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97th Bacardi Cup and 2024 Bacardi Invitational Regatta welcomes record entry

by Luissa Smith 29 Feb 16:12 GMT March 3-9, 2024
Star – world class racing against the Miami city skyline © Matias Capizzano

The 97th Bacardi Cup and the Bacardi Invitational Regatta, March 3rd-9th, 2024, will break all past entry records with an unprecedented two-hundred and thirteen teams gearing up to compete on Biscayne Bay, Miami.

The regatta kicks off on March 4th with The 97th Bacardi Cup for the Star Class, followed by the J/70, Melges 24, Snipe, Viper 640 and VX One classes, who open their three-day Bacardi Invitational Regatta (BCIR) on March 7th.

"We are thrilled by the level of entries, the largest gathered in Miami so far," said Eddie Cutillas, Bacardi USA. "For our returning sailors, it is fantastic to have you back. If you are new to our event, we hope you come to consider Miami your sailing home away from home after this week.

"Hosting the Bacardi Cup and BCIR is an honor and a privilege, very rewarding, and let's be realistic a really great time! Let the good times roll over the coming days and thank you for your support."

Teams from twenty-five nations will compete against the stunning backdrop of Biscayne Bay, renowned as one of the world's most beautiful yet demanding race courses. The regatta boasts its usual star-studded entry list, with a mix of sailing legends, World Champions, Olympians and Pros lining up against weekend enthusiasts. Miami, with its distinctive allure, delivers not only glamorous sailing but also a vibrant social scene. Hosted by Bacardi, teams will enjoy daily happy hours, entertainment and music.

The grand finale will culminate with the awards ceremony and presentation of trophies and class prizes on the podium, on Saturday, March 9th.

The 97th Bacardi Cup and BCIR are hosted in collaboration with our club partners: Coral Reef Yacht Club, Shake a Leg Miami, Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, Coconut Grove Sailing Club and the US Sailing Center.

The 97th Bacardi Cup

If you are ready for six days of unparalleled Star Class racing and seven nights of revelry - you are ready for The Bacardi Cup. Dating back to 1927, The Bacardi Cup is one of the world's most venerable sailing events. The 97th edition promises a great battle ahead for the seventy-two teams representing seventeen nations. Racing gets under way at 12:00 hours on March 4th, featuring a daily long-distance race throughout the six-day series.

Since 1927, forty-five different teams having claimed Bacardi Cup glory. Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Bruno Prada have most recently dominated Biscayne Bay, making history with four back-to-back wins since 2020. The partnership is targeting another title defense.

There are plenty of other title contenders poised to make 2024 their year and former winners aiming to reclaim the coveted title. Mark Strube, who finished 2nd in 2023 joins forces with helm Josh Powell. Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise, who secured third last year, return with aspirations to clinch the trophy they last won in 2019, before the Kusznierewicz/Prada dominance got under way. Also racing up front will be Ireland's Peter O'Leary/Stephen Milne, who are consistently formidable and led the fleet mid-regatta last year before finishing 4th overall. Switzerland's Piet Eckert/Frederico Melo team bring their well-seasoned prowess to the fleet, with impressive recent finishes including 2nd at the 2023 Star Worlds and 5th in Miami last year. Former Bacardi Cup Champions Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi from Italy, along with reigning Star European Champions Jack Jennings/Pedro Trouche from the USA are regularly super consistent. Denmark's Jørgen Schönherr/Markus Koy, and Croatia's Marin Misura/Tonko Barac have plenty of pedigree and can also expect to be amongst the contenders for podium honors. These and plenty of other big names will all be in the mix.

In 2023, Bacardi expanded its commitment to nurture the future of Star Class sailing with The Bacardi Cup U30 Program. For this year's event, ten teams have received complimentary event entry and financial assistance to help offset event expenses. The highest-performing U30 team will also receive support from Bacardi to compete at the 2024 Star Worlds. This initiative operates in partnership with the Star Class and their Star Education and Access (SEA) program, which facilitates access to boats for sailors to familiarize themselves with and gain opportunities to race the Star.

Bacardi Invitational Regatta

Taking place from March 7th-9th, the BCIR will consist of nine races spread across three days. The J/70, Melges 24, Snipe, Viper 640 and VX One classes are chomping at the bit to get on the water. Racing gets under way at 11:00 hrs on Thursday, March 7th.

Beyond the quest for BCIR victory, the J/70 and Melges 24 are gearing up for the climax of their three event 2023/2024 Bacardi Winter Series. Notable J/70 teams include Joel Ronning's 'Catapult' who pulled no punches at BWS2, closely trailed by Charles Thompson's World Champions on 'Brutus III'. In the Melges 24, the focus will be on Bora Gulari's 'Kingspoke' after their dominance at BWS2, along with runners up Alec Anderson on 'Sentinel' and Bruce Ayres' on 'Monsoon'. They along with numerous other Winter Series teams are set for the final showdown.

The Snipe makes its debut at this year's BCIR, with twenty-two teams in the line-up. Evan Hoffmann shared his anticipation, saying, "Well, this is our first Bacardi Invitational as a class. I'm looking forward to the regatta as I think it embodies our 'Serious Sailing, Serious Fun' class motto!"

The Viper 640 features twenty-three teams from the USA, Canada and Jamaica. In the VX One, defending champions Christopher Alexander, Grace Howie and Ricky Welch return for another attempt at the Bacardi crown. They will be joined in the thirty-two boat fleet by most of last year's top ten, Bacardi regulars, along with plenty of new faces.

Follow the Bacardi Regattas:

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