Press Release – January 27 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – (Miami, Fl.) After a big blow in the Bacardi Winter Series Event One in December, light air skills were tested at Event Number Two this past weekend in Miami. A patient Biscayne Bay Yacht Club Race Committee managed six races for the J70 and Melges 24 fleets in very light northerly and northeasterly breezes. Oivind Lorentzen and his team NINE, dominated the J70 Class on day one with a second and two bullets. They managed all top ten finishes on day two to win their fleet. But it was Boral Gulari and his Melges 24 team who put on a light air show winning three of the six races, only dropping a sixth to take top honors in the Melges 24 class. Steve Suddath with 3 ½ men were the top placing Corinthian boat in the Melges 24 fleet in seventh place overall and Zach Segal was the top Corinthian J70 team.
Lots of sailing was planned for Saturday on Biscayne Bay with the Bacardi Invitational and the Miami World Cup happening at the same time. After a brief postponement on land, Melges 24 and J70 sailors headed out for three races. Teams made use of nice wind for speed testing and tuning prior to the first race, but the wind decreased by the start of race one with the first fleet starting in six to seven knots. Nine Melges 24 teams were called over early in start one including top contenders, Zingara, Warcanoe, and Full Throttle.
Pressure tended to favor the left side of the course throughout the day, with the wind playing a game of hide and seek during each leg, seemingly disappearing to a point where sailors thought they would be done for the day, only to fill again later in the same leg. Teams that kept their eyes out of the boat and managed to connect the dots, found themselves in the front of the fleet.
After winning the Melges 24 fleet on day one, Scott Nixon sailing with Bora Gulari, talked about their priority of getting off the line and staying in clean air. “We’re sailing with the J70 Fleet on our course as well, so staying away from those guys, staying clear downwind was a priority for us. Bora had really three awesome starts, two leeward end starts and one good mid-line start, so a really good day for us.”
With light and dying wind predicted for Sunday, the racing started one hour earlier to take advantage of the morning breeze. With only around 4 – 6 knots of wind for the first race, the course length was shortened to .07 miles. The Race Committee was serious about not wasting time getting races off, and employed the black flag after any general recall.
The breeze was slightly more right than Saturday’s direction, but teams still tended to play up the left side of the course. Gains were made the most by playing the shifts. As the breeze died throughout the day, the wind tended to be on the edges. Racers saw as little as two to three knots while racing, but the wind managed to pipe up at just the right time to get races completed.
In the Melges 24 fleet, Richard Reid helming Zingara won race four by a good margin. Gulari and his team continued their light air magic, winning races five and six, easily putting them on the top of the podium. Travis Weisleder’s Lucky Dog finished second overall and Richard Reid in third.
In the J70 fleet, Oivind Lorentzen managed to stay on top, despite a more difficult day trying to sail conservative and maintain his lead. “We had such an exceptional day yesterday and we wanted to be sure we held our place today,” said Lorentzen. “We ended up doing it, but not without an enormous amount of frustration, because the conditions were so different. We just didn’t have the wind to work with, making a conservative strategy more difficult. The extremes dominated, so it was difficult day for everybody.”
Joel Ronning, who started the series winning race one in the J70s, came back from a mid-series slump to earning a 3, 2 in the final races, pulling his team up to second overall. John Heaton’s team Empeiria won the day including a win in race five, enough to get them on the podium in third.
John Brim’s Rimette gave team NINE a run for their money today winning races four and six. When asked about the team’s thirteenth place in race five, Brain Kamilar commented, “Actually we were having a good race, but on the last downwind, we found ourselves on the wrong side of a shift and went from top five to not even close to top five real quick. We found a bit of speed today and for the most part, found ourselves on the right side of a lot of shifts and pressure changes. Though it was much lighter breeze today, it was good racing.”
Teams return to Miami again for the Bacardi Invitational Regatta, a multi-class event being held in conjunction with the Star Class Bacardi Cup, March 2 – 7.