Photo Credit: FRIED ELLIOTT / friedbits.com
One concluding race for the Star Class today awarded victory to Italy’s Diego Negri /Sergio Lambertenghi, with top spot in the J/70 seized by Joel Ronning and his crew on ‘Catapult’ from two races.
An up and down breeze of 10-15 knots in a choppy sea and tropical temperatures on Biscayne Bay, Miami presented a whole new set of race conditions on the final day of the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta 2018. It was another day of reading the windshifts or reacting to pressure to make the gains, and even top sailors get caught out when breeze spotting. Make one mistake and you pay.
The Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta and 91st Bacardi Cup came to an end lateSaturday night, but not before huge celebrations for the Star and J/70 sailors who once again descended on Coral Reef Yacht Club for the final Bacardi experience at the Bacardi Cup Regatta Prize Giving dinner and closing ceremony. The final after party of superb Bacardi cocktails, dinner and socializing marked a tremendous finale to six days of racing presented by the eminent Bacardi brand.
In the seventy-six boat Star fleet, Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi managed to maintain the lead they opened the day with, retaining pole position as the battle heated up behind, with three teams neck and neck on 14 points apiece.
Robert Scheidt (BRA) / Brian Fatih (USA) led the final race off the starting line, with Negri / Lambertenghi languishing back around 7th place at the first mark - giving the title to Scheidt at that point in the race. A determined fightback unfolded from Negri / Lambertenghi, accelerating in the first downwind to 3rd and ultimately crossing the finish line in 4th, whilst Scheidt / Fatih lost ground and dropped back to 2nd in the final leg; in an unbelievably close finish to the 91st Bacardi Cup.
Negri / Lambertenghi make history by becoming the first ever Italian team to win, with Negri’s name added to the list of sailing icons on the Bacardi Cup Trophy, and Lambertenghi added to the crew names on the Tito Bacardi Cup. Scheidt / Fatihupgraded to second, with Melleby / Revkin picking up third over Lars Grael / Samuel Goncalves (BRA) in fourth.
“Today has been a great race”, said an overjoyed Negri. “It has been perfect conditions up to 15 knots. We had a good start, played the left and some other boats played the right. We were very close with another three boats for winning the Bacardi Cup, so we were sailing close to Melleby, and we knew that Scheidt and Grael were windward to us, so we were playing leeward side of them, and arrived at the top mark not far from them. We arrived at the top mark around 7th to 8th but with a good call of judgement soon after the windward mark we succeed to recover in the first downwind, and rounded in 3rd so pretty safe for us, as we just needed to be in the top four”.
The pair held their position, and could afford to be overtaken by Paul Cayard / Mark Strube in the final downwind leg, knowing they had victory in the bag.
“It is a very good result and an amazing week and consistent, and I think we did a great job together,” said the super-talented Negri who, together with Lambertenghi, has claimed medals at each of the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Star World Championships. But it has taken thirteen years of competing at the Bacardi Cup, since 2016, for Negri to climb the mountain to victory.
“The fleet was amazing and we won. It is a good feeling, and will be a good memory for all our life that is for sure. Maybe there will be a next one in the future but this 91st edition is to us”, Negri laughed.
“Winning the Bacardi, for me at least, I came here the first time in 1995 so more than twenty years ago, I have always been dreaming to win it,” said a delighted Lambertenghi.“Being able to do it, thanks to my helmsman Diego, is super, super, super satisfying. The last leg until the end was just shaking, looking at the wind, looking at the other boats”.
Great Britain’s Iain Percy and his Swedish crew Anders Ekstrom made their mark known by winning the final race, to finish in 7th overall. A formidable partnership, with three Star Class Olympic medals between them, the pair didn’t compete in race 1, then a non-fault collision and virtual sinking forced them out of races 3 and 4, before claiming the race victory their pedigrees would predict.
Prizes were also presented to winners in the Master’s (skippers age 50 through 59), Grand Masters (skippers age 60 and above), and Exalted Grand Masters (skippers age 70 and above) divisions, which went to Arthur Anosov / David Caesar (USA), Augie Diaz (USA) / Bruno Prada (BRA) and Alessandro Pascolato / Henry Boening (BRA) respectively. The Tammy Rubin Rice Trophy was presented to Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA).
Star Class - Final Overall Results after 6 Races:
1. Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) - 16 pts
2. Robert Scheidt (BRA) / Brian Fatih (USA) - 22 pts
3. Eivind Melleby (NOR) / Joshua Revkin (USA) - 24 pts
4. Lars Grael / Samuel Gonclaves (BRA) - 24 pts
5. Paul Cayard / Mark Strube (USA) - 28 pts
6. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA) - 23 pts
7. Iain Percy / Andres Ekstrom (GBR) - 32 pts
8. Xavier Rohart / Sebastien Guidoux (FRA) - 26 pts
9. Luke Lawrence (USA) / Pedro Trouche (BRA) - 47 pts
10. Jack Jennings (USA) / Frithjof Kleen (GER) - 51 pts
The fleets will congregate again next year for the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta and 92nd Bacardi Cup from March 3rd - 9th 2019.