There wasn’t a shortage of drama during day three on Biscayne Bay for competitors racing in the 86th Bacardi Cup. As temperatures hit the high 70s, the fourth race of the series got underway in fifteen knots of breeze, and, with the black flag rule in effect, six boats were disqualified. Wind gusts over 25 knots contributed to eleven 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.
'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 champion Xavier Rohart (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 today.