Fourth Bacardi Miami Sailing Week
There's less than a week before the fourth Bacardi Miami Sailing Week presented by EFG Bank. This year's event features a top list of competitors, including one-design sailors from 13 nations who will compete in five classes - Audi Melges 20, Melges 24, Star, Viper 640 and J/70 - from 3-9 March.
Headlining the week-long regatta, headquartered in Coconut Grove, is the 86th Bacardi Cup.
Among the 62 Star teams registered are some of the storied class’s most notable. Leading the line-up are 2012 Star World Champions Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot (FRA), the Bacardi Cup defending champions. They will face, among others, 1992 Finn Silver medalist Brian Ledbetter who has teamed with Canadian 2012 Olympian Tyler Bjorn; 2009 Star World Champion George Szabo sailing with Miami’s Magnus Liljedahl, the 2000 world champion and Olympic Gold Medalist; two-time Olympian Peter O’Leary (IRE) with Rodney Hagebols (AUS); Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Augie Diaz and Brazlian two-time Tornado Olympic medallist Lars Grael.
Racing for the Star class gets underway on Monday, 4 March. Starting on Thursday, 7 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/70 class which makes its event debut. Racing, for all classes, will conclude on Saturday, 10 March.
Favorites in the 19-strong Melges 24 class are Italy's Riccardo Simoneschi and Alan Field, who placed second and fifth, respectively, in 2012, along with Argyle Campbell, Cary Siegler and Alec Cutler.
Both the Audi Melges 20 and Viper 640 classes have seen a sizable increase in entries, and both will see the defending champions working to repeat their on-the-water success. In the 48-boat Audi Melges 20 fleet, three-time class national champion Michael Kiss might be hard to unseat, although Melges 32 World Champion John Kilroy will surely give him a run for the glory, as will Travis Weisleder, John Taylor and Paul Reilly.
In the 24-strong Viper 640 fleet, which will also be racing for their EFG Bank Pan-American Championship, defending champions, the Isle of Wight's Glyn Locke, David Chapman and Ian Nicholson will face Joseph Healey, Phil Lotz, Audi Melges 32 2012 European Champion Jason Carroll and Audi Melges 32 2009 World Champion Pieter Taselaar.
For the first year, Bacardi Miami Sailing Week has decided to organize a Pro-Am regatta, which will give 15 people the unique opportunity to interact on the water and compete with and against the world’s most accomplished sailors. Five sailboats and 15 spots (kindly offered by Magnus Liljedahl and Team Paradise) will be auctioned off at the Bacardi Miami Sailing Week Kick-Off Party and Pro-Am Regatta Reception at the Bacardi Building in Coral Gables on Saturday, 2 March. The event it open to public and all proceeds will benefit Shake-A Leg, Team Paradise and Sailing Heals.