Miami – United by an equal passion, more than 500 sailors from around the world will race in Biscayne Bay, Miami, at the 93rd Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Invitational Regatta from March 1-7, 2020.
Holding ninety-three years of tradition the Bacardi Cup is a member of an exclusive club of historic and long established sports events. First staged as a three-day regatta in Cuba in 1927, with less than ten Star boats, the event has grown year on year in partnership with BACARDÍ® rum, which has sponsored the event since its inception.
Offering a unique blend of world-class racing, atmosphere and social events, the Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Invitational Regatta is undoubtedly one of the world’s most prestigious regattas that, in 2020, will welcome a record-breaking 196 entries, attracting an international entry list of professional rock star racers and super-talented Corinthian teams.
“Bacardi is very proud to have nurtured this event for more than nine decades and to see it grow as we build on the long tradition of outstanding racing and warm hospitality,” said Eddie Cutillas, Sr. Director Community Affairs, of Bacardi USA. “We are passionate to support one of the most coveted events in sailing which includes an extraordinary line-up of legends and enthusiasts who choose to make the Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Invitational Regatta a must-do moment.”
The goal is to build on the long tradition of the Star Class and maintain and champion performance in other popular classes, whilst retaining the mix of outstanding racing on Biscayne Bay and superb shore side atmosphere and socials for which the event is renowned.
Across the fleets, sailors from around the USA will be joined by teams representing nineteen countries, including Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and Thailand. Four courses will operate simultaneously and this year, the iconic Star Class will be joined by the J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640, and brand new for the race track this year are the VXOne sports boat and AV8 and Windfoil classes.
Racing for the Star Class gets underway in Biscayne Bay on Monday 2 March, with the J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640, VXOne and windfoils taking to the track on Thursday 5 March. The Star fleet will contest their traditional one race per day in a true test of endurance relished by the sailors, whilst all other fleets will sail eight races across three days. Race schedules are available online at: bacardiinvitational.com
“We have an outstanding race management team who join us for the event and ensure scrupulous attention to detail,” commented Mark Pincus, Regatta Chairman. “We are super pleased to continue our path of innovation by embracing the latest technology and new for this year will be the MarkSetBot robotic mark laying system. These self-propelled marks are controlled by a smart phone and will help us deliver fast mark laying whatever the weather throws at us. The race tracks are complex and unpredictable, ensuring lots of opportunities for teams to really test themselves and guarantee some intense action.”
The largest entry goes to the Star Class where World Champions, Olympians and America’s Cup legends will crowd out the fleet in the pressure battle for the elusive Bacardi Cup title. The Star Class competed at eighteen Olympic Games over eighty years and holds a pedigree for producing legends of the sport and plenty of them will be in Miami. Numerous mainsails will feature the golden Star logo, awarded only to Star Class World Champions, including the renowned Paul Cayard (USA), who has been sailing the Star for over 40 years alongside his successful career in the America’s Cup and big yacht racing. Gold stars on the track will also be carried by two-time World Champion Xavier Rohart (FRA), and 2004 Olympic Bronze medalist and reigning World Champion Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL), who will be racing with his record five-time Star World Champion crew Bruno Prada (BRA). Kusznierewicz is also a Gold and Bronze Olympic medalist in the Finn class, and Prada is an Olympic Silver and Bronze medalist in the Star. The 2016 Star World Champion and runner up at the 2019 Worlds Augie Diaz (USA) will be racing, as will Diego Negri (ITA) who won the 2018 Bacardi Cup and this year is crewed by the renowned Frithjof Kleen (GER). Looking to trump them all however and keep a tight hold of their title will be the 2019 Bacardi Cup winners, Eric Doyle and Payson Infelise (USA), who will once again hope to enjoy the sweet taste of victory and retain the honor of drinking Bacardi rum from the winner’s trophy come Sunday 7 March.
The J/70 fleet has a compelling line-up of forty teams with potential to seize the crown, as demonstrated at the two winter warm-up events where different faces claimed the top three standings. Those likely to feature up front include the USA teams headed up by Joel Ronning, Ryan McKillen, John Heaton, Trey Sheehan and Pamela Rose. But equally, some of the newer teams such as Great Britain’s JOLT, which includes plenty of Olympic talent, could pack a punch and change the leaderboard guard. Of course the reigning J/70 World Champion, Paul Ward (GBR), will no doubt also set the race track rivalry stakes.
Plenty of twists and turns will unfold in the fully-primed Melges 24 fleet, where both the reigning silver and bronze World Championship medalists, Bruce Ayres (USA) and Andrea Pozzi (ITA), will be on the starting line. Amongst those also up for the challenge in the twenty-eight boat fleet will be the best two overall finishers from the two warm-up events here in Miami over the winter, Bora Gulari (USA) and Travis Weisleder (USA), who will resume their neck and neck performance.
Last year’s champion in the Viper 640, Mary Ewenson, returns to defend her title but will have to go through some tough opposition to be on top of the twenty-two other teams on the track. Plenty of talent will join the action across the VXOne, AV8 and Windfoil classes and new heroes will be born.
Post-race, sailors will enjoy the magnetic hospitality of BACARDÍ, the world’s most-awarded rum, hosted at nightly parties, with great food, live music and cocktails to make sure the fun continues long after the finish line. The socials are at the heart of the event and include the Bacardi Cup Welcome Cocktail kickoff event at Coral Reef Yacht Club on Sunday 1 March, the Mid-Week Party at Shake-a-Leg Miami on 4 March 4 and the Prize Giving Dinner on Saturday 7 March to celebrate and wrap up a great week of racing.
Race activities are managed by Coral Reef Yacht Club, in collaboration with Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, US Sailing Center and Shake-a-Leg Miami.
A special thank you to this year’s event sponsors and supporters: North Sails, Fever-Tree Mixers, HATUEY® Beer, Mark Setbot, Harken Derm, Gubinelli Wines, Termodinamica, Tuuci, Hobie, Coconut Grove Business District, Nautical Channel, Ocean Navigator and Jaguar Therapeutics.
A full media package will deliver daily video highlights, race reports and photo galleries, online and via worldwide distribution, alongside full social media coverage