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Five Straight Wins for Star Duo Kusznierewicz and Prada at Bacardi Cup

9th March 2024
Star sailors Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada secure their fifth successive Bacardi Cup victory in Miami
Star sailors Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada secure their fifth successive Bacardi Cup victory in Miami Credit: Martina Orsini

 The climax of the Star class at the 97th Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Invitational Regatta in Miami was a day of anticipation and pressure. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere in the boat park this morning belied the intensity about to unfold, racing against many of the best sailors in the world.

All eyes were riveted on the three-way tie-break to determine the winners of The 97th Bacardi Cup. Biscayne Bay set the stage for a spectacular finale, kicking off with a building 12 knots breeze and waves.

With unwavering focus, Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada controlled the fleet from start to finish, clinching an unprecedented fifth consecutive victory and once again forced the chasing fleet to walk in their shadow.

In a fleet brimming with former Bacardi Cup winners and Star World Champions, maintaining consistency across six races to seize The 97th Bacardi Cup title was never going to be easy.

After five races, Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada, Augie Diaz/Henry Boening and Doyle/Payson Infelise had elevated themselves into a class of their own, setting the stage for a three-way tiebreak showdown in the decisive race 6.

The showdown, however, never materialised, as Kusznierewicz/Prada took control from the start and never looked back.

The three teams all fielded strong starts separated along the starting line, with Doyle/Infelise to the right, Kusznierewicz/Prada in the middle and Diaz/Boening on the left. Doyle/Infelise continued up the right side, while Kusznierewicz/Prada went left. By the first mark, Kusznierewicz/Prada had secured a big jump on the fleet, leaving the other two teams back in 6th and 8th.

On the first downwind, Doyle/Infelise made inroads and geared up to second. They split through the gate and back upwind, where Kusznierewicz/Prada shook off their assault. Focusing on their own race, they accelerated away in stunning style to hold firm and take the win. Diaz/Boening crossed the line in 4th and Doyle/Infelise in 5th, securing second and third overall.

Following tradition, Eddie Cutillas of Bacardi was at the finish line to congratulate the winners of The 97th Bacardi Cup.

A meticulous performance from Kusznierewicz/Prada ensured they remained strong in the decisive moment. They have forged a genius and formidable team to remain as custodians of the Bacardi Cup Trophy and Tito Bacardi Cup for five successive years – in 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. The duo first made history in 2024, as the only same-crew team to win four consecutive times and now return to the history books.

“We knew it was going to be tight racing as they are superfast, very smart, experienced sailors and we knew that we had to deliver everything,” commented Kusznierewicz. “It’s a fantastic feeling. I wish to everyone to win Bacardi Cup! It is a legendary regatta and to be part of it and making history it is special.”

Kusznierewicz attributed victory to their process, saying, “From the beginning we trust in our process. If you know how to set up the boat, if you know what to do before the race, when you know how to make decisions where to start, how to start, what to avoid, how to sail, the results will come and here we go. We’ve got it.”

“Five times in row is really out of the box in terms of the Star Class,” said Prada, who won his first Bacardi Cup in 2020 after fifteen years of trying. “It is a really tough class to win. Five in a row never happened before so it is some historical moment and we need to enjoy it. I am super proud to win five Bacardi’s, five Worlds and be a little part of the Star Class history.”

Kusznierewicz/Prada celebrated their remarkable achievement by sipping Bacardi rum from the iconic Bacardi Cup Trophy and Tito Bacardi Cup at the prize giving to huge applause.

There is plenty of potential in the Star fleet, with thirteen U30 teams competing. As the top placed U30 team in 20th overall, Facundo Olezza/Ricardo Vadia will be supported by Bacardi to compete at the Star Class Worlds in San Diego, USA from September 4-13, 2024.

Ireland's Peter O'Leary and Stephen Milne finished 16th overall.

Final Top 3

1. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 8559) - 14 pts
2. Augie Diaz / Henry Boening (USA 8509) - 17 pts
3. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA 8580) - 18 pts

Prizes were also presented to the age division winners:

  • U30 (skipper under 30) - Facundo Olezza / Ricardo Vadia
  • Master (skippers aged 50 through 59) - Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise
  • Grand Master (skippers aged 60+) - Augie Diaz / Henry Boening
  • Exalted Grand Master (skippers aged 70+) - John Dane III / Dave Martin


Leading by one point at the start of the day, a tough battle saw Laura Grondin’s ‘Dark Energy’ close out the series with scores of 5,7. Grondin’s team worked through their opening day struggles and maintained greater consistency to win over the forty-nine boat fleet. A second Irish entry in Miami, Royal Cork's Anthony O'Leary finished 34th in the class.

Published in Star Team

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The Star keelboat is a 6.9 metres (23 ft) one-design racing keelboat for two people designed by Francis Sweisguth in 1910.

The Star was an Olympic keelboat class from 1932 through to 2012, the last year keelboats appeared at the Summer Olympics at which Ireland's representatives were Peter O'Leary and David Burrows.

Ireland has performed well in the class internationally thanks to some Olympic campaigns including a bronze medal at the Star World Championships in 2000, won by Mark Mansfield and David O'Brien.

The boat is sloop-rigged, with a mainsail larger in proportional size than any other boat of its length. Unlike most modern racing boats, it does not use a spinnaker when sailing downwind. Instead, when running downwind a whisker pole is used to hold the jib out to windward for correct wind flow.

Early Stars were built from wood, but modern boats are of fibreglass and carbon construction.

The boat must weigh at least 671 kg (1,479 lb) with a maximum total sail area of 26.5 m2 (285 sq ft).

The Star class pioneered an unusual circular boom vang track, which allows the vang to effectively hold the boom down even when the boom is turned far outboard on a downwind run.

Another notable aspect of Star sailing is the extreme hiking position adopted by the crew and at times the helmsman, who normally use a harness to help hang low off the windward side of the boat with only their lower legs inside.

At A Glance – Star Specifications

Designer Francis Sweisguth
Year 1910
Crew 2 (Skipper + Crew)
S + 1.5 C ≤ 250 kg (550 lb)[1]
Draft 1.016 m (3 ft 4 in)
Hull Type keelboat
Hull weight ≥ 671 kg (1,479 lb)
(including keel)
LOA 6.922 m (22 ft 9 in)
LWL 4.724 m (15 ft 6 in)
Beam 1.734 m (5 ft 8 in) at deck
1.372 m (4 ft 6 in) at chine
Hull appendages
Keel/board type bulb keel
401.5 ± 7 kg (885 ± 15 lb)
Rig type sloop
Mast length 9.652 m (31 ft 8 in)
Mainsail area 20.5 m2 (221 sq ft)
Jib/genoa area  6.0 m2 (65 sq ft)
Upwind sail area ≤ 26.5 m2 (285 sq ft)

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