Global field for Bacardi Cup Invitational
Published on March 3rd, 2022
The 2022 Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta is set for March 7-12 in Miami, FL. The regatta kicks off with Star Class racing at the iconic Bacardi Cup while other classes – J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640, VX One and 69F – take to the race track on March 10. Over 170 entrants from 20+ nations showcase the usual mix of sailing legends, World Champions, Olympians, and pros lining up against weekend enthusiasts.
Celebrating its 95th anniversary in 2022, the Bacardi Cup opens for the sixty boat fleet on March 7 in the traditional one race per day format, with six races and five to count.
The race track will see the majority of the top twenty pairings from last year return, led by favorites and back to back 2020 and 2021 Bacardi Cup Champions Mateusz Kusznierewiz (POL) and Bruno Prada (BRA) who will be on a hat-trick mission.
Amongst others to watch are Italy’s Diego Negri/ Sergio Lambertenghi who won the 2018 Bacardi Cup and Negri is the reigning Star Class World Champion; Eric Doyle/ Peyson Infelise (USA) who won the 2019 Bacardi Cup; and Norway’s 2017 Star World Champions Eivind Melleby and crew Joshua Revkin (USA), who also picked up Star Worlds silver in 2018 and bronze in 2019.
Denmark’s Jörgen Schönherr and Markus Koy (GER) will be hoping to better their 4th place at the 2021 Star Worlds, with Koy also planning to upgrade on his 3rd with Augie Diaz at the 2021 Bacardi Cup.
Paul Cayard (USA) and Frithof Kleen (GER) rank as another impressive partnership, with plenty of Star Worlds podium finishes between them, including a win in 1988 for Cayard and in 2014 for Kleen. Cayard is yet to see his name etched on the Bacardi Cup, whilst Kleen claimed the accolade in 2016 with Robert Stanjek – 2022 has every chance of being their year too.
Amongst the relative newcomers to the Star Class is Croatia’s ace in the ILCA 7 Tonči Stipanović, who picked up silver in Tokyo before going onto claim silver at the 2021 Star Worlds with crew Tudor Bilic.
Since the inception of the Bacardi Cup in 1927, forty-five different skippers have claimed the illusive trophy.
The frontrunner in 2021 was Travis Odenbach who returns in 2022 to partner with some of last year’s crew on David Jannetti’s Very Odd. Stiff competition in the thirty-nine boat fleet will come from many quarters, including 2020 BCIR victor Paul Ward on Eat Sleep J Repeat, with plenty of British talent on board.
Looking at recent form, Peter Cunningham (CAY) on Powerplay finished a strong 2nd at Bacardi Winter Series #1, with Bobby Julien on Dingbat taking the win at January’s event #2. Both have what it takes to claim a podium finish, as does Britain’s Charles Thompson whose all-star team on Brutus came together for the first time to finish third in January.
The Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta is the finale of the Bacardi Winter Series and, after events #1 and #2, the series points advantage is in the hands of Bobby Julien.
Melges 24 Class
Bora Gulari and his team on New England Ropes headline the 27-boat Melges 24 fleet, after their back-to-back wins in 2021 and 2020. Conquering Gulari will require superior talent across all the wind and sea conditions Biscayne Bay will throw at the challenging teams.
Familiarity with the race courses always pays and nine of last year’s top ten return, including Travis Weisleder and his team on Lucky Dog who finished just behind Gulari last year and Bruce Ayres on Monsoon who finished 3rd. Laura Grondin (USA), President of the International Melges 24 Class, opened the Bacardi Regatta series with a win in December’s event #1 and returns with the exact same well-oiled team to assert her authority and upgrade her 7th place from 2021.
Fresh faces to the USA Melges 24 racing scene include Germany’s Nefeli helmed by Peter Karrie and Drew Freides’ team on Pacific Yankee.
Viper 640 Class
After the class’ absence last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, teams from Canada, Ireland, Italy, and the USA contest the sixteen-boat Viper 640 fleet.
Amongst the favorites are Evil Hiss who finished 2nd in 2020 under the expert helm of Mary Ewenson and the Irish entry of Anthony O Leary on Antix who finished 4th, and Brad Boston (CAN) whose team on Jackpot finished 2nd at January’s Winter Series Event #2 and 4th at last year’s North Americans. Peter Ill on Caterpillar claims the most recent top spot from his 2nd place finish at the recent Viper Winter Series Event #3 in Sarasota.
VX One Class
2022 year marks the largest VX One fleet yet in Miami, with twenty new and returning teams from Canada, Chile, Great Britain, USA, and the US Virgin Islands.
Amongst teams to watch are Jailbreak who finished 6th at the 2021 North Americans and 4th at the VX One Winter Series in January, and there is every likelihood John Porter’s Far Side will again be a force to be reckoned. Porter scored a superb result at his first major regatta, the Midwinter Championship in January, where he overcame some experienced teams on the last day of racing to claim 7th overall out of 35.
Racing was suspended at Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta last year due to COVID, so the top ranked returning team from 2020 goes to Tim Pitts/ Tim Desmond (ISV) who finished in fourth.
After its inauguration on USA waters at Bacardi Winter Series #2 in January, the 69F makes its debut at Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta with an international line-up of teams set to push each other around the fast and furious 10-15 minute races.
The 2021-22 Bacardi Invitational Winter Series is held for J/70 and the Melges 24 fleets on December 18-19 and January 28-30 (along with Persico 69F) with the finale on March 10-12. Also racing in March are the VX One, Viper 640, and Persico 69F classes. Additionally, the Star Class will headline the historic Bacardi Cup, one of the world’s oldest sailing events, which celebrates its 95th anniversary on March 7-12, 2022. – Details