John Dane and Austin Sperry take overall lead at 2006 Bacardi Cup Regatta

The father and son-in-law tandem of John Dane and crew Austin Sperry, sailing out of Gulfport, Mississippi, won Monday’s second race at the 2006 Bacardi Cup Star Class Regatta on the waters of Biscayne Bay. With a third place finish in Sunday’s first race, today’s victory assures them the overall lead going into the third of six races in the regatta.

Dane and Sperry trailed Marc Pickel and crew Ingo Borkowski of Germany by about a boat length following the third and final mark of the double windward-leeward course. Both teams were several boat lengths ahead of their nearest competitors heading towards the finish line.

Dane elected to gybe starboard towards the finish in the hope of securing the better angle, while Pickel chose the more consistent, albeit conservative, approach of remaining on course. The move proved decisive for Dane and Sperry as they edged Pickel and Borkowski by less than a foot, according to race committee chairman Craig Prandini.

“We ran a pretty conservative race and listened to our coach, Larry Souter, who gave us a lot of very good weather input. He’s the reason we stayed competitive today,” said Dane, 54, a 2008 Olympic hopeful in the Star Class with crew Sperry, 27.

“We sailed side by side with Pickel all the way down the final run, then jibed away towards the starboard end of the finish line because we thought that would be the better angle; we figured we didn’t have anything to lose since we had some space between us and the other boats. Pickel just didn’t gybe and got the slower angle,” Dane added

San Diego’s Mark Reynolds, the two-time Olympic gold medalist who sails this week with Swedish crew Christian Finnsgard, finished fifth Monday and retains second place overall following his day one victory. Pickel and Borkowski rise to third overall, after finishing ninth on day one, while Bermuda’s Peter Bromby and crew Bill McNiven, sailing in their first regatta together in more than 20 years, move to fourth overall with finishes in fourth and seventh place on day one and day two respectively.

2005 Star World Champions Xavier Rohart and crew Pascal Rambeau of France finished third on consistent gains throughout the race and currently rank seventh overall. Defending Bacardi Cup Champions Mark Mendelblatt and crew Mark Strube finished 11th today and currently rest in 15th overall.

Reynolds said he had a nice start but couldn’t figure out what the wind was doing. He said he was trying to keep up with Andy Horton and crew Brad Nichol who charged from the start and aggressively sailed the course leading all the way. Horton/Nichol did cross the finish line first only to find out they were black flagged at the start line along with six other boats.

More than 90 teams representing 19 countries are competing in the 79th Bacardi Cup Star Class Regatta, one of the most competitive and highly anticipated Star Class events in the world.

The Bacardi Cup Star Class Regatta is co-hosted by the Coral Reef Yacht Club and the U.S. Sailing Center, both based in Coconut Grove, and is sponsored by BACARDI USA.

Results (after two races)

1 John Dane/Austin Sperry 4.00 pts

2 Mark Reynolds/Christian Finnsgard 6.00

3 Marc Pickel/Ingo Borkowski 10.00

4 Peter Bromby/BillMcNiven 11.00

5 Rick Merriman/Rick Peters 17.00

6 Afonso Domingos/Bernardo Santos 19.00

7 Xavier Rohart/Pascal Rambeau 20.00

8 Karl Anderson/Magnus Liljedahl 25.00

9 Erik Lidecis/Michael Marzahl 26.00

10 Aaron Serinis/Bob Schofield 27.00