by Jan Harley
Bacardi Miami Sailing Week 2013. Less than a week before the fourth annual running of BMSW presented by EFG Bank, and all the boxes have been ticked for another standout event. A hot list of competitors, great race management and the impossible-to-top winter sailing destination of Biscayne Bay combine with the hospitality BMSW is known for to put on an outstanding event for one-design sailors from 13 nations who will compete in five classes (Audi Melges 20, Melges 24, Star, Viper 640 and J/70) from March 3-9, 2013.
The Star Fleet at Bacardi Miami Sailing Week
Headlining the week-long regatta, headquartered in Coconut Grove, is the 86th Bacardi Cup. Among the 62 Star teams registered are some of the storied class’s most notable. Leading the lineup are 2012 Star World Champions Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot (France), who are also the Bacardi Cup defending champions. They will face, among others, 1992 Finn Silver medalist Brian Ledbetter (Medina, Wash.) who has teamed with Canadian 2012 Olympian Tyler Bjorn; 2009 Star World Champion George Szabo (San Diego) sailing with Miami’s Magnus Liljedahl, the 2000 world champion and Olympic Gold Medalist; two-time (’08, ’12) Olympian Peter O’Leary (Ireland) with Rodney Hagebols (Australia); Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Augie Diaz (Miami, Fla.); and two-time (’88, ’96) Tornado Olympic Medalist Lars Grael (Rio de Janeiro, BRA).
Racing for the Star class gets underway on Monday, March 4. Starting on Thursday, March 7, the Stars will be joined on Biscayne Bay by sailors in the Viper 640, Audi Melges 20, and Melges 24 classes, along with the J/70 class which makes its event debut. Racing, for all classes, will conclude on Saturday, March 10.
Favorites in the 19-strong Melges 24 class are Riccardo Simoneschi (Milan, Italy) and Alan Field (Los Angeles, Calif.), who placed second and fifth, respectively, in 2012, along with
Argyle Campbell (Newport Beach, Calif.), Cary Siegler (Jamestown, R.I.) and Alec Cutler (Pembroke, BER).
Both the Audi Melges 20 and Viper 640 classes have seen a sizable increase in entries, and both will see the defending champions working to repeat their on-the-water success. In the 48-boat Audi Melges 20 fleet, three-time (’10,’11, ‘12) class national champion Michael Kiss (Holland, Mich.) might be hard to unseat, although Melges 32 World Champion John Kilroy (Los Angeles, Calif. ) will surely give him a run for the glory, as will Travis Weisleder (Richmond, Va.), John Taylor (Jupiter, Fla.) and Paul Reilly (Chicago, Ill.).
In the 24-strong Viper 640 fleet, which will also be racing for their EFG Bank Pan-American Championship, defending champions Glyn Locke, David Chapman and Ian Nicholson (Isle of Wight), will face Joseph Healey (Stormville, N.Y.), Phil Lotz (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), Audi Melges 32 2012 European Champion Jason Carroll (New York, N.Y.) and Audi Melges 32 2009 World Champion Pieter Taselaar (Newport, R.I.).
Sailing World magazine’s 2013 Boat of the Year will make its debut at BMSW and has attracted 19 entrants, including Heather Gregg-Earl (Boston, Mass.) and Mark Ploch (Bronx, N.Y.).
For the first year, Bacardi Miami Sailing Week has decided to organize an exciting Pro-Am regatta, which will give 15 people the unique opportunity to interact on the water and compete with and against the world’s most accomplished sailors. Five sailboats and 15 spots (kindly offered by Magnus Liljedahl and Team Paradise) will be auctioned off at the Bacardi Miami Sailing Week Kick-Off Party and Pro-Am Regatta Reception at the Bacardi Building in Coral Gables on Saturday March 2nd. The event it open to public and all proceeds will benefit Shake-A Leg, Team Paradise and Sailing Heals.
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.
Event registration is online at Miami Sailing Week