Kusznierewicz/Prada create Bacardi Cup history as 1st same team partnership
The weather front that was expected to sweep through Biscayne Bay after racing on Saturday, March 12, arrived early, with the strong wind forcing racing to be cancelled for all classes at 0900 hours this morning.
Each day the weather has unfolded as per the forecast, so with 30+ knots of breeze expected the different course PROs took their decision based on each class and were unanimous to keep safe racing conditions and cancel all racing.
Superb winds for the preceding days delivered five neck and neck races for the Star Class, with an equally intense six race series for the J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640, VX One, and twelve races for the 69F. The overnight scoreboards are final and class podiums decided.
The Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta wrapped up in fine style with the awards presentation at Shake-A-Leg Miami, accompanied by Bacardi rum and hospitality
"Thank you to the sailors, thank you to the host clubs, thank you to our volunteers on the water and ashore, and thank you to everyone who has been following this fantastic event from around the world," expressed Eddie Cutillas of Bacardi USA. "The Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta supports our vision of the world's best sailors racing together and leaves the best possible imprint; a turnout of inspirational sailors, exceptional racing and after parties that make sure the fun continues long after the finish line.
"Our regatta is an 'invitational' in respect of the 'invited' one-design classes participating, but sailors from around the world need no invitation to join us here on Biscayne Bay in our annual celebration of sailing - you are all welcome. Save the date for 2023."
The tradition of camaraderie and high-level competition are embedded in the Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta, guaranteeing the world's sailors want to compete. 2022 featured more than 600 sailors, with the crew line-up from over 22 nations
Save the date for next year at the 96th Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta taking place March 5-11, 2023.
For nearly one century, the Bacardi Cup has continued to attract the world's top sailors and fans with its popularity and intrigue. In 2022, the Bacardi Cup celebrated its 95th anniversary on Biscayne Bay, its home for the past 61 years. In the fifty-eight-boat line-up were eleven previous Bacardi Cup winners and twelve World Champions – competition doesn't get tougher than that.
The stars of the show were unequivocally Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Bruno Prada (BRA), who showed themselves as most prepared for the physicality, intensity and tactics of racing in waves and a breeze which never dropped below 12 knots. Many sailors have won multiple Bacardi Cup titles - the legendary Ding Schoonmaker scooped eight victories, seven to Mark Reynolds, and some renowned partnerships have two wins - but Bacardi Cup history is written for Kusznierewicz/Prada who go down as the first same team partnership to win three back-to-back titles.
Second overall to Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise (USA) who were the 2019 Bacardi Cup winners, and third to Italy's Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi who won in 2018, with a tiebreak for 4th and 5th.
Although victory was secure, Kusznierewicz/Prada had every intention of competing in the final race, before the excessive winds scuppered plans.
"Firstly, we love this sport," said Kusznierewicz this morning. "Secondly, what could I do today? Golf, shopping, staying on shore, going to the restaurant – no, not my style. I love sailing and I think today maybe upwinds are not going to be such great fun, because of the strong winds and physical work, but reaching is going to be awesome. We also have a lot of respect, and we want to show this respect to the regatta organizers and the other sailors."
With racing cancelled Kusznierewicz/Prada embraced their victory, celebrated their remarkable achievement and prepared to sip Bacardi rum from the iconic Bacardi Cup and Tito Bacardi Cup trophies.
"I am not sure if we are the fastest, but we are the most consistent team," said Prada. "I think the advantage is we have been sailing for a couple of years together and we have a good chemistry sailing together."
Kusznierewicz added, "We did it again, we are very happy, very satisfied. This week was great from many perspectives. It wasn't easy, it was hard actually, physically and we had to focus a lot on racing, but we liked it. After two years of pandemic, not everyone could show up in previous years, but this year it's impressive," he said, in reference to the twelve Star World Champions competing.
"So, it is an even bigger pleasure for us to win this regatta and for the third time in a row, it is kind of history in the books. For me, it is a great honour to be here. To win it, wow I am in the skies!"
Prada continued, "I feel super happy. Every Championship we win in the Star Class, especially Bacardi Cup, Europeans and the Worlds, are special events, so we need to be very proud of ourselves and enjoy the victory. We are in the top 5 fastest boats and, in the end, we proved that our sailing was better than the others."
On what's next, Prada continued, "We are planning to sail the Worlds in Marblehead and it will be our next regatta together. Meanwhile I am going to sail a couple of regattas with Augie Diaz, to keep in shape and arrive at the Worlds on a high level."
"The week was great," reflected 2nd placed Eric Doyle. "It was epic Miami conditions, so much fun, great fleet, great sailing, great battles with everyone. It is the best sailing you can do anywhere I think. We changed boats this year and it took a little bit getting adjusted to that, especially downwind. We really wanted to win, and we made a few mistakes that cost us some points, but clearly Mateusz and Bruno are the gold standard right now."
