Tough, rough and exhilarating conditions showed up in Biscayne Bay on the last day at the Bacardi Invitational Regatta for the thrill of the 524 sailors gathered in Miami for this world renowned event. An average 15 knots breeze, with gusts of over 20 knots, tested teams and served up a spectacular final day of racing for sailors and the spectator flotilla following the racing.
The 2020 Bacardi Cup Champions secured their title with a race to spare yesterday, but Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Bruno Prada (BRA) still delivered an impressive final race.
On the Star course magic happened and this year’s heroes were born as the 2020 Bacardi Cup Trophy was claimed. The leaders of the series, Polish Finn Olympic Champion Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Brazilian five-time Star World Champion Bruno Prada (BRA) rounded the first windward mark in the unusual position of 10th, a place they had not found themselves in all week. Tack after tack they worked their way through the tough opposition to put in another powerful performance and cross the finish line in second, securing the 2020 crown of one of the oldest trophies in the sailing arena with a race to spare.
“I’ve attended the Bacardi Cup for so many years in my Olympic career but have never managed to win it,” said an enthusiastic Kusznierewicz, who is also the reigning Star Class World Champion. “It is an unbelievable feeling to finally win this after finishing runner-up last year. Bruno and I had an amazing week, three bullets and two seconds, I can’t remember having had a regatta so perfect in my life. I think I am ready for the Tokyo Olympics,” he laughingly concluded.
“Sailing with Bruno Prada is fantastic, I enjoy it so much,” continued Kusznierewicz. “We had an amazing year together, we won the Star Worlds last June, then the qualification round for the SSL Finals and now this epic race. Of course it’s easier to enjoy it when you are winning, but I loved this event so much, and I love sailing, I don’t ever want to stop!”
The pair led the fleet for the first half of the race, before they confused the upwind mark of another racecourse with the Stars’ bottom gate, giving the opportunity for Diego Negri (ITA)/Frithjof Kleen (GER) to overhaul them and extend to win the race by 150 metres. With it Negri/Kleen managed to climb to fourth overall.
“We were forcing on them on the last downwind,” commented Diego Negri, who was happy to conclude the Bacardi Cup with a race win. “We both had a bit of a misunderstanding about the marks, we have had a couple of changes of course during the race, but we luckily realised we were going in the wrong direction before they did and managed to gain over them and round the mark in front. They were fast on the last upwind for another very tight finish. I am happy we won the race, it always feels great, but it’s even better at the Bacardi Cup!”
With Negri/Kleen taking out the final race win, the fight for second and third on the podium unfolded between Paul Cayard (USA)/Pedro Trouche (BRA) who tamed the strong wind and the waves and finished race 6 in 3rd, Augie Diaz (USA)/Henry Boening (BRA) in 4th and Eivind Melleby (NOR)/Joshua Revkin (USA) who started the day in second place dropping to third overall after a 9th place finish. Claiming the glory of second place, by tiebreak advantage over Melleby/Revkin, were Diaz/Boening.
The spectacular finale prize giving at Shake a Leg Miami followed by the renowned Bacardi after party brought the 2020 Bacardi Invitational Regatta to a close. Join us again next year.