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This Article Last Updated: Oct 14th, 2010 - 15:13:49 

Bacardi Cup Final Report
By Janet Maizner and Lynn Fitzpatrick
Mar 6, 2008, 15:30

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Day One Report
Day Two Report
Day Three Report
Day Four Report
Day Five Report

Day Six: Incroyable, Incrível, Incredible – Bacardi Cup Final - by Lynn Fitzpatrick

Speed, Black Flags, High Winds and Protests add up to Excitement during the Final Day of Bacardi Cup.

No sooner had 30-year veteran French coach, Daniel Dahon, finished saying that he had never seen such a commanding lead in a Star race as Robert Scheidt’s and Bruno Prada’s (BRA) performance in the first race of the final day of the 81st Annual Bacardi Cup than he sounded an “Incroyable”. The 2007 World Champions finished the heavy air race over two minutes ahead of the second place boat. Xavier Rohart and Pascal Rambeau (FRA) had pulled from fifth place at the first weather mark to second down the final run of the triangle, windward, leeward course in which the breeze peaked at about 20 knots from the SSE. Rohart/Rambeau did not cross the finish line, but rather, went to the left hand side of the line by mistake. By the time they recovered, Hans Spitzhauer and Christian Nehammer (AUT), Afonso Domingos and Bernardo Santos (POR), Mark Reynolds and Jamie Gael (USA), John Dane and Austin Sperry (USA) and Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) had screeched across the finish line.

The fleet set out for a 10:00 am start in a brisk sea breeze. Even before they went into the starting sequence, a rig was toppled; many more came down throughout the day. Determined to run two races, the committee hoisted the black flag for the first start of both races. Scheidt/Prada were just inside Italy’s leading Olympic candidates, Francesco Bruni and Gilberto Nobili at the weather mark with Spitzhauer/Nehammer trailing by a couple of boat lengths, but Bruni/Nobili’s cover disappeared as they sailed off the course because they were black flagged. Scheidt/ Prada extended their lead on every leg while their followers tried to pass one another. Scheidt/Prada’s straight line speed upwind, boat handling, including their gybes, were masterful.

After a rain cloud went by and the boats that had been lapped by the leaders finished, the fifth and final race was started. Competitors could throw out some deep scores once the fifth race was sailed. The leaderboard looked like many of the past season’s Grade 1 regattas, this time with Percy/Simpson at the top with only 10 points. Scheidt/Prada had pulled into second with their victory in the first race of the day. Domingos/Santos and Spitzhauer/Nehammer had 18 points apiece.

With Percy/Simpson rounding the weather mark just barely in the top ten, it looked as if it was up to them to pass some boats in order to win the regatta. However, it was Scheidt/Prada’s turn to peel away from the fleet before they got to the offset mark, because they black flagged the final race of the series. Robert Stanjek and Markus Koy claimed the lead and extended it to over 20 seconds by the time that the gun sounded for them. Former world champion, Alan Adler and Ronald Seifert (BRA) were second and Afonso Domingos and Bernardo Santos were third with Rohart/Rambeau, Pepper/Williams, Dane/Sperry, Bruni/Nobili, Kusnierewicz/Zycki and Negri/Viale beating out Percy/Simpson.

The boats returned to the dock, the regatta winner remained a mystery pending protests. When the scores were posted, Percy/Simpson found themselves in a tie with Domingos/Santos with 20 points apiece. Domingos/Santos, having beaten the Brits in the final race, won their second Bacardi Cup Regatta. There seems to be an Olympic quadrennium trend with the Portuguese. John Dane III and Austin Sperry, the 2006 Bacardi Cup winners, moved up to third with their stellar 3, 5 performance on the final day. Diego Negri and Luigi Viale (ITA) cemented their bid to represent their country at the Olympics this summer. Peter O’Leary and Stephen Milne (IRL), the youngest team at the regatta placed an impressive ninth, just 10 points out of fourth place for the regatta.


Day Five: After racing was cancelled on Wednesday, the schedule was to begin an hour earlier on Thursday, but competitors were kept ashore under postponement as the race committee studied the glassy bay, the skies, and weather forecasts. With thunderstorms and winds bouncing down from all around the compass expected, racing was abandoned for the day before noon. Having now lost the fourth and fifth days due to either too much or too little wind, Friday will be the final day of racing, and strong
winds and possible thunderstorms are in the forecast.

Rain and squalls for race four. Photo by Marco Oquendo

Day Four: Cheeseburger in a Wet Paradise
By Lynn Fitzpatrick

An ominous front enshrouded the Miami skyline while the 100+ boat Star fleet tuned up in an 8-10 knot southeasterly for the fourth race of the 81st Annual Bacardi Cup. The white Star boats and sails were a sharp contrast to the dark gray clouds. The Star sailor who grew up on Biscayne Bay, 9th place skipper, Augie Diaz, was the first to take down his sails as the lightning bolts flashed and the downpour approached.

