by Jan Harley
Five one-design fleets, awash with competitors representing over a dozen nations, concluded six days of racing as the 2013 BACARDI Miami Sailing Week (BMSW) presented by EFG Bank wrapped up today. With points tight among the top contenders in each class, the big story of the regatta was the win of the 86th Bacardi Cup by the Florida team of Mark Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg) and Brian Fatih (Miami). Having started their series on Monday by picking up the max number of points for an over early start, the duo worked their way back up the standings to end the penultimate day of the series in second overall.
Star Class Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih are the 86th Bacardi Cup Champions
'We started [the series] not in the best way, but we turned it around,' said Mendelblatt, who previously won the Bacardi Cup in 2005. 'It was a disappointing start and it was my fault for not having a good first race. After that we've been very consistent with low scores. We won the last two races and everything went our way. Winning the Cup again means a lot to me; it's really great because winning any big Star regatta is not easy at all! I am very happy to have had Brian with me. He is a great crew and wanted to have his name on the Tito Bacardi trophy. The Bacardi Cup is a great event and now, with the addition of all the other classes, it's even more satisfying.'
Mendelblatt and Fatih, who represented the USA in the Star class at the 2012 Olympics, won the single race contested by the 56 Star teams on the final day of the series to move to the top of the standings with 26 points. Lars Grael and Mario Lagoa (BRA), who had been atop the overall standings throughout the week, took second overall with 30 points after placing seventh in the race. Defending champion Xavier Rohart (FRA) ended the series tied on points with Grael after finishing the race in fourth place to take third in the overall standings. The only change for Diego Negri and Frithjof Kleen (ITA) or 2003 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Augie Diaz (Miami, Fla.) and Arnis Baltins, was in the point totals as both retained their positions in the top-five with, respectively, 33 and 41 points.
The 44-boat Audi Melges 20 class saw a different winner – Michael Kiss (Holland, Mich.), John Taylor (Jupiter, Fla.) and Robert Hughes (Ada, Mich.) – in each of the three races sailed to complete their series. Starting the final day fifth overall, Kiss, the defending class champion, went on to post finishes of 3-2-1 which propelled him to the top of the standings with 22 points. Alessandro Rombelli (Milan, ITA) also moved up four spots in the standings with finishes of 7-3-9 for 33 points. James Wilson (Rye, N.Y.) with 37 points, Richard Davies (Winnetka, Ill.) with 42 and Russell Lucas (Little Silver, N.J.) with 43, complete the top-five.
In the 18-boat Melges 24 class, Riccardo Simoneschi (Milan, ITA) won two of the three races sailed to claim the class title with 16 points.
We’re happy for the win here in Miami,' said Simoneschi. 'It’s our first race of the year. We really like racing on Biscayne Bay and within the Bacardi Miami Sailing Week program, which is one of the top regattas. I’ve never won in Miami and I am happy to have done it with our new tactician Enrico Fondi who is a world champion. We will definitely be back next year to defend our win.'
Don Wilson (Chicago, Ill.), finished 9-1-2 to net 21 points and take second overall, beating Alan Field (Los Angeles, Calif.) on a tie-breaker. Catherine Evans (Annapolis, Md.) was third overall with 29 points, followed by Alec Cutler (BER) with 33.
Three races were also sailed by the Viper 640 fleet, and the two won by Lee Shuckerow (Point Edward, CAN) assured him of the class title with 20 points. Phil Lotz (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) won the other race and moved up three spots to second overall in the 18-boat standings with 24 points. Jason Carroll (New York, N.Y.) took third with 26 points. The 2012 class champion Glyn Locke (Isle of Wight, GBR) and Pieter Taselaar (Newport, R.I.) ended the series tied on 29 points, with Locke winning the standings tie breaker.
The J/70 class made a strong debut in Miami with 20 boats racing. In pole position with no finish worse than third to start the final day of the series, Briane Keane (Weston, Mass.) added two wins to his score line to take the inaugural BMSW class win with 13 points.
'Learned a lot in Key West, tried new things here in Miami and things have worked out!,' said Keane. 'Our goal was to be in the top-five and we did it. The J/70 class is the most exciting class in 10 years with top sailors; it’s the best fleet in North America right now; winning Miami is a great accomplishment.'
Keane had the largest point cushion – 19 points – of any top finisher in the competing fleets. Peter Duncan (Rye, N.Y.), who won one of the day’s races, finished second overall with 32 points, beating Will Welles (Portsmouth, R.I.) in a standings tie-breaker. Joe Woods (Torquay, GBR) with 43 points, and Brian Elliott (Sayville, N.Y.) with 47, complete the top-five.
Oleander sailing in Bacardi Miami Sailing Week, day five.
More information on the BACARDI Miami Sailing Week and the 86th BACARDI Cup is available at www.MiamiSailingWeek.com and www.BacardiCup.com.