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Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta

Race day four at the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta featured both the Star and J/70 fleets on the race track, in a breeze gusting up to 20 knots across Biscayne Bay, Miami.

The puffy conditions saw plenty of thrills and spills, although the heavier breeze eased to lighter shiftier conditions as the day progressed.

A packed day on the water was followed by downtime at the Bacardi Cup Happy Hour after-party at the Coral Reef Yacht Club. As the Bacardi Cup celebrates its 91st year, 2018 also marks the 56th year the event has been hosted at the Coral Reef Yacht Club.

Two races completed for the Star Class saw no change in the leader board top three, just an opening up of the points margins between series leaders Eivind Melleby / Joshua Revkin (NOR) over Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) and Robert Scheidt / Brian Fatih (BRA). Scheidt / Fatih won race 3 and closed the points gap, but followed up with a 15th to put them back where they were before.

“It was a bit of an up and down day for us,” reflected Brazilian sailing legend Scheidt. “The first race was really nice and we managed to lead the race from mark 1 until the finishing line with a nice gap. We were feeling very confident going into the second race, because we knew we had good speed, but we didn’t have a good start and got a bit out of pace with the shifts. And you know with this level of fleet, if you don’t get a good start it makes your life very hard”.

“We managed to catch up a little bit, but it wasn’t a good race for us.”Looking ahead to the final two races of the series, Scheidt continued, “You know we need to keep working on what we are doing, and keep doing the same things and hopefully we will get a little bit better starts and a top ten at least at the top mark. If we managed to be top ten, then we can use our downwind speed and catch up”.

A regular figure at the Bacardi Cup, Scheidt is a huge fan, commenting, “I think it is one of the most traditional regattas in the world. I mean, a regatta that has 91 years that is very special. I am very happy that I was able to come, as I enjoy it a lot and hopefully will have many more years of this great regatta ahead”.

Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta - Day 4 - photo © Tim Wilkes /
Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta – Day 4 – photo © Tim Wilkes /

Scheidt announced his retirement from Olympic sailing last year, after notching up one of the most successful Olympic careers in history, winning a total of five medals in the Laser and Star Classes – two gold, two silver and one bronze, as well as multiple World Championship titles.

Race 4 victory went to Jack Jennings / Frithjof Kleen fresh off a black flag penalty from race 3 to sit in 22nd overall.

Predicting the leader board gains likely tomorrow when the discard comes into play after race 5, the finger points to Lars Grael / Samuel Gonclaves (BRA). Aside from their opening race score of 37, the pair has remained consistent, taking out 4,4,5 to sit in 9th overall. More of the same, and the race discard will see them accelerate up the leader board. Grael / Gonclaves won the Bacardi Cup in both 2014 and 2015, so will be chasing for name back on the trophy. There is of course the small matter of the reigning Star Class World Champions Melleby / Revkin to overcome.

Three races and three different winners on day 1 for the forty-seven boat J/70 fleet. No surprise to see the top players jousting out front with 2016 J/70 World Champion Joel Ronning (USA) on Catapult, jostling 2017 J/70 Worlds silver medallist Brian Keane (USA) in second and 2017 J/70 World Champion Jud Smith in third.

Onboard dialogue is key between the four-person crew to get the right combination of speed, tactics and race strategy, and in his mix Ronning has the relentlessly talented John Kostecki. A sailor holding multiple World titles across numerous classes, Kostecki’s victories stretch back to 1982 when he won the Sunfish Worlds and most recently last year’s TP52 Worlds. In between World Championship titles, he has won the 2001 Volvo Ocean Race and the 2010 America’s Cup on BMW Oracle.

Smith did a horizon job in the opening race, winning with a massive margin, and following up with scores of 2,10, with Ronning taking out race two victory and Keane claiming race 3.

Big names at the front of the fleet and further down the pack too, as a new face to the J/70 was spotted in the form of two-time Olympian Paige Railey (USA), who found herself at the Bacardi Cup on the invitation of her long-time friend.

“Of course I said yes”, grinned Railey about the call from best friend Jessica Lombard. “Miami is actually one of my favourite locations to sail in the world. Out of all the World Cups I have always enjoyed coming to this one in the Olympic scene”, she said in reference to her usual Olympic programme in the Laser Radial.

Aside from multiple successes at the Laser Radial World Championships, Miami has been where Railey has secured most of her successes, winning here an epic six times at Sailing World Cup events. Still Olympic campaigning, for now Railey has turned her attention to supporting her pal Jessica on the J/70.

“When I have sailed here in Miami at the World Cup I have always known about all the guys that stay after and do the Bacardi Cup. So there has always been this ‘mystique’ to this event and it is a really prestige event because all the top sailors around the world come”, Railey continued. Despite her numerous successes around the world the Bacardi Cup remained on her ‘to do’ list.

“Of course when invited to come sail the Bacardi Cup, I jumped at the opportunity, because just to be a part of it and say that I did it is pretty cool in itself. The Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta has always been this famous event”.

Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta - Day 4 - photo © Tim Wilkes /
Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta – Day 4 – photo © Tim Wilkes /

“Growing up in the Olympic role is obviously very intense all the time, and the social aspect after the sailing is – not like this!” Railey laughed. “So to come in and you know the mood is really relaxed, you’re opening with talking about things, how you can improve and help each other, and then the social scene is the best. In intense sailing you can forget that sailing is really important, but also the aspect onshore too. The Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta is one of the best in the world for providing that.”

Star Class – Results after Race 4:
1. Eivind Melleby / Joshua Revkin (NOR) – 14 pts
2. Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) – 19 pts
3. Robert Scheidt / Brian Fatih (BRA) – 26 pts
4. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA) – 30 pts
5. Xavier Rohart / Sebastien Guidoux (FRA) – 35 pts
6. Peter O’Leary / Robert O’Leary (IRL) – 41 pts
7. Paul Cayard / Mark Strube (USA) – 42 pts
8. Arthur Anosov / David Caesar (USA) – 46 pts
9. Lars Grael / Samuel Gonclaves (BRA) – 50 pts
10. Peter Vessella / Phil Trinter (USA) – 51 pts

J/70 Class – Results after Race 4:
1. Joel Ronning / Christopher Stokey / Patrick Wilson / John Kosteki (USA) – 7 Pts
2. Brian Keane / Brian Keane / Thomas Barrows / Charles Swanson (USA) – 9 Pts
3. Jud Smith / Will Felder / Marc Gauthier / Cindy Smith / Lucas Calabrese (USA) – 13 Pts
4. John Brim / Collin Leon / Taylor Kenfield / Scott Ewing (USA) – 16 Pts
5. Peter Duncan / Victor Diaz Deleon / Willem Van Way / Massimo Bortoletto (USA) – 21 Pts
6. Vincenzo Onorato / Matteo Savelli / Flavio Favini / Paul Goodison / Giulia Elba Masotto (MON) – 25 Pts
7. Trey Sheehan / Wilson Stout / Lee Sacket / Brad Boston / Curtis Florence (USA) – 29 Pts
8. Thomas Bowen / Martin Kollman / Alex Shafer / Jacklyn Wetmore (USA) – 30 pts
9. Timothy Healy / Reed Baldrige / John Mollicone / Paul Abdullah (USA) – 31 pts
10. Renato Faria / Kadja Brandao / Alfredo Rovere / Henrique Pellicano / Caroline Atwood (BRA) – 34 pts

Racing on Friday March 9th features one race for the Star Class and three for the J/70.

by Icarus Sports

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