American skipper Rick Merriman and crew Phil Trinter took first place on the sixth and final day of Star Class at this year’s Bacardi Cup in Miami and in the process secured an overall regatta win as well.
With strong, gusting winds hitting 24 knots, about a half-dozen boats were dismasted, including the day's early leader, Bermudan skipper Peter Bromby and crew Magnus Liljedahl.
Second place overall in the 84-boat fleet went to Irish skipper Peter O'Leary, who took a first on the third day of the regatta. American skipper Andy Horton and crew James Lyne took third overall, thanks to a weeklong run of solid top-ten finishes.
"We had good speed off the start staying with everyone, and then we were able to hit one tack that edged us out ahead of Andy Horton and got us trailing Bromby,” Merriman said afterward. “We were right behind (Bromby) until he broke his mast trying to gybe in one of the bigger puffs at the mark. Then the wind luckily backed off for us a little, and we were able to survive the gybe. After that, we just focused on sailing conservatively. We played with a couple good shifts and protected the left, making sure we didn't let anyone get out in front of us.”
Founded in Cuba in 1927 and now in its 83rd year, the latest installment of the prestigious Bacardi Cup hosted sailors from 23 different countries. It also served as the foundation for the new Bacardi Miami Sailing Week, which included racing in the Melges 20, Melges 24, Viper and J/24 classes.
Winning in the 15-boat Melges 20 fleet was Jeff Eckland aboard Star, while Donald Wilson won in the Melges 24 class. In the 20-boat Viper class, it was American skipper Lee Shuckerow edging out Bermudan skipper Somers Kempe by three points. In the J/24 class the winner was Trish Walker aboard Scouts' Pride.
For more on the regatta, including complete results, click here.