Star World Champion Hamish Pepper and Crew David Giles Win 2007 Bacardi Cup
By Janet Maizner
New Zealand’s Hamish Pepper, the current Star Class World and North American champion, sailing this week with his crew and coach David Giles of Australia, won the 2007 Bacardi Cup Star Class Regatta Friday on the waters of Biscayne Bay, near Miami.
Despite the duo’s seventh place in today’s final race of the six-day series, Pepper and Giles held on to their first place overall to win the coveted Trofeo Bacardi in one of the most prestigious Star Class events in the world.
Sweden’s Fredrik Loof and Anders Ekstrom, reigning Rolex Miami Olympic Class Regatta champions, finished third today and climbed to second in the overall standings.
German sailors Matthias Miller and crew Manuel Voight won Friday’s Day Six race, just ahead of their countrymen Marc Pickel and crew Ingo Borkowski who took second place honors. With their Day Six victory, Miller and Voigt edge out Bermuda’s Peter Bromby, a two-time Bacardi Cup champion, and crew Bill McNiven for sixth place in the final standings, while Pickel and Borkowski finish the regatta in fifth overall.
Poland’s Mateusz Kusznierewicz, the 1996 Olympic gold medalist in the Finn Class, and crew Dominik Zycki finished 11th Friday and drop to third in the final standings, while Australia’s Iain Murray and crew Andrew Palfrey finished fourth Friday and remain in fourth overall.
“We were stuck in the middle,” said Kusznierewicz. “Pepper and Loof got a shift from the right and the other guys got it from the left. It was tough out for us out there today.”
Loof and Ekstrom led at the third mark, followed closely by Pepper and Giles, although both boats would be overtaken by a late charge from the fleet. At the fourth and final mark, five boats separated the overall leaders, but Loof and Ekstrom simply could not put any additional boats between them.
“We couldn’t shake him,” said Loof. “[Pepper] was just counting boats and staying close to us.”
“When [Loof] and I were in the lead, I thought it would be easier, but all of a sudden, the pressure came off and we were swallowed up by a bunch of other guys,” said Pepper. “That’s when it started getting tricky. It was a tough, long race. To win a Bacardi Cup is special. [Giles] has seen so many other people drink from that cup; now it’s our turn,” he added.
The prestigious Trofeo Bacardi was presented to the winners dockside where skipper, crew and Jose “Tito” Argamasilla Bacardi, the retired former vice president of public relations at Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., drank Bacardi Rum from the Cup in an annual tradition that dates back to the first Bacardi Cup Regatta sailed in Cuba in the 1927.
David Giles was presented with the “Tito Bacardi” Cup, a special cup that was created last year to honor the crew of the winning team.
Hamish & Giles win the 80th Annual Bacardi Cup
by Lynn Pitzpatrick
With a sly grin, Hamish Pepper said, “Got to love it!” referring to his season here in Miami, which started with a victory at the North Americans and ended with another at the 80th Annual Bacardi Cup. It sounds trite, but we had another day in Paradise. We sailed out an hour earlier today than usual with whispy cirrus clouds overhead and an 8-10 knot breeze from the ENE.
Everyone has had a wonderful time on the water and on shore. Harry Walker, who is 87 years young and who started sailing Stars 71 years ago, is competing in his 33rd Bacardi Cup. He “loves them all. They all have been tremendous.” He could not be more pleased with his average score of a 54 going into the final race and with his crew, Daren Jensen’s performance.
The highlight of the regatta and the season was watching the nail-biting drama unfold as Freddie Loof and Anders Ekstrom hunted down Jock Kohlaus and Larry Scott during the second race of the Bacardi Cup. The applause for the two Corinthians, sporting their khakis, blue blazers and white shirts and Jock’s classic bow tie, during the mid-week prize giving at Coral Reef Yacht Club was heartfelt and well deserved.
Going into the final day, the top three American teams were virtually tied for tenth, so in addition to watching for changes in the regattas standings among the leaders, many of the spectators were keeping an eye out for Americans George Szabo and Magnus Lijikahl, John MacCausland and Bob Schofield and John Dane and Austin Sperry.
