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Regatta Reports

This Article Last Updated: Mar 12th, 2017 - 12:55:32 

2017 Bacardi Cup Report
By Star Sailors League
Mar 6, 2017, 19:42

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Results can be found here.

March 5:
The Bacardi Cup 2017 is about to start in Miami, Florida and the Star Sailors League media crew is getting ready to bring you into the action with the latest in hi-tech camera technology, as well as Virtual Eye 3D Graphics and expert commentators both on the water and in studio will provide thrilling viewing.

The first warning signal of the 90th edition of the historic regatta, that first took place in the Cuban waters of Havana, will blow tomorrow March 6th at 11,55 local time – if the strong North-East wind blowing over 22 knots will calm down, proving wrong the weather forecast. A six days challenge in the traditional Star Class format with one 2.2 miles race per day, attracts every year some of the best Star Sailors in the world at Coral Reef Yacht Club.

Last year's winner is back without his skipper: Frithjof Kleen from Germany will be sailing with Jack Jennings from Chigago, Illinois. The Bacardi Cup 2014 and 2015 winner and President of the ISCYRA Lars Grael and crew Samuel F M Gonçalves are also back here to try to win the 3,000 points worth for the SSL Ranking.

For the first time at Bacardi Cup, the SSL, is giving out as many points as any other SSL Grand Slam to the winner and this event will be a test for the SSL Sea Grand Slam, the one that takes inspiration from traditional regattas celebrating the champions that are the inshore regattas legends with long routes and races, not more than 2 per day, lasting up to two hours.

Local champions have been training here in Miami in the past week, before the wind conditions got too tough even for these heroes. The reigning Star World Champion Augie Diaz and Brazilian crew Bruno Prada, Lars Grael and Jack Jennings have been sailing watched by three-times World Champion coach Luca Modena.

The two times winner of SSL Finals (2014/2016) Mark Mendelblatt has also arrived and is tuning his boat with other winners of previous Star Sailors League events: Xavier Rohart (2 times World Champion 2003/2005 and Bronze Medalist Athens 2004) & Pierre-Alexis Ponsot who won the SSL City Grand Slam 2016 in Hamburg, Germany and the 2012 Bacardi Cup; George Szabo (World Champion 2009) winner of the SSL Lake Grand Slam and SSL Finals 2015 flew in Miami from San Diego, California to meet Italian crew Edoardo Natucci to get their boat ready.

The vice-president of the International Star Class Yacht Racing Association and 2016 Star Sailors League finalist Hubert Merkelbach is sailing with the #1 crew of the SSL Ranking Sergio Lambertenghi (2nd at the Worlds 2014/2015/2016 and 2nd at the 2016 Bacardi Cup). SSL Finalists Eivind Melleby (2013/2014/2015) & Joshua Revkin (2013/2014/2015/2016) are back sailing together as they were at the 2016 SSL City Grand Slam in Hamburg, Germany where they finished 2nd. Another 2015 SSL Finalist Brian Ledbetter will be sailing with Eric Ledbetter.

Some younger sailors will also be on the star line tomorrow: Luke Lawrence & Ian Coleman who finished 5th at the 2016 Worlds and 2015 Star Sailors League finalists will be there along with Tomas Hornos (2012 Western Hemisphere Champion and 2013 Star Sailors League finalist) & Stuart MacIntosh.

You can watch the action live tomorrow from 11,40 EST -5 GMT on our stadium at live.starsailors.com

March 6:
Bacardi Cup and BACARDI Miami Sailing Week events kicked off on Saturday night with a highly successful Havana Nights and Casino Party at Coral Reef Yacht Club benefitting Shake-A-Leg Miami, Team Paradise and Sailing Heals. On Sunday afternoon the BACARDI hospitality Village at Regatta Park opened for competitors and guests with 72 Star registering for the event.

Sustained winds welcomed Star sailors to the first day of the 90th Bacardi Cup. One race is scheduled for each day of the 6-days event as part of the BACARDI Miami Sailing Week (BMSW) presented by EFG. Steady winds over 20 knots and with gusts well over 30 knots forced the PRO, Carl Schellbach, to cancel racing for the day. Conditions would certainly have caused masts breakage and competitors were happy to sit out for the day. Forecast looks favorable for the rest of the week, therefore they will have a day with two races with an early start at 11:00AM. “Competitors will have plenty of time to get ready for tonight’s party at the Bacardi HQ,” says event chair Gabriele Pedone. “It will be a special evening and we will celebrate the 90th running of this historic event with great cocktails and memorabilia from this event directly from the Bacardi collection”.

