Bacardi Cup. A Unique Blend of Racing, Socials & Innovation

by Richard Crockett

I receive tons of mails daily about regattas and all things sailing, and do my very best to read them thoroughly as so often there are gems in them worth sharing.

More than 500 sailors will race on Biscayne Bay, Miami, from March 1 – 7 in the 93rd Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Invitational Regatta.

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 Bacardi 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.

Four courses will operate simultaneously and this year, with the iconic Star Class being 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.

What interested me most was this: “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.”

Phew, now that’s innovation worth following closely!

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.

And here’s another really brilliant touch to a regatta which, even after 93 years, continues to innovate:  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.

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, the Mid-Week Party and the Prize Giving Dinner.

Follow the event HERE