Observing boats checking the wind before the start, it seemed as if the right was favored. Pepper/Giles, Bromby/McNiven and Loof/Ekstrom were at the committee boat end of the line. A few minutes after the start, Loof/Ekstrom took Pepper/Giles’ stern. In the meantime, Kusznierewicz/ Zycki looked to have the lead from the middle right. The Swiss, Germans and Italians were in the same vicinity as the Poles as the horsetails knitted together over the right and sunshine remained over the center of the course. Two sunburned Dutchmen, Sander Jorrisen and Erik Veldhuizen came out of the middle left to round the weather mark first. Pepper/Giles followed with Americans Andy Macdonald and Brian Fatih and Australians Iain Murray and Andrew Palfrey ahead of a long line of boats at the offset mark.
During the first run, the Dutch remained to the left to retain the lead and round the left leeward gate along with Macdonald/Fatih. Pepper/Giles and Loof/Ekstrom took the right gate. Kusznierewicz/Zycki rounded the right gate just behind Dane/Sperry in fifth and sixth, respectively.
Loof/Ekstrom jumped out in the lead by staying a little to the left up the second beat in clean air and pressure and rounded the second weather mark thirty seconds ahead of Pepper/Giles. As the wind dropped, shifty conditions jumbled up the fleet. Germans Marc Pickel and Ingo Borkowski, Americans Vince Brun and Doug Brophy, Italians Luca Modena and Michele Marchesini played the middle left to pass Macdonald/Fatih as they fleet approached the second weather mark.
While the Stars spread out going downwind, the Etchells, sailing the Coral Reef Cup, were further to the north on Biscayne Bay heading upwind. Positions changed on the run and on the final beat of the regatta. The winner of the final race was Germany’s Matthias Miller and Manuel Voigt. Another German boat, sailed by Marc Pickel and Ingo Borkowski was second across the line and Freddie Loof and Anders Ekstrom were third. They were only able to put four points on Hamish Pepper and David Giles, who finished seventh. Iain Murray and Andrew Palfrey were fourth across the line and finished the regatta in fourth place. Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki sailed their throwout and fell behind Freddie Loof and Anders Ekstrom in the regatta standings.
As far as the race among the three American teams who were virtually tied for tenth going into the final race. John Dane and Austin Sperry won that race and finished the regatta in eleventh.
Star World Champion Hamish Pepper Locks in Lead,Poland’s Mateusz Kusznierewicz Wins Day Five Race
By Janet Maizner
The two teams had been tied for the overall lead heading into Thursday’s race. However, because sailors drop their worst of five finishes today, the victory assures Kusznierewicz and Zycki second in the overall standings, six points behind Pepper and Giles. Today was Pepper’s only finish out of the top three this week.
Sweden’s Fredrik Loof and crew Anders Ekstrom, the 2007 Rolex Miami Olympic Class Regatta champions, finished third today and climb to third overall, only one point behind Kusznierewicz and Zycki.
“”We’re just gonna go for it tomorrow,” said Loof. “We hope the two top teams are so occupied with each other that we can surprise them both.”
Meanwhile, Australia’s Iain Murray and crew Andrew Palfrey were disqualified for an early start Thursday and fall to fourth overall. Bermuda’s Peter Bromby, a two-time Bacardi Cup champion who sails this week with crew Bill McNiven, also was disqualified for an early start and remains in fifth overall.
Pepper and Giles showed good speed off the starting line and rounded the first mark in the lead, just ahead of Kusznierewicz and Zycki. The Polish team proved faster downwind today and would round the remaining three marks ahead of Pepper and Giles.
With a commanding lead heading into the final leg, Kusznierewicz and Zycki protected well against an aggressive attack from Pepper and Giles, who made substantial gains upwind, but could not overtake the Polish team for the win.
“We’re faster than Pepper downwind, but he’s faster upwind,” said Kusznierewicz. “When there are no big winds and no big waves, like today, we can maintain good speed upwind. But it was the small things that played in our favor today; we were very tactical and our technique was sound.”
