Mar. 4, 2011
BACARDI CUP® REGATTA KICKS OFF BACARDI® MIAMI SAILING WEEK PRESENTED BY EFG BANK
MIAMI, Fla. (March 4, 2011) – With more than 95 boats registered, the 84th edition of the iconic BACARDI Cup is set to see one of the fiercest title battles in recent years as some of the most recognizable athletes in the sport return to the waters of Biscayne Bay next week for the headline event of BACARDI Miami Sailing Week presented by EFG Bank. To date, competitors from 25 countries are entered to race from March 7 to 12, 2011, in one of five classes – Melges 20, Melges 24, J/24, Star and Viper 640 – that will see action over the week-long series.
“We are all looking forward to a great week,” said Bill Allen (Highwood, Ill.), President of the International Star Class Association, explaining that the class was very excited to be part of the expanded BACARDI Miami Sailing Week. “BACARDI and the Star Class have been partners for 84 years – first in Cuba and in Miami since the 1960s. The BACARDI Cup is one of the premier events on our racing calendar; only the world championship has a more talented field.”
The Olympics being little more than a year away is sure to be a factor driving these elite sailors, as Allen counted off 15 teams with the potential to end up on the podium. “We will have at least five world champions and 10 to 15 continental champions. At least 10 of the top-20 in the world rankings will be competing, and picking the medal winners among these outstanding sailors would be impossible.”
Among the elite field is Mark Reynolds (San Diego, Calif.), often referred to as the “Star of the Star Class,” who has a resumé that includes two world championship titles (1995, 2000) and three Olympic medals (1992 Gold,1988 Silver, 2000 Gold) in arguably the most competitive one-design class in the world. Additional Olympians in the fleet include Mateusz Kusznierewicz of Poland, who won Olympic gold and bronze in the Finn class (1996 and 2004) before switching to the Star for the 2008 Beijing Olympics where he finished fourth; New Zealand’s three-time Olympian (1996, 2004, 2008) Hamish Pepper; and Ireland’s 2008 Olympian Peter O’Leary.
“There are about 15 different sailors that could win,” said Rick Merriman (New York, N.Y.), the 2010 Bacardi Cup titleholder, who will race with 2008 Olympian Austin Sperry (Gulfport, Miss.). “Mateusz won the World Championships here in 2008, Freddy Loof (SWE) just finished second at last month’s Rolex Miami OCR and Peter O'Leary won Weymouth Sail for Gold this past summer. Plus past BACARDI Cup winners Hamish Pepper (NZL) and Peter Bromby (BER). I just barely touched the list of contenders! It will be another tough regatta.”
About BACARDI Cup: The BACARDI Cup was conceived in 1927 as a three-day event with sailors competing for the Trofeo BACARDI as part of the Cup of Cuba’s Mid-Winter Championship. In 1962 political unrest forced the Bacardi Cup to move from Havana to Coconut Grove, Florida, where it has since been hosted by the Coral Reef Yacht Club, the organizing authority for the BACARDI Cup.
About BACARDI Miami Sailing Week: In its second year, BACARDI Miami Sailing Week presented by EFG Bank is building on the success of last year’s inaugural event, again offering six days of remarkable sailing competition. The 84th running of the BACARDI Cup for the Star class will be the marquee event of BACARDI Miami Sailing Week, with racing from Monday, March 7 through Saturday, March 12, 2011. Competition for the Melges 20, Melges 24, J/24 and Viper 640 classes takes place Thursday, March 10, through Saturday, March 12, with the Melges 20s also competing for their Winter Series and the Viper 640s also competing for their Pan American Championship. Racing will take place on three courses approximately two miles out on Biscayne Bay. Co-hosts for BACARDI Miami Sailing Week are Coral Reef Yacht Club, Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, Coconut Grove Sailing Club, the U.S. Sailing Center Miami and Shake-A-Leg.
