PORTO CERVO, SARDINIA (June 17, 2019) – It’s 9th March 2019 in Miami, USA; in the bay there’s a massive fleet of Stars racing at the Bacardi Cup, celebrating the event’s 92nd edition, but only two teams can win it. The race is full on between rivals Paul Cayard/Magnus Liljedahl and Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise. Both teams count Star World Championship wins, both helms are Americans from California, and for both helms victory would mark a career first if they could have their names etched on the 92 year old Bacardi Cup Trophy. The outcome: Cayard broke his mast, whilst Doyle sailed a faultless race and returned ashore celebrating his longed awaited victory. Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise are crowned 2019 Champions and celebrate their win in traditional Bacardi Cup style.
Now jump to the 2019 Star Class World Championship, 13-23 June, where for the second successive year Bacardi is supporting the Bacardi Cup winners to compete for the Championship title in Porto Cervo, Sardinia.
In 2018, Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) enjoyed Bacardi’s support and went on to claim a 4th place finish. Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise (USA) will relish the challenge as they line up for their first race at the 2019 Star Class World Championship on Monday 17 June in a fleet of over 60 world class teams.
“We are excited to continue this initiative 2019 and support the Bacardi Cup Champions to attend the Star Worlds in Sardinia,”said Eddie Cutillas, Bacardi USA. “The Star Class has been our partner for exactly 92 years and we are very much looking forward to continuing this relationship for many more years”.
The 2019 Bacardi Cup champion Eric Doyle has been sailing in the Star Class for half his life, and to eventually win the Bacardi Cup meant a lot, as he reflected, “It was great to finally come through and win it. I think behind the World Championships the Bacardi Cup is the most prestigious Star regatta and it is a testament to how great the competition is that it took me so long to win.”
Infelise continued, saying, “It felt great to win the Bacardi Cup! We have worked hard over the last couple of years to get the boat up to speed and it was nice to finally see some of the work start to pay off, especially in such a talented and difficult fleet. It is an honor to have our names on the trophy next to Star class legends and some of the best sailors in the world.”
The battle will now unfold in Porto Cervo, Sardinia where the pair will proudly sport the Bacardi logo on their mail sail.
“The Bacardi sponsorship has definitely been a help,”commented Infelise. “Shipping our boat over for the Europeans and Worlds was not a cheap endeavor and not sure we could’ve done it without Bacardi’s sponsorship. It has certainly aided in our ability to compete at this World Championship.”
“We are extremely grateful for Bacardi’s support. We always feel welcome in Miami with all our friends and now we have their support from far away as well, it feels very special,” concluded Doyle.
Both athletes are now focused on an even bigger win and have their eyes set on the Star Class World Championship gold medals. Just a few years older than the Bacardi Cup, the Star World Championship list of winners features legends of the sport. For Payson Infelise, winning would be a first time, while Eric Doyle has tasted victory before and wants to repeat his 1999 success when he won in Punta Ala, Italy.
“Winning the Star World Championship is the highlight of my career so far and to win another one would be amazing,” said Doyle.“I believe there are only five or six people who have ever won it multiple times. Lowell North tops the list as he won it four times as a skipper and once as a crew when he was only 16 years old. To join that list would be amazing and quite an honor.”
Their challenge will begin on Monday 17thJune, with one long race scheduled per day through Saturday 22ndJune. Doyle and Infelise will be fighting for the trophy against over sixty teams, counting Bacardi Cup winners, Olympic medalists and Star World Champions in the mix. Amongst the many renowned faces will be Paul Cayard, who has an impressive trophy cabinet to his name but just a single Star Class Worlds win back in 1988, and he for sure will be one of many big names aiming to outperform Doyle/Payson Infelise.
“We wish Eric and Payson the best of luck and we hope they will be the ones to stand on the podium this 2019 World Championship edition,”concluded Sara Zanobini, Event Director.
The Bacardi Invitational Organizing Authority is already working on the 2020 event taking place from 1st-7th March 2020 in Miami, USA, including the 93rd edition of the Bacardi Cup.
The Bacardi Cup history begins back in 1927, when the Bacardi family hosted a regatta on the then brand new Star boats in Havana, Cuba. From that very first edition the race course challenge was tough between the best sailors from North America. American sailors continue to return to the battle joined by teams from across the globe who are all aiming to win the iconic Bacardi Cup trophy.
The regatta has evolved and since 1962 has been held in Miami, where Bacardi welomes some of the best international sailors to race in Biscayne Bay. Star sailors are now joined by a multi-class fleet, as the Bacardi Cup is part of a much larger event, the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta. Racing is heldfor many new, mostly one-design, classes, including the J70, J80, Viper, VX One, VX Evo, Flying Tiger, Melges 20, Melges 24, A Cat and M32.They don’t compete to win the Bacardi Cup, that is a Star prerogative, but they do get to enjoy a fantastic week of racing and legendary Bacardi hospitality and fun at Coral Reef Yacht Club in Coconut Grove, Miami.
Text Credit: Rachele Vitello
Photo Credits: Martina Orsini