This year the Star Sailors League is assigning to the winner of the Bacardi Cup 3,000 points worth for the SSL Ranking, just like any SSL Grand Slams, to honor the historic regatta and at the same time test what the SSL Sea Grand Slam would be like.

Sailing will resume March 7 for the second day of the 90th Bacardi Cup, probably around 12am EST. You can watch the action LIVE on http://live.starsailors.com; with the latest in hi-tech camera technology, as well as Virtual Eye 3D Graphics and expert commentators both on the water and in studio.

March 7:
Miami delivered a breezy day on the first day of racing following yesterday’s cancellation. With rain clouds over the fleet with steady 20 knots from the east, most of the fleet was over and RC had to call two general recalls. With a black flag waiving, the third start was the charm with Mendelblatt/Liljedal (USA) who took the lead over Jennings/Kleen and VanderMolen/Belco (USA), all fighting for that left side near the pin.

The top two boats at the first leg mark were Vessella/Trinter (USA) followed by Mendelblatt/Liljedal (USA) with Rohart/Ponsot (FRA) who had a great downwind leg and rounded the third mark in first followed by Mendelblatt/Liljedal (USA) who kept fighting for their lead along with Vessella/Trinter (USA). On the second top mark rounding the French duo rounded first in front of the U.S. Mendelblatt/Liljedal team confirming their strengths on gorgeous Biscayne Bay conditions.

With a jibe just before the mark leading to the last upwind leg, Frenchmen Rohart/Ponsot round first followed by Mendelblatt/Liljedal (USA) and Doyle/Infelise (USA). With no apparent stress on board and the sun peaking out, the fleet moves toward the finish line with Rohart/Ponsot finishing on top. “We wanted to be on the right in order to go left and we did have to tack, but wasn’t a big deal as our goal was to be in the top ten at the first mark.” Says Xavier Rohart, SSL President. "We won this race on the first downwind leg which was great and we’ve been practicing a lot in Nassau. On the last leg and towards the end we engaged in an old style match race, but as they (Mendelblatt/Liljedal) were getting closer we stopped and focused on the finish line." Concluded Rohart.

Second place finisher Mark Mendelblatt remarked: "Great race today. We had a great first and second upwind/downwind. The left side was definitely the place to be, the race was there today. We had a great comeback at the end fighting with the French team, but at the end they deserve the win and we'll take a solid second place." Concluded a smiling Mendelblatt.

Third place for Norwegian Melleby/Revkin who have been up there the entire race. "We thought the right side was better today and we went there, but it wasn't. We shifted and the rest of the race was pretty good, but not enough to recover and fight for the top two spots. Overall we're very happy and looking forward to the races to come."

Racing will resume tomorrow with an 11:00AM EST start with two slightly shorter races that you can follow live on live.starsailors.com with great commentating and analysis thanks to Virtual Eye 3D graphics.

This afternoon, BACARDI Happy Hour took place at the BACARDI Village hospitality, in Regatta Park, from 4-6 p.m. Sailors favorite drinks were the Cuban Storm and the Mojito that paired well with good food and sailors stories. Some headed over to CocoWalk to check out the special exhibit.

March 8:
It’s a perfect day in Miami to sail the third day of the Bacardi Cup and get two races in with steady 14 knots ESE. RC moved back the start at 11:00 AM and shortened the distance of today’s first race in order to make up Monday’s cancellation. Today is the last day the Stars will be alone on the bay, as tomorrow the other classes - the J/70, Viper 640, VX One, VX Evo, Flying Tiger and A-Cat classes will begin racing in the 8th BACARDI Miami Sailing Week presented by EFG.

Race 2
Today’s distance was four 1.5 legs for a total of 6 nautical miles. Following a general recall with a black flag start, race 2 began shortly after 11:00 with 69 boats checked in. Misura/Barac (Croatia) took the lead with U.S. Szabo/Natucci in second and Germans Voigt/Stouve in third at the weather mark. All new faces in the top ten of this second race of the week; this is how competitive the regatta is. Szabo/Natucci rounded first the second mark with Misura/Barac second with World Champion Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada in fifth, catching up quickly and rounding the top mark in fourth behind Anosov/Caesar (3rd) Misura/Barac (2nd) and Szabo/Natucci in first. With full breeze back on for the final downwind leg it was smooth sailing for winners George Szabo and Edoardo Natucci. “Following yesterday’s withdrawal we couldn't afford to have another DNF, therefore we wanted to be conservative today.” Said George Szabo. “Our extensive boat repair paid off and we’re very happy of today’s win.” Concludes Szabo. “We started mid-part of the lane,” added Edoardo Natucci “then went left and had a great downwind leg. We then jibed on left and on the lay line, this was the key move.” Marin Misura and Tonco Barac were 2 seconds ahead of Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada. Yesterday winners Rohart/Ponsot finished in 10th, a solid result that allows them to go to the third race leading the overall scoreboard.

