65 Stars for the Bacardi Cup

Olympic keelboat once again to be joined by sportsboat fleets next week

Friday March 2nd 2012, Author: Jan Harley, Location: United States

Next week the red carpet will again be rolled out for the annual Bacardi Miami Sailing Week presented by EFG Bank when it returns to Coconut Grove in Miami, over 4-10 March.

The third annual running of Bacardi Miami Sailing Week will mark several milestones starting with the 150th anniversary of the Bacardi Company, as well as the 50th year that the Bacardi Cup is being held in Miami for the Star class, which in turn has just celebrated its own 100th anniversary. Also being celebrated during the week will be Jose E. 'Tito' Argamasilla Bacardi, who lost his battle with cancer late in 2011. During his 40 year career with the company he not only hosted the Bacardi Cup for several decades but also founded the Bacardi Museum in Miami.

The Bacardi Cup headlines the week-long regatta in Miami, and, with 65 Star teams registered to date, will continue its tradition of excellent competition. Among the notable sailors vying for the 85th title are 2007 winner Hamish Pepper (NZL) with crew Jim Turner and 2008 Olympian Peter O’Leary and David Burrows (Ireland). Three of the top-seven finishers at the 2011 Star World Championship in Australia will also compete, including 2008 world champions Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki (Poland) who finished fourth in Perth, as well as Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen (Norway) and Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot (France) who were sixth and seventh respectively. Leading the American contenders are 2009 Star World Champion George Szabo (San Diego) who will sail the Bacardi Cup with Miami’s Magnus Liljedahl, who was both world champion and winner of Olympic Gold in 2000.

Racing for the Stars gets underway on Monday, 5 March. Starting on Thursday, 8 March, the Stars will be joined on Biscayne Bay by sailors in the Viper 640, Audi Melges 20, and Melges 24 classes, along with the J/80 class which makes its event debut following their successful participation in the 2011 Bacardi Newport Sailing Week. Racing, for all classes, will conclude on Saturday, 10 March.

Favorites in the 20-strong Melges 24 class are Alan Field and Italy's Riccardo Simoneschi, who drove to podium finishes of second and third, respectively, in 2011. Kristen Lane, the 29erXX North American Champion, is another sailor to watch in this competitive fleet.

Entries are up in both the Audi Melges 20 and Viper 640 classes, with the top-three finishers from each class in 2011 returning to compete on Biscayne Bay. In the Audi Melges 20, which has 36 boats registered to date, Mary Anne Ward will look to defend her title against two-time (’11, ’10) class national champion Michael Kiss and Paul Reilly. For the 17-strong Viper 640 fleet, BMSW defending champions Glyn Locke, David Chapman and Ian Nicholson from the UK, will again face Justin Scott and Joseph Healey.

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