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5 March 2008, 09:11 am
Brits Take The Lead At Bacardi Cup
Peter O'LEARY and Stephen MILNE
Peter O'LEARY and Stephen MILNE won race 3 in Miami

Bacardi Cup 2008
Miami, Florida, USA

Brits Iain PERCY and Andrew SIMPSON hit the lead at the Bacardi Cup, with a third place finish in race 3 putting them four points clear at the top.
The second day of a moderate sea breeze left Biscayne Bay awash with handfuls of seaweed and partly sunny skies. After the third attempt at a start, most of the fleet headed toward Key Biscayne and a cloud bank to the northeast on their first tack to a mark that was set at 165 degrees, 2.4 nautical miles away.

For the second time in three races, past Star World Champion, Alan ADLER and Ricardo ERMEL (BRA) put together a great start and a spectacular first beat to round the weather mark in first, five boatlengths ahead of George SZABO and Rick PETERS (USA) whose boat was badly damaged during the first race of the series. John DANE and Austin SPERRY (USA), Joe ZAMBELLA and Bob WEINSTEIN (USA) and Peter O'LEARY and Stephen MILNE (IRL) were in hot pursuit as they bore away for the first run.

SZABO and PETERS jumped into the lead by staying right on the run. O'LEARY and MILNE, "Gained a boat on the downwind leg by staying in the middle, not going to extremes and trying to find pressure," said MILNE who spent a lot of time looking aft at a huge fleet behind him. The youngest team on the water had their work cut out for them during the remainder of the race. They played the middle left up the next beat and took a short hitch to sneak inside the weather mark just ahead of DANE and SPERRY. Their mentors, Iain PERCY and Andrew SIMPSON (GBR), were hot on their tails.

O'LEARY and MILNE and DANE and SPERRY broke away from the fleet as O'LEARY and MILNE took the high road and DANE and SPERRY took the low road. DANE did a good job of slipping in low at the offset. It was a nice feeling to round in the lead, but then the pressure was really on to the thought his experience would win out over the young Irishmen, DANE replied, "Of course, experience and calmness overcomes a lot of things in an 8-10 knot breeze with a big fleet," but the boys had nice downwind speed and powerful gybes.

With their third place finish in the race, PERCY and SIMPSON pulled into the overall lead for the regatta. "I've won a lot of races in the Bacardi over the years, but I haven't won the Bacardi Cup yet," said PERCY earlier this week.

Results - click here
Bacardi Cup - www.bacardicup.com

Lynn Fitzpatrick
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