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Vaikobi 2024 LEADERBOARD

97th Bacardi Cup Overall

by Luissa Smith 9 Mar 19:38 PDT March 4-9, 2024
Star - Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada secure their fifth successive Bacardi Cup victory © Martina Orsini

The climax of The 97th Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Invitational Regatta was a day of anticipation and pressure. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere in the boat park this morning belied the intensity about to unfold racing against many of the best sailors in the world.

All eyes were riveted on the three-way tie-break to determine the winners of The 97th Bacardi Cup. Biscayne Bay set the stage for a spectacular finale, kicking off with a building 12 knots breeze and waves.

With unwavering focus, Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada controlled the fleet from start to finish, clinching an unprecedented fifth consecutive victory and once again forced the chasing fleet to walk in their shadow.

In the Melges 24, Snipe, and VX One Classes, Bora Gulari, Ernesto Rodriguez, and Christopher Alexander emerged triumphant, with back-to-back race wins. 'Dark Energy' consolidated its position in the J/70, while Marek Zaleski advanced from third to first in the Viper 640.

Eddie Cutillas, Bacardi USA, praised all involved, saying, "It was a tremendous week. The Bacardi Cup and the Bacardi Invitational is a feeling like family. Bacardi is all about family and heritage, and we feel that this fits in perfectly with our mission at this regatta. Six days of world class racing meld seamlessly into shoreside friendship and fun. Thanks to each and every one of you for being part of our unique annual sailing celebration."

The 97th Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Invitational Regatta brought together over 200 teams, setting a new record for the event. More than 600 sailors from 25 nations, spanning North and South America, Europe and Asia competed for some of sailing's most coveted titles.

Save the date for next year and come sail with us from March 2-8, 2025.

97th Bacardi Cup

In a fleet brimming with former Bacardi Cup winners and Star World Champions, maintaining consistency across six races to seize The 97th Bacardi Cup title was never going to be easy.

After five races, Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada, Augie Diaz/Henry Boening and Doyle/Payson Infelise had elevated themselves into a class of their own, setting the stage for a three-way tiebreak showdown in the decisive race 6.

The showdown however never materialised, as Kusznierewicz/Prada took control from the start and never looked back.

The three teams all fielded strong starts separated along the starting line, with Doyle/Infelise to the right, Kusznierewicz/Prada in the middle and Diaz/Boening on the left. Doyle/Infelise continued up the right side, while Kusznierewicz/Prada went left. By the first mark, Kusznierewicz/Prada had secured a big jump on the fleet, leaving the other two teams back in 6th and 8th.

On the first downwind, Doyle/Infelise made inroads and geared up to second. They split through the gate and back upwind, where Kusznierewicz/Prada shook off their assault. Focusing on their own race, they accelerated away in stunning style to hold firm and take the win. Diaz/Boening crossed the line in 4th and Doyle/Infelise in 5th, securing second and third overall.

Following tradition, Eddie Cutillas of Bacardi was at the finish line to congratulate the winners of The 97th Bacardi Cup.

A meticulous performance from Kusznierewicz/Prada ensured they remained strong in the decisive moment. They have forged a genius and formidable team to remain as custodians of the Bacardi Cup Trophy and Tito Bacardi Cup for five successive years - in 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. The duo first made history in 2023, as the only same-crew team to win four consecutive times and now return to the history books.

"We knew it was going to be tight racing as they are superfast, very smart, experienced sailors and we knew that we had to deliver everything," commented Kusznierewicz. "It's a fantastic feeling. I wish to everyone to win Bacardi Cup! It is a legendary regatta and to be part of it and making history it is special."

Kusznierewicz attributed victory to their process, saying, "From the beginning we trust in our process. If you know how to set up the boat, if you know what to do before the race, when you know how to make decisions where to start, how to start, what to avoid, how to sail, the results will come and here we go. We've got it."

"Five times in row is really out of the box in terms of the Star Class," said Prada, who won his first Bacardi Cup in 2020 after fifteen years of trying. "It is a really tough class to win. Five in a row never happened before so it is some historical moment and we need to enjoy it. I am super proud to win five Bacardi's, five Worlds and be a little part of the Star Class history."

Kusznierewicz/Prada celebrated their remarkable achievement by sipping Bacardi rum from the iconic Bacardi Cup Trophy and Tito Bacardi Cup at the prize-giving to huge applause.

There is plenty of potential in the Star fleet, with thirteen U30 teams competing. As the top placed U30 team in 20thoverall, Facundo Olezza/Ricardo Vadia will be supported by Bacardi to compete at the Star Class Worlds in San Diego, USA from September 4-13, 2024.

Final Top 3

1. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 8559) - 14 pts
2. Augie Diaz / Henry Boening (USA 8509) - 17 pts
3. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA 8580) - 18 pts

Prizes were also presented to the age division winners:

U30 (skipper under 30) - Facundo Olezza / Ricardo Vadia
Master (skippers aged 50 through 59) - Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise
Grand Master (skippers aged 60+) - Augie Diaz / Henry Boening
Exalted Grand Master (skippers aged 70+) - John Dane III / Dave Martin


Leading by one point at the start of the day, a tough battle saw Laura Grondin's 'Dark Energy' close out the series with scores of 5,7. Grondin's team worked through their opening day struggles and maintained greater consistency to win over the forty-nine boat fleet.

