BACARDI CUP – Conditions were near perfect as 51 teams of Star sailors headed out on Biscayne Bay for the first day of racing in the 85th BACARDI Cup. Headlining BACARDI Miami Sailing Week (BMSW) presented by EFG Bank, the Stars will race alone through Thursday, March 8, after which they will be joined by the Viper 640, Audi Melges 20, Melges 24 and J/80 classes. Racing will conclude for all classes on Saturday, March 10.
The Star class has only one race scheduled each day and today’s series opener took place under cloudy skies with a northerly breeze in the mid teens. The Austrian team of five-time Olympian Hans Spitzauer, sailing with Gerd Habermueller, who had raced in Miami during the Rolex Miami OCR in late January, determined that they wanted to be on the right side of the course today. As the scoreboard attests, it proved to be a good move right from the start.
“Excellent day of sailing due to the winds, just perfect for the first day of this Bacardi Cup anniversary event!,” said a very happy Spitzauer after racing today. “We made a really good choice, and extended to take the lead. Today was a really good race for us, we had a great lead, we were pushed by others but today was our day.”
Finishing second were 2011 US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) members Andrew Campbell (San Diego, Calif.) and Ian Coleman (Annapolis, Md.), who finished 14th at the Star World Championship in Australia this past December. Third across the line was the Ukranian team of Arthur Anosov and Vitali Kushnir, followed by 2006 Etchells World Champion and Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Jud Smith (Marblehead, Mass.) who is racing with Brian Fatih (Miami, Fla.). Fatih, a member of the 2012 USSTAG, will represent the U.S.A. at the 2012 Olympic Regatta in England as crew for Mark Mendelblatt.
During the event sailors can enjoy the hospitality lounge, BACARDI Rum tastings, as well as the daily prize giving for the top-three finishers, plus the final awards dinner. The work of Rhode Island-based award-winning nautical photographer Onne van der Wal will be on exhibit in the North Hall of the Coconut Grove Convention Center, along with “150 Years of BACARDI,” a collection of information, photos and artifacts from the BACARDI museum. The exhibits will be open to the public from noon to 7:00PM daily and are free of charge. The prestigious Coral Reef Yacht Club is coordinating on-water activities in collaboration with Biscayne Bay Yacht Club and Coconut Grove Sailing Club. The U.S. Sailing Center and Shake-A-Leg Miami are also supporting the event. Racing will be held on three separate courses approximately two miles out on Biscayne Bay.