“I think we’ve secured a top three, but we want to win,” he added. Both [Pepper] and [Loof] have a bad discard, so we have to be prepared for a good fight tomorrow. At least no one can sit out the final race.”
Two American teams are in the top overalls today with 49 points each: John Dane and Austin Sperry in 10th place and George Szabo and Magnus Liljedahl in 11th place.
Experience beats Seasoned Veteran and Rising Star
By Lynn Fitzpatrick
At the final leeward mark Experience lead, Seasoned Veteran was second and Rising Star was third. Translation – John Dane and Austin Sperry, Sally’s father and husband, were in first. The pair is currently ranked first on the US Olympic Team. Unlike some of the other teams vying to represent the US in the Star Class, this team should remain cemented together through the trials. Trinity Yachts, the Gulf Coast’s post-Katrina recovery poster child, is taking orders for delivery in 2010. (He has a bit of time on his hands given Trinity’s order back log.) They won the Bacardi Cup in 2004.
Mark Reynolds and Hal Haenel were in second place. Mark has won two gold stars, has represented the US four times in the Star Class at the Olympics, and has won two Olympic gold medals and one silver medal. Tito Bacardi has presented the Trofeo Bacardi to Mark seven times; the record for the event. Hal Haenel has won an Olympic gold medal, an Olympic silver medal and one gold star. Tito has also shaken Hal’s hand as a crew, more times than any other crew’s (three times). Thanks to Mark’s Quantum loft in San Diego, with the help of George Szabo, there are more Quantum sails in the fleet than any other.
Now as for age in the fleet – so as not to give away any secrets, I’ll use combined age. Sunday’s winners – 71, Monday’s winners – 117, Tuesday’s winners - 78, Wednesday’s winners – 99, Harry Walker (Exalted Grand Master) and Darren Jensen – 125. More on age later this week. I’m sure that we’ll sort out which team is the combined oldest and which is the youngest by the end of the regatta. Once they start sailing a Star, they’re hooked forever.
By the time I wandered up to the finish line, Rising Star had overtaken Seasoned Veteran and Experience retained the lead.
I’m keeping an eye on Ian Murray. He hasn’t been in the limelight, but he’s been consistent and is always threatening the leaders, especially on the downwind legs. Prof O’Connell, the winning Irish skipper of the first race had back problems and headed in before the second general recall. Only one boat was scored ZFP after three attempts to get off a start.
Bacardi Cup Day 4 –
1. Dane/Sperry 2. Kusznierewicz/Zycki. 3. Reynolds/Haenal. 4. Melleby/Pedersen. 5. Bromby/McNiven.
Defending Bacardi Cup Champions John Dane and Austin Sperry Win Day Four, Star World Champion Hamish Pepper and David Giles Tie for Overall Lead
By Janet Maizner
The father and son-in-law tandem of John Dane and crew Austin Sperry, the defending 2006 Bacardi Cup and 2006 Star Class Western Hemisphere champions, won the fourth race of the 2007 Bacardi Cup Star Class Regatta off the coast of Miami Wednesday. With the victory, they climb to 14th in the overall standings heading into the final two races of the regatta.
Poland’s Mateusz Kusznierewics, the 1996 Olympic gold medalist in the Finn Class, and crew Dominik Zycki finished second Wednesday, followed by seven-time Bacardi Cup Champion Mark Reynolds and crew Hal Haenel in third. Rounding up the top five were Norway’s Eivind Melleby with crew Petter Pedersen and two-time Bacardi Cup Champion Peter Bromby of Bermuda with crew Bill McNiven.
Dane and Sperry showed good speed off the starting line and rounded each of the first two marks in the top 10, while Reynolds and Haenel built a commanding early lead. Dane and Sperry held the left side and manufactured consistent gains throughout the race. A wind shift on the final downwind leg helped them to overtake Reynolds and Haenel and take a clear lane to the finish.
“On the second beat, we started protecting the right side – that’s how we got the good early lead,” said Reynolds. “But the attack came from the left. Then on the final leg, we were reaching coming up to the finish. The winds shifted in our favor, but just a little too much. Downwind, we just weren’t as fast; and you can’t cover Dane, Bromby, and Kusznierewicz all at the same time.”
