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10 March 2001, 07:16 pm
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Bacardi Cup

Bermuda's Peter Bromby and Martin Siese produced a blistering performance on the last day to win the 74th Annual Bacardi Cup Star-Class Regatta.
Bromby and Siese needed a strong race Friday afternoon to capture the 74th Annual Bacardi Cup Star-Class Regatta. They did so in utterly convincing fashion - winning Friday's race outright, defusing any doubt who would take home the prestigious 2001 Trofeo Bacardi.

Friday was a day of firsts for the Bermudan pair: The victory is Bromby's first Bacardi Cup championship in 13 attempts. His best previous finish was in 1995, when he came in second place with crew, Lee White. What is more surprising about the victory is that Bromby won the Cup with Siese, a crewman sailing in his first ever Star-Class race.

"We're over the moon in the sense we never expected to win the Bacardi Cup so soon since we've been together a short time," said the 36-year-old Bromby, who won the race from an 80-boat field, including world and Olympic champions "We expected to struggle."

On Friday, lack of wind, which averaged six knots in the morning, delayed the race. But after an hour and a half delay, winds picked up to an average of 12-14 knots, which were strong enough to start the final race. Earlier in the week, strong winds caused the postponement of racing and the usual six-day Regatta was shortened to five races.

Bromby and Siese, had an ominous start to the Regatta gave the appearance that it again would not be Bromby's year. In the Regatta's first race, Bromby, who finished fourth in the 2000 Olympics, broke his outhaul, which caused the sailors to get tagged with a "did not finish" and 81st place.

But after Sunday's mishap, Bromby and Siese had incredible consistency, garnering a fifth-, first- and third-place finish. Coupled with Friday's victory, the duo finished with series-low 10 points. The next best score was turned in by Australia's Colin Beashel and David Giles, who had 20 points. As is the case with a long series, consistency typically wins out.

"For me, I don't believe it yet," said Siese, 36. "I was so out of sorts after the first day. I was thinking I didn't know what I got myself into. He [Peter] won in spite of his crew!"

Heading into Friday's fifth and final race, Brazil's Torben Grael and Marcelo Ferreira technically held a one-point lead over Americans Paul Cayard and Hal Haenel. But once Friday's race set sail, teams were allowed to throw out their worst finish in the five-race Regatta. Grael and Ferreira, the Sydney Olympic bronze medalists, finished 73rd Friday, knocking them down to fifth overall. Cayard, who won the 88-89 Whitbred Round the World Race, finished in third place overall - the highest American finisher. "It was good to sail in the Bacardi Cup and back in the Star Class," Cayard said. "Bromby sailed a really good race, but we're happy with our finish."

Despite coming in second place on Friday, defending Olympic gold medalists Mark Reynolds and Miami's Magnus Liljedahl, who won the opening race of the Regatta, were too inconsistent in the three other races. Liljedahl won the Bacardi Cup in 1997 and 1998 with Reynolds and in 1996 with Vince Brun. Reynolds, from San Diego, is a six-time Bacardi Cup champion.
"We could afford one drop, but basically we were inconsistent," Liljedahl said. "We had one bad, two bad, but after a third bad you can kiss it goodbye."
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