Guillaume Florent and Pascal Rambeau (FRA) have won the 2011 Bacardi Cup, beating Ireland's Peter O'Leary and David Burrows by one point.
The sixth and final race opened with the top-two teams separated by just one point. Peter O'leary
and David Burrows
(IRL) were leading the 89-boat fleet followed by Guillaume Florent
and Pascal Rambeau
And, just five points back, Fredrik Loof
with Max Salminen
(SWE) and Eivind Melleby
with Petter Morland Pedersen
(NOR) were third and fourth, respectively, but tied on points.
With a 12 knot breeze at the start of the race, the Stars were off on a course covering 11 nautical miles. When all was said and done, 2007 BACARDI Cup winner Hamish Pepper
and crew Craig Monk (NZL) were the race winners, followed across the line by Melleby and Pedersen who had led the series early in the week before picking up penalty points in race four.
The French team was fourth across the line, and with O'Leary and Burrows crossing sixth, the BACARDI Cup went to Florent and Rambeau with 23 points - edging out the Irish by just one point.
"Up to the last day, the Irish, and even the Swedish could have won the BACARDI Cup,"
said Florent. "The conditions were super tricky, lots of wind shifts, lots of pressure differences. It made it very challenging to sail out there, especially when you're trying to win the championship.
"When you finish high in the standings day after day, realizing what is at stake, mentally it is very tough. You have to do your best continuing to stay consistent."
"It was a nail biting race,"
Florent continued. "It could have gone either way with the Irish. We were ahead at the top mark, and then they caught up. We managed to pass them again on the second downwind.
"The key to the race was the last 500 meters before the finish. We spotted good pressure on the left and decided to go there. It was probably that decision that led us to winning the BACARDI Cup."
Crew Pascal Rambeau won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics in the Star and has competed in the BACARDI Cup before, with his previous best finish a fourth. When Florent was recovering from an Achilles tendon injury a year ago, he reached out to Rambeau, and the rest, as they say, is history.
"Miami is always challenging,"
said Rambeau. "For us, it was good preparation with all the teamwork on board. It was very important for us to be here. It was a tough day. The wind was very flaky. It was very stressful because there were big shifts and big pressure coming from Key Biscayne.
"We were very successful on the first upwind and then the race was mano a mano, head to head. It was never more than 20 meters with no more than a couple boat lengths separating us at any time.
"We were really close with the Irish this morning, chasing them. Until the last 100 meters, anything could have happened. When we crossed the line, it was definitely satisfying. It was our first win together, and this being Florent's first year in the Star and his first BACARDI Cup, this win is very special."
Rounding out the top five in the BACARDI Cup final standings: Melleby and Pedersen (NOR) finished third with 26 points; Loof and Salminen (SWE) came fourth with 29 points; and Pepper and Monk (NZL) were fifth with 30 points.
(ITA) won the first race of the day in the Melges 24 class, and, having mathematically secured the top spot on the podium, elected not to sail the final race of the series. Alan Field
(USA), sailing with tactician Steve Hunt
(USA) and crew Sarah Curran
, Jeff Reynolds and Erik Shampain
, finished 2-1 to claim second overall on 17 points as a tie with Riccardo Simoneschi
(ITA) went in Field's favor by virtue of his win of the last race.
In the J/24 fleet: Brian Kamilar (Miami), sailing with Francisco Bellocchio
(ARG), Fabio Galarce, Mauricio Galarce
(USA) and Enrique Quintero
(USA), finished 1-2-3 to win the series with 12 points, one point ahead of Robert Pincus (USA), with Patricia Amaducci, Eammon Delisser and JB Slater, who posted finishes of 2-1-4 over the final three races. Kris Werner (USA), sailing with John Enwright
, Michael Mansfield, Fred Meyer
and Kiki Werner, was third overall with 18 points.
For photos, results and additional information please visit www.BACARDICup.com