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11 March 2006, 10:18 am
DANE And SPERRY Lift The Cup
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Bacardi Cup 2006
Miami, Florida, USA

The father and son-in-law team of John DANE and crew Austin SPERRY (USA) have won of the 2006 Bacardi Cup Star Class Regatta in Miami, USA. The duo from Gulfport, Mississippi, finished fourth in the regatta's final race to assure them the overall victory.
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Fourth place gave them a six point winning margin over Germany's Marc PICKEL and Ingo BORKOWSKI , who finished second in the regatta's final race and second in the overall standings. It is the first Trofeo Bacardi for both DANE and SPERRY.

According to Race Committee Chairman Craig PRANDINI, DANE, 55, also is the first Master sailor to win the Bacardi Cup in its 79 year history.

France's Xavier ROHART and Pascal RAMBEAU, the 2005 Star World Champions, finished first yesterday and fourth in the overall standings, while Bermuda's Peter BROMBY and Bill MCNIVEN finished third in the final race to take third overall.

The Final Race

In yesterday's action, PICKEL started on the left side, while BROMBY and Brazil's Robert SCHEIDT and Bruno PRADA, entering the day in third overall, began towards the middle of the line. DANE also sought to remain with the boats in the middle, but stayed well behind to avoid a black flag and consequently sailed to a slow start.

PICKEL rounded the windward mark eight boats ahead of DANE and in the lead, but fell behind ROHART at the leeward mark. DANE, meanwhile, manufactured consistent gains on winds that were ten to 15 miles per hour out of the southeast throughout the first two beats to round the leeward mark in fifth. Once behind ROHART, PICKEL began protecting against BROMBY and allowed DANE to gain several boat lengths on both boats.

'That was a bit of a break for us,' said DANE, who considers himself an amateur sailor despite an aggressive sailing schedule and training program in preparation for the 2008 Olympic trials. 'Our strategy was to never lose sight of [PICKEL and BROMBY], but we couldn't keep up with PICKEL early on the left side. Once [PICKEL] started covering BROMBY, we had them both in our sights and knew we could win the regatta if we hung with them.'

Disappointment For SCHEIDT

SCHEIDT fell outside the top 20 at the leeward mark and was never in contention to win yesterday's race.

DANE and SPERRY finish the regatta with two victories, a third, a fourth and a sixth place finish for a total of 15 points; they drop their 17th place finish on Wednesday. Sailors throw out their worst finish of the regatta, such that the teams' best five races are used to determine the overall winner.

More than 90 teams representing 19 countries competed in the 2006 Bacardi Cup Star Class Regatta, one of the most competitive and highly anticipated Star events in the world.

Bacardi Cup participants sailed one race per day from Sunday through Friday on a 10.5 mile course on Biscayne Bay. The six daily races of the Cup each proclaim a winner, with the overall top winning team demonstrating the best performance in five of these six races.

The BACARDI Cup is co-hosted by the Coral Reef Yacht Club and the U.S. Sailing Centre, both based in Coconut Grove, and is sponsored by Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.

Jesus RODRIGUEZ (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Bacardi Cup winners John DANE and Austin SPERRY:© Alex GORT
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