As the Race Committee hauled their anchor and headed east toward brighter skies, some boats were under bare poles while others hopped up on a plane and hauled the mail. The cold front from the NNW brought with it a downpour that flattened the seas. Winds gusted to over 30 knots. The fleet spread out during the gray out and lost sight of all but the closest boats around them. Some sailors pulled out their bow protectors and use them as helmets to protect their heads from the pelting rains.

Riding out the storm. Photo by Marco Oquendo.
Erik Lidecis and Michael Marzhal (USA) kept their sails hoisted and sailed upwind in the gray-out. “It was blowing too hard to fall off and too hard to take the sails down. Fortunately, we were close to the Irish who had a coach boat. When things cleared, we were close to the channel and headed in,” recounted the tallest Star sailor among the 230 or so sailors at the Bacardi Cup. The outcome of their survival strategy said Lidecis as he wiped some ketchup off his face, “It was the first time ever that we’ve been the first to hoist out.” They finished up their burgers and fries and headed to the hoist.

The Race Committee abandoned racing for the day and cast a wide net to account for its flock. Results following the completion of Tuesday’s racing stand and Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) lead the regatta with 20 points. Three races have been sailed. Five races must be sailed before competitors are allowed to discard their worst race. Competitors should study the official notice board at tonight’s mid-week prize ceremony to determine what time races will start on Thursday, March 6th as the Race Committee attempts to make up the race that was abandoned on Wednesday.


Day Three: The Youngest Team on the Water Wins the Day at Bacardi Cup - by Lynn Fitzpatrick

The second day of a moderate sea breeze left Biscayne Bay awash with handfuls of seaweed and partly sunny skies. After the third attempt at a start, most of the fleet headed toward Key Biscayne and a cloud bank to the northeast on their first tack to a mark that was set at 165 degrees, 2.4 nautical miles away.

Guns O'Leary/Stephen Milne. Photo by Bacardi Cup/Alex Gort
For the second time in three races, past Star World Champion, Alan Adler and Ricardo Ermel (BRA) put together a great start and a spectacular first beat to round the weather mark in first, five boat lengths ahead of George Szabo and Rick Peters (USA) whose boat was badly damaged during the first race of the series. John Dane and Austin Sperry (USA), Joe Zambella and Bob Weinstein (USA) and Guns O’Leary and Stephen Milne (IRL) were in hot pursuit as they bore away for the first run.

Szabo/Peters jumped into the lead by staying right on the run. O’Leary/Milne "gained a boat on the downwind leg by staying in the middle, not going to extremes and trying to find pressure,” said Milne who spent a lot of time looking aft at a huge fleet behind him. The youngest team on the water had their work cut out for them during the remainder of the race. They played the middle left up the next beat and took a short hitch to sneak inside the weather mark just ahead of Dane/Sperry. Their mentors, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR), were hot on their tails.

John Dane/Austin Sperry. Photo by Bacardi Cup/Alex Gort
O’Leary/Milne and Dane/Sperry broke away from the fleet as O’Leary/Milne took the high road and Dane/Sperry took the low road. “Dane did a good job of slipping in low at the offset. It was a nice feeling to round in the lead, but then the pressure was really on to the thought his experience would win out over the young Irishmen, Dane replied, “Of course, experience and calmness overcomes a lot of things in an 8-10 knot breeze with a big fleet,” but the boys had nice downwind speed and powerful gybes.

With their third place finish in the race, Percy/Simpson pulled into the lead for the regatta. “I’ve won a lot of races in the Bacardi over the years, but I haven’t won the Bacardi Cup yet,” said Percy earlier this week.


Day Two: Grael and Jordao Win the Day and Lead the Bacardi Cup - By Lynn Fitzpatrick

It was another beautiful day on Biscayne Bay. The sea breeze that greeted sailors in the morning while they were launching their boats held while the 81st Annual Bacardi Cup race committee attempted to get a start off at noon. Once, twice, three times you’re out and unlike yesterday, everyone heeded the black flag and got off cleanly on the third attempt to start the race.

Lars Grael and Marcelo Jordao. Photo by Alex Gort.
Predictions were for the wind to veer right throughout the day, but the group that favored the right and protected the middle left found themselves looking pretty as a right shift came through. Mark Reynolds and Jamie Gale (USA) and Henry Filter and Will Wagner (USA) rounded 1, 2 ahead of Luca Modena and Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA). At least a third of the fleet over stood the port tack layline during their approach to the weather mark. You can imagine the bobbing and weaving that was done as the 109-fleet bore away on a run and the port tackers scrambled to reach the weather mark.

