George SZABO and Rick PETERS got off to a winning start as the 62-boat Bacardi Cup fleet sailed a fast first-day race on Biscayne Bay in shifty southeasterly winds up to12 knots.
For two-time North American Star Class Champion George SZABO
of San Diego, and crew Rick PETERS
it was the first time the duo had won a race together since 1995.
It was a tight finish with Jon VANDERMOLEN
and crew Geoff EWENSON
(USA) taking second, and Mark MENDELBLATT
(USA) and crew Bruno PRADA
(BRA) in third; the same line up at the last mark.
SZABO and PETERS were in the top 10 boats from the first through to the third mark and took the lead at the fourth.
"Rick and I won our first race together in 1995 and now we've done it again,"
said SZABO. The team was rewarded with a bottle of Bacardi Gold Rum by Tito ARGAMASILLA BACARDI who was in a nearby boat. ARGAMASILLA BACARDI signed the label and then handed it to SZABO who said this is one bottle of rum he won't be drinking.
After competing in almost a dozen Bacardi Cup's, VANDERMOLEN said this was his first time placing in a daily race. "We sailed for the pressure and kept climbing,"
he said, "and the last run is what made the difference".
Rounding out the top five were Olympians Peter O'LEARY
of Ireland and crew Tim GOODBODY
and Marc PICKEL
of Germany and crew Steve MITCHELL
O'LEARY who is sailing in his second Bacardi Cup surprised everyone with an extreme move to the right after the second windup that gave him the lead at the third mark. "I went in that direction because I thought there was better wind and to separate us from the fleet,"
There are 15 countries competing in this 82nd annual Bacardi Cup, one of the most competitive Star Class events in the world. The regatta is co-hosted by the Coral Reef Yacht Club and the U.S. Sailing Center, both based in Coconut Grove, and is sponsored by BACARDI U.S.A., Inc.
Results - click here