Photo by Cory Silken from Tuesday’s race. Cayard/Fatih in bow 41 in 18 knots of wind.

Coconut Grove

The wind was blowing hard all night and early this morning.  The Race Committee put up the postponement flag at 0900 and at 11:00 called it for the day.  This is a good call for the fleet on the whole.  While the top 25% of the fleet could race in 25 knots, many of the participants would either not go out or would go out and possibly incur damage.  If you break your mast, that is an $8K outing.  Good call by the race committee.

However, tomorrow we will have two races. These races are World Championship length races; 10.7 nm.  Each race takes about 1:45. So it will be a long and physical day.  The first start will be at 11:00 rather than the usual 12:00.

The forecast is for 17 knots from the southeast at 10:00 dropping to 11 knots by 16:00.  It should be a beautiful day for racing Stars.

Star Class 8506 and 8510 sailing at Bacardi Miami Sailing Week.

Star Class 8506-Cayard and 8510-Grael sailing at Bacardi Miami Sailing Week. Photo by Cory Silken

Someone will have to make a move tomorrow if the Germans are to be beaten.  There is one discard in this series so two top 5 finishes for the Germans and they may not even have to go out for the 6th race on Saturday. But sailing is usually anything but straight forward.  We still half the series to go!

For complete scores, go to


A portion of the 60+ boats still tightly packed at the first mark after 20 minutes of racing.  Photo Cory Silken

Coconut Grove

Today was a perfect Miami day for sailing.  The wind was in the mid teens, the waves were good for surfing the boats downwind and the Star Class was out in force for the Bacardi Cup, a tradition of 89 years.

What other class of boat has a trophy that has been continuously competed for, for 89 years?  A trophy that started in Cuba?  Is there any other sporting event competed for in the USA that was started in Cuba? People say the Star is an old boat, traditional, slow etc.  Well it is, but it  it has also endured for 105 years.  The class has gone from a gaff rig to a Marconi rig, from wood to fiberglass and from cotton to Dacron.  The Star has evolved with the times, carefully accepting innovation while protecting its roots.  Today the Star is a modern boat and still challenging to sail well.  And the class is still be conducting championships with some of the top sailors in the world?

Why?  There is a lot of ingredients to the Star class that make it what it is.  It would be too lengthy to get into it here but when I come back to the Coral Reef dock at the end of the day, and tie up alongside Toben Grael, a man I have competed against for over 30 years, on the Southern Ocean, at the Olympic Games, at the America’s Cup, and we shake hands after a good battle in the Star, nothing needs to be said. He’s here and I am here for the same reason…there is nothing better than racing a Star.

Today, the German’s were the best team, following up on Monday’s win.  There were second at the first mark but got past Augie Diaz, (a giant in terms of the skill and camaraderie he brings) on the first downwind.  The two teams battled all race but the Germans prevailed and are putting together a very strong bid to win the Bacardi Cup.  Brian and I had a good day hovering around the 3-5 positions most of the race and finally finishing 3rd.  Diego Negri and Sergio were pushing us hard and finished 4th.  Torben and Guilherme were 5th.

There are a lot of excellent sailors I am not mentioning in these articles.  Look at the scoring sheet at  For example our current World Champion is in 9th.  It is not easy if you don’t have a good start and first leg.  Passing in this group is very difficult.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for strong winds in the 20+ knot range.  Each day the forecast has been overstated so we will see how tomorrow materializes.

At the half way mark, the Germans are leading comfortably, Augie and Bruno are second, Diego and Sergio 3rd, Brian and I moved up to 4th and Brad Funk with Mark Strube are sailing very well and moved up into 5th.

for complete results go to



Coconut Grove

Today was Day 2 of the 88th Bacardi Cup and all the forecasts were predicting big breeze-20 knots.  It didn’t materialize.  That’s why they call it a forecast and not a factcast.

We had a much shorter day on the water which was appreciated by all. I was in bed at 8:15 last night!  After a 20 minute delay to get the line set, we had just one general recall today and then got race 2 underway in 16 knots from the East and choppy seas.

Brian and I had a decent start about 2/3rds of the way to the left end of the line and held starboard for about 10 minutes.  Our speed was good and we were immediately up amongst the leaders.  We rounded the first mark 4th and headed downwind.  When we gybed to port it seemed like everyone behind us did as well.  We were immediately set up underneath (in the wind shadow) of a 15 boat pack.  This is not good when you need wind to push your boat.

Needless to say we had a stressful run and ended up losing quite a bit of ground.  We rounded the gate at the bottom of leg 2 about 13th.

With good speed up wind and a much better second downwind run and we finished the race in 5th.

Today was Italia Day with Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi taking the win.  They had very good speed upwind and down wind.  They were second at the first mark but passed yesterdays winners, the German team of Stank/Kleen, on the first downwind leg.  The Italians stretched out to a big lead, an obvious indication of speed.

For a while Torben Greal and Guilherme Almeida moved into second place but the Germans recaptured second up the last windward leg.

Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada are going very fast in their new Folli which just arrived Friday.  They got passed Torben as well to finish third, Grael 4th and Brian and I in 5th.

