‘Melgina’ makes waves as new contender, ‘Catapult’ returns with dominance on opening day of BACARDÍ Winter Series 2

Miami, January 26, 2024 – The three-day Bacardi Winter Series Event 2 opened today, Friday, January 26, on the stunning waters of Biscayne Bay, Miami.
Fifty-six teams have descended on Shake-A-Leg Miami for the three-day series. As well as boasting a record sized fleet, the boat park rocks a line-up of sailing legends, with numerous Olympians and World Champions adding to the competitive mix.

J/70: Thirty-five teams battle it out on Biscayne Bay

Friday opened with three windward/leeward races, showcasing Paolo Brescia’s ‘Melgina’ as a formidable force in the Melges 24. Brescia took control of the fleet in what marks their first outing as a new team. Making a triumphant return to the racetrack after recovering from injury, Joel Ronning on ‘Catapult’ dominates the J/70 Class. 
The day opened warm, though overcast, with a breeze of 10-15 knots. Following race 2 as the breeze dwindled, the Race Committee opted to postpone on the water in anticipation of improved wind. The wind stabilized but remained light, setting the stage for a challenging battle in the lumpy sea.
Hosted at Shake-A-Leg-Miami, the Bacardi Winter Series upholds the legendary hospitality of every Bacardi event, with post-race cocktails and shoreside fun.
Six more races are scheduled over the weekend. Tomorrow, Saturday, January 27, racing is scheduled to start at 1100 hours for the Melges 24, followed by the J/70.

Joel Ronning’s ‘Catapult’ launched their debut at the 2023/2024 Bacardi series in pole position ahead of the thirty-five boat fleet. They were boosted by a pair of bullets in the three-race day catapulting them ahead of David Jannetti’s ‘Very Odd’ team.
After winning the opening event in December 2023, ‘Very Odd’ met their match on the racecourse, as ‘Catapult’ returned with confidence forcing their rivals to settle for a 2nd place overall. The two teams traded places throughout.

Ronning who took a break from the racetrack to recover from injury, returned with long-term team mate Victor Diaz de Leon amongst his high-profile crew. The friends celebrated their opening win quietly with a fist bump. Diaz de Leon has also long been a fixture at the front of the J/70 leaderboard, although most recently joined the US SailGP Team as wing trimmer.
“We’re campaigning for the J/70 Worlds. We’re so happy to be here,” said Ronning. They will also return for the 2024 Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta in March.
“This is our third event back in the fleet after a break,” he continued in reference to the team’s second place results at each of the preceding ‘warm-up’ events, the USA J/70 Winter Series 1 and 2. Ronning holds more than a few titles to his credit, including the 2016 J/70 Worlds.

J/70: ‘Catapult’ leads opening day with Joel Ronning / Victor Diaz de Leon / Patrick Wilson / Morgan Trubovich

Skilled across the classes, Diaz De Leon along with the other ‘Catapult’ crew, Patrick Wilson and Morgan Trubovich, finished second at the 2023 Melges 24 Worlds onboard Peter Duncan’s ‘Raza Mixta’. 
‘Catapult’ followed up with a 4th in the final race 3 of the day, to top the leaderboard by 13 points. Second to Bruce Golison’s ‘Midlife Crisis’ who scored 11,3,5 and third to ‘Very Odd’ with a scorecard of 2,6,16.
An up and down day from Daniel Goldberg’s ‘Bazinga’ saw them rise from a 20th in race 2 to win race 3 and advance to fourth on equal points with Peter Vessella’s ‘Pulse’.
Reigning J/70 World Champion, Charles Thompson on ‘Brutus III’ returns with his winning World’s line-up of Elisabeth Whitener, Chris Grube, Benjamin Saxton, Tom Mallindine. Strong results of 3,5 were offset by a 22nd place in race 3 to place them in 8th overall. The series discard will kick in after race 5 to shake up the leaderboard.
Canada’s ‘Trial’ Corinthian team put in an impressive day, placing 17th overall — strongly ahead of all other Corinthians.
J/70 Provisional Top 10 results – after 3 races

