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Bacardi Cup: Biscayne Bay at its best for all of the five fleet

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Bacardi Cup: Biscayne Bay at its best for all of the five fleet
Bacardi Cup: Biscayne Bay at its best for all of the five fleet

It was one amazing sailing day in Biscayne Bay, with typical Miami winter conditions of strong breeze, sunshine and small chop. Racing doesn’t get better than this for the 165 teams racing at the Bacardi Invitational Regatta. Race day 1 got underway in the J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640 and Flying Tigers 7.5, with the Star Class enjoying race day 4.  
 
Two races for the Star fleet, to make up for no racing on Tuesday. A grueling and challenging day as the Star Class racing here respects the original Bacardi format, used since its inception in 1927, of races legs that are at least 2 miles long, and last up to two hours. With so much depth in performance, there were plenty of lead changes today as the shifty breeze further out on the bay tested the best.
 
One bullet went to French Olympic bronze medalist and SSL President Xavier Rohart with his crew Pierre-Alexis Ponsot, whilst American sailing legend Paul Cayard and Olympic champion Magnus Liljedahl picked up the other win. After four races top billing holds firm with Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise (USA), after a consistent scorecard of 2,3 and counting a 4th as their worst result. Defending Bacardi Cup title holders Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) are chasing hard nine points behind, and then it’s Norwegian World Champion Eivind Melleby and Joshua Revkin. Expect the leaderboard to shuffle up tomorrow, as the discard comes into play after race 5. One team for sure set to escalate their standing will be Mateusz Kusnierewicz and Frithjof Kleen, as they shake off their UFD penalty from race 1 and aim to maintain what is otherwise a scorecard of top 5 finishes.

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“The boat was really fast both upwind and downwind,” reflected Paul Cayard. “It was tricky and shifty today, and unfortunately on the first race we got a little out of phase on the second leeward leg and we lost some boats. While we were in phase in the second race everything went our way and we won.”
Three races were wrapped up for the J/70 fleet, who are making their second appearance at the Bacardi Invitational Regatta. Three different teams took the race win glory, and it won’t be an easy task to grab victory amongst such super competitive talent. Owner-driver Carlo Alberini on Calvi Network controls the leaderboard from scores of 2,6,1, and sits on a 3 point advantage over Surge (USA) helmed by Ryan McKillen with  tactician Mark Mendelblatt. Two points behind in third is Monaco’s G-Spottino driven by Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio.
 

“Beautiful day out there today for yachting in Miami,” said a happy Ryan McKillen on Surge. “We had a good day, a seventh, a fourth and a third. Our third Miami event, all of the Bacardi and then we snuck in the J/70 MidWinters two weeks ago, so we did a lot of sailing in Miami this winter.”
 
Getting to work straight away in the twenty-five boat Melges 24 fleet was the team on Full Throttle (USA), with Olympic champion Jonathan McKee calling tactics. They made their intentions evidently clear by winning every race, leaving Italy’s Bombarda six points behind in second spot and MiKEY (USA) in third.
 
“It was a really good day for us today,” commented Andrea Pozzi of Bombarda. “We scored a fourth, a third and a second, but most of all it was important for the journey that we started today: the overall season. We began in January with the Winter Series, it was our first regatta back together as a team and the goal is to arrive at the Worlds in Villasimius as good as we can.”

Two wins out of three in the Viper 640 were claimed by the Corinthian team Great Scott!slang (USA), and the other to last year’s North American champions on Jackpot (CAN). These two teams claim first and third respectively, with 2018 North American bronze medalist Mary Ewenson on Evil Hiss (USA) sandwiched between in second place.
 
“The conditions were amazing today we had good starts, we had good speed and we are looking forward to the rest of the regatta,” summed up Geoff Fargo of Great Scott!slang.
 
Bobcat (CAN) is leading the scores in the Flying Tigers after three races. They collected two seconds and one first, while just 1 point behind ‘9’ follows them from two wins and a fourth. Early days, but these two have already established a 7 point advantage over ‘1’ in third.
 
Brett Bastien of Bobcat shared his post-race insights, saying, “Just a fantastic day sailing on the water. The Race Committee did an awesome job today getting three races in in a breeze of 12 to 15 knots from the east. From this direction it is a bit shifty, the crew work was great with only two days of training together on this boat, we looked like veterans and Brice, our skipper, did an amazing job.”
 
Back ashore, 500 very tired sailors were welcomed to the nightly Bacardi post-race party. After some relaxing and camaraderie, they will prepare for another intense Biscayne Bay sailing day tomorrow, with a scheduled 1100 hours start for all fleets.

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