Photo Credit: FRIED ELLIOTT / friedbits.com
A keen Star Class fleet pushed the starting line, forcing the Race Committee to signal two general recalls before race day 2 at the 91st Bacardi Cup got underway on Biscayne Bay today.
Superb weather conditions in a breeze up to 15 knots kept the frontrunners close together, with intense head to head fights concluding in a virtual photo finish between the leading three boats.
On the first upwind leg, the majority opted to take the left side of the track which paid off particularly well for Italy’s Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi who claimed the mark rounding first, chased by a rowdy fleet crowding around the mark behind.
The Italians held their position in the leading pack for the next legs, almost keeping their advantage to the finish line, as a battle of wills unfolded. Three boats crossed within moments of each other with the advantage going to the Norwegian pair of Eivind Melleby / Joshua Revkin. A reversal of fortune compared to yesterday when they lost their lead in the final leg, but today they accelerated ahead of the Italians to take the win by half a boat length. A scorecard of 2,1 now puts Melleby/Revkin in the overall lead, sitting 2 points ahead of Negri/ Lambertenghi in second overall.
"It’s good to be here at the Bacardi Cup,” grinned Melleby, the reigning Star Class World Champion. “The Bacardi Cup 2018 is a great show here this year with all the best guys. We also have Iain Percy here and it will be great to race him again as I haven’t seen him in a Star for a while".
"It’s tough to race out there with all these good guys, so you have to be really careful about your risk taking. With the long line and big fleet, you are running a lot of risk if you are out on the side and it is very hard to catch up if you make a mistake at the beginning. So that is what we are trying to focus on, cut down the risk a little bit and hopefully, we can be consistently up in the top ten. Hopefully, that will get us up to the podium and hopefully win in the end I guess!” concluded Melleby sharing his mission for the week.
“This early in the regatta it is impossible to say you are trying to cover or look after any one person,” added Revkin on their focus for the first half of the Bacardi Cup. “We are just trying to sail our fastest race and get single digit finishes.”
Diego Negri sealed the 2014 Star Class Worlds silver medal on the same waters, so is massively familiar with the weather characteristics of Biscayne Bay. Negri reflected on his day, “Today has been a great race. We were leading at the top mark, at the downwind mark we were leading again but just in front of Melleby, and it was a kind of photo finish at the end. He was crossing on starboard, we were on port so I had to pass behind him and on the finishing line, I think we were less than half a boat length behind".
"But anyway, it was a good way to start and yesterday we were third in a light breeze and today medium breeze and we were second and it was very shifty. I feel confident when it is shifty like this and I am happy with the conditions and the results so far. We keep going like this and let’s see at the end who is the best! This is the Star fleet we have a lot of Champions -World, European, Olympic- and this is the Bacardi Cup with almost 80 boats on the starting line and long courses. This is the game and that’s what we like. We like to compete in a high level fleet and we like to sail our nice boats.”
Just behind, Robert Scheidt / Brian Fatih (BRA) wrapped up a third place finish, and moved up to third on the leaderboard.
Great Britain’s Iain Percy made his first appearance on the race track today with Anders Ekstrom, scoring an 8th place. Although set against not racing on day 1, the pair sits down the pegging in 44th. Percy knows extremely well what it takes to win, counting in his trophy cabinet Gold and Silver Olympic medals in the Star, Olympic Gold in the Finn Class as well as two Star Class World Championship titles and multiple silver and bronze medals - to name just a few titles. Maintain today’s form and when the race discard comes into play after race 5, we can expect to see this pair popping up to the front of the scoreboard.
Overnight leaders, Augie Diaz / Bruno Prada (USA) lost some pace today, finishing 10th and dropping down to fifth overall.
Race day 2’s after-party will be the renowned Bacardi Happy Hour hosted at Coral Reef Yacht Club, with a guaranteed fun-filled evening boosted by the renowned Bacardi cocktails, food and music.
Race 3 for the Star Class is scheduled to start at 10:55 hours on Wednesday, March 7thwith a stronger breeze forecast.
The J/70 Class starts registration on Wednesday, March 7th ahead of racing getting underway on Thursday, March 8th with 9 races scheduled across 3 days.
Bacardi Cup – Results after Race 1
1. Eivind Melleby / Joshua Revkin (NOR) - 3 pts
2. Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) - 5 pts
3. Robert Scheidt / Brian Fatih (BRA) - 10 pts
4. Paul Cayard / Mark Strube (USA) - 10 pts
5. Augie Diaz / Bruno Prada (USA) - 11 pts
6. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA) - 16 pts
7. Arthur Anosov / David Caesar (USA) - 21 pts
8. Peter O'Leary / Robert O'Leary (IRL) - 26 pts
9. Xavier Rohart / Sebastien Guidoux (FRA) - 29 pts
10. Peter Vessella / Phil Trinter (USA) - 29 pts
Seventy-six teams from 17 nations are competing: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Ukraine and United States.
A special thank you to this year’s event sponsors and supporters: North Sails, Coral Reef Sailing Apparel, Hatuey, S.Pellegrino, Gubinelli, Tuuci, Nautical Channel, Sun Orchard, Regatta Gingerbeer, Ocean Navigator, Jaguar therapeutics, Coco Walk and the City of Coconut Grove.