Nightly social events will feature award presentations, entertainment and art displays including exhibits by, among others, renowned Italian maritime photographer Franco Pace and Miami pop artist Stephen Gamson, designer of the official event poster. The art exhibits will be located in the North Hall of the Coconut Grove Convention Center, along with “100 years of the Star Boat,” a collection of information, photos and artifacts detailing the path of the Star boat from the original design in 1911 to the present day.
For more information on the 84th Bacardi Cup and 2nd annual BACARDI Miami Sailing Week presented by EFG Bank, visit www.BACARDICup.com <http://www.BACARDICup.com> and www.MiamiSailingWeek.com <http://www.miamisailingweek.com/>
Norway’s Melleby and Morland Lead BACARDI CUP® Standings At BACARDI® MIAMI SAILING WEEK PRESENTED BY EFG BANK
MIAMI (March 7, 2011) – The Norwegian Star team of Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen have won the opening race of the 84th BACARDI Cup, the first event of the 2011 BACARDI Miami Sailing Week presented by EFG Bank. After an hour delay due to light air, the 89-strong Star fleet got down to business as temperatures in the low 70s combined with elite-level competition to make Biscayne Bay the place to be.
Melleby and Pedersen have been here before – they also finished first in the opening race of the BACARDI Cup in 2008. And while today’s result is surely déjà vu, hopefully it is also not a curse – no team winning the opening race has gone on to claim the title in at least the last 10 years. The duo are making their fourth run at the BACARDI Cup, having achieved, to date, their best finish of seventh overall in 2010.
"We've never won the Bacardi Cup, but hope to this year,” said Melleby. “The day was marked by a very light breeze, so they postponed the race for an hour before they started. It was a long race. The wind shifted quite a lot to the left, but we were able to get out in front of it, and veer away from the rest of the fleet coming up to the first mark in fourth position. From there we were able to get away from the pack and managed to get into first position and stay there for most of the race. We were about 100 meters out in front until the end when Andrew Campbell (San Diego, Calif.) and crew Ian Coleman (Annapolis, Md.) were able to get a lot closer than we wanted. Campbell closed in less than 50 meters with a breeze from behind. With a light day like this, the boat speed is very similar, so our win was mostly about positioning and strategy."
"There are 20 boats, maybe more, that can win the Bacardi Cup at anytime,” observed Melleby. “We're just trying to stay consistent, and do well in every race this week. Hopefully, we can be at the top of the podium when all this ends."
Third overall after day one is the French team of Guillaume Florent and Pascal Rambeau, followed by George Szabo with Caleb Paine (both San Diego, Calif.). Mark Reynolds (San Diego, Calif.) and Rick Peters (Venice, Calif.) round out the top-five.
Norway’s Melleby and Morland Retain BACARDI CUP® Lead
MIAMI (March 8, 2011) – Stronger breeze today allowed for the completion of another race at the BACARDI Cup, the headline event of the 2011 BACARDI Miami Sailing Week presented by EFG Bank, bringing the 89 Star teams another step closer to the title which will ultimately be determined on Saturday, March 12. The second day of racing saw the California team of skipper Peter Vessella (Burlingame) and Rodney Hagebols (San Francisco) take an early lead on the first leg of the race, only to be overtaken at the windward mark. Sweden’s Fredrik Lööf and Max Salmiren, who claimed the silver medal in January at the Rolex Miami OCR, were initially fighting for fifth place when they were able to break away from the group and pull into the lead at the leeward mark.
"We had quite a conservative start,” said Lööf. “We worked our way up the left side of the course on the first upwind, and were looking really good, but then, the right came in with quite a decent wind. At that point, we went to the right side when a lot of the other boats went left and we were able to get a big gain. Peter [Vessella] was leading initially, but we were able to get out in front and pull away from him and the others in the second downwind."