The reigning World and North American Star Class Champion Hamish Pepper of New Zealand and his crew David Giles of Australia finished 16th, dropping to a tie with Kusznierewicz and Zycki for the overall lead. Australia’s Iain Murray with crew Andrew Palfrey finished eighth today and remains in third overall. Beginning Thursday, sailors drop their worst of six finishes to determine the overall leaders.
“We were having a lot more fun last year,” said Sperry, who with Dane held the overall lead at the midway point of the 2006 Bacardi Cup Regatta. “We can only drop one of our two bad races this week, so we’re out of the title hunt this year; but with a couple of big races tomorrow and Friday, we can finish in the top 10.”
Hammish & Co. Come Out On Top
By Lynn Fitzpatrick
Argentina's Fabian MacGowan and Federico Engelhard managed to hold onto the lead around the first weather mark, the first leeward mark and all the way up the second beat. That’s a long time to stay composed when you have Loof/Ekstrom, Szabo/Liljedahl, Pepper/Giles, Miller/Voigt and Kusznierewicz/Zycki to hold off. Heading up the top of the second weather leg it was clear that each of the top four boats wanted to protect the right. Pepper/Giles bowed out of the tacking drill and stayed to leeward while Loof/Ekstrom kept trying to get to the right of MacGowan/Englehard. At the top of the beat MacGowan/Engelhard was ahead and Pepper/Giles crossed Loof/Ekstrom to tack onto the starboard layline.
The regatta leaders arrived at the dock smiling. Pepper said that Giles made him look good as the breeze came up. “They’re the ones with the medals” he said referring to his coach and crew, “I’m still trying to get my first”. Coach, Aaron McIntosh and crew, David Giles each have an Olympic bronze medal. McIntosh won the bronze in board sailing at the Sydney games and Giles won his in the Star Class at the Atlanta games. Annabel, the other member of Hammish & Co., is in Valencia providing updates to all of the Star sailors missing out on the 80th Annual Bacardi Cup and Magnus Liljedhal’s birthday while they practice with their America’s Cup teams. Ian Percy, Andrew Simpson, Carl Anderson, Mark Mendleblatt, Mark Strube, Andy Horton, Phillippe Presti, Francesco Bruni, Phil Trinter, Torben Grael and Paul Cayard – we miss you and hope you’ll be in Miami for next year’s Star Worlds.
Bacardi Cup Third Day Results-
1. Pepper/Giles – NZL. 2. Loof/Ekstrom – SWE. 3. Domingos/Santos – 3 pts. 4. Szabo/Liljedhal – USA. 5. Dannesboe/Heinonen – SUI. 6. Murray/Palfrey – AUS. 7. Kusznierewicz/Zycki. 8. Pickel/Borowski – GER. 9. MacGowan/ Engelhard – ARG. 10. Bromby/McNiven – BER.
1. Pepper/Giles – NZL, 6 pts. 2. Loof/Ekstrom – SWE, 12 pts. 3. Murray/Palfrey – AUS, 17 pts. 4. Kusznierewicz/Zycki – POL, 20 pts. 5. Bromby/McNiven – BER, 26 pts.
Pepper Solidifies Overall Lead in Quest for First Bacardi Cup Title
By Janet Maizner, Bacardicup.com
Defending Star Class World and North American Champion Hamish Pepper of New Zealand, sailing this week with his coach and crew David Giles, won the third of six scheduled daily races at the 2007 Bacardi Cup Regatta on the waters of Biscayne Bay.
The Kiwi victory increases their overall lead to six points ahead of Sweden’s Fredrik Loof and crew Anders Ekstrom, the defending Rolex Miami OCR champions, who finished second.
Pepper and Giles attacked the right side of the course on the first windward leg and rounded both the first and second marks in fourth place behind Argentina’s Fabian MacGowan and crew Federico Engelhard, Loof/Ekstrom, and George Szabo with crew Magnus Liljedahl.