Prizes were presented to the top five boats, and also to winners in the age divisions:
Master (skippers aged 50 through 59) - Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise
Grand Master (skippers aged 60+) - Paul Cayard/Frithjof Kleen
Exalted Grand Master (skippers aged 70+) - Stefan Lehnert/Marc Pickel
In 6th overall, Jack Jennings (USA) and Pedro Trouche (BRA) were awarded The Tammy Rubin Rice Trophy, a well-deserved accolade for the pair's standout performance, including two race wins.
The Star Class sailors will renew their on-water rivalry at the 100th anniversary of the Star Class World Championships in Marblehead, USA from September 8-17, 2022, which is undoubtedly going to draw a global line-up for this remarkable celebration.
Final Top 5 Results
1. Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada (POL 8548) - 6 pts
2. Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise (USA 8423) - 12 pts
3. Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA 8567) - 14 pts
4. Peter O'Leary/Robert O'Leary (IRL 8465) - 21 pts
5. Eivind Melleby/Joshua Revkin (NOR 8543) - 21 pts
Six races over two days demands huge focus and determined teamwork, so no surprise to see five different winners across the thirty-nine boat J/70 fleet. Only the ultimate winner, Paul Ward (GBR) on 'Eat Sleep J Repeat', managed to win twice, and after discarding their 17th place in race 4 counted an all top-three scorecard.
Second overall to the USA's Daniel Goldberg's 'Bazinga' and 3rd to Great Britain's Charles Thompson's 'Brutus III', with a tiebreak for 3rd and 4th.
"We love this event, it is always great fun," said Ward, who also won in 2020. "It is fantastic to win it again.
"We have a new team and it is really good to be out here and going well. We have some really good sailors on the boat and we just managed to get going really fast. Charlie was getting us going in the right direction and Matt and Elliot were keeping the boat going fast."
On their strategy to success, Ward commented, "We all know what the things are you have to do well, it is just about executing. We got off the starts quite well, and then you have a bunch of options about what you need to do. We only made one mistake in terms of which way we went. Our upwind set-up felt really good, downwind speed felt good
"It is perfect, this is a really well-run event. Everyone looks after us really well and just makes sure we have a good time. We will definitely be back next year."
Marcos Soares of Brazil and his crew on 'Capincanela'' won the Corinthian category, finishing 14th overall.
Final Top 5 Results
1. Paul Ward/Charlie Cumbley/Elliot Willis/Matt Howard (GBR 1127) - 10 pts
2. Daniel Goldberg/Lucas Calabrese/Tomas Hornos/Kristen Berry (USA 84) - 17 pts
3. Charles Thompson/Craig Burlton/Ben Saxton/Chris Grube (GBR 1123) - 21 pts
4. Ignacio Perez/Santiago Perez/Juan Ignacio Perez/Moritz Spitzauer (MEX 1323) - 32 pts
5. Robert Hughes/River Paquin/Stefano Ciampalini/Paul Goodison (USA 353) - 32 pts
Melges 24 Class
Three in a row for Bora Gulari (USA) and his crew on 'Mavi', who adds the 2022 title to his 2021 and 2020 victories, after winning on tiebreak over the Brian Porter's (USA) 'Full Throttle'. Another tiebreak for 3rd place gave the final podium spot to Drew Freides (USA) on 'Pacific Yankee'.
"Our week was great, we had a little hiccup on the first day with the U flag, but the rest was very solid," commented Gulari, in a nod to their penalty score in race 3. "There was great Miami weather, best regatta of the year. The winds are perfect, the atmosphere was great and it is a wonderful place to sail.
Acknowledging the talent around him, Gulari said, "The competition is stacked. I am trying to think how many people had Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in the fleet! There's World Champions left and right, and Olympic medallists. I want to also thank my crew. I have literally the best crew out there and the whole reason we succeed is their hard work."
On the renowned event hospitality, Gulari didn't hold back, adding, "It's wonderful to come in and have a nice Bacardi drink at the end of the day, while putting away the boat. Basically, this is what you live for when you get to go sail regattas. Best conditions, best time of the year to sail in Miami and Bacardi does such a great job organizing the event."
The Corinthian prize went to Jan Frederik Dyvi and his team from Norway on 'Team RRH' who finished in 11th.
