#bacardicup – The Irish team of Peter O’Leary and Rodney Hagebols (bow 73) are eighth overall after four races at the 86th Bacardi Cup after winning the fourth race in a day of high drama on Biscayne Bay yesterday.
As temperatures hit the high 70s on the third day of racing, the fourth race of the series got underway in 15 knots of breeze, and, with the black flag rule in effect, six boats were disqualified. Wind gusts over 25 knots contributed to 11 boats not finishing the day's single race, including two with broken masts.
Lars Grael and Mario Lagoa (BRA) finished third in the race allowing them to increase the point spread while continuing their hold on first place in the overall standings with 17 points. The Italian team of Diego Negri and Frithjof Kleen finished second in the race and are just nine points out of first. They are followed in the overall standings by 2003 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Augie Diaz (Miami, Fla.) and Arnis Baltins, who added a 22 to their previous finishes of 3-1-10 for 36 points. Alessandro Pascolato and Henry Boening (BRA) are fourth overall with finishes of 18-8-6-8 for 40 points, and the Canadian team of Brian Cramer and Cam Lymburner round out the top five with 9-7-18-7 for 41 points.
The Italian team of Diego Negri and Frithjof Kleen (bow 52) and Florida's 2012 Olympians Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih (bow 19)
"I have not been racing since last April and needed to dust off the first two days and find the confidence that is needed to race in this highly competitive regatta," said Diego Negri. "Our results are on the rise and I think we're doing a fine job and having fun at the same time. This is my third Bacardi Cup and I'm enjoying it very much. Lars is a very tough competitor. He is one of the best in the world and has shown he is able to race well in both light and stronger wind conditions. I'm looking forward to keep having fun and post good results. If the wind will be as today, I think we might have a chance to win the Cup. It would be a significant achievement."
Although Irish Olympian Peter O'Leary and Rodney Hagebols won today's race, they still carry 36 points earned in race two of the series (once five races have been completed, the scores will reflect each yacht discarding her worst race). With 50 points, they currently stand eighth overall, seven points behind defending champions Xavier Rohart and Pierre Alexis Ponsot (FRA).
"Windy for sure today, 20 plus average," said O'Leary. "Once we got going it was a proper Bacardi Cup regatta in which we stretched legs and hiked hard. The main challenge of the day was to stay in pressure and take advantage of the big breeze. We rounded the last mark in third and were able to beat the Italians on the line. Tomorrow is a lay day and then three more races to go. If we keep posting single digit results we have a chance. We had a bad day yesterday and it was nice to bounce back. Lars is showing to be consistent and is sailing smart... he is the one to beat."
Racing for the Star class resumes on Friday, March 9, after a planned lay day tomorrow. On Thursday, March 7, sailors in the Audi Melges 20, Melges 24 and Viper 640 classes, along with the J/70 class which makes its event debut, will get their first taste of competition on Biscayne Bay. Racing, for all classes, will conclude on Saturday, March 9.
During the event sailors will enjoy the hospitality lounge, BACARDI Rum tastings, as well as the daily prize giving for the top-three finishers and the final awards dinner. A special exhibit of America's Cup history and memorabilia will feature the work of Rhode Island-based photographer Cory Silken in the North Hall of the Coconut Grove Convention Center. The exhibits will be open to the public from noon to 7:00PM daily and are free of charge. The prestigious Coral Reef Yacht Club will coordinate on-water activities in collaboration with Biscayne Bay Yacht Club and Coconut Grove Sailing Club. The U.S. Sailing Center and Shake-A-Leg Miami will also support the event. Racing will be held on three separate courses approximately two miles out on Biscayne Bay.
More information on the BACARDI Miami Sailing Week and the 86th BACARDI Cup is available at www.MiamiSailingWeek.com and www.BacardiCup.com.