Inconsistent breeze forces race abandonment on day 2 at 96th Bacardi Cup

Inconsistent breeze forces race abandonment on day 2 at 96th Bacardi Cup

Bacardi Cup Day 2, was abandoned due to an inconsistent breeze

Sport

08/03/2023 - 09:46

Racing at the 96th Bacardi Cup, March 5-11, 2023, was abandoned today, March 7, due to an inconsistent breeze.

After a postponement ashore, the Race Committee was hopeful racing would get underway, but ultimately the decision was taken to abandon racing.

"The weather forecast was for the breeze to fill in somewhere between 2 to 3 o'clock out of the south east," explained Carl Schellbach, Principal Race Officer. "The breeze finally made it and was doing battle with what might have been the sea breeze here. However, the Race Committee didn't think it was going to offer quality sailing until very late this afternoon and, even then, it was still in doubt.

"We decided that with four days ahead of very good weather forecast there's no reason in the world we should have a terrible race just to have a second race in two days. The risk of having a bad race was too great given the weather forecast for the rest of the week."

Racing for the seventy-three Star teams is scheduled to resume on Wednesday, March 7, with race 2 starting one hour earlier at 1100 hours, immediately followed by race 3.

An enduring legacy
Paul Cayard is one of many renowned sailors who mark the Bacardi Cup on their calendar year after year and returns for the 96th Bacardi Cup. Cayard has enjoyed a hugely successful career, spanning Whitbread Round the World Race victory and second in the Volvo Ocean Race, seven World Championship titles, is a seven-time America's Cup competitor, a two-time Olympian and holds plenty more to his name. However, despite forty-five years of sailing the Star and numerous Bacardi Cup appearances, Cayard has yet to add the Bacardi Cup to his illustrious trophy cabinet.

"My goal this year is the same as every year, I am here to win," smiled Cayard. "I try to make sure I enjoy the races and the camaraderie along the way, but I am still a very competitive person. I have never won the Bacardi Cup, but I think I have been second five times! So, I would like to win.

"You never master the Star, you are constantly trying to find the perfect tune and that's just for the speed of the boat. Then of course you are racing against all these other competitors, so you have the tactics and challenges with the wind as in any type of boat."

Speaking on the enduring legacy of the Bacardi Cup, Cayard continued, "The Bacardi Cup is the iconic event in the Star Class. It has been going on for ninety-six years, which I think makes it the longest continuously sponsored event in any sport. It is really a great partnership. I am sure it will go on for ninety-six more.

"The conditions here in Miami are warm, sunny and nice winds for the boat, not to strong not too light. In March, it is the time of year when a lot of people from Europe and the north-east of the United States like to come down and get warmed up a little bit!

"The Bacardi Cup is a very popular event – it is the cornerstone of the Star Class."

Paul Cayard introduces the U30 teams at the 96th Bacardi Cup
Paul Cayard introduces the U30 teams at the 96th Bacardi Cup

Experience and youth

The Star appeals to all ages, which is easily demonstrated here at the 96th Bacardi Cup. From the most senior skipper and Star Class Commodore John Chiarella (USA), who is eighty-five, to the youngest, Julia Magdalena Mueller from Austria who celebrates turning eighteen today.

We caught up with them to hear their views on why Star sailing is their boat of choice.

John Chiarella has competed at well over fifty Bacardi Cups, most probably a record by anyone's measure, as his love affair with the Star has extended over sixty-five years.

"A lot of things keep me coming back," he said on the appeal of the Bacardi Cup. "The most important thing, which I always stress to other people involved, is the relationships that you form in the Star Class over the years. It is a very emotional thing for me, I will say that. It is special. What keeps me coming back are the people. To be honest, that's what life is about."

Reflecting on the changes over the decades Chiarella continued, "We have seen a lot of change, although the boats have somewhat fortunately stayed the same. We are a development class, so we do allow for certain things. We have seen a change in the rigs, the advent of hiking straps, a big change in masts and sail design.

Referring to the Bacardi Cup in Havana, Chiarella reflected, "When you look at what we sailed with in those days, some of the fittings were very primitive. What we sail today is very different. It is much easier today than it was then!"

Looking to the next generation of young sailors, Chiarella added, "I think one of the things that I see are a lot of U30 sailors, which is very dear to me because that is how things are going to grow for everybody."

John Chiarella (USA) holds the senior sailor accolade at the 96th Bacardi Cup
John Chiarella (USA) holds the senior sailor accolade at the 96th Bacardi Cup


One of those U30 sailors is Julia Magdalena Mueller, who is competing at her first Bacardi Cup as part of the Bacardi U30 program, which provides complimentary entry and financial support.

"To have fun is the main goal here," anticipated Mueller. "But as well it is for good and competitive sailing and to have some good races. I always say, 'go for gold'.

"There are a lot of good U30 sailors here and I think it will be very competitive for us all.

"I really appreciate all the things that Bacardi is offering here for us and I think this event will be one part in my life that I will always remember. Thank you for all the support."

Provisional Results – Top 10 after Race 1

1. Jørgen Schönherr / Markus Koy (DEN 8532) - 1 pts
2. Eivind Melleby / Mark Strube (NOR 2017) - 2 pts
3. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA 8580) - 3 pts
4. Will Stout / Erik Anderson (USA 8538) - 4 pts
5. Marin Misura / Tonko Barac (CRO 8531) - 5 pts
6. Peter Vessella / Phil Trinter (USA 8573) - 6 pts
7. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 8548) - 7 pts
8. Leandro Altolaguirre / Lucas Altolaguirre (ARG 1945) - 8 pts
9. George Szabo / Guy Avellon (USA 8537) - 9 pts
10. Hans Spitzauer / Christian Nehammer (AUT 8529) - 10 pts

From Thursday, March 9, the J/70, Melges 24, VX One Melges 15 and 69F will open their three-day series.

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