Over 200 boats fill Biscayne Bay as Bacardi Invitational Regatta fleet joins 97th Bacardi Cup

Miami, March 7, 2024 – Today, March 7, racing got underway for the five one-design fleets competing in the Bacardi Invitational Regatta, with two hundred and seven teams and well over six hundred sailors delivering a stunning spectacle on Biscayne Bay.
Weather conditions continued to demand focus and patience, with the fleets postponed ashore as the clouds and rain hampered the wind. When racing got underway across the three courses, teams contended with squalls, rain and sunshine, and the breeze bouncing from 5-15 knots.
The battle for supremacy in the Star fleet intensified, with the defending Bacardi Cup Champions, Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada, reclaiming the top spot ahead of overnight leaders and 2019 Bacardi Cup winners Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise. 
Three races each for the Melges 24, J/70, Snipe, Viper 640 and VX One delivered some impressive results and a preview of form. 
Racing continues on Friday, March 8, with one race for the Star Class and three for each of the other classes. 

Star – Peter O’Leary / Stephen Milne claim the race 4 win

97th Bacardi Cup
Another day and a new winner in race 4 of the 67th Bacardi Cup, as race track glory went to Ireland’s Peter O’Leary/Stephen Milne. They overcame their rollercoaster scorecard of 39, 9, 33 to work their way to the front of the pack and move up to 16th overall. 
“It’s nice to get on the scoreboard and win one race,” said O’Leary. “We tend to excel when it blows hard and there’s loads of rain because it is just like home, so we were happy to see that come. We will take it.”
Looking ahead to the next two races, O’Leary continued, “This is proper racing, there is nowhere to hide, really good sailors and you are sailing against the best of the best. That’s what you get in the Star. The racing is really every inch. We have left ourselves a bit of work to do but that is ok.”
Johann Spitzauer/Christian Nehammer read the stormy upwind leg and rounded the first mark ahead, pursued by O’Leary/Milne and the U30 partnership of Facundo Olezza/Ricardo Vadia. The Swedes extended their lead in the smoother downwind before O’Leary/Milne pounced ahead in the second upwind. Kusznierewicz/Prada made their move too, making a comeback to round in 3rd, which they converted to 2nd by the finish. Doyle/Infelise finished 6th
Facundo Olezza/Ricardo Vadia become the top placed U30 team in 19th overall, after their 3rd place finish.
After tomorrow’s race 5, the series discard kicks in which will close the points margins and shuffle the leaderboard. Points are super close and whilst the stage is set for a thrilling duel between the top two teams, any of the top five could still unseat them.
Provisional Results – Top 3 after Race 4
1. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 8559) – 13 pts
2. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA 8580) – 13 pts
3. Augie Diaz / Henry Boening (USA 8509) – 24 pts

J/70 – opening day start

The J/70 fleet faced a testing start with three general recalls, but Brazil’s ‘Mindset’ team, helmed by Ralph Vasconcellos Rosa, demonstrated dominance. While most teams notched up and down scores, the Brazilians kept it steady with all top ten results.
“I am very happy, nice day, the crew was perfect, everything is so good,” commented Rosa. “We made three good starts, and we discovered very fast the good path to sail alone. Our boat is very fast, and the crew is very good. A hard day, but amazing day.
“We tried to sail not so to the left or right, in the middle and improving in the shifty wind. This boat is hard to sail consistently, and we improve every year and every competition.” 
Provisional Results – Top 3 after Race 3
1. Ralph Vasconcellos Rosa / Guilherme Hamelmann / Julio Falcão / Felipe Rondina (BRA 1226) – 17 pts
2. Filip Engelbert / Marcus Höglander / Jimmy Hellberg / Jakob Gustavsson (SWE 901) – 23 pts
3. Margaret McKillen / Orrin Star / Brian Kamilar / Dave Schreiner (USA 1523) – 24 pts

Melges 24 – Bora Gulari / Norman Berge / Nick 

Melges 24
The two Bacardi Winter Series lead in events featured super close battles in the Melges 24, with Bora Gulari’s team most recently coming out on top at BWS2 in January. It was more of the same today, with Gulari racing a solid 1, 5, 3 to lead. Only just though, with Richard Reid’s ‘Zingara’ team and Bruce Ayres’ ‘Monsoon’ on a 10-point tiebreak behind.

