Irish take first win at Bacardi Cup

Published on March 2nd, 2020

Miami, FL (March 2, 2020) – The 93rd annual Bacardi Cup kicked off today with a beautiful and very typical Biscayne Bay day which saw 65 Star Class boats get underway in a south-easterly breeze of about 16 knots.

As the fleet readied for their noon start, Principal Race Officer Carl Schellbach hoisted the U-Flag after the first general recall, which saw over half the fleet cross early, and got the fleet off on the second attempt in stunning race track conditions.

Paul Cayard (USA) and his Brazilian crew Pedro Trouche had a dominant start on the pin end but couldn’t break away and were soon overhauled by the Italian-German partnership of Diego Negri and Frithjof Kleen who led round the first mark.

They were closely pursued by Danish skipper Jorgen Shoenherr and his German crew Markus Koy, winners of the Star Midwinter regatta in January on the same race track, and the ‘king of the bay’ Augie Diaz (USA) with Henry Boening (BRA).

But the Irish brothers Peter and Robert O’Leary were not far behind and delivered a superb downwind strike to claim the lead going into the gate and maintain ownership of the race through to the finish.

“It’s a very good way to start the regatta, even though it is a long series with five more races,” noted Peter O’Leary. “We just have to keep working hard and see how it goes. Downwind we were pretty quick, we went to the left gate at the bottom which took us to the right hand side of the course for the second upwind and we defended the lead from there.”

While the Irish team secured a significant win, it was neck and neck for second and third and hard to separate Cayard/ Trouche and the 2019 Star World Champions Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Bruno Prada (BRA). They were super close, but the Race Committee had no doubt in awarding second place to the Polish-Brazilian partnership.

Pushing hard in the final downwind were early race leaders Negri and Kleen, but they fell foul of the jury who flagged them for rocking and a penalty turn just before the finish handed fourth place to Eivind Melleby (NOR) and Josh Revkin (USA).

The 93rd Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Invitational Regatta are from March 2-7. Racing for the Star Class gets underway March 2 with the J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640, VXOne, AV8 and Windfoil classes taking to the track on March 5. The Star fleet will contest their traditional one race per day whilst all other fleets will sail up to eight races across three days.

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Source: Twelve USA, INC.

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