The New Zealanders engineered considerable gains on the third leg, rounding the third mark in second place behind MacGowan/Engelhard, who fell out of the lead on the subsequent fourth leg. Pepper/Giles then tacked aggressively towards the final mark, taking the inside line away from Loof/Ekstrom, who allowed them to slip by to avoid a penalty.
“We chose the right side from the start, and that proved to be the correct side today,” said Pepper, a Laser Class veteran who has taken the Stars by storm since his debut in the class just over a year ago. “We jibed just ahead of [MacGowan] on the fourth leg and got phenomenal left-hand pressure. We just took it from him, but that’s racing. He’ll be upset he missed that shift.”
Today’s race was sailed in winds that escalated from 10 to 15 knots out of the North/Northeast and followed a traditional windward-leeward course.
Szabo and Liljedahl, an Olympic Gold medalist who is celebrating his birthday today, held third position off the starting line and through the second mark. They dropped to a fourth place finish, which moves them up to seventh overall. “We had a few lucky breaks today that we didn’t get yesterday,” said Liljedahl, who is sailing in his and his 15th Bacardi Cup, “and we’re looking for three more good finishes to put us in the top five.”
America’s Cup veteran Iain Murray and crew Andrew Palfrey of Australia finished sixth and keep their third place overall, while Poland’s Mateusz Kusznierewicz and crew Dominik Zycki crossed the finish just behind them and keep their fourth position overall.
2004 Bacardi Cup champions Afonso Domingos and crew Bernardo Santos of Portugal took third in today’s race moving them up to 33rd place overall. Even though their chances of winning were obliterated by a black flag on Day 1 and a 28th place finish on Day 2, Santos remains optimistic about finishing in the top 15.
Following a slow start, defending Bacardi Cup Champions John Dane and crew Austin Sperry finished 30th and are currently ranked 22nd in the overall standings.
Where did 8043 come from?
By Lynn Fitzpatrick
Jock Kohlaus and Larry Scott rounded the first weather mark in fifth in the company of Ian Murray, Freddie Loof, Mark Reynolds, Flavio Marazzi and their crews. They passed a boat or two on the run. The right leeward gate was favored and the first three teams went right to avoid the approaching downwind traffic. The wind freshened from the right and the team among the leaders which favored the right the most, Jock and Larry in 8043, found themselves with a jump on Ian Murray that was the length of a football field at the crossing two-thirds of the way up the beat.
Positions throughout the fleet shifted quiet a bit in the fickle winds. As they approached the second weather mark Kohlaus/Scott were well ahead of Loof/Ekstrom, Museler/ Lidecis, Marazzi/Hofert, and Murray/Palfrey. They extended the lead on the run with everybody cheering for them as they rounded the leeward mark. It was up to them to loosely cover the past Star World Championship team of Loof and Ekstrom. Loof and Ekstrom tried to draw them into a tacking duel, but the leaders tried to minimize their tacks against the strong Swedes. Spectators held their collective breath as Jock and Larry barely crossed Freddie and Anders on port within one hundred yards of the finish line. The Swedes tried to ground them down by hiking with their hands over their heads. In the end Jock and Larry nosed out Freddie and Larry.
1. Pepper/Giles, NZL, 2,3 -5. 2. Loof/Ekstrom, SWE, 8,2 – 10. 3. Murray/Plafrey, AUS, 6,5 10. 4. Kusznierewicz, Zycki, POL, 4,9 13. 5. Miller/Voigt, GER 7,7 14. 6. Bromby/McNiven, BER 5, 11 16. 7. Marazzi/Hofer 14,4 18. 8. Kohlaus/Scott 23,1 24. 9. Melleby/Pederson NOR 12,14 26. 10. Modena/Marchesini ITA 11, 18. 29.
Irish Sailors Maurice O’Connell & Ben Cooke Win Day One at 2007 Bacardi Cup Regatta
by Janet Maizner, Bacardi Cup
The Irish sailing team of Maurice O’Connell and crew Ben Cooke finished first in day one of sailing in the 80th Annual Bacardi Cup Star Class Regatta.