Race 3
Race two of the day got underway with the black flag up shortly after 1:00PM for a 5-leg/7.5 miles regatta with 12 knots ESE. U.S. Macdonald/Von Schwarz enjoyed an early lead followed by French Rohart/Ponsot showing a great upwind speed. Fantastic action in the cone of the top mark with Macdonald/Von Schwarz (USA) in first followed by Voigt/Stouve (GER) and Rohart/Ponsot (FRA). With another remarkable downwind leg, the French duo took the lead over Macdonald/Von Schwarz and day one runner-up Mendelblatt/Liljedahl. On a closest race so far, leg 4 began with Rohart/Ponsot in P1 followed by Mendelblatt/Liljedahl and Macdonald/von Schwarz trailing at a very short distance. An exciting three way race to the finish line on this “Big Wednesday”, Mendelblatt/Liljedahl managed to finish first. “Yesterday we made a tactical mistake and Xavier (Rohart) took advantage of the situation, but today the table was turned.” Said Mendelblatt. “At the bottom mark I made a late call, pressure was on the left and we rounded gate on right. This is where we made gains and were able to engage the other two teams and take home the win.”

Second place for the young U.S. Buckingham/Sperry team and third the French duo Rohart/Ponsot (FRA) who had another great day on Biscayne Bay maintaining the top of the overall leaderboard in front of Mendelblatt/Liljedahl and Grael/Goncalves (BRA) who have been very consistent.

Racing will resume tomorrow with an 12:00AM EST start with one longer race that you can follow live on live.starsailors.com with great commentating and analysis thanks to Virtual Eye 3D graphics.

This afternoon, EFG offered a welcome cocktail to the remaining classes at the BACARDI Village hospitality in Regatta Park, followed by BMSW mid-week party where sailors enjoyed great food, exceptional drinks and great music with local favorite band, Havoc 305, who played in front of a 600+ enthusiastic spectators.

March 9:
MIAMI, FLA. (March 9, 2017) - Race Day 4 of the 90th Bacardi Cup Regatta and Race Day 1 of the 8th Annual BACARDI Miami Sailing Week presented by EFG got off to a slow start today for the Stars, but racing was on and then off for the J/70, Viper 640, VX One, VX Evo, A-Cat, Flying Tiger and M24 Classes.

Around 2:00PM the Star Class was set to go, but RC called three general recalls following a two hours holding pattern. Five boats were black flagged while racing resumed also for the other three circles on an average of 7 knots from the east. At the Star top mark Grael/Goncalves (BRA) rounded first followed by Szabo/Natucci and Della Torre/Sacrpatti (ARG) with leaderboard French duo Rohart/Ponsot in seventh. With a steady breeze and on the rise all circles were in full race mode it was a beautiful sight to see over 150 boats racing.

With two legs to go it’s a phenomenal battle for first between Grael/Goncalves and Szabo/Natucci with Diaz/Prada in third and Rohart/Ponsot in sixth. In the final upwind leg the Brazilian team will be protecting the lead by keeping the boat speed, while Szabo/Natucci tried to catch-up trying different strategies, but wasn’t enough. Behind them solid run of Diaz/Prada (USA).

“The waiting period prior to the start created anticipations to get going, but RC made a good call in holding the start.” Commented Lars Grael. “It would have bee a lottery race, but luckily it wasn’t… it was light but fair.” Concluded today’s winner. In the overall we now have Mark Mandelblatt/Liljedahl followed by Xavier Rohart/Ponsot and Augie Diaz/Prada jumping to third.

March 10:
Race Day 5 of the 90th Bacardi Cup Regatta and Race Day 2 of the eighth Annual BACARDI Miami Sailing Week presented by EFG got off to a slow start today with an onshore postponement for every class. Once racing got underway, regattas were held in a southeasterly breeze that started at 8 knots around 1:30PM and kept steady the entire afternoon.

Key day for the Bacardi Cup leaderboard, it was important to have as much advantage as possible in view of tomorrow’s final day. With consistent 8 knots wind, boats were off at 2:15 with a pin start as today’s favorite. Diaz/Prada were black-flagged and it was a great disappointment for the World Champion and third placeholder coming in today’s regatta.

