SI Vault
Rob Goldberg
May 30, 1983
Late one afternoon in March the clubhouse bar at the Coral Reef Yacht Club was packed. An impressive international field of 79 Star sailors—the elite of sailing's elite—had converged on Florida's Biscayne Bay to race in the Bacardi Cup, and after the first day of competition, most were shifting gears, from racing to cocktails.
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May 30, 1983

A Pair Of Sailing Champions With Different Brands Of Star Quality

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The fourth day dawned bright and sunny—perfect spectator weather, but not so great for the sailors: There was so little wind a swimmer could have made better time on the reaches. But if the race was short on wind, it was long on tactics. Coming into the last (windward) leg, Menkart was third, trailing two other boats on port tack. It was then that he decided to take a gamble; he broke away from the lead boats, veering onto starboard tack, in hopes of getting a fresh breeze. In the light air, he calculated, the risk was worth it. His calculation paid off, and he swept ahead to victory.

Menkart and Kavle were perhaps proudest of their next day's finish, an eighth. A sudden wind shift left many boats in the lurch, and at the first mark Menkart found himself two-thirds of the way back in the pack. Said Kavle, "Andy is always so laid back. A lot of people get very edgy at this level of competition, but he'll never raise his voice. We rounded that mark in 40th place, and he was as calm as if we were on top. 'O.K.,' he said, 'now we have to work.' " They did work, and made it to the top 10 on the next two legs. Melges was not so fortunate and ended up 28th.

By the sixth and last day Menkart held a solid lead. Melges, hanging on in second place, had one last shot, but his chances were slim and dropped to zero when 50-knot winds canceled that final race.

Commenting on Menkart and Melges, third-place finisher Peter Wright said: "Buddy has talent flowing everywhere. He can just pick up a boat and do well. But I was impressed with how hard Menkart had worked. He was prepared for all conditions. He definitely deserved to win. He's not necessarily the most talented sailor, but he works twice as hard as everyone else."

When the Bacardi Cup was over, Melges was back at the Coral Reef clubhouse, just a small-town guy from Zenda, Wis., having a drink, having a great time with his crew, his wife, his friends. Sailors came and went in the bar, laughing, shaking their heads, trading stories. But Menkart, the winner, again, had little time for stories. There was still work to do, and he was out in back, packing up his boat. Tools in hand, he went carefully over Star 6910. Slowly he unfastened the mast, gently easing it down as the sound of talk and laughter came drifting from the festivities.

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