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Baltimore Sailing Club brothers Peter and Robert O'Leary are off to a great start at the 2018 Star Europeans Championship that officially started on Wednesday evening with the Opening Ceremony at Flensburger Segel-Club, Germany but it was yesterday that the battle on the water had its first go today.

Peter O'Leary, who is a veteran skipper of the Beijing and London Games in the former Olympic class, purchased a new Star boat late last year and has been campaigning it on both sides of the Atlantic. He previously finished as high as fourth at the Star Worlds in France sailing with David Burrows in 2011. The brothers are currently placed fifth.

Conditions on the first day of sailing in the Euros were just right, with wind ranging between 8 and 12 knots, only a little shiftier than expected. With an unusual sun and clouds mix for this summer day, the 71 boats started together on one big start line. The unsettled wind direction made it difficult to decide the favorite side, and there were lots of positions’ changes in both races.

Star Euros startlineThe Star European Championships start line in Flensberg. Photo: Sven Jurgensen/FSC

The first one was won by American skipper Augie Diaz with Brazilian crew Bruno Prada, followed by Russian Georgy Shadyuko and Aleksei Borisov, and Swiss Jean-Pascal Chatagny and Serge Pulfer. The second one went to Norwegian Star World Champion Eivind Melleby with Brazilian crew Guilherme de Almeida, second spot to Swedish Erik Dahalen and David Nogén and third to another Swiss team, Urs Hunkeler with Alex Gouda.

At the end of the first day former World Champions Augie Diaz (USA) and Bruno Prada (BRA) are the provisional leaders, followed by Lars Grael and Samuel Gonçalves (BRA) and third is the German team skippered by Ulrich Vater with crew Karsten Morf. Roberto Benamati from Italy is fourth.

From today to Sunday the 142 sailors will sail five more races under the strict command of Flensburger Segel-Club PRO, Claus Otto Hansen, who, alongside his Race Committee, decided that tomorrow’s first start will be at 14,30 local time (GMT+1), as some really strong winds are expected to hit the bay in the morning.

For full results here 

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With seven out of the top 10 at the Bacardi Cup being Star world champions, Peter O'Leary and Robert O'Leary from Royal Cork Yacht Club were in good company when they finished 11th overall in Miami at the weekend. A second Irish Star keelboat from the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire sailed by Max Treacy and Anthony Shanks were 18th overall in the 76–boat fleet.

Disappointingly, both Irish boats ended the regatta with a black flag disqualification in the final race, a penalty that denied the Cork Harbour brothers the chance of moving into the top ten overall.

Top ten overall

  1. 1. Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi, ITA, 14 points
    2. Robert Scheidt / Brian Fatih, BRA, 16
    3. Eivind Melleby / Joshua Revkin, NOR, 22
    4. Lars Grael / Samuel Goncalves, BRA, 24
    5. Paul Cayard / Mark Strube, USA, 24
    6. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise , USA, 28
    7. Iain Percy / Anders Ekstrom, GBR, 28.4
    8. Xavier Rohart / Sebastien Guidoux, FRA, 33
    9. Luke Lawrence / Pedro Trouche, USA, 47
    10. Jack Jennings / Frithjof Kleen, USA, 51
    11. Peter O'Leary / Robert O'Leary, IRL, 77/BFD

Full results here 

Published in Star

Ireland's newest Star Class team, brothers Peter and Robert O'Leary, have maintained their top ten overall at the Bacardi Cup in Miami yesterday. The Royal Cork duo lie eighth overall, six places ahead of Royal St. George Yacht Club's Max Treacy and Anthony Shanks who are in a creditable 14th place after almost a decade since they last campaigned together. 

A keen fleet pushed the starting line, forcing the Race Committee to signal two general recalls before race day 2 at the 91st Bacardi Cup on Biscayne Bay.

Superb weather conditions in a breeze up to 15 knots kept the frontrunners close together, with intense head to head fights concluding in a virtual photo finish between the leading three boats.

On the first upwind leg, the majority opted to take the left side of the track which paid off particularly well for Italy’s Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi who claimed the mark rounding first, chased by a rowdy fleet crowding around the mark behind.

The Italians held their position in the leading pack for the next legs, almost keeping their advantage to the finish line, as a battle of wills unfolded. Three boats crossed within moments of each other with the advantage going to the Norwegian pair of Eivind Melleby/Joshua Revkin. A reversal of fortune compared to yesterday, when they lost their lead in the final leg, but today they accelerated ahead of the Italians to take the win by half a boat length. A scorecard of 2,1 now puts Melleby/Revkin in the overall lead, sitting 2 points ahead of Negri/ Lambertenghi in second overall.

‘”It’s good to be here at the Bacardi Cup,” grinned Melleby, the reigning Star Class World Champion. “The Bacardi Cup 2018 is a great show here this year with all the best guys. We also have Iain Percy here and it will be great to race him again as I haven’t seen him in a Star for a while.

