|District 20 Regatta Report|| |
Mon Mar 4th, 2013 through Sat Mar 9th, 2013
Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih. Photo: BMSW/Cory Silken.
Report by Jan Harley, Media Pro International:
86th BACARDI Cup Underway on Biscayne Bay
"Today's conditions were very tough, difficult to predict due to light wind and very shifty, ' said Lars Grael, Brazil's two-time ('88, '96) Tornado Olympic Medalist, after he and crew Marco Lagoa won the day's lone race. "The RC did its best to get a good start. We were able to round the first mark in first and then able to get a good lead at the end of the downwind leg. The RC shortened the course and we managed to keep the lead until the end. Good competition out there against the Irish [skipper Peter O'Leary] and Augie Diaz (Miami, Fla.). Overall, [it was] a difficult day as it was very hard to predict the wind."
O'Leary, who crossed the finish line in second with crew Rodney Hagebols (AUS), concurred with Grael’s assessment. "Second in today's conditions is not bad at all. We had a good start but after the first mark we never thought we could catch Lars. We will try to keep going strong and get single digit results and we might have a chance to finish first."
Local Miami sailing star Augie Diaz, the 2003 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, was happy with the third-place finish he earned with crew Arnis Baltins. "A top-10 is hard to get at the Bacardi Cup! Except for Lars, who was leading with a good margin, everyone else in the top 10 was racing competitively. Too early to say who will win the Cup, but Lars and Peter will be tough to beat. It's no accident they are first and second today, I think they are the favorites."
Opening BACARDI Miami Sailing Week was the inaugural PRO-Am Charity Regatta which featured Diaz and Grael, along with defending Bacardi Cup Champion Xavier Rohart, 2009 Star World Champion George Szabo (San Diego, Calif.) and Melges 32 National Champion Jeff Ecklund at the helm of five Sonars on loan from Team Paradise. Sixteen people made donations to be aboard as crew for the day, with Sailing Heals, Shake-A-Leg Miami and Team Paradise coming out the winners as proceeds from the event went to benefit those organizations.
Grael and Lagoa Retain Lead
"Races were similar to yesterday although the second race overall was more gentle," said Grael. "On the first race today we did a wrong jibe and we rounded the mark fifth, closed the downwind leg 25th and finished 12th; it was a difficult race for us. Second race of the day started well, we rounded the mark first and protected the position. While fighting with Xavier Rohart we managed to keep a good gap with the rest of the field. Overall we're happy because competition is tough and we're competing against Augie Diaz who is a local sailor and I believe has the home advantage."
Diaz, with crew Arnis Baltins, is just three points out of first place and knows winning this championship will come down to more than local knowledge.
"The first race was difficult, but we managed to do well," said Diaz of the win of today's first race. "We had better opportunities and with a little bit of luck we were able to round the weather mark third and then take the lead to the end. Second race of the day was more challenging because we decided to go on the right side of the course while the wind went left; I'm therefore happy with a 10th place. I have a lot of respect for Lars because he is very good in all conditions and in all venues. I don't think I have a big edge by being local; really not as big an edge as he might think I have."
Third overall are the defending champions Xavier Rohart and Serge Pulfer (FRA), who placed 6-2 today, a strong recovery from yesterday’s finish of 25. They carry eight points and are followed in fourth by the Italian team of Diego Negri and Frithjof Kleen whose scoreline of 13-3-9 totals 12 points. Rounding out fifth in the standings is Irish Olympian Peter O’Leary and Rodney Hagebols who have 13.5 points after finishes of 2.5-36-11.
MANLY DAY ON BISCAYNE BAY
"Windy for sure today, 20 plus average," said Irish Olympian Peter O'Leary, who won the race. "Once we got going it was a proper Bacardi Cup regatta in which we stretched legs and hiked hard. The main challenge of the day was to stay in pressure and take advantage of the big breeze. We rounded the last mark in third and were able to beat the Italians on the line."
Lars Grael and Marco Lagoa (BRA) finished third in the race allowing them to increase the point spread while continuing their hold on first place in the overall standings with 17 points. The Italian team of Diego Negri and Frithjof Kleen finished second in the race and are just nine points out of first. They are followed in the overall standings by 2003 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Augie Diaz (Miami, Fla.) and Arnis Baltins, who added a 22 to their previous finishes of 3-1-10 for 36 points. Alessandro Pascolato and Henry Boening (BRA) are fourth overall with finishes of 18-8-6-8 for 40 points, and the Canadian team of Brian Cramer and Cam Lymburner round out the top five with 9-7-18-7 for 41 points.
"I have not been racing since last April and needed to dust off the first two days and find the confidence that is needed to race in this highly competitive regatta,” said Diego Negri. "Our results are on the rise and I think we're doing a fine job and having fun at the same time. This is my third Bacardi Cup and I'm enjoying it very much. Lars is a very tough competitor. He is one of the best in the world and has shown he is able to race well in both light and stronger wind conditions. I'm looking forward to keep having fun and post good results. If the wind will be as today, I think we might have a chance to win the Cup. It would be a significant achievement."
Although Irish Olympian Peter O'Leary and Rodney Hagebols won today's race, they still carry 36 points earned in race two of the series (once five races have been completed, the scores will reflect each yacht discarding her worst race). With 50 points, they currently stand eighth overall, seven points behind defending champions Xavier Rohart and Serge Pulfer(FRA).
Penultimate Shake Up
"We're happy of the win and we're surprised to be in it for the Cup," said Mendelblatt who won the Bacardi Cup in 2005. "We're very happy! We had light conditions at the start with eight to nine knots; we had a decent start and got swallowed out there by other boats. We were fortunate to get moving again and with some luck we ended up going the right way. At one point we were pinned by other boats and forced to go straight which ended up being the best way. There are five or six boats within a few points and tomorrow we will try to put some of them in between and try again to win the race. Having a shot at the Cup is such an honor!" Lars Grael and Marco Lagoa (BRA), who have led the overall Star standings throughout the series, retain the top position despite finishes of 6-32 today for a net 23 points. Mendelblatt and Fatih are second overall with 25 points, followed by Rohart and Pulfer with 26. Diego Negri and Frithjof Kleen (ITA) are fourth with 28 points, followed by 2003 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Augie Diaz (Miami, Fla.) and Arnis Baltins with 29 points. The tight point spread among the top-five teams will surely set the stage for an intense final day of racing.
Mendelblatt And Fatih Take the Cup
"We started [the series] not in the best way, but we turned it around," said Mendelblatt, who previously won the Bacardi Cup in 2005. "t was a disappointing start and it was my fault for not having a good first race. After that we've been very consistent with low scores. We won the last two races and everything went our way. Winning the Cup again means a lot to me; it's really great because winning any big Star regatta is not easy at all! I am very happy to have had Brian with me. He is a great crew and wanted to have his name on the Tito Bacardi trophy. The Bacardi Cup is a great event and now, with the addition of all the other classes, it's even more satisfying."
Mendelblatt and Fatih, who represented the USA in the Star class at the 2012 Olympics, won the single race contested by the 56 Star teams on the final day of the series to move to the top of the standings with 26 points. Lars Grael and Marco Lagoa (BRA), who had been atop the overall standings throughout the week, took second overall with 30 points after placing seventh in the race. Defending champion Xavier Rohart (FRA) ended the series tied on points with Grael after finishing the race in fourth place to take third in the overall standings. The only change for Diego Negri and Frithjof Kleen (ITA) or 2003 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Augie Diaz (Miami, Fla.) and Arnis Baltins, was in the point totals as both retained their positions in the top-five with, respectively, 33 and 41 points.
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