Bacardi Winter Series Event No 2 Ready fo Miami Showdown

January 25. 2024 - Miami, FL, U.S.A. - The organizers of the Bacardi Winter Series 2023/2024 are set to welcome a stellar line up of over fifty teams to Shake-A-Leg in Miami this weekend, January 26-28.

Bacardi Winter Series 2 (BWS2) marks the second of a three-event series for the Melges 24, which culminates at the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta (BCIR) in March 2024.

Eddie Cutillas of Bacardi USA said, “Consistently, the Bacardi series draws the biggest names in the sailing world.  “Sailors appreciate the elite competition and the stunning Miami location. Racing on the complex and demanding waters of Biscayne Bay against so many of the world’s best is a truly a test of fortitude. We anticipate an incredible three days of competition and camaraderie. Shoreside teams can kick back and enjoy our renowned Bacardi hospitality and lively parties.”

With numerous highly skilled sailors sharing an uncompromising desire to win, predicting who will pull off the surprises over the nine scheduled races on Biscayne Bay is a challenge. Racing kicks off at 11:00 hrs. on Friday, January 26, with the Melges 24's leading the way,  followed by the J/70's. The Race Committee, provided by Coconut Grove Sailing Club, will ensure the smooth execution of the races, adding an extra layer of expertise to the event.

The wind forecast for Friday’s opening day looks to be set at 14-18 knots, offering more favorable weather compared to the formidable conditions faced at the opening event in December 2023.
Post-race, Bacardi, the Miami-based king of hospitality, will greet and host with great food, music, and plenty of Bacardi rum.

After their single-race victory at the opening event, Andrea Pozzi’s Bombarda team returned to defend their bragging rights. We wait to see whether they will again unlock their go-fast setup or be unseated.

Fourteen of the teams from BWS1, including eight of the top ten finishers, return for BWS2. Nothing stands still in sailing, and there are plenty of seasoned teams making BWS2 their series debut. They race frequently, know each other’s strengths and what it takes to secure a podium finish. Racing will be fierce as the Melges 24’s top sailors vie for supremacy and to trump Bombarda.

Bruce Ayres’ team on Monsoon missed BWS1 and enter the fray with their best most recent result being a noteworthy 4th place at the 2023 Melges 24 Worlds. Ayres finished ahead of Laura Grondin’Dark Energy team by a slim margin. Switch that rivalry to making the right calls on the waters of Biscayne Bay, and respective form has seen their competitive balance closely matched. They regularly trade leaderboard places throughout the regattas. The upper hand at the 2023 BCIR went to Ayres, who finished 4th compared to Grondin’s 7th.

Cuyler Morris on Dark Horse trailed Pozzi at BWS1 to finish in 2nd place, with Grondin in third. Most recently Cuyler won the 2023 Melges 24 Atlantic Coast & Gulf Coast Championship.

Richard Reid’s Zingara team are the reigning North American Champions and will be well up amongst the contenders as well. The well-known Zenda Express will feature Eddie Cox steering, as usual helmsman Harry Melges IV focuses on NYYC American Magic duties. 

Canada’s Dan Berezin on Surprise was the top placed Corinthian team, and returns for another shot. 

The Bacardi Invitational Winter Series 2 is the final chance for teams to measure themselves against competitors, before the facing each other at the finals during the Bacardi Invitational Regatta from March 6-9, 2024. There the J/70 and Melges 24 will be joined by the Snipe, VX One and Viper 640 classes. The historic Bacardi Cup for the Star Class will celebrate its 97th anniversary from March 3-9, 2024.

Text Credit: Luissa Smith
Photo Credits: Hannah Lee Noll

Follow the Bacardi Regattas:

Surprise CAN629 of Dan Berezin - Bacardi Winter Series 2023-2024 Events 1

Zingara CAN853 of Richard Reid - Bacardi Winter Series 2023-2024 Event 1

Huzzah CAH491 of Greg Chamberlain - Bacardi Winter Series 2023-2024 Event 1