At the weather mark Doyle/Infelise rounded first followed by Vessella/Trinter and Merkelbach/Lambertenghi in third. At the second gate for the second upwind leg U.S.A. MacCausland/Cheer rounded first followed by Brazilian Demaison/Lopes and Swiss Dannesboe/Bonhoeffer with Frenchmen Rohart/Ponsot on the rise. The currents played a big role and the teams that better understood them were able to make gains.

MacCausland/Cheer were able to hold on to first followed by Doyle/Infelise, Buckingham/Sperry and you guess it, Mendelblatt/Liljedah, Grael/Gonçalves and Rohart/Ponsot in fifth. Once in the cone of the last gate tactics played a big role with an eye on today’s race and an eye on the bigger prize.

MacCausland/Cheer rounded first while Mendelblatt/Liljedah, Grael/Gnclaves and Rohart/Ponsot were looking at the bigger picture. With a drag racing to the finish line Charlie Buckingham and Austin Sperry take the gun followed by MacCausland/Cheer, Rohart/Ponsot in third that came up from the mid 20’s earlier in the race. “Our boat was perfectly set-up today, clean lines and we kept boat moving nicely.” Said Buckingham. “ We pointed well, we were just fast!” added Sperry.

As far as the overall standing Mendelblatt/Liljedah are leading with 13 points followed by Rohart/Ponsot with 15 and Szabo/Natucci with 18.

Magnus Liljedahl and Mark Mendelblatt

March 11:
Mark Mendelblatt and Magnus Liljedahl (USA) are the winners
of the Bacardi Cup 2017.

The 90th edition for the prestigious trophy ended in Biscayne Bay with a general recall at 12.58, leaving no time for the Race Committee to start another racing sequence, before the cut-off time.

It’s the 3rd Bacardi Cup of Mark Mendelblatt’s career and the 6th for his crew: “A win is a win, and it feels good even with no racing today” said an enthusiastic Magnus Liljedahl. “It’s so good to win such a prestigious event, I am incredibly happy” added the Coconut Grove based skipper Mendelblatt.

Second spot went to the French duo, Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot, who now lead the SSL Ranking, for both Skipper and Crew. George Szabo (USA) and Edoardo Natucci (ITA) are third for the Bacardi Cup, earning valuable points towards the SSL Finals 2017.

The breeze build up shortly before 1:00pm today with 7 knots from NNE and the RC got the boats on the starting line with the black flag up. Unfortunately too many boats were over and PRO was forced to call a general recall that caused an automatic abandon as per SI rule 6.1 that stated no racing after 13:00.

Mark Mendelblatt / Magnus Liljedahl (USA 8481) won the 90th Bacardi Cup Regatta! The dynamic duo automatically became the winners ahead of Xavier Rohart / Pierre Alexis PONSOT (FRA8237) and of George Szabo / Eduardo Natucci (USA 8320) who were today’s light air favorite. “The breezed filled in nicely and we were all eager to start.” Said Mark Mendelblatt. “We did not have a great start and we were happy for the recall, but soon after we realized that the cutoff time arrived. I did the Bacardi Cup ten times and Miami is my town, I’m extremely happy to have won this prestigious regatta and would like to thank Bacardi, it’s great!” added Mendelblatt. Magnus Liljedahl was also very happy and commented: “Would have been nicer to win it after today’s race, but I’ll take the win… a win is a win! I’m feeling better than earlier this week, Star sailing is a good workout, but most of all I’m happy to go out there and learn every time.” Concluded Liljedahl. Mark Mendelblatt is a previous 2-time winner (2005 and 2013) and Magnus Liljedahl has won it 6 times as crew.

Second place winners Xavier Rohart (FRA) and Pierre Alexis Ponsot (FRA) are now leading the SSL Ranking followed by George Szabo (skipper) and Sergio Lambertenghi (crew) in second and by Diego Negri (skipper) and Bruno Prada (Crew) in third. Details can be found at www.starsailors.com, the SSL Ranking will be updated as usual on Tuesday.

Third place for George Szabo (USA) and Edoardo Natucci (ITA) (USA 8320), they would have had a great chance to bring the Cup home on a light day like today. For everyone there is still the chance to compete and win the Cup in 2018 that is scheduled for March 4th to the 11th, 2018.

Top 5 Overall:
USA8481 Mark Mendelblatt and Magnus Liljedahl – 13 pts
FRA 8237 Xavier Rohart and Pierre Alexis Ponsot – 15 pts
USA 8320 George Szabo and Eduardo Natucci – 18 pts
BRA 8474 Lars Grael and Samuel Goncalves – 20 pts
USA 8509 Augie Diaz / Bruno Prada – 23 pts

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