Three days of exceptional sailing conditions on Biscayne Bay, January 26-28, made the Bacardi Winter Series 2 a dream event. Catapult advanced to victory in the J/70. On a stunner of a sunny day in Miami, two races shaped the final podium in a variable and shifty 8-16 knot breeze. Racing was postponed ahead of the second race to wait for a wind shift to settle, which given the time limit was the final of the series. Bacardi Winter Series 2 wrapped up with the usual epic Bacardi sailing soirée and prize-giving celebrations at Shake-A-Leg Miami. With just one point separating the top two teams—Brutus III and Catapult—going into the final day, the outcome was way too hard to call. Despite a disappointing start in the first race, the J/70 World Champions on Brutus III hunted down their opponents to claw their way up through the pack to finish fifth, five places ahead of Joel Ronning’s Catapult. Onto the final race and in 2-points striking distance of Brutus III, Catapult wasn’t missing victory without a fight. While Brutus III and Catapult locked into their battle, Robert Hughes and his Heartbreaker team got to work straight away. They took the lead at the first downwind gate to claim the win and escalate themselves up from leaderboard 13th to ninth overall. Behind, a 13th place finish gave BWS2 series glory to Catapult, with Brutus III in second and David Jannetti’s Very Odd in third. Catapult raced a super-consistent series, pushing through some tough opposition to be on top of the podium. “This feels good,” said Ronning. “It feels good to be recognized by my friends, and we worked really hard at this. I am honored to have won, and I am also thrilled with my team. They did a great job.” The racetrack wasn’t easy, as Ronning explained, “It was really very confused out there today. It was very challenging as there was a shift every three minutes or so.” Speaking on the event atmosphere, Ronning added, “It is a wonderful fleet of people, and the community is really awesome. This Bacardi group is outstanding. It attracts some of the best J/70 sailors in the world. I love it, the competition is very high.” There is certainly unfinished business amongst these world-class teams, which will resume at the Bacardi Invitational Regatta in March. Zachary Segal and his team on USA1154 were the top placed Corinthian team in 20th overall.
J/70 Top 5 – after 8 races
- Joel Ronning / Victor Diaz de Leon / Patrick Wilson / Morgan Trubovich (USA 65) – 29 pts
- Charles Thompson / Elisabeth Whitener / Chris Grube / Benjamin Saxton / Tom Mallindine (GBR 1123) – 39 pts
- David Jannetti / Travis Odenbach / Willem Van Waay / Andy Horton (USA 1513) – 45 pts
- Peter Vessella / Mark Mendelblatt / Karl Anderson / Brett Davis (USA 1437) – 57 pts
- John Brim / Greiner Hobbs / Scott Ewing / Ed Lebens (USA 1150) – 58 pts
Special thanks to Bacardi, Shake-A-Leg Miami, the Coconut Grove Sailing Club for providing the Race Committee and event support, along with event partners Quantum Sails, SailFlow, Sail 22 and Nautical Ventures.
Text Credit: Luissa Smith/ Photo Credits: Hannah Lee Noll
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