Race track mastery unleashed at BACARDÍ Winter Series 2 as ‘Brutus’ and ‘Kingspoke’ seize control

Miami, January 27, 2024 – Day two of three at the Bacardi Winter Series Event 2 saw sailing mastery unleashed in spectacular sailing conditions on Biscayne Bay.

Plenty of race track fluidity in the three races as the puffy breeze upped the tempo, with different teams up front and two new teams emerging to take control of the leaderboard. The reigning J/70 World Champions, Charles Thompson’s ‘Brutus III’, reversed yesterday’s lull in form, securing a second and two wins to confidently claim the lead. In the Melges 24, Bora Gulari’s ‘Kingspoke’ maintained their scorecard of top-five finishes and advance to first overall.

The race track was classic Miami, with waves and breeze of 15-18 knots. Biscayne Bay provided all its characteristic nuances and challenges for the fifty-six teams, with the southerly breeze offering plenty of strategic opportunities to make big gains. 

Tomorrow, Sunday’s three-race date with destiny kicks off at 1100 hours for the Melges 24, followed by the J/70.

J/70: Perfect race execution on ‘Brutus III’ with Charles Thompson / Elisabeth Whitener / Chris Grube / Benjamin Saxton / Tom Mallindine


‘Brutus III’ executed their move up the leaderboard with stunning form and aided by the series discard dropping yesterday’s 22nd place score. They may be reigning J/70 World Champions but securing a second and two wins in this calibre of fleet is no easy feat.

Elisabeth Whitener, bow on ‘Brutus III’, shared her thoughts, “Today was good. We definitely feel a little rusty after the Worlds I would say. We made some mistakes and we recovered from them, which I think is the most important part of it. 

“We were really like so happy with today. 2,1,1, that’s a nice way to end the second day of a regatta! Nice to drop that 22 from yesterday as well.”

Explaining their improved performance, Whitener continued, “We always talk about time on the water, so maybe it is just like shaking off some of that dust and getting going again. I think some of it too is we like the breeze, so a little bit more breeze makes it a little bit more interesting because we can really play different modes downwind. We really enjoy that aspect of it.”

In the first race, David Jannetti’s ‘Very Odd’ team pulled off a standout win, finishing ahead by over a minute. Joel Ronning and his ‘Catapult’ team also enjoyed another consistent day, including a great rebound in the opening race which saw them advance from the back half of the fleet at the first downwind to nail third place, following up with a 4,6.

‘Brutus III’ now holds a one-point lead over day one leader ‘Catapult’, with ‘Very Odd’ trailing by eleven points in third. So far, these three teams are shaping the racetrack form.

An interesting scorecard for husband and wife, Ryan and Maggie McKillen, who sit on equal points in their respective teams, ‘Surge’ and ‘Magatron’, with Maggie holding tiebreak advantage. 

J/70: ‘Catapult’ getting the job done with Joel Ronning / Victor Diaz de Leon / Patrick Wilson / Morgan Trubovich

J/70 Provisional Top 5 results – after 6 races

1. Charles Thompson / Elisabeth Whitener / Chris Grube / Benjamin Saxton / Tom Mallindine (GBR 1123) – 12 pts
2. Joel Ronning / Victor Diaz de Leon / Patrick Wilson / Morgan Trubovich (USA 65) – 13 pts
3. David Jannetti / Travis Odenbach / Willem Van Waay / Andy Horton (USA 1513) – 24 pts
4. Bruce Golison / Erik Shampain / Steve Hunt / Jeff Reynolds (USA 26) – 28 pts
5. Martin Dent / Ruairidh Scott / Henry Weatherell / Jack Weatherell (GBR 1573) – 39 pts

J/70: Perfect race day for the thirty-five boat fleet 

Melges 24 

All change in the Melges 24, with Bora Gulari’s ‘Kingspoke’ scoring 4,1,2 to claim pole position from yesterday’s leader ‘Melgina’.

Paolo Brescia and his team on ‘Melgina’ couldn’t revive their opening day momentum and slip to 6th overall.

There is no doubting Gulari’s place amongst the best, but he put credit elsewhere, saying, “My team is the best is my opinion. They drive me round the racecourse, and you know, when we get a little bit free, we fly.”

When asked what made the difference today, Gulari humbly commented, “I am sure we got lucky. One of my friends said we are not that fast, and we are just lucky, so maybe that’s it. I don’t know!”

‘Sentinel’ seized the first win of the day, with Alec Andreson stepping in for owner and usual driver Geoff Fargo. They followed up with scores of 3,3 and move into second overall. 

Bruce Ayres’ team on ‘Monsoon’ edges into third place overall. This well-knit crew has been together a long time, with just one change for this event. Pearl Lattanzi joins as long-standing teammate Chelsea Simms takes a hiatus. Chelsea is expecting a future ‘Monsooner’ and is here cheering the team on from the sidelines.

A memorable moment for Stuart Simpson, as at one point his Corinthian ‘Team Barbarians’ led race 2, before settling for an 8th place finish.

Melges 24: ‘ Kingspoke’ outraces the fleet on day 2 with Bora Gulari / Norman Berge / Nick Ford / Carlos Robles / Charlie Smythe

1. Bora Gulari / Norman Berge / Nick Ford / Carlos Robles / Charlie Smythe (USA 820) – 13 pts
2. Alec Anderson / Haiden Stapleton / Willy McBride / Jackson Benvenuti / Grant Janov (USA 856) – 16 pts
3. Bruce Ayres / Tomas Dietrich / Edward Hackney / Pearl Lattanzi / Jeremy Wilmot (USA 851) – 21 pts
4. Laura Grondin / Taylor Canfield / Federico Michetti / Ian Liberty / Mark Ivey (USA 864) – 23 pts
5. Peter-David Karrié / Alessandro Franci / Niccolò Bianchi / Saverio Cigliano / Carlo Hmeliak (GER 859) – 24 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 with Bacardi Winter Series 1 from 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

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January 27, 2024 Press Release, WS2