December 16, 2023 – Miami, USA –  The highly anticipated two-day Bacardi Winter Series Event 1, December 16-17, for the J/70 and Melges 24 on Biscayne Bay, Miami, was called off on Saturday’s opening day due to high wind and severe gale warnings. Three races are scheduled on Sunday, December 17.

 Melges 24: Precision teamwork on ‘Mavi’ with Bora Gulari / Norman Berge / Nicholas Ford / Carlos Robles / Dave Hughes

The conditions were full on, with the easterly wind averaging 25-30 knots, gusts exceeding 40 knots and no likelihood of a favorable forecast. With an expected continuation of the adverse weather, the Race Committee was forced to make the call to abandon racing and prioritize safety for the J/70 and Melges 24, which was announced at this morning’s competitor meeting.

“We expect thunderstorms to come through. I really don’t want to have boats on the water and have a surprise storm come through,” remarked Mark Foster, Principal Race Officer. “So instead of trying to go out and tear some stuff up and take some chances we will stay here.”

 J/70: Robert Hughes / Jud Smith / Manu Weiller / Marc Gauthier looking chilled on ‘Heartbreaker’

Looking optimistically toward Sunday, Foster outlined plans saying, “Tomorrow looks like it is going to moderate and be better. With that in mind, we will try and do three races tomorrow. We will have plenty of time to run three races.”
Mark Pincus, Regatta Chair, added, “It is regrettable we are unable to race, but we take a safety-first approach. With the challenging conditions showing no signs of abating, it was the right thing to make an early call. The weather still looks a little dicey tomorrow morning, but it should clear up by race time. That is the hope.”

 Melges 24: ‘Dark Energy’ hurtles downwind with Laura Grondin / Taylor Canfield / Federico Michetti / Ian Liberty / Mark Ivey 

Whilst some teams went out training on Biscayne Bay, most stayed ashore. The evening’s social will kick off at 1600 hours with the Bacardi party hosted at Shake-A-Leg Miami, followed by a competitors’ dinner.
Racing is scheduled to start at 1100 hours on Sunday, December 17, 2024. Thanks to Coconut Grove Sailing Club for providing the Race Committee who will be running the racing.
The Bacardi Winter Series Event 1 is the first of a three-event series for the J/70 and Melges 24 classes in Miami. Event 2 takes place from January 26-28, and the series culminates at the 2024 Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta, March 6-9, 2024.

J/70: Gyorgy Molnar / Peter Czegai / Mate Pumucz / Tamas Puskas / Howard Kanner riding the breeze on ‘Jedi Business’

Text Credit: Luissa Smith
Photo Credits: Hannah Lee Noll

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December 17, 2023 Press Release, WS1, WS2