1. Joel Ronning / Victor Diaz de Leon / Patrick Wilson / Morgan Trubovich (USA 65) – 6 pts
2. Bruce Golison / Erik Shampain / Steve Hunt / Jeff Reynolds (USA 26) – 19 pts
3. David Jannetti / Travis Odenbach / Willem Van Waay / Andy Horton (USA 1513) – 24 pts
4. Daniel Goldberg / Kristen Berry / Tomas Hornos / Gonçalo Ribeiro (USA 84) – 25 pts
5. Peter Vessella / Mark Mendelblatt / Karl Anderson / Brett Davis (USA 1437) – 25 pts
6. Robert Hughes / Jud Smith / Manu Weiller / Marc Gauthier / Robert Hughes (USA 353) – 28 pts
7. Martin Dent / Ruairidh Scott / Henry Weatherell / Jack Weatherell (GBR 1573) – 30 pts
8. Charles Thompson / Elisabeth Whitener / Chris Grube / Benjamin Saxton / Tom Mallindine (GBR 1123) – 30 pts
9. John Brim / John Brim / Scott Ewing / Ed Lebens / Greiner Hobbs (USA 1150) – 30 pts
10. John Evans / Zeke Horowitz / Zach Mason / Abie McLaughlin (USA 600) – 34 pts

Melges 24: Tight start on opening day

Melges 24 

After a general recall for race one, the day served up three different winners in the twenty-one boat Melges 24 fleet. As the wind eased, it was a struggle for power in light air, with teams constantly working hard to power up.
Bruce Ayres on ‘Monsoon’ won the opening race with a convincing lead, race 2 went to Paolo Brescia on ‘Melgina’, and Laura Grondin’s ‘Dark Energy’ team took the race 3 victory.
Opening day glory for ‘Melgina’, who unlocked the Melges 24 go-fast setup to score 2,1,6 and sit on top of the leaderboard. Superb consistency rewarded them as the only team to count single-digit results. 
‘Melgina’ is packed with Italian talent, including Jas Farneti, a 470 Junior World and Junior European Champion, along with fellow former Olympic campaigner Giulio Desiderato.
“Today was great, was a great day of sailing in Miami,” commented Desiderato. “We are super happy as a team because it is our first regatta together – we just started our journey. We can only be happy about the day that we had.”
Speaking on their teamwork he continued, “All the guys onboard did a great job. Paolo, he performed very well, he steered very well. We were fast, and from my side, I am calling tactics, it was much easier you know if the boat is fast it is easier in the water.
“We talked before the regatta and just to have fun because it was our first event together, so avoid trouble, clear line and it worked!”
On why they travel over from Italy, Desiderato smiled saying, “This is one of my favourite regattas. It is always great to be here, and we are always happy to come from Italy and sail the Bacardi.”  

Melges 24: ‘Melgina’ makes waves with Paolo Brescia / Giulio Desiderato / Stefano Orlandi / Jas Farneti / Andrea Chiappe

Bora Gulari on ‘Kingspoke’ scored a consistent 5,3,3 to place in second, with Grondin’s ‘Dark Energy’ in third.   
‘Bombarda’ was hoping for a repeat of the opening series, which saw them romp home ahead of the fleet in the single race face-off. But they end the day outside the top 10, with scores of 8,12,12.
Whilst the pro-teams battle it out at the top of the leaderboard, ‘Surprise’ from Canada leads the Corinthian teams in 14th place.
Melges 24 Provisional Top 10 results – after 3 races

