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94th Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta on Biscayne Bay - Day 1

by Luissa Smith 8 Mar 2021 21:30 PST 7-13 March 2021
Defending Bacardi Cup holders Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada (POL) win race 1 on day 1 of the 94th Bacardi Cup on Biscayne Bay © Matias Capizzano

An epic opening day at the 94th Bacardi Cup on Biscayne Bay featured tropical temperatures, an overcast sky and a steady north-easterly breeze averaging 15 knots, with gusts up to 20 knots.

Racing got under way at 1130 hours in a battle for the front row as the twenty-five boats jostled for pole position as they relished the day's stunning conditions. For many, the Bacardi Cup marks the first racing opportunity for many months, so it was no surprise to see a fleet of exhausted but very happy sailors return ashore. Dominating the race track were three former World Champions, who took the advantage off the line and proudly displayed their gold Star mainsail badges of honour to the opposition as they seized the top three places.

Despite not sailing together since last year's Bacardi Cup, taking centre stage were defending Bacardi title holders and reigning World Champions, Mateusz Kusnierewicz/Bruno Prada who knocked out a masterclass of showmanship and skill, as they covered the fleet from start to finish. The pair owned the lead from the outset, opening up a great divide of over a minute to rack up their first leader board incision.

"The conditions were super tough," commented Prada. "There were some choppy waves, so it was super challenging."

"We are happy with our speed and we are happy with the way that we sail, but we did a joke always that on Wednesday we will be ready," he added with a broad grin.

Acknowledging the powerful conditions Kusnierewicz expressed a sense of relief, saying, "I think the race officer made a really good decision that we sail only one race, because for the fleet sailing in wind above 20 knots is, after a long break, well let's say we are very warmed up!"

Recognizing they could not close the gap to the leaders, Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise focused on maintaining their speed and position, steadily increasing their advantage over third placed George Szabo/Guy Avellon. Doyle won the 1999 Star Worlds, and the pair won the 92nd Bacardi Cup in 2019. Szabo, who won the 2019 Star Worlds, and Avellon had their work cut out to hold onto third place, in a close call as the fleet pursued them in a frisky battle.

Augie Diaz/Marcus Koy made up significant ground after finding themselves back in the third row of the starting line up by the Committee boat. They were forced to head right off the start line, but it turned out well as they found flatter water and gained through the fleet to finish in fourth. An impressive day considering it was their debut race, as Diaz's intended crew was unable to travel to the USA. Diaz finished second overall behind Kusnierewicz/Prada here last year and again 2nd behind them at the 2019 Worlds, so there is clearly unfinished business for Diaz as he seeks to become this year's hero.

With a smaller fleet of twenty-five boats this year, the Organizing Committee has made an exception for the 94th Bacardi Cup only and adjusted the traditional one race per day format to allow up to ten races over the six days of racing. The warning signal for race 2 is scheduled for 1125 hours on Tuesday 9 March 2021. From Thursday 11 March 2021, the J/70 and Melges 24 Classes will join the action at the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta.

Covid-19 has changed the format of this year's Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta, with local restrictions meaning entry quotas were introduced for the first time, as well as national and international travel constraints also impacting the entry list. In collaboration with the Organizing Committee, all sailors are following Covid-19 protocols to minimize risk and achieve a safe environment, with preventative measures including negative Covid-19 test results, temperature checks, social distancing, mask wearing, staggered arrivals/departures and virtual briefings. The normal post-race Bacardi hospitality has been replaced by a cocktail takeaway, with all teams given a Bacardi cocktail bag to enjoy at home.

The perpetual Bacardi Cup Trophy will be awarded to the first placed skipper and the Tito Bacardi Cup to the first placed crew, with prizes also presented to winners in the Master's (skippers age 50 through 59), Grand Masters (skippers age 60 and above), Exalted Grand Masters (skippers age 70 and above) and the Tammy Rubin-Rice Trophy will be presented to the highest placed team not otherwise receiving a prize.

A special thank you to this year's event sponsors and supporters: North Sails, EFG International, Shake a Leg Miami, HATUEY®Beer, Tuuci, Gubinelli Wines, Termodinamica USA, Coconut Grove Business District, Harken Derm, Jaguar Therapeutics. Team 1 Newport, Mark Set Bot, Sail 22 and Hobie.

Results after Race 1:

PosBow NoSail NoBoat NameSkipper / CrewR1Pts
148  POL 8548SavannahMateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada11
223  USA 8423USA 8423eric doyle / Payson Infelise22
382  USA 8528USA 8129George Szabo / Guy Avellon33
49  USA 8509DaniluAugie Diaz / Marcus Koy44
540  USA 84408440Jim Buckingham / Phil Toth55
646  GER 8446LaraHubert Merkelbach / Kilian Weise66
722  USA 8522AegisJoshua Powell / Mark Strube77
855  USA 8555Zoom Zoom ZoomJohn Ferguson Dane III / Greg Smith88
959  USA 84598459Peter Vessella / Phil Trinter99
1054  USA 8546Inshane AsylumShane Zwingelberg / Keith Gardner1010
1174  USA 85048504Scott Barnard / Craig Moss1111
1218  USA 8518Death Roll in PecosDoug Smith / Isao Toyama1212
1310  UKR 8493sputnik vbenjamin sternberg / Will christensen1313
1421  USA 8521Big JimMike Hecky / Valentin Veytsman1414
1595  USA 8395Super Spreader!Robert Lippincott / Matthew Rajacich1515
1628  8208DRAGONFLYFabiano Vivacqua / Dave Martin1616
1796  GER 8396High OctaneLothar Geilen / Carlos Miquel1717
1812  USA 8000Morning StarTony Hermann / Matthew Hermann1818
1943  GBR 8443Swedish BLUEAnte Razmilovic / Philip CarlssonDNF26
2044  USA 8448GMJohn MacCauslandDNC26
2184  USA 8484Barka BlueLarry Whipple / Arthur AnosovDNC26
2283  USA 83037999Alan Campbell / Michael RajacichDNS26
2313  USA 8413BalerionTom Londrigan / TC BelcoDNF26
2431  GER 8361Voodoo (Corinthian)Stefan Lehnert / Dietmar HobbieDNF26
2585  ARG 8285Pichon PichoniErich Mones Ruiz / Diego PeisajovichDNF26

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