“We had a good start and we got to go straight for a long time and when we get to go straight, we are pretty quick and it worked out in our direction,” explained Gulari about the race 1 win. “The shift was a leftie and we got to go to the left corner, so it all kind of happened. We got to hold onto the victory so that was nice.”

Gulari is targeting a win at BIR to wrap up the three-event series, but acknowledges the stiff competition, saying, “Everyone’s good. It doesn’t matter until the last day, we are just trying to hold serve and have a chance.” 

Provisional Results – Top 3 after Race 3
1. Bora Gulari / Norman Berge / Nick Ford / RJ Porter / Charlie Smythe (USA 820) – 9 pts
2. Richard Reid / Madeline Gill / Ian Sloan / Bill Gooderham / Alec Anderson (CAN 853) – 10 pts
3. Bruce Ayres / Thomas Dietrich / Edward Hackney / Pearl Lattanzi / Jeremy Wilmot (USA 851) – 10 pts

Snipe – makes its debut at the Bacardi Invitational Regatta

Today was a big warm welcome to the Snipe Class, who make their debut here, with twenty teams joining the Bacardi party. Ernesto Rodriguez/Issa Uribe hit the race track with style, to count two race wins and lead the fleet.
Provisional Results – Top 3 after Race 3
1. Ernesto Rodriguez / Issa Uribe (USA 31337) – 4 pts
2. Yoan Carrillo / Rene Torrecilla Abreu (USA 29511) – 7 pts
3. Enrique Quintero / Nico Ocariz (USA 31640) – 9 pts

Viper 640 racing on Biscayne Bay

Viper 640 
Two teams are already shining in the twenty-two boat Viper 640 fleet, with Marek Zaleski/Chris Zaleski/Jake Bradt claiming a 1,5,1 to sit just one point ahead of reigning Viper 640 North American Champion Jimmy Praley and his crew of Austin Powers and Max Vinocur.
Provisional Results – Top 3 after Race 3
1. Marek Zaleski / Chris Zaleski / Jake Bradt (USA 237) – 7 pts
2. Jimmy Praley / Austin Powers / Max Vinocur (USA 298) – 8 pts
3. Mary Ewenson / Jane Moore / Rob Gorman / Jahn Tihansky (USA 297) – 15 pts

VX One racing on Biscayne Bay
VX One
John Porter/David Himmel lead the VX One fleet, opening with a 6th place before securing a noteworthy two wins. But it is only on tiebreak, with Doug Clark/Matt Haddon on equal points. The defending Bacardi Champions Christopher Alexander/Grace Howie/Ricky Welch sit just one point adrift.
Provisional Results – Top 3 after Race 3
1. John Porter / David Himmel (USA 343) – 8 pts
2. Doug Clark / Matt Haddon (USA 362) – 8 pts
3. Christopher Alexander / Grace Howie / Ricky Welch (USA 276) – 9 pts
A special thank you to this year’s event sponsors and supporters: Bacardi USAEFG InternationalQuantum SailsNautical VenturesShake-A-Leg MiamiSail 22HATUEY®BeerTuuciTermodinamica USAHarken DermTeam 1 NewportSLAMGubinelli WinesJaguar TherapeuticsDrop JollyHobie EyewearCoconut Grove Business DistrictZhikCoral Reef Yacht ClubBiscayne Bay Yacht ClubCoconut Grove Sailing ClubUS Sailing Center and the City of Miami.

Text Credit: Luissa Smith
Photo Credits: Martina Orsini

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 EFG International:
EFG International is a global private banking group offering wealth management and asset management services. It operates in around 40 locations worldwide. EFG International operates in Miami through its subsidiaries EFG Capital, which provides its customers with investment and brokerage related financial services, and EFG Asset Management, which crafts financial advice for private clients seeking portfolio management and multi-family office services. Visit: www.efginternational.comAbout 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
March 7, 2024 Press Release