What a great excuse to bail from the cold, yes, we are based in Texas and it took us a good 29 hour ride to get to Miami thanks to the ice storm that hit the South last week; our double staked trailer behaved like a champ (courtesy of Ultra). But hey, if you don’t want to get burn, stay out of the kitchen, right? well, it was all about “bring it on” for the 21 VX One teams that showed up at Coral Reef Yacht Club in Miami in occasion of the 2014 Bacardi Cup. This is the first year of the VX participating in the event, which congregated Stars (obviously), Melges 24, Melges 20, J/70, Viper 640’s and the new kids on the block (VX and J/70).
We shared the Alpha course with the J/70’s and Vipers, having the last start. The first two races on Thursday, where all about medium winds starting to build up until the end of the afternoon, when we were sent in because of a bad weather alarm, which promptly got to town with winds in the upper 30’s and your typical Miami style rain. Only two races on Day 1.
Day 2’s (Friday) forecast promised clear skies and strong winds from the NW, and boy did it blow!! The waters of Biscayne Bay had the crispy texture of the strong gusts all over the place, a bit of carnage in some fleets, rig coming down on some Melges 20’s. Wind average was 21 to 22 knots gusting to 29 knots. everybody on their toes and ready for epic rides. Some of us hit 14 knots of boat speed under main only while waiting between races, so it was game on. After several general recalls on the J/70 fleet, then Viper folks started and finally us. The VX fleet started with almost everyone one packed at the RC boat…the right was paying big. Wind kept blowing hard and the teams with three sailors onboard were holding pace and some of the two person boats were right there in the mix (overall winner is a 3-up crew and second place is a 2-Up crew), so after paying our upwind dues, here comes what we are here for: the run! …literally a run, boats started round the weather and offset marks, jumping on a plane, kites go up and BANG!!! the speedos started to climb and between surfing waves and dodging other boats, the rigs hummed and play that music that we love until the moment of truth brings you back to Earth: hey, we gotta gybe…3,2,1 and slam!! the main goes, the kite fills on the new side , the crew is already on the hiking straps and here we go again…our VX took good care of us; we gybed, nothing broke, no capsize, no drama. Some crews, including the overall winners (Emily, Andrew and Donnie Brennan) reported speeds in excess of 22 knots…this is what we came here for, this is what we do.
Unfortunately, we only got three races in. Saturday, the last day of racing was a nice tanning session afloat waiting for the wind, which did not filled until 2 hours past the time limit, so we got back on the road, with big smiles and the same hunger feeling of the unfinished meal.
Congratulations to Team Smuggler for their victory, followed by DJ Bolyard and Hayden Bennett and in third place Kevin Northrop on USA 148.
Big thanks to the crew of Bennett Yachting (Rachel, Brian and Hayden Bennett) for all the great help and professionalism demonstrated on and off the water. The VX One fleet had its own base, a Beer/ on the water base RIB, a storage trailer, and we actually were pulled aside after racing and got told what we were doing wrong and shared the chalk talk with top finishers; all this, together with the mandatory cafecito cubano every morning and the yuca frita y mojitos in the evening, makes it hard to say no for the next event.
Full results for all fleets here. – Anarchist Rod