As many as 550 sailors from 13 countries are in Miami for Monday’s official start of the fourth annual Bacardi Miami Sailing Week, which runs through Saturday on Biscayne Bay.
The regatta features 62 Star class sailboats — racing for the Bacardi Cup for the 86th time — along with the Viper 640; Melges 24; Audi Melges 20; and the newest class, J/70. A total of 175 boats have preregistered — up from last year’s fleet of 155 but down from 184 in 2011.
“It’s more than we expected,” event chair Gabriele Pedone said. “A little bit down on Star, but the Melges 20 and J/70 are filling the gap. I’m pretty happy with the entries and it’s a fun event.”
The regatta kicks off Sunday with a five-boat Pro-Am race aboard Paralympic-class Sonar sailboats to benefit Shake-A-Leg Miami, Team Paradise and Sailing Heals.
The Stars are scheduled to hold one race daily Monday through Wednesday, take a lay day on Thursday, then resume racing Friday and Saturday.
Last year’s champs, France’s Xavier Rohart and crew Pierre-Alexis Ponsot — who are also the 2012 Star world champions — will defend their title. The two-person team with the lowest score at the conclusion of racing Saturday gets to drink rum from the silver Trofeo Bacardi.
The other four classes race Thursday through Saturday, completing as many as four races per day. An awards ceremony will be held Saturday evening at race village headquarters outside the Coconut Grove Convention Center.
The village encompasses most of the Coconut Grove waterfront, with sailboats tying up at the U.S. Sailing Center; Coral Reef Yacht Club; Biscayne Bay Yacht Club; Shake-A-Leg Miami; and Coconut Grove Sailing Club. An art exhibit of photographs and line drawings showcasing the history and memorabilia of the America’s Cup will be in the north hall of the convention center.