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All to play for at Bacardi Winter Series Event 2 in Biscayne Bay, Miami

by Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta 27 Jan 07:48 PST January 28-30, 2022
Bacardi Invitational Regatta © Katrina Zoe Norbom / Bacardi Winter Series

Event 2 of the Bacardi Winter Series, 28-30 January 2022, features racing for the J/70 and Melges 24 Classes, with the foiling Persico 69F making its debut on USA waters.

Hosted at Shake-A-Leg-Miami (SALM), three days of racing will pitch the provisional entry list of over fifty teams against each other and the ever challenging race track of Biscayne Bay.

Across the class talent pools there are plenty of well-known faces as well as Olympians fresh from Tokyo, including Stuart Bithell (GBR) who won Tokyo Gold in the 49er, along with Chris Grube (GBR) and Dave Hughes (USA) who competed in the 470 in Tokyo. Amongst the Olympic back catalogue are names such as Luca Calabrese (ARG) who won 470 bronze at London 2012 and two-time Olympian Jason Saunders (NZL), to name just a few of the other recent Olympians who will line-up against World Champions and sailing legends.

"We are really pleased to welcome such a depth of talent to compete at Bacardi Winter Series event 2," said Eddie Cutillas from Bacardi USA. "The sun will be shining, the breeze looks set to deliver and the stage is set for a spectacular event both on the water and ashore."

Melges 24 Class

Bora Gulari (USA) on 'New England Ropes' has dominated the Melges 24 in recent years, taking honours this time last year, chased hard by Laura Grondin (USA) on 'Dark Energy' and Peter Duncan (USA) on 'Rasta Mixta'.

It was Grondin though who won the opening Bacardi Winter Series event 1 in December 2021 and will be pumped for a second victory as she earmarks her journey to the finale at the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta in March 2022.

These three teams regularly battle it out at the front, and their recent encounter last week at the Southernmost Regatta in Key West saw Duncan came out on top with Grondin in third and Gulari in fourth. Past performance is no guarantee of form for the weekend ahead though, although they will likely be in the mix at the front of the leader board along with many other big players.

Over twenty Melges 24 teams will compete, with racing scheduled to get under way each day at 1100 hours, followed by the J/70 starts, with two daily races for each class.

J/70 Class

Richard Witzel (USA) on 'Rowdy' opened their Bacardi Winter Series in fine style by winning event 1 in December 2021, and will be one of over twenty-five teams contesting the six-race J/70 series. No doubt though, plenty of eyes will also be watching Travis Odenbach (USA) and crew on 'Honey Badger' who wrapped up victory at the 2021 Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta.

The J/70 also met up last week in Key West, with Bobby Julien (USA) and crew on 'Dingbat' coming out on top and keen to repeat their front running form.

Challenging the established fierce rivalries across the open and the Corinthian divisions are new faces who may well spring some surprises.

69F

Following a successful European campaign last summer, the ambitious 69F Team has expanded its race circuit and takes to the Biscayne Bay waters for the class' first ever event in the USA. Six national teams will compete in this fast and furious foiling boat, with top speeds of up to 34 knots. The open race format allows the race management team to run an unlimited number of races, with no discards and one race to constitute the event.

There is plenty of talent in the six teams and the road to victory will not be an easy ride. The results may prove that previous experience of racing on Biscayne Bay will establish the advantage.

"We are delighted the 69F has attributed their USA debut to the Bacardi Regatta Series," commented Sara Zanobini, Bacardi Winter Series Event Director. "Guaranteeing thrilling racing, it will be fantastic to witness these spectacular foiling platforms on Biscayne Bay."

Winners and podium finishers were celebrated at the Bacardi prize-giving hosted at Shake-a-leg Miami, with plenty more camaraderie enjoyed at the Bacardi Happy Hour.

The weather is currently forecast to be light on Friday with around 7-10 knots of breeze, ramping up to a 20 knot blow and gusts up to 28 knots on Saturday, before easing on Sunday. Teams can tune in to the latest forecasts at the daily Zoom weather briefings sponsored by Quantum Sails.

The 2021/2022 season marks the fourth edition of the Bacardi Winter Series, which culminates with the finale at the renowned Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta, 6-12 March 2022. Embracing the iconic Bacardi Cup dedicated to the Star Class, the Bacardi Invitational Regatta also welcomes the best of the best to Miami with racing for the Melges 24, J/70, Viper 640, VX One and 69F.

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