Lööf and Salmiren went on to win the race with Irish Olympian Peter O'Leary and crew David Burones finishing second. 2007 BACARDI Cup winner Hamish Pepper and crew Craig Monk (both New Zealand) placed third, followed by Vessella and Hagerbols in fourth.
"We have a new boat, so we're just trying to have a good time and see how things go,” said Lööf regarding his approach to the 2011 BACARDI Cup. “This will be my third BACARDI Cup. Everyone competing out there is strong and there are a lot of boats this year. It is good to see so many people sharing their passion [for sailing] and it's always nice to be in Miami."
Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen (Norway) followed yesterday’s bullet with an eighth-place finish today to maintain their position at the top of the overall standings. The Norwegians, however, are tied on points – nine apiece – with O’Leary and Burones. Through eighth place the standings are extremely tight, with one point or less separating six teams: third overall, with 12 points, is Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki (Poland) after finishes of 6-6; Guillaume Florent and Pascal Rambeau (France), stand fourth with finishes of 3-10 for 13 points; Maciej Grabowski and Lukasz Lesinski (Poland) are fifth with 14 points; and Vessella and Hagebols have 15 points for sixth place. Tied at 17 points each are Pepper and Monk, in sixth place overall, with Mark Reynolds (San Diego, Calif.) and Rick Peters (Venice, Calif.) in seventh. Two teams recently named to the 2011 US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics round out the top-10 overall: Andy Horton (South Burlington, Vermont) and crew James Lyne (Granville, Vermont) stand ninth with 25 points, followed by Andrew Campbell (San Diego, Calif.) and crew Ian Coleman (Annapolis, Md.) with 28 points.
Racing for the BACARDI Cup resumes Wednesday, March 9, and continues through Saturday, March 12.
For photos, results and additional information on the 84th Bacardi Cup and 2nd annual BACARDI Miami Sailing Week presented by EFG Bank, visit www.BACARDICup.com
Sweden’s Lööf and Salmiren Move Into Lead At BACARDI CUP®
Miami, Florida (March 9, 2011) – In comparison to the relative calm of Biscayne Bay on day one of the BACARDI Cup, today’s sharp increase in wind speed was a welcome change for the 89 teams racing in the headline event of the 2011 BACARDI Miami Sailing Week presented by EFG Bank. High clouds, chop, and an east-southeasterly breeze in the mid-teens propelled the Stars around the 9.5 nautical mile course after an aggressive start saw seven teams pay a penalty with their scores for starting early.
The day's race was won by Guillame Florent and Pascal Rambeau (France), making for three different winners in as many races thus far in the series. Sweden’s Fredrik Lööf and Max Salmiren continued their consistent form, adding a second-place finish to yesterday’s win. Third place went to three-time BACARDI Cup champion Peter Bromby sailing with Lee White (Bermuda).
"We actually didn't have such a good start,” said Florent about race three. “But we found a good lane to the right hand side of the course. We expected a small shift there, but nothing that could give us the lead. But the wind was quite stable, and the speed we had there was the key. We rounded first at the top mark, and after that we managed to stay in the lead. It was a very good win."
“There are so many sailors to look out for here,” remarked Florent on the competition. “There are only a few top sailors from the world that aren't here. It's a very high level [of sailing] so you have to keep your eyes on many competitors. This is my first BACARDI Cup, and my first year in the Star with Pascal, who did a very good job today." Rambeau is a two-time Star World Champion (2003, 2005) and won a bronze medal in the Star at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, while Florent also has an Olympic bronze medal – won at the 2008 Olympics in the Finn. "The Olympics is definitely the goal,” Florent concluded. “Both Pascal and I have been to the Olympics already, so we'd like to do better than we did before. We're working hard to achieve that and hope we'll be good enough."
