Bacardi Winter Series Event 2

Published on January 29th, 2023

The second stage of the 2022-23 Bacardi Regatta Series was held January 27-29 for Melges 24 and J/70 teams in Miami, FL. After two days of hiking conditions, the final day for the 42 teams had a change of breeze and flatter water with the wind easing to 10-15 knots from the east and tapering off as the day unfolded.

A leaderboard shake-up saw all new leaders at the end with J/70 glory claimed by John Heaton’s Empeiria and Drew Freides’ Pacific Yankee crowned in the Melges 24 class.

Bacardi Winter Series Event 2 marks the second of the three-event series for the J/70 and Melges 24, which culminates at the 2023 Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta on March 5-11, 2023.

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Report from Bacardi on January 29:

Melges 24
The day’s opening race 7 was a start to finish control game from Michael Goldfarb and his team on ‘WarCanoe’. Peter Duncan’s ‘Rasta Mixta’ picked their way through the fleet, converting a 4th at the first mark to 2nd at the finish to claim their best result of the series and third to Bruce Ayres’ team on ‘Monsoon’.

Series leaders going into the day, the Italians on ‘Bombarda’ still held the lead, but after scoring a 7th place finish in race 7 the points were compressed, with just 10 points between 1st to 5th, and then a 10 point gap to 6th place.

All change for race 8, as ‘Pacific Yankee’ pulled it out of the bag to wrestle their way up from fourth overall, leading to the first mark and piling it onto the finish, to claim what turned out to be the first of back-to-back wins, with ‘Bombarda’ relegated to a fourth place.

Making their mission a mountain going into the deciding race 9, with scores of 8,4, series leaders ‘Bombarda’ saw their points advantage diminish over the chasing pack. They just needed to stay ahead of ‘Pacific Yankee’ to seal victory.

A thrilling final race 9 was all about reactions and skill, as several teams were in the running for the event win and more in touching distance of the podium. An epic battle from ‘Pacific Yankee’ saw them save their best until last, show their pedigree and do what was needed to claim the final race win and seize overall victory, by 1 point over ‘Bombarda’. The Italians were toppled by their 8th place finish, with Bruce Ayres’ ‘Monsoon’ coming through to cross the line in 5th place for third overall.

‘WarCanoe’ helmed by Michael Goldfarb had put themselves in the running for a podium finish, but an unfortunate UFD penalty in race 9 dropped them to 4th overall.

“The feeling is fantastic,” said Charlie Smythe, trimmer on ‘Pacific Yankee’. “We really missed Drew today and yesterday, but bringing Marcus in and having a great time with him, he has been part of ‘Pacific Yankee’ for a long time.

“We just wanted to make Drew proud. It was all fight, never giving up. We just did what we had to do, which was win the last two races and let the chips fall where they fall,” he noted in reference to their usual helm Drew Freides who could only race on Friday, with Marcus Eagan stepping in.

On what made the difference to the team’s performance when it really mattered, bowman Kyle Navin commented, “Really good upwind speed was the key today and keeping it going through the chop, light air and always hitting the shifts.”

‘Pacific Yankee’s coach Vince Brun, who amongst many accolades won the first ever Melges 24 Worlds in 1998, added, “They are a good team, they have a good time together and sail well together, because it is a good group of people.”

Melges 24 Final Top 5 results – after 9 races
1. Marcus Eagan / Nic Asher / Charlie Smythe / Kyle Navin / Mark Ivey – 23 pts
2. Andrea Pozzi / Carlo Zermini / Matteo Ivaldi / Stefano Ciampalini / Nicolas Dal Ferro – 24 pts
3. Bruce Ayres / Thomas Dietrich / Edward Hackney / Chelsea Simms / Jeremy Wilmot – 29 pts
4. Michael Goldfarb / Chris Rast / Jonny Goldsberry / Matteo Ramian / Chris Watters – 31 pts
5. Peter Duncan / Victor Diaz de Leon / Norman Berge / Morgan Trubovich / Erik Shampain – 31 pts

A real mix-up in fleet order throughout race 7, with early leader Daniel Goldberg on ‘Bazinga’ dipping away from the frontrunners, before clawing on the downwind to nail a second, behind Great Britain’s ‘Brutus III’, who pulled off another win with Josie Gliddon at the helm. A third-place finish to John Heaton’s ‘Empeiria’ positioned them on tiebreak with series leaders, Robert Hughes’ team on ‘Heartbreaker’.

All change again in race 8, with ‘Gaucho 3’ punching through the fleet to claim their first race win, with ‘Empeiria’ pulling another top result in second, and David Janetti’s ‘Very Odd’ in third. ‘Empeiria’ was now propelled into a 4-point advantage over ‘Heartbreaker’, and third to ‘Brutus III’.

Going into race 9, ‘Empeiria’ looked assured of overall victory, unless ‘Heartbreaker’ won the race. No chance there as ‘Brutus III’ romped home to another blinding race win and elevated themselves to second overall, with ‘Empeiria’ and ‘Heartbreaker’ scoring 9 and 7 respectively.

A stellar win to John Heaton’s ‘Empeiria’, and an impressive climb up the leaderboard for ‘Brutus III’, from 9th after the opening day to 2nd overall, with Robert Hughes’ ‘Heartbreaker’ settling for third.

“We had really good starts and good boat speed,” reflected Heaton. “I have a really good team. We have sailed for two years together and I think our ability to keep going is a testament of our work.

“I am not exactly sure what happened,” he proffered about the turnaround in leaderboard fortunes. “Our focus today was on ourselves and trying to sail really well, sail fast and keep going. The last race today, we have something to learn because we did not sail our best race the last race, so we need to learn how to finish regattas, but we are happy with our progress today and the whole weekend. Testament to the other competitors too, just make us all better. It is impressive sailing.”

Charlie Thompson of ‘Brutus III’ paid tribute to the fleet, saying, “With a tight fleet like this, it is the best fleet in the world, you have got to have a good start. We managed to get away clean three times. It was a bit of a fight at the top mark and after that you just got to pick your lane and take it from there. I’ve got a great crew. I am also very proud to have two excellent girls sailing with me. They bring a balance to the boat that maybe isn’t there if you are sailing with an all-male crew.”

“I’ve never done a J/70 regatta helming before,” said Josie Gliddon. “We just have a lot of fun and sailing should all be about fun to start off with and if you have good guy and girls and have fun you tend to do quite well.”

J/70 Final Top 5 results – after 9 races
1. John Heaton / Will Felder / Zeke Horowitz / Zac Mason – 25 pts
2. Charlie Thompson / Chris Grube / Bex Saxton / Josie Gliddon / Elisabeth Whitener – 30 pts
3. Robert Hughes / Marc Gauthier / Willem Van Waay / Manu Weiller – 31 pts
4. Douglas Rastello / Alex Curtiss / Orrin Starr / John Wallace – 33 pts
5. Richard Witzel / Carlos Robles / Max Salminen / Thomas Barrows – 42 pts

2022-23 Schedule
Bacardi Winter Series Event 1 – December 17-18, 2022
Bacardi Winter Series Event 2 – January 28-29, 2023
Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta – March 5-11

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