Missing from the top group today was Lars Grael (Torben’s younger brother and current World Champion) who finished, an uncharacteristic, 25th.

After two races the leaderboard is: 1)Stanjek/Kleen-3 points,  2) Negri/Lambertenghi-7,  3)Diaz/Prada 8,   4) Vessella/Trinter-12,  5) Cayard/Fatih-13.

It’s a little early for us to be looking at the scores….lots of racing to go.

I have not been accredited by the Bacardi Cup organization so no photos.  I will work on that some more tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for strong winds; 20-25 knots.  If this materializes, it would be on the edge of “raceable” and the race committee would have to decide weather to send us out of postpone racing to Thursday.

For complete results go to



Coconut Grove

Today was the first day of the 88th Bacardi Cup.  The Bacardi Cup started in Havana Cuba and was moved to Miami in the late 50’s. 70 Star teams from 14 countries are entered for the event.

The wind was in from the east at 15-17 knots and all the teams were ready for the noon start.  2.5 hours later, we finally started our 2 hours race.  We got back to the dock at 5:00.  It was a very long day.  Unfortunately for some, it was a short day as a few broke masts and other gear.

Without going into all the details, we had many-several (can’t remember) recalled starts, postponements and even half a race that was abandoned after the first lap.  I was worn out before the race started. The starting line for a fleet this big is two lines put together with a large signal boat right in the middle.  So adjusting the angle of the line is a three boat operation and takes time to get anchors up etc.  No doubt the race committee are worn out too.

When it finally started, Brian and I had a good start at the left end and initially looked very good.  Problem was that the wind went right 15 degrees from there, and with that much leverage to the wrong side, it was a long haul back to 8th were we finished.  While not overly ecstatic about that finish, it is a long week and a very tough fleet.

The German Team, and past World Champions, Robert Stank and Fritjof Kleen sailed well to take the win. Peter Vessella and Phil Trinter moved from 5th to second as the race progressed and Arthur Anosov with Edward Morey up front got the bronze.  Lars Grael and Samuel Conclaves, the current World Champions, were 4th with local Miami hero Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada in 5th.

The forecast is windy all week.  Maybe a bit more tomorrow-20 gusting 25.  The race committee with send the fleet on reaches on the first lap if it is real windy.  They do this to eliminate one dead downwind run which is where most of the masts break.  We don’t reach much anymore in the Star class so that will be interesting.  Could become a habit this week.

My friend Marco Oquendo isn’t out shooting photos this week so I am trying to become an accredited journalist with the Bacardi organization so I can get some of theirs.  Will include them tomorrow if possible.  Should be some good action shots out there with all this wind.

For complete results go to


Coconut Grove

Two races were held today in a postcard perfect Miami.  10-15 knots from the North and clear blue skies.

The Walker Cup is in honor of Harry Walker, who served the star class as secretary for many years.  The 43 competitors were competing to win the Walker Cup but also as a tune up for the 88th Bacardi Cup that stars tomorrow at the same venue.

Brian and I continued our good form by wining race 1 wire to wire.  We started at the pin end of the line (left side), with that end being favored 10 degrees, and never took anyone’s transom.  With that win,  that we had a 8 point lead in the regatta.

Star Winter Series

Star Winter Series – photo Marco Oquendo

The second start was less that perfect as we had a boat directly on our wind as the gun went off.  We managed to dig our way out of 20th to finish 6th.  The German team of Schmidt/Seeberger sailed very well to take the final race in the now fresh 16 knots of wind.

The final standings were Cayard/Fatih 15, Lars Grael/Goncalves 25 (current World Champions) , Tom Loefstedt of SWE third with 28.

Brain and I were trying a few new things this weekend on the boat.  Obviously it went pretty well but we will be continuing to try some things next week during the Bacardi Cup as we prepare for the World Championship in April.  It is important to keep trying to raise the bar…up to a point.

The forecast for the upcoming week is generally windy.  16-20 knots, with gust up to 25, from the North East going South East as the week goes on.  So the temps and humidity will be up with the wind coming off the 82 degree ocean.

For complete results go to


Coconut Grove

Three races were held today on Biscayne Bay for the Star fleet.  The Winter Series fleet has swollen to 40+ boats in anticipation of next weeks Bacardi Cup.

The wind was generally steady in direction and strength with 10-14 knots from East Northeast.  This made for a shifty day as the wind was coming over Key Biscayne onto the race course.

I am sailing with Brian Fatih for the first time.  Brian is an Olympian from the 2012 Games where he crewed for Mark Mendelblatt USA.  Mark and I were team mates in the Athens games where Mark sailed the Laser.  Brain and I will race this weekend (the Walker Cup), then the Bacardi Cup next week (88th edition!) and finally the Star World Championship in April, all right here in Miami. Its a good regatta schedule with two important events in our sport.

So Brian and I are trying to build our team work, our vocabulary, and our maneuvers in light of the events we have in front of us.