Grondin has been a regular at the Bacardi events for many years, both in the J/70 and Melges 24. This win ranks as the pinnacle of her appearances. In a twist of fate, Grondin was due to race her Melges 24, but due to crew illness switched to the J/70.

"I just think it is really cool to win a signature event like this," said Grondin. "It was really windy, so the downwinds were fun. The upwinds, just keeping the boat moving was the key to success today."

Grondin's victory headlines exceptional performances by women J/70 helms, with three others securing spots inside the top twenty leaderboard - an impressive feat in this world-class fleet.

Charles Thompson's 'Brutus III' team secures the 2023-2024 Bacardi Invitational Winter Series title by combining their 2nd place finish in BWS2 with today's 8th overall.

Final Top 3

1. Laura Grondin / Taylor Canfield / Luke Muller / Malcolm Lamphere (USA 819) - 46 pts
2. Brian Keane / Thomas Barrows / Ron Weed / Conner Harding (USA 49) - 57 pts
3. Ralph Vasconcellos Rosa / Guilherme Hamelmann / Julio Falcão / Felipe Rondina (BRA 1226) - 60 pts

The top-placed Corinthian team in 19th overall are Alec Cutler/Charles Pucciariello/Ryan Cox/Brad Rodi.

Melges 24

Going into the day Bora Gulari's 'Bespoke' team trailed Peter Karrié's 'Nefeli' by 6 points.

Gulari did everything he could to close the gap, winning race 7 and narrowing Karrié's lead to 5 points. The final showdown in the deciding race 8 was now just between these two.

Gulari's team has a unique ability to thrive under pressure, and their teamwork and discipline was rewarded with another win. But their fate would be decided by 'Nefeli' who needed a top-five finish to claim overall victory. Fortunately for Gulari, 'Nefeli' crossed the line in 8th to secure second overall, while Bruce Ayres' 'Monsoon' took third.

On winning Gulari remarked, "It's pretty good. I love the boat, I love the camaraderie, I love my people. Everyone's just so good."

On what it means to race at the Bacardi Invitational, Gulari added, "Getting to play with your best friends, and trying your absolute hardest every single moment."

Gulari's 'Bespoke' also secures the 2023-2024 Bacardi Invitational Winter Series title by combining his team's win from BWS2 with today's triumph.

Final Top 3

1. Bora Gulari / Norman Berge / Nick Ford / RJ Porter / Charlie Smythe (USA 820) - 20 pts
2. Peter-David Karrié / Alessandro Franci / Niccolò Bianchi / Saverio Cigliano / Alessandro Saettone (GER 859) - 22 pts
3. Bruce Ayres / Thomas Dietrich / Edward Hackney / Pearl Lattanzi / Jeremy Wilmot (USA 851) - 29 pts

The top-placed Corinthian team are Jan Frederik Dyvi's 'Team RRH' in 8th overall.


The twenty boat Snipe fleet made their debut at the Bacardi Invitational Regatta. In a fleet packed with talent, seven different teams scored top three finishes.

Going into the final race 8, Ernesto Rodriguez/Issa Uribe held a 3-point advantage over Yoan Carrillo / Rene Torrecilla Abreu and Enrique Quintero/Nico Ocariz, who were on tiebreak with 16 points each. As with many of the other classes, it was open to any of them to switch podium positions. But it wasn't to be as Rodriguez/Uribe racked up their fourth race win.

"We couldn't ask for anything better for the last day," said Rodriguez. "We were lucky that we got two good starts today and my crew did a great job to keep the boat powered up. We are pretty fortunate to win a regatta here on the first Bacardi, I am happy!"

Final Top 3

1. Ernesto Rodriguez / Issa Uribe (USA 31337) - 13 pts
2. Enrique Quintero / Nico Ocariz (USA 31640) - 16 pts
3. Yoan Carrillo / Rene Torrecilla Abreu (USA 29511) - 20 pts

Viper 640

Marek Zaleski/Chris Zaleski/Jake Bradt were leading the twenty-two boat Viper 640 fleet by 2 points going into the day, before a 5th in race 7 pushed them back to second, with Jimmy Praley/Austin Powers/Max Vinocur now 1 point ahead.

In an all or nothing final race, Zaleski finished 2nd to triumph overall. Mary Ewenson's 'Evil Hiss' team saved their best to last to take the win and escalate up to second, leaving the reigning North American Champion, Praley, to settle for third on tiebreak.

Final Top 3

1. Marek Zaleski / Chris Zaleski / Jake Bradt (USA 237) - 26 pts
2. Mary Ewenson / Jane Moore / Rob Gorman / Jahn Tihansky (USA 297) - 27 pts
3. Jimmy Praley / Austin Powers / Max Vinocur (USA 298) - 27 pts

VX One

Today was a leaderboard shuffle for the top three teams. John Porter/David Himmel, the leaders going into the day, relinquished the lead to Doug Clark/Matt Haddon after race 7.

The defending Champions, Christopher Alexander/Grace Howie/Ricky Welch won the race and were poised to seal their reputation and triumph again.

Going into the final race 8, just 2 points separated the top three teams who were all guaranteed a spot on the podium. Another superb win from Alexander's team sealed their successful defense.

Final Top 3

1. Christopher Alexander / Grace Howie / Ricky Welch (USA 276) - 20 pts
2. John Porter / David Himmel (USA 343) - 24 pts
3. Doug Clark / Matt Haddon (USA 362) - 25 pts

More information, including full results, can be found at

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