The Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta welcomes an impressive lineup of over 500 sailors to Miami

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The Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta welcomes an impressive lineup of over 500 sailors to Miami

by Luisa Smith Mar 4 5:06am PST
6th-12th March 2022

All set for the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta © Martina Orsini

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The Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta will take place March 6-12, 2022 in Miami. The regatta begins with the Star Class racing at the legendary Bacardi Cup on March 7th and the other classes – J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640, VX One and 69F – hit the track from March 10th, 2022.

The roster includes over 500 sailors from over 20 nations presenting the usual mix of sailing legends, world champions, Olympians and professionals competing against weekend enthusiasts. There are few better venues on earth than Miami in the spring, as the essential ingredients of warm weather, reliable breezes, camaraderie and exceptional hospitality ensure sailors flock to enjoy BCIR. Showing the appeal of BCIR and the world-class competition in Biscayne Bay, attendance numbers have returned to their pre-Covid heyday.

“The Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Invitational Regatta have always been about the sailors,” commented Eddie Cutillas, Bacardi USA. “For the first time since 2020, we will not only be hosting our usual sailing at the highest level, but also the après sailing that Bacardi is known for – with nightly cocktail hours, dinner, music and entertainment. Having been forced to scale back events in 2021, we’re excited to return to a full line-up this year.”

Bacardi is justifiably proud of the Bacardi Cup, which claims to be one of the premier events in the sport of yachting and continues to be a milestone for the Bacardi Rum brand and the Bacardi family, who have been active patrons from the start. As a fledgling event in Cuba in 1927, the popularity of the Star Class and the Bacardi brand meant the Bacardi Cup was destined for success. In more than nine decades, the Bacardi Cup has never compromised as it brings together the best players in the world in a six-day battle for the Bacardi Cup and Tito Bacardi Cup trophies.

“We are delighted to welcome so many sailors back to Miami – we missed you all,” said Sara Zanobini, BCIR Event Director. “As the organiser, our goal is to exemplify the Bacardi brand’s unique style and hit the sweet spot by offering world-class racing and legendary hospitality ashore. I wish everyone a fantastic competition at one of the most beautiful and demanding race courses in the world.”


star class

The Bacardi Cup guarantees passion, drama and world class sailing in the prestigious star class. The Bacardi Cup, which celebrates its 95th anniversary in 2022, will open on March 7, 2022 for the sixty boat fleet in the traditional format of one race per day with six races and five to be counted.

On the circuit, the majority of the top twenty pairings from last year will return, led by favorites and back-to-back Bacardi Cup champions of 2021 and 2020, Mateusz Kusznierewiz (POL) and Bruno Prada (BRA), who are on a hat-trick mission will be .

They are joined by numerous big hitters, Olympians, Star World Champions and Bacardi Cup champions galore. Among names to keep an eye on are Italy’s Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi, who won the 2018 Bacardi Cup, and Negri is reigning World Champion Star Class Eric Doyle/Peyson Infelise (USA), winners of the Bacardi Cup 2019 winners were 2009 Star Class World Champion George Szabo and Crew Guy Avellon (USA) and Norway’s 2017 Star World Champion Eivind Melleby and Crew Joshua Revkin (USA), who also took 2018 Star Worlds Silver and 2019 Bronze . Denmark’s Jörgen Schönherr and Markus Koy (GER) are hoping for more of their 4th place at Star Worlds 2021, with Koy also planning to move up to his 3rd place at the 2021 Bacardi Cup with Augie Diaz. Paul Cayard (USA) and Frithof Kleen (GER) are another impressive partnership, with many podium finishes at Star Worlds including a win for Cayard in 1988 and Kleen in 2014. Cayard is yet to see his name on the Bacardi Cup, while Kleen claimed the honor in 2016 with Robert Stanjek – 2022 has every chance of being their year too.

Relative newcomers to the Star Class include Croatia’s ILCA 7 ace Tonci Stipanovic, who took silver in Tokyo before taking silver with crew Tudor Bilic at Star Worlds 2021.

Since the inception of the Bacardi Cup in 1927, 45 different skippers have claimed the illusory trophy. So brace yourself for plenty of action to oust Kusznierewiz/Prada as the world’s best compete for the glory and honor of sipping Bacardi rum from the revered trophies.