“It’s tough to race out there with all these good guys, so you have to be really careful about your risk taking. With the long line and big fleet, you are running a lot of risk if you are out on the side and it is very hard to catch up if you make a mistake at the beginning. So that is what we are trying to focus on, cut down the risk a little bit and hopefully we can be consistently up in the top ten. Hopefully that will get us up on the podium and hopefully win in the end I guess!” concluded Melleby sharing his mission for the week.

“This early in the regatta it is impossible to say you are trying to cover or look after any one person,” added Revkin on their focus for the first half of the Bacardi Cup. “We are just trying to sail our fastest race and get single digit finishes.”

Diego Negri sealed the 2014 Star Class Worlds silver medal on the same waters, so is massively familiar with the weather characteristics of Biscayne Bay. Negri reflected on his day, “Today has been a great race. We were leading at the top mark, at the downwind mark we were leading again but just in front of Melleby, and it was a kind of photo finish at the end. He was crossing on starboard, we were on port so I had to pass behind him and on the finishing line I think we were less than half a boat length behind.

“But anyway, it was a good way to start and yesterday we were third in a light breeze and today medium breeze and we were second and it was very shifty. I feel confident when it is shifty like this and I am happy about the conditions and the results so far. We keep going like this and let’s see at the end who is the best! This is the Star fleet we have a lot of Champions – World, European, Olympic - and this is the Bacardi Cup with almost 80 boats on the starting line and long courses. This is the game and that’s what we like. We like to compete in a high level fleet and we like to sail our nice boats.”

Just behind, Robert Scheidt/Brian Fatih (BRA) wrapped up a third place finish, and moved up to third on the leader board.

Great Britain’s Iain Percy made his first appearance on the race track today with Anders Ekstrom, scoring an 8th place. Although set against not racing on day 1, the pair sit down the pegging in 44th. Percy knows extremely well what it takes to win, counting in his trophy cabinet Gold and Silver Olympic medals in the Star, Olympic Gold in the Finn Class as well as two Star Class World Championship titles and multiple silver and bronze medals – to name just a few titles. Maintain today’s form and when the race discard comes into play after race 5, we can expect to see this pair popping up to the front of the scoreboard.

Overnight leaders, Augie Diaz/Bruno Prada (USA) lost some pace today, finishing 10th and dropping down to fifth overall. Results here

Race 3 for the Star Class is scheduled to start at 1055 hours today with a stronger breeze forecast.

Published in Star
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In what might be the first competitive meeting since the controversial 2008 Olympic Star selection trials – that ended up in front of an Olympic Council of Ireland Appeal hearing – two of Ireland's 2008 keelboat campaigners Peter O'Leary of Baltimore and Royal Cork and Max Treacy of the Royal St. George Yacht Club are back on–the–water and contesting this week's 2018 Bacardi Cup in Miami.

The Cup is one of the oldest and most traditional sailing events in the world. What started out as a three-day event with less than 10 boats in 1927, now attracts more than 200 sailors each year from some 23 countries and the attention of international media. It is is legendary as one of the few sporting events in which weekend enthusiasts have the opportunity to compete head on with Olympian and World Champion athletes.

As long time Afloat.ie readers will be aware, it was O'Leary who went on to represent Ireland in Beijing in 2008. A decade on, and now sailing with new crew, brother Robert, the Cork Harbour ace has taken first advantage yesterday and is placed sixth in the 76–boat fleet while Dublin Bay's Treacy, sailing with 2008 partner Anthony Shanks, is six places behind in 12th overall after one race sailed. 

In his new Star boat, named Dafni, O'Leary – who also sailed at London 2012 – is already very much up to speed winning last month's Star Walker Cup at the same venue. It was a result that earned them a February 2018 Afloat.ie Sailor of the Month award in to the bargain.

Yesterday, American's Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada, of the USA took the first winners gun on Biscayne Bay, Monday.

They finished ahead of Eivind Melleby and Joshua Revkin of Norway with Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi of Italy in third place.

Paul Cayard and Mark Strube USA finished fourth and fifth were Eric Doyle and Payson Infelise USA, with Ireland's O'Leary brother's sixth.

Top ten after the first race:

1. Augie Diaz / Bruno Prada, USA
2. Eivind Melleby / Joshua Revkin, NOR
3. Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi, ITA
4. Paul Cayard / Mark Strube, USA
5. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise , USA
6. Peter O'Leary / Robert O'Leary, IRL
7. Robert Scheidt / Brian Fatih, BRA
8. Thomas Allart / Arthur Lopez, NED
9. Peter Vessella / Phil Trinter, USA
10. Luke Lawrence / Pedro Trouche, NED

Full results are here 

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The International Star Class is both historic and completely up-to-the-minute, and competition in it is razor-sharp. In getting a clear series win in their debut majors – the Walker Cup - in this very special class in early February in Miami while sailing a new boat that they were still tuning, the Crosshaven brothers Peter and Robert O’Leary gave a text-book demonstration of how to put a championship together, making them our February “Sailors of the Month (Inshore)”.

They were so astonishingly consistent that although they didn’t achieve a single race win, they were never out of the frame, and won by an impressive margin of 14 points from a high-calibre fleet including noted helms of the quality of Paul Cayard and Eric Doyle.

