Bacardi Miami Sailing Week

Strong winds bring end to event

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Hanging in there: </span>The Star-class sail boats race on Biscayne Bay in the final day of the Bacardi Miami Sailing competition on Saturdayy.
Hanging in there: The Star-class sail boats race on Biscayne Bay in the final day of the Bacardi Miami Sailing competition on Saturdayy.
Peter Andrew Bosch / Miami Herald staff

Shift happens.

That’s a wry sailing expression for when breezes fail to blow strongly out of any direction. On Saturday, the shift happened to cancel all racing in the already-shortened Bacardi Miami Sailing Week on Biscayne Bay.

“It’s too bad. It happens sometimes,” said Star-class runner-up skipper Mark Reynolds of San Diego.

Saturday’s aborted end to the weeklong event meant that whoever was ahead Friday in each of the six one-design racing classes would take the podium at the evening awards ceremony in Coconut Grove’s Kennedy Park. For the 54 Stars competing in the 87th Bacardi Cup, Thursday’s results prevailed since winds were too strong Friday for the keelboats to compete. The Audi Melges 20, Melges 24, Viper 640, J 70 and VX One all managed to conduct one or two races in Friday’s blustery conditions.

The Brazilian team of two-time Olympic medalist Lars Grael and crew Samuel Gonzalves won the privilege of drinking rum from the large, silver Trofeo Bacardi on Saturday — the first ever Bacardi Cup win for Brazil. Grael and Gonzalves defeated 2000 Olympic gold medalists and multi-year Bacardi winners Reynolds and crew Magnus Liljedahl of Miami by five points. Grael’s brother Torben, who was leading Saturday’s race with crew Guilheme Almeida before it was called off, finished third, two points behind the Americans.

“We are happy and proud,” Lars Grael said. “It is as important as a world championship because the Bacardi has such a great tradition.”

Of beating his older brother Torben, Olympic medalist and 1990 Star world champion, Grael said, “Torben is an international sailing hero. I am always learning something from him. But this week, we had some good races.”

In the 41-boat Audi Melges 20 fleet, reigning world champion John Taylor of Jupiter and his crew on Ninkasi defeated Drew Freides’ team on Pacific Yankee by two points after five races. In the six-boat Melges 24 class, Mikey, skippered by Kevin Welch of Anacortes, Wash., edged Italy’s Little Wing by two points.

The J 70 champ was Rascal, skippered by Will Welles of Portsmouth, R.I. who squeaked by defending champ Brian Keane of Weston, Mass. on Savasana.

Phil Lotz of Fort Lauderdale and his crew on Arethusa topped the 25-boat Viper 640 fleet, one point ahead of Canada’s Brad Boston on Jackpot.

Donovan Brennan of Mobile, Ala. took the 22-boat VX One class aboard Team Smuggler.

More than 180 sailboats from throughout the U.S. and abroad competed in the regatta, which opened last Sunday and occupied most of the Coconut Grove waterfront.

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