Today was day 1 and a good start.  We struggled with a lack of speed in race one but went very fast down the last run to finish 5th.  Peter Vassella and Phil Trinter won this race.  We made some rig changes for race 2 and were fast up and downwind.  After and excellent start, we won this race after a battle with Torkel Borgstrom of Argentina done the last run to the finish.  In race three, we didn’t have such a good start but sailed the shifts well, and with good speed, to finish second.  Thomas Loffsted of Sweden won this race.

After three races, Brian and I are leading with 8 points, Vassella/Trinter in second with 11 and Loefstedt in third with 13.  Current Wrold Champion Lars Grael is in 4th with 18 and So Cals Jim Buckingham is 5th with 19 points.

Star Winter Series

Star Winter Series-Marco Oquendo Photo

Two races are scheduled for tomorrow with  a forecast of 8-10 knots from the east.

For complete results go to and look for the Walker Cup.




Coxonut Grove

Danny and I are back in the Grove for more Star Racing. This time the Schoonmaker Cup with 20 other teams.

For this event,  I am crewing for Danny. It has been fun to share the Star with him this past year and I hope he enjoys Star sailing for as many years as me and his grandfather have!

It’s been a while since I was in the front of a Star and today we had 3 races in 15 knots from the east. I will sleep well tonight!

Star Winter Series

Star Winter Series photo by Marco Oquendo

We had some great moments and some more challenging moments. At the end of the first day, we are tied for 9th with Arthur Anosov, the winner of the Masters two weeks ago.

Augie Diaz and Arnie Baltins had a great day with a 2, 1, 1. Brian Cramer of Canada is in second and George Szabo third.

Two more races are scheduled for tomorrow and the forecast is 10 knots from the east.  That should be more to our liking.  Team Cayard, at 380lbs all up, likes the lighter winds.

For complete results go to

Thanks to Marco Oquendo for the photos.


imageCoconut Grove

Two races were held today in 8-10 knots from the east on Biscayne Bay. This weekend is the “Masters” regatta in the Star Class. Obviously,  the name is indicative of a certain amount of life experience required to race in the “Masters”.  The Masters has become the Zag Masters in honor of Frank Zagarino, one of the class stalwarts and a Bicayne Bay Fleet member.

My son Danny joined me for this event and we got off to a great start winning race 1 by a healthy margin. Unfortunately I went the wrong way on the first leg of race two and we were deep coming into mark 1.  We made a couples of nice choices,  always with good speed, so we moved up to 7th by the finish.

Arthur Anosov and Dave “Julius” Ceasar had a better day than Danny and I with a 3, 2 and are leading after day 1 with 5 points.  Dan and I are second, 2 points back with Seiggert/Fatih in third 2 points behind us.

One race is scheduled for tomorrow and the forecast is calling for big breeze from the northwest following a cold front coming through the area tonight.

For complete results go to and find Zag Masters.


No racing today. Too much wind.

Arthur and Dave won the Zag Masters. Danny and I are second, Swigert/Fatih third. Danny and I won the Father-Son Team. That’s special!

The next Star event in the Winter Series is the Schoonmaker Troohy in two weeks.


Coxonut Grove

We had just one race today and that’s all Magnus and I needed to end the weekend on a good note.

Truth be told, we were very lucky today.  At the start of the race, the pin end was favored 20 degrees and of course the black flag was up. We fouled Ante at the start and had to do a 360 penalty turn. At that point we were a bit deep so we had to clear out to the left. Once clear we takes back onto port and benefited from a 10 degree lefty that came with pressure.

Magnus and I rounded he first mark second to Tom Lofsted  of Sweden. By this time the wind was blowing 18-20 knots and we were planing downwind.  We started the second windward leg in second but quickly passed Lofsted with better speed in the breeze.

The rest of the race was a procession as the wind shifted back to the right and we fetched the finish on the final run.

I am very happy with my new Folli Star!

Augie Diaz, the regatta leader going into today, got caught on the wrong side on the first leg and never recovered, finishing 21st and losing the regatta to Peter Vasella and Phil Trinter.  Brian Ledbetter and Josh Revkin sailed very well to finish third.

The next event down here is the Master Regatta February 6-7. I have asked my son Danny to crew for me for that regatta.  We are a bit light together but had so much fun sailing last summer.

Complete results can be found at

Thanks for following!




Coconut Grove

The wind was late filling in today so we didn’t get the first race of the day started til 14:00.

There is no other way to say it than the starting lines were horrible. Yet, the race committee put the black flag up! We haven’t had a race in this regatta without the black flag.  This time the victim was regatta leader John MacCausland. Game over.

Magnus and I had a good first race. The wind probably touched 14knots in this race.  Our start as mediocre at best but we had great speed up and down and finished third. Brian Ledbetter and Josh Revkin won easily and we finished right behind Like Lawrence.

In the second race,  we had a mediocre start and went the wrong way on both windward legs. Tough to do well when you do that. Anyway, our speed was very good again which is what I am really pleased about with this new Folli.

Brian Ledbetter and Josh Revkin won this race also. They have a new Folli just like mine. In fact, they were shipped here in the same container.

Magnus and I climbed up the score board a bit today, into the top 10, but we af never going to feature in this regatta counting a 35 from our Bkack Flag yesterday.

One day to go and possibly three races tomorrow.

For complete results go to