The Brazilian leaders of the 55-boat Star fleet in the 88th Bacardi Cup stumbled to a 33rd-place finish amid light, shifty breezes in Friday’s penultimate race of the six-race series.
But skipper Jorge Joao Zarif and crew Bruno Prada still hold a narrow lead over their countrymen, the defending champions, with one race left Saturday.
With teams allowed to discard their worst finish in the series, Zarif and Prada total 14 points after five races — three points ahead of runners-up Lars Grael and Samuel Goncalves, who won last year’s Bacardi.
In third place are three-time victors Mark Reynolds of San Diego and crew Magnus Liljedahl of Miami with 21 points. Miami skipper Augie Diaz and crew Arnis Baltins are fourth with 26.
“One advantage is that we have our worst race as a sixth,” Reynolds said. “So we can be a little bit more aggressive [Saturday]. We’re hoping Jorge and Lars make mistakes.”
Arthur Anosov of Ruskin won his first Bacardi race as skipper Friday after “15 times at least,” he said. “It feels great, especially for my crew [Andrey Shafranuk] sailing Stars for the first time in his life.”
Now in seventh place, Anosov said they will compete to win but would be very happy to finish in the top five Saturday.
“We’ll put our best effort, but there are so many good guys,” he added.
Whichever team finishes with the lowest total score for the series gets to drink rum from silver Trofeo Bacardi in ceremonies at the Kennedy Park race village in Coconut Grove.
Saturday also marks the finish of Bacardi Miami Sailing Week for four one-design classes that began racing Thursday.
In the 45-boat J/70 class, Italy’s Carlo Alberini, skippering Calvi Network, leads after six races. Jackpot, skippered by Canada’s Brad Boston, tops the 32-boat Viper 640 fleet, also after six races. In VX One, Philip Norris’ Flash Rider out of Plymouth, Massachusetts, is on top after six races. And in the speedy, new seven-boat M32 Catamaran class, Miamian Taylor Canfield on US One leads after nine races.