Reynolds/Gael held the lead down the run, but as the wind shifted so did positions. As Prof O’Connell (IRL), who rounded the weather mark well behind the leaders said, “We frantically tried to calculate the reciprocal of 135 and realized that the leaders were sailing high. We sailed a straight line down the middle,” and rounded the left gate in third behind Modena/Lambertenghi (ITA) and Diego Negri and Luigi Viale (ITA). In the meantime, Reynolds/Gael and Marin Lovrovic, Jr. and Sinsa Mikulicic (CRO) rounded the right gate. With most of the fleet rounding the left gate, there was lots of noise – mostly shouting, but some crunching.

Negri/Viale jumped out to a five boat length lead over Mateusz Kusnierewicz and Dominik Zycki (POL) on the next shifty beat and Reynolds/Gael held onto third. Afonso Domingos and Bernardo Santos (POR) pulled into fourth with a string of Italians fighting for the spot on the Olympic team right on their tail. O’Connell/Cooke were in pursuit also.

Positions continued to shift throughout the next two legs as the breeze hovered between 6 and ten knots and Modena/Lambertenghi were able to hold the lead around the final leeward gate. The team that had a slow and steady climb through the fleet, Lars Grael and Marcelo Jordao (BRA) moved from sixth place at the bottom of the final beat to first place by keeping an eye on local legend, Augie Diaz and Phil Trinter (USA) who favored the mid-left during the final beat. The Brazilians won the race with Modena/Lambertenghi finishing second and the best Latin dancer (Diaz) in the fleet and Trinter right behind. Italians Barovier/Colaninno, and Bruni/Nobili finished fourth and fifth, respectively. O’Connell/Cooke held on to sixth.

Grael/Jordao, who just finished second in the Brazilian Olympic Trials are sitting in the lead with eight points. Diaz/Trinter are in second and O’Connell/Cooke are in third for the regatta.


Norwegian Sailors Eivind Melleby & Petter Pederson Win Day One at 2008 Bacardi Cup Regatta - by Janet Maizner

Miami, FL – March 2, 2007 – The Norwegian sailing team of Eivind Melleby and crew Petter Pederson finished first in day one of sailing Sunday at the 81st Annual
Bacardi Cup Star Class Regatta on the waters of Biscayne Bay, near Miami.

Eivind Melleby and crew Petter Pederson of Norway neck in neck with Alan Adler and crew Ricardo Ermel of Brazil during one leg of Day One racing in the Bacardi Cup, Miami, FL.
Melleby and Pederson finished a boat length ahead of Brazil’s Alan Adler, the 1989 Star Class World Champion, who sails this week with crew Ricardo Ermel. Adler/Ermel rounded all four marks in first place before losing cover to the Norwegians on the race’s final beat. Great Britain’s Iain Percy, the 2002 Star world champion, and his crew Andrew Simpson, finished third.

Winds in excess of 15 knots forced two general recalls before the race’s eventual start; and three teams, including 2008 Rolex Miami OCR Champion Xavier Rohart
and crew Pascal Rambeau, were black-flagged and disqualified for crossing the line early. An early tack along the right side of the course helped Adler/Ermel to the lead at each of the four marks, followed closely by Melleby/Pederson. Both teams continued to favor the right side throughout the race and rode favorable winds to extend their lead over the rest of the fleet, before Melleby took the win.

“Our strategy was to play it safe by going right on the first beat, and the further right we went, it got better and better,” said Melleby, who sails this year in only his second Bacardi Cup. “We were in a big fight on the final beat and were able to keep clear of Adler so that he could not cover us. We’re very happy with today’s result and we’re in good form, but it’s a long regatta. All the best sailors in the world are here this week.”

The 110 teams representing 26 countries are competing in the six-day regatta, which is widely regarded as one of the best and most competitive Star Class events in the world.

The Norwegian duo bested a fleet that included Peter Bromby, one of most acclaimed Bermudian sailors of all-time and a two-time Bacardi Cup champion; George Szabo, former North American champion in both the Star and Laser classes; 2006 Bacardi Cup Champions and U.S. Olympic hopefuls John Dane and crew Austin Sperry. Defending Bacardi Cup Champion Hamish Pepper and crew Ed Peel of New Zealand finished nineteenth Sunday with five races to go in the regatta.

The Bacardi Cup Star Class Regatta is co-hosted by the Coral Reef Yacht Club and the U.S. Sailing Center, both based in Coconut Grove, and is sponsored by

All participants compete aboard 22-foot Olympic-class Star sloops, and race teams comprise two members: a skipper and crew. Bacardi Cup participants sail one
race per day from Sunday through Friday on a 10.5-mile course in Biscayne Bay. Sailors are allowed to drop their worst performance of the six races in the

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