14 points apiece.

Robert Scheidt (BRA) /Brian Fatih (USA) led the final race off the starting line, with Negri/ Lambertenghi languishing back around 7th place at the first mark – giving the title to Scheidt at that point in the race.

A determined fight back unfolded from the Italians, accelerating in the first downwind to 3rd and ultimately crossing the finish line in 4th, whilst Scheidt/ Fatih lost ground and dropped back to 2nd in the final leg; in an unbelievably close finish to the 91st Bacardi Cup.

Negri/ Lambertenghi make history by becoming the first ever Italian team to win, with Negri’s name added to the list of sailing icons on the Bacardi Cup Trophy, and Lambertenghi added to the crew names on the Tito Bacardi Cup. Scheidt/ Fatih upgraded to second, with Eivind Melleby (NOR)/ Joshua Revkin (USA) picking up third.

“We had a good start, played the left and some other boats played the right,” explained Negri. “We were very close with another three boats for winning the Bacardi Cup. We arrived at the top mark around 7th to 8th but with a good call of judgement soon after the windward mark we succeed to recover in the first downwind, and rounded in 3rd so pretty safe for us, as we just needed to be in the top four.”

The pair held their position, and could afford to be overtaken by Paul Cayard/ Mark Strube (USA) in the final downwind leg, knowing they had victory in the bag.

“It is a very good result and an amazing week and consistent, and I think we did a great job together,” said Negri who, together with Lambertenghi, has claimed medals at each of the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Star World Championships. But it has taken thirteen years of competing at the Bacardi Cup for Negri to climb the mountain to victory.

“It is a good feeling, and will be a good memory for all our life that is for sure,” shared Negri. “Maybe there will be a next one in the future but this 91st edition is to us.”

“Winning the Bacardi, for me at least, I came here the first time in 1995 so more than twenty years ago, I have always been dreaming to win it,” said Lambertenghi. “Being able to do it, thanks to my helmsman Diego, is super, super, super satisfying. The last leg until the end was just shaking, looking at the wind, looking at the other boats.”

Great Britain’s Iain Percy and his Swedish crew Anders Ekstrom made their mark known by winning the final race, to finish in 7th overall. A formidable partnership, with three Star Class Olympic medals between them, the pair didn’t compete in race 1, then a non-fault collision and virtual sinking forced them out of races 3 and 4, before claiming the race victory their pedigrees would predict.

Prizes were also presented to winners in the Master’s (skippers age 50 through 59), Grand Masters (skippers age 60 and above), and Exalted Grand Masters (skippers age 70 and above) divisions, which went to Arthur Anosov/David Caesar (USA), Augie Diaz (USA)/Bruno Prada (BRA) and Alessandro Pascolato/Henry Boening (BRA) respectively. The Tammy Rubin Rice Trophy, awarded to the highest placing team in Bacardi Cup who did not win an award, was presented to Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise (USA).

Star Results (Top 10 of 72; 6 races, 1 discard)
1. Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi , ITA – 3 -2 -[11] -3 -2 -4 ; 14
2. Robert Scheidt / Brian Fatih , BRA – 7 -3 -1 -[15] -3 -2 ; 16
3. Eivind Melleby / Joshua Revkin , NOR – 2 -1 -3 -8 -[9] -8 ; 22
4. Lars Grael / Samuel Goncalves , BRA – [37] -4 -4 -5 -1 -10 ; 24
5. Paul Cayard / Mark Strube , USA – 4 -6 -7 -[25] -4 -3 ; 24
6. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise , USA – 5 -11 -[12] -2 -5 -5 ; 28
7. Iain Percy / Anders Ekstrom , GBR – [77] -8 -5.7 -5.7 -8 -1 ; 28.4
8. Xavier Rohart / Sebastien Guidoux , FRA – [19] -7 -5 -4 -10 -7 ; 33
9. Luke Lawrence / Pedro Trouche , – 10 -[19] -17 -7 -7 -6 ; 47
10. Jack Jennings / Frithjof Kleen , USA – 21 -9 -[77] -1 -11 -9 ; 51

J/70 Class:
Same faces inside the J/70 top 10 leader board at the end of the day as at the start, with just a few ups and downs in position after races 7 and 8. Featuring the best J/70 sailors in the world, victory went to Joel Ronning and his Catapult team of Christopher Stokey, Patrick Wilson, and John Kosteki (USA).

Entering the day in third overall, Ronning’s super consistent scores of 4,4, was what they needed whilst their closest rivals notched up double-digit results. Going into the decisive race, Ronning held a 5 point lead with Jud Smith and Brian Keane tied for second and third place on 25 points each.

Teams knew exactly how close today would be, as commented Keane before racing, “It’s very tight. To win, there is one throw-out and you’ve got to be out there and aggressive. You can’t sail to lose, you have to go out there to win and we intend to be aggressive right from the start. We feel confident in our boat speed and if we can get off the line we should do well. It’s a tremendous regatta, I haven’t seen competition like this in a long time.”

Unfortunately, this year, Keane’s strategy did not quite unfold as planned, as he and his crew on Savasana were knocked out of the lead they held before race 7 to end the series in third overall from scores of 13,7.

Smith, who sailed with Peter Duncan to win the 2017 J/70 World Championship, and his team on Africa held onto second overall.

“Going into today there were four teams who were all phenomenal and anyone could have got it,” said Patrick Wilson, trimmer on Catapult. “It was cut-throat out there and somehow we ended up winning. It came down to the last shift in the last race. It was amazingly close competitive sailing.”

Talking about their solid performance, Wilson continued, “We just sort of ground it out and stayed in good spots, did well and the whole team sailed really well together.”

A standout performance from Timothy Healy, who won the inaugural J/70 World Championship in 2014, and his crew, who won both races to move up from 8th overall to 5th.

Heather Gregg and her Muse team of Stuart Johnstone, Shawn Powell, and Patrick Norris won the Corinthian category, with Mallory Loe and team on Dime in second and Nancy Glover and her team on WinterWind in third.

J/70 Results (Top 10 of 45; 8 races, 1 discard)
1. Catapult, Joel Ronning, USA – 2 -1 -4 -[13] -4 -5 -4 -4 ; 24
2. Africa, Jud Smith, USA – 1 -2 -10 -6 -2 -4 -[11] -5 ; 30
3. Savasana, Brian Keane, USA – 4 -4 -1 -[21] -1 -2 -13 -7 ; 32
4. Relative Obscurity, Peter Duncan, USA – 5 -10 -6 -1 -6 -3 -2 -[11] ; 33
5. USA 2, Timothy Healy, USA – 15 -8 -8 -[18] -10 -6 -1 -1 ; 49
6. Rimette, John Brim, USA – 11 -3 -2 -[16] -3 -10 -10 -12 ; 51
7. Mascalzone Latino, Vincenzo Onorato, ITA – 8 -[12] -5 -5 -9 -7 -9 -9 ; 52
8. To Nessa, Renato Faria, BRA – 3 -6 -[48] -3 -17 -21 -5 -3 ; 58
9. Reach Around, Thomas Bowen, USA – 9 -14 -7 -[25] -8 -8 -8 -14 ; 68
10. MUSE, Heather Gregg, USA – 13 -7 -14 -[34] -16 -16 -7 -2 ; 75

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The Star Class raced on March 5 to 10 and the J/70 Class raced on March 8 to 10.

Source: Bacardi Cup

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