(Coconut Grove, FL)- Forty J/70 teams trekked to southern Florida for the fifth annual running of BACARDI Miami Sailing Week (BMSW) presented by EFG Bank, held from March 6-8 on Biscayne Bay. What’s not to like about the venue and sailing on the Bay with great breeze and sunny skies. There were 192 boats registered across six one-design fleets, with competitors from 15 foreign nations (Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Ukraine) travelling great distances (at great expense) to compete against top American sailors.
The ever-growing popularity of the J/70 class was again in evidence at BMSW where entries were up over 100% from their strong debut in last year’s event. The class had many of the leading J/70 teams participating. On the first day in moderate 8-12 kts SSE breezes, Heather Gregg-Earl (Boston, Mass.), the 2013 J/70 North American Champion, posted finishes of 3-5 to take the overall lead with eight points. BMSW defending champion Brian Keane (Weston, Mass.) had nine points, followed by Will Welles (Portsmouth, R.I.) with 11 points, and two skippers tied with 12 points each: Venezuela’s Victor Diaz de Leon and Peter Duncan (Rye, N.Y).
On a champaign sailing day with nice breeze and white caps flickering across sunny Biscayne Bay, only one race was sailed Friday in the J/70 fleet (much to the disapointment of many J/70 sailors). Will Welles (Portsmouth, R.I.) took the win and moved from third into the lead of the overall standings, tied on points (12) with BMSW defending champion Brian Keane (Weston, Mass.) who finished third. Peter Duncan (Rye, N.Y) finished second and stands third overall with 14 points, followed by Boston’s Heather Gregg-Earl who finished 14th and has 22 points. Fifth in the overall standings with 23 points is New Orleans sailor Tim Molony who placed fifth in the race. “Three general recalls this morning and a couple of black flags, so we held back, played the game and did not push too hard,” said Welles after today’s race. “In the big puffs we worked the main upwind and then managed the angles well on the downwind. With 40 boats it was good fun, really tight close racing.”
Sadly, day three was a “glass out” and no racing took place. With scores of 10-1-1, Will Welles (Portsmouth, R.I.) took the win in the J/70 fleet with 12 points, winning the tie-breaker over BMSW defending champion Brian Keane (Weston, Mass.) who had finishes of 7-2-3. Peter Duncan (Rye, N.Y) took third with 14 points; followed by Heather Gregg-Earl (Boston, Mass.) with 22 points; and Tim Molony (New Orleans, La.) with 23.
“Out of all the regattas this was a really great one to win,” said Welles. “We had a great start, good team work, nice speed and a little luck. The first day we had about 10 kts, second day we had about 20 kts. So, I would say today [Saturday] they made a good choice to not race. Coming from Newport, we really love coming to BACARDI and we are so glad they invited the J/70 class to be part of it.” Sailing photo credits- Cory Silken For more BACARDI Miami Sailing Week information