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Bacardi Invitational Winter Series in Miami Weekend 1 - Day 1

by Kathleen Tocke 14 Dec 2019 23:19 PST 14-15 December 2019
Bacardi Invitational Winter Series in Miami day 1 © Kathleen Tocke

Sailors from the northern latitudes were welcomed with sunshine and breeze for day one of the Bacardi Invitational Winter Series in Miami.

Atypical southwest winds coming from the land, made for shifty upwinds. Downwinds were even trickier with big blasts of breeze accompanied by significant shifts that caught even the best of teams off-guard. After three races, John Brim and his team Rimettelead J70 fleet with two bullets and a fifth. In the Melges 24 class, Monsoon, helmed by Bruce Ayres, also picked up two bullets for a narrow lead over Travis Weisleder.

The Melges 24 fleet was well-behaved on the starting line, but the J70s pushed the starts resulting in U flags, black flags, and a numbers of the top teams being called over early, mixing up the standings a bit.

"The big telltale sign of the day was watching the cold front move across Florida and looking at the clouds out over the city of Miami," said J70 winning crew of the day, Ian Coleman. Peter Karrié, skipper of the German-Italian team Nefeli, nailed the downwinds and commented that one of "the most crucial things downwind was calling the puffs, especially after the breeze built in the second and third races with puffs coming with a drastic changes in angle."

Both fleets saw numerous wipe-outs on the downwinds, but all enjoyed blasting with spinnakers around Biscayne Bay. Megan Ratliff, of the Melges 24 Decorum,saw 16 knots on their Velocitek and remarked that one of the most important things on the downwinds was making sure boats were sailing at the right angles and calling lay lines correctly." Many a team overstood on the downwind lay line, often coming into the leeward mark or finish line too hot to carry a chute or teetering on the brink of a wipe out.

Cooler weather and lighter winds are forecasted for tomorrow.

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