Sailing | Bacardi Cup

Miami Olympians rally to take first in Star class


Miami Olympians Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih captured first place in the Star class of the 86th Bacardi Cup.

Miami Olympians Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih overcame a terrible first race in the 86th Bacardi Cup to claw their way to the top spot in the fleet of 56 Stars by the conclusion of five days of racing Saturday on Biscayne Bay.

The pair — who finished seventh in last summer’s Olympic Games — rebounded from last place for jumping the start Monday to within two points of Brazilian leaders Lars Grael and Marco Lagoa on Friday. On Saturday, the Miamians sealed the deal by winning the regatta’s final race, beating the Brazilians — who finished seventh — by four points for the overall championship.

Defending champ Xavier Rohart of France and crew Serge Pulter were third overall, followed by the Italian team of Diego Negri and Frithjof Kleen in fourth. Miami skipper Augie Diaz and crew Arnis Baltins took fifth place, followed by George Szabo of San Diego and crew Magnus Liljedahl of Miami — the 2000 Olympic gold medalist — in sixth.

Saturday marked the second time Mendelblatt got to drink rum from the heavy silver Trofeo Bacardi. The two-time Olympian also won the Bacardi in 2005.

“We got it together after the first two races,” Mendelblatt said. “From there, things improved. It’s not the Olympics, but the Bacardi Cup is one of the biggest events for the Stars aside from the worlds. It’s a really good one to win. We really enjoy it.”

The Cup was the marquee event of Bacardi Miami Sailing Week, which featured four other racing classes: Audi Melges 20; Melges 24; Viper 640; and J/70.

Michael Kiss of Holland, Mich., and his crew topped the 45-boat Audi Melges 20 fleet with a score of 22 after seven races. Italy’s Alessando Rombelli was runner-up (33), followed by James Wilson of Rye, N.Y., in third with 37.

Italy’s Riccardo Simoneschi got out in front of the 18-boat Melges 20 fleet on the final day, scoring 16 points after seven races. Don Wilson of Chicago and his crew were second, followed by Alan Field of Los Angeles in third.

In the 18-boat Viper 640 fleet, Canada’s Lee Shuckerow edged Fort Lauderdale’s Philip Lotz by four points for the overall victory. Jason Carroll of New York City took third.

In the 20-boat J/70 fleet — making its Sailing Week debut — Brian Keane of Weston, Mass., took the top spot, followed by Peter Duncan of Rye, N.Y., in second, and Will Welles of Portsmouth, R.I., in third.

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