Class J/70

Frontrunner in 2021 was Travis Odenbach, who returns in 2022 to collaborate with some members of last year’s crew on David Jannetti’s Very Odd. Tough competition in the fleet of 39 boats will come from many quarters including 2020 BCIR winner Paul Ward on ‘Eat Sleep J Repeat’ with plenty of British talent on board.

Looking at recent form, Peter Cunningham (CAY) on “Powerplay” took a strong 2nd place finish at Bacardi Winter Series #1 while Bobby Julien on “Dingbat” took the win at Event #2 in January. Both have podium potential, as does Britain’s Charles Thompson, whose all-star team first came together on Brutus and finished third in January.

Winning in Miami is always difficult as teams take on the challenging and notoriously unpredictable circuit, and in a fleet packed with talent including six of last year’s top 10, everything is up for grabs. The BCIR is the finale of the Bacardi Winter Series J/70 season and after Events #1 and #2, the points lead in the series is in the hands of Bobby Julien.


Melge’s 24 class

Bora Gulari and his team on ‘New England Ropes’ are at the helm of the 27-boat Melges 24 fleet after back-to-back wins in 2021 and 2020. Conquering Gulari will require superior talent in all wind and sea conditions that Biscayne Bay will offer from the challenging crews.

Familiarity with the circuits always pays off, and nine of last year’s top ten return, so expect the usual masterclass of skill, including Travis Weisleder and his team on “Lucky Dog,” which finished just behind Gulari last year, and Bruce Ayres on “Monsoon”. was 3. Laura Grondin (USA), President of the International Melges 24 Class, opened the Bacardi Regatta series with a win in December’s #1 event and returns with exactly the same well-established team to assert her authority and her 7th place th place to improve by 2021.

Fresh faces on the US Melges 24 racing scene include the German ‘Nefeli’ team led by Peter Karrie and Drew Freides’ team at the ‘Pacific Yankee’ race in Miami on a new Melges 24.


Viper 640 class

After the class was absent last year due to Covid-19 restrictions, teams from Canada, Ireland, Italy and the USA will contest the sixteen-boat Viper 640 fleet.

Favorites include ‘Evil Hiss’ which placed 2nd in 2020 under the experienced guidance of Mary Ewenson and Irish entry by Anthony O Leary featuring ‘Antix’ which placed 4th and Brad Boston (CAN) , whose team finished 2nd at Winter Series Event #2 in January and 4th at last year’s North Americans with “Jackpot.” Peter Ill on ‘Caterpillar’ claims the most recent top spot from his 2nd place finish at the recent Viper Winter Series Event #3 in Sarasota.


VX One class

2022 marks Miami’s largest VX One fleet to date, with twenty new and returning teams from Canada, Chile, the United Kingdom, the United States and the US Virgin Islands.

Teams to keep an eye on include ‘Jailbreak’ who finished 6th at the North Americans 2021 and 4th at the VX One Winter Series in January and it’s very likely that John Porter’s ” Far Side” will once again be a force to be reckoned with. Porter achieved an excellent result in his first major regatta, the Midwinter Championship in January, where he defeated some experienced teams on the final day of racing to finish 7th out of 35 overall.

Racing was suspended at BCIR last year due to Covid therefore the honor of the top placing returning team of 2020 goes to Tim Pitts/Tim Desmond (ISV) who finished fourth.


69F class

After her inauguration on US waters at the Bacardi Winter Series #2 in January, the 69F makes her BCIR debut with an international lineup of teams who will push each other through the fast and furious 10-15 minute races.

The 69F is a high tech full carbon foiling race machine capable of speeds of up to 34 knots. It is stable and easy to handle even for a novice crew. The recipe is simple, three or four crew members, pure joy, sustainability and performance.

The intense racing leaves no room for error as the open format allows unlimited races and no elimination.

Special thanks to the sponsors and supporters of this year’s event: Bacardi USA, EFG International, Quantum Sails, Nautical Ventures, Fever Tree, Shake a Leg Miami, Sail 22, Pro Coach Boats, HATUEY® Beer, Tuuci, Termodinamica USA, Coconut Grove Business District, Harken Derm, Team 1 Newport and Hobie.


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