Ol' timers kicking butt
The opening race of the 87th Bacardi Cup was sailed today on Biscayne Bay after several postponements due to light air, and in this highly competitive and aggressive fleet of 54 boats it was no surprise when seven teams were disqualified under the black flag rule.
The wake-up call may be for anyone who did not anticipate San Diego’s Mark Reynolds and local sailor Magnus Liljedahl to return to their old ways. The duo, who shared both Olympic Gold and a Star World Championship win in 2000, had not sailed together in 10 years. Already the skipper and crew with the most Bacardi Cup wins to their credit (seven for Reynolds and five for Liljedahl; which include three they won together in 2002, 1998 and 1997), the win of the day’s lone race would seem to indicate they are on their way to setting another Bacardi Cup record.
“Overall a pretty good race,” said Reynolds. “Magnus was of great help. We didn't sail together in 10 years, but we were not rusty -- just getting old! It felt like the good old days. In the past I would come to Bacardi expecting to win; now I don't have that expectation, but it feels good to be on top.”
Following Reynolds and Liljedahl across the finish line in second and third, respectively, were brothers Torben Grael and Lars Grael whose sibling rivalry will be an interesting facet of this regatta.
“We had a wrong start and I rounded the first mark 40th,” said Lars Grael, the two-time (’88, ’96) Tornado Olympic Medalist and younger of the brothers. “Considering the bad start I feel we had a good comeback. The first downwind leg was the turning point and we rounded the second mark second and kept it to the end. Today was a good day for the Brazilian teams!”
Torben Grael, the four time Star Olympic medallist, who brought gold back to Brazil from Atlanta and Athens, commented on finishing the race in third: “We had a reasonable start, even if we missed the bigger pressure on the right by the committee boat. Today was tricky; wind holes and currents were to be managed. Bacardi Cup is always difficult as there are many good competitors. Consistency is key and I am happy of our good run.”
The fifth annual running of Bacardi Miami Sailing Week presented by EFG Bank will run until 8 March. The six-day racing schedule is headlined by the Star class whose teams are contesting the 87th Bacardi Cup. On the last four days of the regatta, the Stars will share Biscayne Bay with competitors in the Audi Melges 20, J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640 and VX One classes.