Saturday, January 25, 2020

J/70 Bacardi Winter Series II Preview

J/70 Bacardi Midwinters in Miami, FL (Miami, FL)- As event 2 of the 2019/2020 Bacardi Invitational Winter Series unfolds January 23rd to 26th, many of the world’s top J/70 sailors will resume their battle for supremacy on the waters of Biscayne Bay in Miami.

In December 2019, the first of this three-event series featured twenty-one boats for the J/70 fleet, coming from Brazil, Canada, Germany and the USA, with a climb to fifty-three entries for this weekend’s event and three new nations: Great Britain, Italy and Mexico.

Six windward/leeward races are scheduled for the J/70 fleet. The breeze set to be light and fickle as the regatta kicks off, building to a different race track over the weekend with an expected 11-13 knots forecast.

A mixed weather system in December’s event 1, with big breeze followed by light airs for two days led to mixed results in the J/70 class. The J/70 to beat is the team on SURGE skippered by Ryan McKillen, who showcased their tenacity to bounce back after a mid-series shocker to claim the win in December. His team was not exactly comprised of a bunch of "hacks", they included Mark Mendelblatt, John Wallace, and Sam Loughborough- all champion sailors in their own right. They are just one of twenty-five talented teams making the trip to Miami to stake out front of fleet finishes in a fight that will be finely balanced.

Amongst those strong on talent are Jeff Janov on MINOR THREAT, racing with a crew of Dave Ullman, Ben Mercer and Doug McLean, all highly experienced in getting results in under-powered wind conditions. MINOR THREAT finished second in December, just two points behind SURGE. Trey Sheehan and crew on HOOLIGAN also proved their ability to nail fluky breeze wins back in December, scoring two bullets in light pressure to finish third overall.

Joel Ronning and his team on CATAPULT, who won event 2 of last year’s Winter Series and claimed the J/70 World Championships silver medal in September 2019, struggled to balance out an up and down scorecard in event 1. They finished in 6th place, so they will be eyeing a return to form and upgrade to their usual podium placing. Joining the fleet after some time off is Glenn Darden's talented crew on HOSS from Fort Worth Boat Club in Texas, his crew includes two rock stars- Eric Doyle and Max Skelley (Star and J/105 Champions). Other teams that have dialed up their efforts include Oivind Lorentzen's NINE, John Brim's RIMETTE, Pam Rose's ROSEBUD (with superstar crew Willem Van Waay aboard), Bruno Pasquinelli's STAMPEDE also from Fort Worth Boat Club, and perhaps the "sleeper" of the regatta- Buddy Cribb's VICTORY with a few characters on his crew list that actually know how to sail- Scott Ewing and Greiner Hobbs.  For more Bacardi J/70 Winter Series sailing and scoring information Add to Flipboard Magazine.