With the midpoint of the regatta reached, the overall standings continue to reflect a close contest at the top of the fleet. Sweden’s Fredrik Lööf and Max Salmiren have moved into the overall lead with three points, Guillaume Florent and Pascal Rambeau (France) are now second with four points. Early series leaders Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen (Norway) dropped two places and stand third overall with five points and Peter O’Leary and David Burones (Ireland) are fourth with seven points. Only one point separates the teams standing fifth through 11th: Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki (Poland) have 12 points; New Zealand’s Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk remain sixth with 13 points; Maciej Grabowski and Lukasz Lesinski (Poland) dropped two places to seventh but retain 14 points; and despite an OCS penalty, Peter Vessella (Burlingame, Calif.) and Rodney Hagebols (San Francisco, Calif.) have 15 points for eighth place. Andy Horton (South Burlington, Vermont) and crew James Lyne (Granville, Vermont) are ninth with 16 points, followed by Mark Reynolds (San Diego, Calif.) and Rick Peters (Venice, Calif.) with 17 points and Augie Diaz (Miami, Fla.) with Bruno Prada (Brazil) is 11th on 18 points. Peter Bromby and Lee White (Bermuda) are just four points behind this tight pack, standing 12th overall with 22 points.
Racing for the BACARDI Cup resumes Thursday, March 10, and continues through Saturday, March 12. For photos, results and additional information on the 84th Bacardi Cup and 2nd annual BACARDI Miami Sailing Week presented by EFG Bank, visit www.BACARDICup.com <http://www.BACARDICup.com> and www.MiamiSailingWeek.com <http://www.miamisailingweek.com/>
Reilly Takes Audi Melges 20 Lead At Bacardi Miami Sailing Week
Miami, Fla. - (2011 Mar. 10) - It was blatantly obvious today that Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series Event No. 2 Champion Paul Reilly on Red Sky Sailing Team hasn't missed a beat. His starts were strong and his tactics were spot on, the end result, a very rewarding first place overall.
The opening day of racing started out beautifully under gorgeous conditions. Sunshine and a pleasant 10-12 knots of breeze enabled 26 Audi Melges 20 teams to saddle up for a very heated start. Tony Tabb’s Elevation Racing punched the pin end hard then, took it all the way to the top to round the windward mark in the lead. A cluster of teams fought for second place. Among those jostling for position were Reilly, Mary Anne Ward on M&M Sailing and Kent Haegar on Mach Schnell. Reilly gained valuable positions downwind. He was full steam ahead through the gate, first at the final mark and across the finish line. Dario Levi on Fremito D’Arjia mixed things up by putting on his best speed to finish second. Ward finished third.
Three-quarters of the way through the race, reports of severe weather closing in fast were received containing news of heavy rain and possible 50+ mph gusts. PRO Bruce Golison made the call to send the fleet to shore. The rain turned clear visibility into sheets of white as teams struggled to get their boats moored properly and docked safely at Coconut Grove Sailing Club.
"Big breeze and big pressure were scheduled to arrive in the early afternoon with little spots of rain. Instead, the front accelerated and we ended up with some pretty torrential weather," said Golison. "We're going to try for four races tomorrow. Commander's is calling for 12-20 knots, so it should be perfect Biscayne Bay conditions."
Full race reports, interviews and photo galleries will be posted online each day after racing. Stay tuned to the Official Audi Melges 20 Web Site for all the latest details. You can also friend the Audi Melges 20 on Facebook, follow on Twitter and/or subscribe to the Official Audi Melges 20 You Tube Channel.
TOP TEN RESULTS (After 1 Race)
1.) Paul Reilly, Red Sky Sailing Team = 1
2.) Dario Levi, Fremito D’Arjia = 2
3.) Mary Anne Ward, M&M Sailing Team = 3
4.) Anthony Tabb/Eric Wynsma, Elevation Racing = 4
5.) Kent Haegar, Mach Schnell = 5
6.) Jon Messenger, Black Sheep = 6
7.) Alessandro Rombelli, STIG = 7
8.) Chuck Holzman, Flyer = 8
9.) Marc Hollerbach, Fu = 9
10.) Pat Eudy, Big Booty = 10