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97th Bacardi Cup Day 3

by Luissa Smith 7 Mar 00:37 GMT March 4-9, 2024
Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise win race 3 to lead overall after day 3 of the 97th Bacardi Cup © Martina Orsini

All change in the leaderboard after race 3 on Biscayne Bay as a race win in the bag propels Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise into the overall lead, ahead of overnight leaders and defending Bacardi Cup Champions Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada.

Biscayne Bay presented a different challenge today, as the lingering effects of the overnight storm transformed the race course into a bit of a cauldron. The increased 10-12 knot southerly breeze and chop added complexity to the conditions. Downwind proved particularly tricky, trying to stay in the shifting pressure and anticipate the unpredictable breeze coming down.

Sweden's Tom Lofstedt/Johan Tillander hit the start with confidence and dialled up plenty of power to lead to the first mark, with a stunning performance from the U30 team of Roman Stelzl/Pirmin Sablatnig in second, pursued by John MacCausland/Peter Sangmeister and Doyle/Infelise.

As the breeze eased, the Swedes continued to control the fleet downwind, but all change behind as John Dane III/Dave Martin edged into second, closely followed by MacCausland/Sangmeister and Doyle/Infelise. Plenty of position changes unfolded as teams opted left or right through the gate and back upwind. Always on their top game, this was the moment Doyle/Infelise made their move.

"We split with everyone at the bottom which was great, and Payson made a good call to go to the pressure and we did that and we passed the two boats that were in front of us," explained Doyle.

Looking ahead to the next three days, Doyle added, "We've won this before and we know how hard it is and we know how good these other guys are, especially Mateusz and Bruno. Yesterday we felt like we had to up our game a little bit to try and beat them and we changed to a different sail, and maybe that helped a little bit.

"We want to win, we are pushing hard, but we've sailed really well and that's the goal, to sail well and keep pushing hard and having a good time while doing it."

At the final windward mark, there were position changes aplenty behind Doyle/Infelise. Their training partners John Dane III/Dave Martin followed, with Lofstedt/Tillander and Croatia's Marin Misura/Tonko Barac holding a clear separation over the chasing fleet. The U30 partnership of Stelzl/Sablatnig were next, with Augie Diaz/Henry Boening, MacCausland/Sangmeister and then Kusznierewicz/ Prada. The challenges of the final downwind proved pivotal to the final standings.

John Dane III/Dave Martin managed to hold onto second place, which Dane credited to their strong start. He also shared his enthusiasm for returning to the Bacardi Cup, despite the added challenge of recent knee surgery.

"Having a really good start right at the committee boat with a full head of steam, we could tack on any shift whenever we wanted," said Dane. "We didn't have to worry about boats up the first beat, so that was kind of nice for a change. It's fun just having a moment in the sunshine today, up there with the young guns and the old guys. I mean if you look at who is winning, there are guys in their forties and fifties, so at seventy-three I am feeling good!"

Dane won the 2006 Bacardi Cup but has a more modest goal this year of finishing inside the top ten.

Misura/Barac overhauled Lofstedt/Tillander to finish 3rd and 4th, with both teams counting their best results so far. Diaz/Boening chipped through to finish 5th and advance to third overall on the leaderboard.

As we reach the regatta's midpoint, current form suggests the battle for victory is shaping up to be a showdown between Doyle/Infelise and Kuznierewicz/Prada. But, with three races to go anything can happen.

Roman Stelzl/Pirmin Sablatnig now hold the top position among the U30 teams and climb to 24th overall after their 9th place finish.

Provisional Results after Day 3: (top ten, 3 races)

1. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA 8580) - 7 pts
2. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 8559) - 11 pts
3. Augie Diaz / Henry Boening (USA 8509) - 19 pts
4. Lars Grael / Ubiratan Matos (BRA 8392) - 24 pts
5. Jørgen Schönherr / Markus Koy (DEN 8532) - 27 pts
6. John MacCausland / Peter Sangmeister (USA 8448) - 34 pts
7. John Dane III / Dave Martin (USA 8230) - 36 pts
8. Johann Spitzauer / Christian Nehammer (AUT 8529) - 38 pts
9. Piet Eckert / Frederico Melo (SUI 8575) - 38 pts
10. Will Stout / Parker Mitchell (USA 8538) - 41 pts

Find out more, including full results at bacardiinvitational.com

After racing, it was onto the mid-week Bacardi Party at Shake-A Leg Miami, where the Star teams were joined by J/70, Melges 24, Snipe, Viper 640 and VX One sailors racing the Bacardi Invitational Regatta, which gets under way tomorrow.

A special thank you to this year's event sponsors and supporters: Bacardi USA, EFG International, Quantum Sails, Nautical Ventures, Shake-A-Leg Miami, Sail 22, HATUEY®Beer, Tuuci, Termodinamica USA, Harken Derm, Team 1 Newport, SLAM, Gubinelli Wines, Jaguar Therapeutics, Drop Jolly, Hobie Eyewear, Coconut Grove Business District, Zhik, Coral Reef Yacht Club, Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, Coconut Grove Sailing Club, US Sailing Center and the City of Miami.

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