December 15, 2023 – Miami, USA –  The opening event of the Bacardi Winter Series 2023/2024 kicks off this weekend, December 16-17, in Miami. The J/70 and Melges 24 fleets will be competing on Biscayne Bay. 

J/70 chase at 2022 Bacardi Invitational Winter Series Event 1

Hosted at Shake-A-Leg Miami, the event will have around 40 teams in action for the six-race series. Anticipation is high as the weekend spectacle promises intense competition, and the weather promises to make conditions extremely tough for these world class teams. Let’s see what happens when you throw some choppy water, chilly temperatures, showers and gusty winds.  30 knots are forecast for the opening day, with more of the same on Sunday. A thorough test of agility, teamwork and consistency is on the cards as we wait to see who takes center stage.

Eddie Cutillas of Bacardi USA said, We are looking forward to incredible racing and as always are delighted to welcome back the J/70 and Melges 24 sailors to Miami. There is no doubt that the competition will be tough. The teams will face two rivals this weekend, the weather and their competitors! Wishing everyone fantastic racing and of course enjoyment, winding down with our usual Bacardi hospitality.”

Melges 24 off the start line at 2022 Bacardi Invitational Winter Series Event 1

Racing is scheduled to get underway for the Melges 24 at 11:00 am on Saturday, December 16, followed by the J/70, for the opening three races, and a further three races on Sunday. Post-race, the Bacardi hospitality will keep everyone entertained with cocktails and music. 


The J/70 features a stellar lineup of teams, including the notable names of the USA’s David Jannetti on ‘Very Odd’, Robert Hughes on ‘Heartbreaker’ and Daniel Goldberg on ‘Bazinga’. Also figuring to have a strong showing in the competition is Peter Cunningham on ‘Powerplay’ representing the Cayman Islands, Dick Kalow’s ‘Superior 1’ and Trey Sheehan on ‘Hooligan’. Four Corinthian teams will also vie for leaderboard places among the class legends.

John Heaton’s J/70 ‘Empeiria’ at 2022 Bacardi Invitational Winter Series Event 1

Melges 24

The highly competitive Melges 24 fleet boasts a mix of past Bacardi podium placers and plenty of other champions. Frontrunners include Andea Pozzi’s ‘Bombarda’ team from Italy and Laura Grondin on ‘Dark Energy’, the bronze medallist at this year’s Melges 24 World Championships. The recently crowned Melges 24 North American Champion, Canada’s Richard Reid and his team on ‘Zingara’ add to the mix.  Olympic medalists Stuart Bithell and Luke Patience have teamed up with Michael Wilson on ‘Shotgunn’. Bora Gulari on ‘Mavi’ and Peter McClennen ‘Gamecock’ are also likely to be among the pacesetters.

Melges 24 at 2022 Bacardi Invitational Winter Series Event 1

The Bacardi Invitational Winter Series 1 is just the beginning. The series continues with Winter Series 2 on January 26-28, 2024, leading to the finale at the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta from March 9-11, 2024. For the Invitational Regatta, the J/70 and Melges 24 will be joined by the Snipe, VX One and Viper 640 classes. The historic Bacardi Cup will celebrate its 97th anniversary from March 3-9, 2024, and once again showcase the prestigious Star Class.

Text Credit: Luissa Smith
Photo Credits: Hannah Lee Noll

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December 14, 2023 Press Release, WS1, WS2