1. Paolo Brescia / Giulio Desiderato / Stefano Orlandi / Jas Farneti / Andrea Chiappe (USA 8) – 9 pts
2. Bora Gulari / Norman Berge / Nick Ford / Carlos Robles / Charlie Smythe (USA 820) – 11 pts
3. Laura Grondin / Taylor Canfield / Federico Michetti / Ian Liberty / Mark Ivey (USA 864) – 15 pts
4. Bruce Ayres / Tomas Dietrich / Edward Hackney / Pearl Lattanzi / Jeremy Wilmot (USA 851) – 16 pts
5. Peter-David Karrié / Alessandro Franci / Niccolò Bianchi / Saverio Cigliano / Carlo Hmeliak (GER 859) – 19 pts
6. Alec Anderson / Haiden Stapleton / Willy McBride / Jackson Benvenuti / Grant Janov (USA 856) – 21 pts
7. Richard Reid / Serena Vilage / Ian Sloan / Bill Gooderham / Brian Kamilar (CAN 853) – 21 pts
8. Peter McClennen / Mike Marshall / Wilson Stout / Joaquin Bur / Zach Champney (USA 811) – 24 pts
9. Cuyler Morris / Keiran Searle / John Bowden / Charlie Hibben / Mikaela Wulff (USA 863) – 27 pts
10. Andrea Racchelli / Enzo Bonini / Michele Gregoratto / Nic Asher / Matteo Ramian (GBR 835) – 28 pts
The Bacardi Winter Series Event 2 is the second of a three-event series for the J/70 and Melges 24 classes in Miami. Racing is being run by the Coconut Grove Sailing Club Race Committee.
The series opened December 16-17, 2023, and culminates at the 2024 Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta, March 6-9, 2024.

Text Credit: Luissa Smith
Photo Credits: Hannah Lee Noll

Follow the Bacardi Regattas:
Web: bacardiinvitational.com 
Facebook: facebook.com/BacardiCupInvitational 
Instagram: instagram.com/bacardi_regatta
About Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.:
Bacardi U.S.A. Inc. is the United States import and distribution arm of family-owned Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held spirits company in the world. The company boasts a portfolio of some of the most recognized and top-selling spirits brands in the United States including BACARDÍ® rum, PATRÓN® tequila, GREY GOOSE® vodka, DEWAR’S® Blended Scotch Whisky, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin, CAZADORES® 100% blue agave tequila, MARTINI vermouth and sparkling wines, the world’s leading vermouth and the world’s favorite Italian sparkling wines, and other leading and emerging brands. Founded more than 158 years ago in Santiago de Cuba, Bacardi Limited currently employs more than 7,000, operates more than 20 production facilities in 11 countries, and sells its brands in more than 170 countries. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi International Limited. Visit www.bacardilimited.com or follow us on Twitter @BacardiLimited or Instagram @BacardiLimited1862. Enjoy Responsibly. BACARDÍ, its label, its bottle design and the Bat Device are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Bacardi & Company Limited. © 2024, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
About Quantum Sails:
At Quantum, we’re connected to sailors everywhere through our love of sailing and our belief that facing every challenge head-on is infinitely rewarding. For us, that means challenging convention – especially if that’s what it takes to help our customers and the sailing industry get to new, better places. As a company and as individuals, we embrace every single challenge you bring our way as our own. Since 1996, we have focused on providing the best-performing products in sailing. Today, we’re equally relentless about delivering a higher standard of service, customer care, education, support and mentorship. It’s how we’ll continue to help sailors at all levels pursue their passions and achieve their aspirations. Our commitment starts with our dedicated employees at more than 70 sail lofts around the world and includes hundreds more working behind the scenes to design, build and service Quantum® sails. Visit: www.quantumsails.com

About Nautical Ventures:
Nautical Ventures offers top quality water sports products and support along with a highly trained, experienced, caring staff. We provide and promote adventurous fun and healthy lifestyle options to the general public, families, businesses and resorts in sunny South Florida. Visit: www.nauticalventures.com

About Shake a Leg Miami:
Shake-A-Leg Miami (SALM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health, education, and independence of individuals with disabilities through watersports and recreational activities. SALM in conjunction with the City of Miami, provides inclusive programs and services that empower individuals to overcome challenges and achieve their full potential. With a focus on accessibility, SALM ensures that everyone, regardless of ability, can participate and thrive in a supportive and inclusive environment. Visit: www.shakealegmiami.org

January 27, 2024 Press Release, WS2