It was ‘game on’ for sailors in the Melges 24, Melges 20, Viper 640 and J/24 classes as they headed out to Biscayne Bay for their first day of competition at the 2011 Bacardi Miami Sailing Week presented by EFG Bank.
Unfortunately, racing for the Star class competing in the 84th Bacardi Cup was curtailed after a severe thunderstorm threat was issued by the National Weather Service. While the course utilised by the Stars was further offshore, the other classes were competing on two circles closer into shore where the overall conditions delivered water that was surprisingly smoother than yesterday when there had been high chop due to a strong SSEerly wind.
"We've got a front coming in that went through Orlando and we've got a feeling that this is all going to turn nasty real quick,” said skipper Andrew Campbell after the Star racing was cancelled. “Obviously, a lot of sailors are disappointed and want to go out. Ultimately, we understand the decision from the race committee which is concerned for the safety of the fleet, especially if lightning and other things become a factor out there. The next couple days of Star sailing are going to be big moving days for a lot of people, so we're going to get out there, stay focused, and do our best."
Sharing one course, the two Melges fleets were up first, with the Viper 640s and J/24s sharing racing on a second course. Breeze from the south around 15 knots greeted the fleets, along with a sharp drop in temperature as a cold front made its way across the bay.
In the 35-boat Melges 24 class, the first win of the series went to Lorenzo Bressani (Milan, Italy). Alan Field (Los Angeles, Calif.) sailing with tactician Steve Hunt (San Diego) and crew Sarah Curran, Jeff Reynolds and Erik Shampain placed second, with Riccardo Simoneschi (Milan, Italy) taking third.
In the Melges 20 class Paul Reilly (Chicago, Ill.), with tactician Andy Burdick (Zenda, Wisc.) and Mike Kuschner, took the day one win in the 27-strong fleet. Dario Levi (Milan, Italy), sailing with tactician Andrea Casale and Stefano Lagi, was second, followed by Mary Anne Ward (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) with tactician Sam Rogers and bowman Peter Keck in third.
In the Viper 640 fleet, the Brits went one-two as Glyn Locke (Isle of Wight), with crew David Chapman and Ian Nicholson, finished first in the 17-boat fleet, followed by Justin Scott, Peter Beardsley and Ched Proctor in second. Dan Tucker (Marblehead, Mass.), sailing with John Powell and Jason Hill, placed third.
“Unfortunately, with the front that came through, we only got one race off,” said Tucker who was very happy to be in Miami after having to chip ice off the boat to get there. “We were fortunate to have good downwind speed and capitalize on some opportunities which let us get up to the front on the first leg.”
In the all-American fleet of eight J/24s, Florida teams captured the top-three spots: Brian Kamilar (Miami) with Fran Bellocchio, Fabio Galarce, Mauricio Galarce and Enrique Quintero placed first; Patricia Walker (Vero Beach) with Richard Jarchow, Bill Scheureman, Gary Sprague and Thomas Wenzel were second; and Robert Pincus (Miami) with Patricia Amaducci, Eammon Delisser and JB Slater placed third.