Poland's Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ, the 1996 Olympic gold medalist in the Finn Class, and crew Dominik ZYCKI finished second Wednesday, followed by seven-time Bacardi Cup Champion Mark REYNOLDS and crew Hal HAENEL in third. Rounding up the top five were Norway's Eivind MELLEBY with crew Petter PEDERSEN and two-time Bacardi Cup Champion Peter BROMBY of Bermuda with crew Bill MCNIVEN.
DANE and SPERRY showed good speed off the starting line and rounded each of the first two marks in the top 10, while REYNOLDS and HAENEL built a commanding early lead. DANE and SPERRY held the left side and manufactured consistent gains throughout the race. A wind shift on the final downwind leg helped them to overtake REYNOLDS and HAENEL and take a clear lane to the finish.
'On the second beat, we started protecting the right side - that's how we got the good early lead,' said REYNOLDS. 'But the attack came from the left. Then on the final leg, we were reaching coming up to the finish. The winds shifted in our favor, but just a little too much. Downwind, we just weren't as fast; and you can't cover DANE, BROMBY, and [KUSZNIEREWICZ] all at the same time.'
The reigning World and North American Star Class Champion Hamish PEPPER of New Zealand and his crew David GILES of Australia finished 16th, dropping to a tie with KUSZNIEREWICZ and ZYCKI for the overall lead. Australia's Iain MURRAY with crew Andrew PALFREY finished eighth today and remains in third overall. Beginning Thursday, sailors drop their worst of six finishes to determine the overall leaders.
'We were having a lot more fun last year,' said Sperry, who with DANE held the overall lead at the midway point of the 2006 Bacardi Cup Regatta. 'We can only drop one of our two bad races this week, so we're out of the title hunt this year; but with a couple of big races tomorrow and Friday, we can finish in the top 10.'
More than 75 teams representing 23 countries are competing in the 80th Bacardi Cup Star Class Regatta, one of the most competitive and highly anticipated Star Class events in the world.
The Bacardi Cup Star Class 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.
Bacardi Cup participants sail one race per day from Sunday through Friday on a 10.5-mile course in Biscayne Bay. Sailors are allowed to drop their worst performance of the six races in the regatta.