Lars Grael takes the lead
Setting the race course just off Matheson Hammock Park for day two of the 87th Bacardi Cup, the Race Committee’s search for breeze paid off as the second race of the series got underway in six knots from the east. With abundant sunshine, the 55 teams put the first-day jitters behind them and got down to business.
First around the weather mark was San Diego’s Mark Reynolds and Miami’s Magnus Liljedahl, who had won the opening race of the series. They were followed closely by Jack Jennings and Brian Sharp, who took the lead at the leeward mark and held it to win the race by 44 seconds ahead of Lars Grael and Samuel Gonzalves from Brazil.
“It was a pretty close first part of the race,” said Jennings who hails from Niles, Illinois. “I believe we had a bit of advantage at the start, made a good shift and tacked shortly after. We then worked the boat and managed the competition until the end. It was a tactical race today, but we brought it home.”
With four races remaining on the schedule, consistency will be the name of the game in the long run. “The start was very tactical,” said Grael, explaining that there was better wind today. “We decided to go right and we were fifth at the first mark. On the first downwind we went the wrong way and lost two positions. We made up time on the second upwind leg and we rounded in second and managed to keep position till the end. We're in first place [overall] but too far away to make plans; we'll try to be as consistent as possible.”
Finishing third was Florida’s Brad Funk who is racing the Star for the first time with crew Mark Strube. “I'm here because of Mark,” said Funk who is well-known for racing in the Laser and Moth classes. “He suggested we enter the Bacardi Cup together as his skipper was unavailable. Five years ago we sailed a Star in a clinic event, but that was it. We never had an opportunity to race together until yesterday. Sailing a Star is a challenge for me, it’s more tactical and with less speed.” Funk explained that there was more pressure than yesterday and that the duo had a good start. “Many boats went right as suggested by the forecast, and we went left. It was a good choice and we rounded in the top 10. We made progress on group until third position which we held until the finish. More breeze is expected tomorrow and it will be a totally different race.”
For Strube, it was a good move to invite Funk to sail. “We clicked right away,” he said, noting that Funk has a great personality and a positive attitude. “We're a good match. When I decided to ask him to sail with me I was pretty sure on the choice, I didn’t think it was a gamble and results are definitely positive.”
Grael and Gonzalves have moved into the lead of the overall standings, with four points. In second and third overall, respectively, and tied on seven points each are Reynolds and Liljedahl, who finished today’s race in sixth, and Funk and Strube. Torben Grael and crew Guilheme Almeida of Brazil stand fourth overall with eight points, followed by American sailors Arthur Anosov and Brian Fatih with 15 points.
Paul Cayard reports:
Light northerly winds were on the menu today on Biscayne Bay. The Race Committee held the fleet at the dock for an hour to allow the wind to fill. The race got underway on the first start. The northerly wind is fickle and streaky here. It is kind of like Shoots and Ladders. One moment you are looking good, then next not so good. This is especially true right after the start when the fleet is all still very close. Many of these shifts are too short to tack on.
Prior to the start, Rodney and I felt that the current was going to be a factor and we'd be better out to the right side of the course. We started right at the committee boat and tacked immediately onto port to head right. Initially, we looked very strong, but then the wind shifted 15 degrees left. We were lucky to scramble out of the right side and round the first mark in the top 10. Mark Reynolds was leading at the first mark with Jack Jennings close behind. On the first downwind leg, Reynolds was penalized by the jury for kinetics, rule 42. He had to make two complete 360's right there and then. That dropped he and Magnus back to 5th.
As the race progressed, we managed to pass couple of boats and finish 7th. We were battling away with the Grael brothers, Mark and Magnus, Brad Funk and Brian Ledbetter from USA, and Diego Negri from Italy. Lars Grael sailed very well near the top of the second windward leg to move from fourth into second place.
Jack Jennings and Brian Sharpe won the race easily followed by Lars Grael who now leads the series with a 2, 2.
It was a tough race in light conditions.
Tomorrow is forecast to be light again and maybe a bit stronger breeze for Thursday. Friday will be post frontal so we may have 15-18 from the West.