Friday, March 11, 2016

J/70 BACARDI Miami Sailing Week Preview

(Coconut Grove, FL)- The seventh annual BACARDI Miami Sailing Week (BMSW) presented by EFG Bank is taking place from March 10th to 13th in Miami, Florida.  The event begins on Thursday and continues until Saturday.  On the water, Coral Reef Yacht Club coordinates activities in collaboration with the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club and with the help of the U.S. Sailing Center and Shake-A-Leg Miami.

The enormous forty-one boat fleet may be blessed with epic sailing conditions on Biscayne Bay!  For the past week, the various weather models and GRIB files show a powerful easterly flow being fed by a stationary high-pressure system off the mid-Atlantic Coast feeding low-pressure troughs getting pushed across the continental Midwest.  The net effect is easterlies in the 15-25 kts range forecast for Thursday, sunny and in the mid-70s.  For the next two days of racing, it is anticipated that same flow slowing veers into the ESE then SE and slowly tapering to 10-20 kts by Saturday!  Such conditions produce the classic Biscayne Bay steep chop that is reminiscent of an outgoing tide on San Francisco Bay in 15-30 kts; great practice for those teams with an eye towards getting valuable J/70 Worlds practice in “fresh to frightening” weather.

Forty-one J/70 teams are traveling to Coconut Grove to compete from seven nations, including Italy, Bermuda, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Great Britain and Uruguay.  Many of the leading teams from the midwinter regattas in Florida (Key West, Tampa and St Petersburg) will be participating.  The winners like Will Welles’ SEA BAGS SAILING TEAM (Portsmouth, RI), Carlo Alberini’s CALVI NETWORK (Pesaro, Italy), and current J/70 World Champion Julian Fernandez on FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO (Valle de Bravo, Mexico) will be fighting hard to stay in the lead pack; many new faces in the crowd are sailing fast and furious and are proving to be serious contenders in any condition.

Of the American teams you can count on the following to be factors overall: Brian Keane’s SAVASANA (Weston, MA); Peter Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY (Rye, NY); Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT (Minneapolis, MN); Heather Gregg’s MUSE (Boston, MA- J/70 World’s Corinthians 1st and 3rd in last two Worlds); Allan Terhune’s DAZZER (Annapolis, MD- current J/22 World Champion); Bob Hughes’ HEARTBREAKER (Ada, MI- Farr 40 Mackinac Race Champion); Jacko Franco’s JT3 BALL (Kemah, TX); Doug Strebel/ Jay Lutz’s BLACK RIVER RACING (Dallas, TX); Tom Bowen’s REACH AROUND (Charleston, SC); John Brim’s RIMETTE (Fishers Island, NY); and Dick Lehmann/ Kevin Meier’s WIND CZAR (Harbor Springs, MI).

Leading the foreign contingent should be Alberini’s CALVI NETWORK, fresh off their Key West “two-peat” win.  However, there are a number of South American teams that are climbing the ladder rapidly, some of whom are Pan American or World Champions in classes like Snipes, Lightnings and J/24s.  If you recall, the J/24 Pan Am Games Gold Medalists were from Argentina.  It’s happening “down under”, after all their summers are twice as long as they are in the northern hemisphere.  The Brazilians are fielding several teams, including Phil Haegler/ Brian Kamilar’s CLOUD NINE (Rio de Janeiro), Flavio Andrade’s OCEANPACT (Rio de Janeiro), Jose Vita/ Marcelo Bellotti’s SUDOESTE (Sao Paulo).  Sailing J/70s for the first time in a major North American event will be the Uruguayans from YC Punta del Este- they sail off that famous peninsula jutting into the South Atlantic at the opening of the Rio de La Plata (also host to the first J/70 South American Championships in a few weeks).  Diego Garcia/ Sebastian Rana’s CHAPULIN (Montevideo) and the Centanaro family’s (Aldo and Aldo Jr) PURAJODA (Montevideo) will be working on their performance as they prepare for the Worlds in San Francisco.  Finally, a competitive combination from Great Britain/ Italian entry is Marco Salvi/ Massimo Bortoletto’s VERTIGO TOO from London and YC Costa Smeralda.

The BACARDI Village hospitality for BACARDI Miami Sailing Week will be set up in Kennedy Park, where sailors will enjoy BACARDI Rum, food and music. A special art exhibit, Sailing Dreams by Vicki DaSilva, will be set up in Coco Walk, Unit 115, and open every day. DaSilva will exhibit 10 light paintings (made by moving a hand-held light source while taking a long exposure photograph) that present to the community how she interprets the beautiful sport of sailing into art.  For more BACARDI Miami Sailing Week information