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Britain's Ward tops J/70 Bacardi Invitational

by J/Boats 14 Mar 07:18 PDT March 5-7, 2020
2020 Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta © Martina Orsini

A stellar fleet is assembled for the 2020 edition of the J/70 Bacardi Invitational in Miami, Florida. Hosted by the Coral Reef Yacht Club and Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, the fleet of forty-three J/70 teams from ten nations (USA, Argentina, Italy, Thailand, Brazil, Great Britain, Chile, Germany, Canada, and Mexico) were treated to four-straight days of nearly perfect champagne sailing conditions. Solid breezes, sunny skies, a few clouds, warm waters (72 F) and warm weather (75 F) meant that "shorts, shirts, & shades" were the order of the day every day!

After starting off the first day with a 2-2-1 tally, the EAT Sleep J Repeat team from the United Kingdom (skipper Paul Ward, Ruairidh Scott, Ben Saxton, and Mario Trinidade) basically led the regatta from wire-to-wire over the eight-race series. As the current J/70 World Champions, they finally showed "good form" after getting a few kinds worked out of their system from earlier regattas in Florida where they were having difficulty staying in the top ten. After a fourth race debacle that saw them score their drop race, an 18th place, the team roared back to win yet another race and finish with 23 pts net.

Notably, the regatta was witness to a meteoric rise for a previously unknown team at the top of the J/70 class leaderboard. Having taken a surprising third place at the J/70 Midwinters two weeks ago, Ryan McKillen's Surge Team of John Wallace, Sam Loughborough, and Mark Mendelblatt managed to repeat their most excellent performance in the previous event. The Surge Team were able to sail quite consistently and posted six races in the top five to take the silver with just 28 pts net.

Taking the final bronze step on the podium was Bruce Golison's crew of Midlife Crisis (Steve Hunt, Jeff Reynolds, and Erik Shampain) from southern California. After their first race "down the mine shaft" finish of 26th, they won the next race and were able to post five finishes in the top five to finish just two points back with 30 pts net.

Rounding out the top five were J/70 World Champion Joel Ronning and his talented crew on Catapult (Patrick Wilson, Chris Stocke, and Paul Brotherinton), winning the final race and also posting five top five finishes to take fourth place with 35 pts net. Fifth place went to Oivind Lorentzen's Nine from New York with crew of David Shreiner, Lucas Calabrese, and Ian Coleman.

In the eight-boat Corinthians Division, it was Seattle, Washington's Mallory & Andrew Loe and crew of Cardwell Potts and Brian Shores aboard Dime that won the division, even winning the fourth race overall! Second was The Brazilian team on Three Musketeers (Alberto & Andre Guarischi, and Mario & Pedro Tinoco), then third went to Zach Segal's USA 1154 team (Enrique Quintero, Ashton Hammerlin, and Alex Sachs).

More J/70 Bacardi Invitational sailing information here.

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