Final Top 5 Results
1. Bora Gulari/Kyle Navin/Norman Berge/Ian Liberty/Michael Menninger (USA 820) - 11 pts
2. Brian Porter/RJ Porter/Bri Porter/Matt Woodworth (USA 849) - 11 pts
3. Drew Freides/Charlie Smythe/Morgan Reeser/Federico Michetti/Lara Poljsak (USA 865) - 20 pts
4. Harry Melges IV/Finn Rowe/Ripley Shelley/Carlos Robles/Nick Muller (USA 866) - 20 pts
5. Travis Weisleder/John Bowden/Hayden Goodrick/Mark Mendleblatt (USA 858) - 27 pts
Viper 640 Class
After two attempts at glory, finishing 7th in 2020 and 10th in 2019, Peter Ill's (USA) team on 'Caterpillar' secured victory in the Viper 640. Just 9 points separated first to fifth, with 2nd going to 'Rolling Thunder' helmed by Vir Menon (USA), and third to Canada's 'Wadjet' team with Van Sheppard driving, who took the advantage in a three-way tiebreak.
Notable Viper 640 sailor Mary Ewenson was briefly leading the fleet after race 2 with two top 5 finishes, before slipping down to end the series on tiebreak and having to settle for 4th. A regular on the Viper circuit, past appearances in Miami would see Mary switching from helm to eating waves at the front of the boat, as she willingly handed the tiller to her husband Geoff. Professional sailor and Miami afficionado Geoff relished sailing in Biscayne Bay, but after he tragically passed away in October 2020, Mary has brought herself back to the fleet and is back driving.
"It is awesome to be back here in Miami. This is the first time I have ever driven in Miami," Ewenson said. "The Viper fleet is so terrific and it was really great to be back with everybody. I think the best thing about the fleet this year was that one person broke their boat, so one person went to Sarasota and picked up another boat to lend them. Another person broke their rudder, so the guy with the extra boat loaned a rudder. The Viper fleet really comes together that way."
Final Top 5 Results
1. Peter Ill/Stephen Sparkman/Maxwell Plarr (USA 277) - 11 pts
2. Vir Menon/Aditya Menon/Chris Pfrang (USA 188) - 18 pts
3. Van Sheppard/Quinton Gallon/Brad Sheppard (CAN 211) - 20 pts
4. Mary Ewenson/Mark Zagol/Jane Moore/Max Vinocur (USA 297) - 20 pts
5. Cam Farrah/Cliff Farrah/Eric Heilshorn (USA 246) - 20 pts
VX One Class
In the twenty-five boat VX One fleet, the winning boat claimed 50% of the race wins, leaving nobody in doubt as to their race track superiority. The USA's Michelle Austin' on 'Tudo Bem' won by 2 points over Kevin Northrop (USA), with Kaitlyn Liebel (USA) on 'Another Bad Idea', picking up third.
'Tudo Bem' adjusted their approach race by race, as Michelle explained, "We kept improving, trying different spots for how to hike and get our butts off the rail! And with all the other boats, picking up tips from everybody as we were going through. We were so excited to be back here in the warm, warm weather with fabulous breezes."
Final Top 5 Results
1. Michelle Austin/Monica Morgan/Austin Powers (USA 296) - 11 pts
2. Kevin Northrop/Max Albert/Andrew Brennan (USA 306) - 13 pts
3. Kaitlyn Liebel/Mark Liebel/Jordan Wiggins (USA 313) - 16 pts
4. Jerry Callahan/Kelly Cole/Curtis Adam (USA 205) - 22 pts
5. Tim Pitts/Tim Desmond (ISV 286) - 22 pts
Twelve fast and furious races in the foiling 69F saw plenty of boat-on-boat action. An insurmountable eight wins to the Clean Sailors Youth Racing Team saw them claim the first ever 69F title at the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta.
"Our goal is to win the Youth Foiling Gold Cup," said Lukas Hesse. "Winning the 69 F at the Bacardi Cup is a huge milestone for us! We keep pushing on getting better and therefore we are looking for partners."
1. Clean Sailors Youth Racing Team - CJ Perez/Lukas Hesse/Jann Schüpbach - 20 pts
2. Miami Yacht Club Team - Brian Higgins/Nicolas Peirano Prat/Nicolas Aragones - 27 pts
3. Sail America - Pearl Lattanzi/JP Lattanzi/Gavin Ball - 27 pts
The Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta recognize outstanding achievement beyond podium glory, with two special awards.
The EFG Rising Star Award, which celebrates up and coming young sailing talent, was presented to eighteen-year-old Kaitlyn Liebel in recognition of her 3rd place finish in the hugely competitive VX One fleet.
The Quantum Sails Mover and Shaker Award honours those who embody the true spirit of the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta and go beyond to support participation. Aaron Smith received the award for arranging to have his Star delivered to Miami, enabling two young sailors to compete at their first Bacardi Cup, after their respective helms had to withdraw at the last minute.