The Irish team finished 10 seconds ahead of New Zealand’s Hamish Pepper, the reigning World and North American Star Class champion, who sails this week with his crew and coach David Giles. Germany’s Robert Stanjek, the 2005 Star Eastern Hemisphere champion, and his crew Frithjof Kleen, finished third.
A total of 20 teams, nearly a quarter of the fleet, were black-flagged and disqualified for early starts in shifty winds that forced two course changes throughout the day. O’Connell and Cooke were among only a handful of boats that chose the right side of the course at the start. An early tack proved to be difference as the Irish duo led at every mark.
“We saw a big, black cloud forming on the right side and wanted to go right on the first beat,” said O’Connell. “As soon as we had the opportunity, we tacked. We were fortunate that many of the boats closest to us were black-flagged, giving us a little breathing space. Everything looked rosy from there. We were very surprised that most of the other boats chose the left side.”
More than 80 teams representing 23 countries are competing in the six-day regatta, which is widely regarded as one of the best and most competitive Star Class events in the world.
“The Bacardi Cup just has an iconic prestige – this cache – that everybody wants to win it. This regatta brings out the best Star sailors in the world,” added O’Connell.
The Irish duo bested a fleet that included Peter Bromby, one of most acclaimed Bermudian sailors of all-time and a two-time Bacardi Cup champion; George Szabo, former North American champion in both the Star and Laser classes; and 2004 World Star Champion Fredrik Loof. Defending Bacardi Cup Champions John Dane and crew Austin Sperry finished ninth Sunday with five races to go in the regatta.
The Bacardi Cup Star Class Regatta is co-hosted by the Coral Reef Yacht Club and the U.S. Sailing Center, both based in Coconut Grove, and is sponsored by BACARDI U.S.A., Inc.
All participants compete aboard 22-foot Olympic-class Star sloops, and race teams comprise two members: a skipper and crew. Bacardi Cup participants sail one race per day from Sunday through Friday on a 10.5-mile course in Biscayne Bay. Sailors are allowed to drop their worst performance of the six races in the regatta.
Prof O’Connell Outsmarts the Rest of the Bacardi Fleet
by Lynn Fitzpatrick, Miami Regattas
All week long I kept asking Prof O’Connell who was going fast during practice sessions out on the Bay and he kept saying “we’re sailing pretty fast” or “we’re doing well” or “we won the practice race”. Knowing Prof, I could tell that he was pleased with practice, but I couldn’t tell whether he was telling the truth. Prof has been campaigning hard for the past two years but took some time off after the 2006 Worlds, regrouped and started sailing with an old friend, Ben Cooke.
Prof and Ben sailed together for the first time during this year’s Rolex Miami OCR and started the series with a top ten finish. They sailed well until Prof threw out his back and the pair retired from the series. Today they rounded the first weather mark in the lead, gybed and extended their lead down the leeward leg. By the bottom mark, Prof and Ben had about at 200 yard lead on Hamish Pepper and David Giles. The Kiwis closed the gap up the next beat and down the final run. With a freshening breeze and sun to the east, Prof and Ben flawlessly rounded the right gate while Hamish went for a quick swim as he rounded the left gate. Thankfully, while he did his back flip he hooked the main sheet with his feet and managed to pull himself hand over hand back onto the boat.
Hamish and Giles tried to draw Prof and Ben back to the middle of the course, but after about 25 tacks up the final beat, and the Irishmen maintained their lose cover and crossed the line ahead of the Kiwis.
A record 23 boats were black flagged and sailed back to Coconut Grove after making their way to the first weather mark. Needless to say, many are filing for redress.
# # #
Overall Skipper/Crew Boat Day 1 Day
1.O'Connell/Cooke ( IRL)
2. Hamish/Giles (NZL)
3. Stanjek/Kleen (GER)
4. Mateusz/Zycki (POL)
5. Bromby/McNiven (BER)
6. Murray/Palfrey (AUS)
7. Miller/Voigt (GER)
9. Dane/Sperry (USA)
10. Pickel/Borkowski (GER)
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