Peter Rob O leary Star sailingPeter (left) and Rob O'Leary (third from left) with their Walker Cup prizes in Miami Photo: Star Class

Published in Sailor of the Month
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Usually when a boat fills a very special niche in the world sailing scene, the standard response is that if it didn’t exist, then somebody would just have to invent it writes W M Nixon. But in the case of the International Star, it’s beyond imagination to think of anyone coming up with such a thing, even in their wildest dreams.

And if you told a complete stranger to sailing the story of how this boat continues to be at the cutting edge of sailing competition despite being based on a hull design of 1910, they’d reckon you were making it up at the very least, and were more likely to be just plain daft.

Yet for a remarkable cohort of top international sailors, the reckoning is that if you can sail a Star with success, then you can be competitive in almost any other kind of boat. And equally, if you’re a sailor who has won his colours in a variety of other craft, then when you go out in a top Star fleet you’ll find yourself afloat with legends from many other areas of sailing.

All of which means that some really good sailors who were disappointed when the International Star ceased to be an Olympic Class in 2012 reckon that there are very valid arguments for its restoration to the Olympic pantheon. Yet whether that happens or not, the class thrives, and last week’s victory by Ireland’s Peter and Robert O’Leary in their new German-built boat Dafnie in the Walker Cup in Miami - when they gave a textbook demonstration of how to put a series together - has renewed Irish interest.

stars in breeze2The International Star is at her best in a good breeze and sunshine, racing in warm water…

star grey day3……but they can cope with less benevolent conditions too.

They won by sheer consistency, 14 points clear ahead of Paul Cayard. Now there’s a name to conjure with…….yet the Cork brothers beat him and several other names of renown without taking even one bullet. And every image which has emerged from the series shows yet again why the Star continues to fascinate a wide variety of sailors such as Cork’s Mark Mansfield and Dun Laoghaire’s David O’Brien, who took the Bronze at the Star Worlds in Annapolis in 2000.

The Star was already 21 years old when it became an Olympic class in 1932. The origins were in an inexpensive 18-footer called the Bug, designed in 1907 for use in the west part of Long Island Sound by noted naval architect William Gardner. With an ultra-cheap hard chine hull, it was reckoned after a season or two that the Bug was about five feet too short to be sailed with any comfort by two adults, so in 1910 a 23ft version was requested.

At the time William Gardner himself was bit busy designing yachts like the enormous record-breaking schooner Atlantic (her replica was in Dun Laoghaire last summer), so he asked his draftsman Francis Sweisguth to draw up an 23ft version of the Bug, and that was racing as a class in Long Island Sound by 1911, and given the rather more appealing name of the Star.

STAR KEELBOAT ORIGINAL PLANThe Star Class original plans of 1911

star class today5The Star today

While the hull materials may have changed over the years until nowadays building a Star is a matter of enormous skill in advanced plastics with weights being calculated in milligrams, the basic hull lines are still exactly as drawn by Sweisguth in late 1910. It’s not a planing hull in the Uffa Fox sense, but despite being defined as a ballasted keelboat, the shallow-bodied Star sits so lightly on the water that with any breeze at all, offwind she surfs in spectacular style, while getting to windward efficiently requires special skill.

Like most of the few other surviving designs of her era, the Star’s rig has been modernized over the years. Having started as something between a gunter and an “American gaff” with a Marconi altermative, she is now totally a Bermudan sloop, though with no spinnaker. But whereas other vintage designs tended to reduce sail area with each modernistation, the Star seems to have increased her already large sail area at every opportunity, such that the modern Star sets an enormous mainsail which dominates everything, sometimes making the rudder scarcely more effective than a trim tab.

For aficionados, this is part of the attraction – as Star fan David Harte of Schull puts it: “You don’t steer a Star. You sail her.” So she’s a sailor’s boat, adored by sailors who are in turn much admired by the rest of us. Yet whether that will be enough to achieve a change of heart in the conclaves of the Olympic movement is another matter altogether, where a heartfelt gush of Star enthusiasm is as likely to be met by the response: “1911, you say?” as it is by any recognition of a unique boat’s very special sailing and athletic qualities.

Be that as it may, for now the Star is on a bit of a roll in Ireland, where we’ll always root for the underdog, particularly if that underdog in Irish hands has proved to be not a woofer at all. For by heavens, it is true – if you can sail a Star well, then you can sail anything, and on that basis alone she should be in the Olympics.

Meanwhile the class is busy, and next big one up is the Bacardi Cup in Miami in the first week of March. There’ll be other classes involved in this, but after their stellar debut, all Irish eyes will be on the O’Leary brothers and Dafnie.

oleary brothers star6The O’Leary brothers racing Dafnie in Miami last week – the sails are very special indeed

Speaking to Peter O’Leary today, Afloat.ie commented on the sheer quality of the boat’s suit of sails as seen in that fascinating photo from astern, and he said that as much effort went into getting the sails as smooth as possible as went into optimising the boat itself. The Sails were supplied by North Sails Ireland.

“We’ve no stitching in the sails at all. Everything is glued. It isn’t easy, but if you get it right, you end up with sails of that quality, power and smoothness. They withstood a wide variety of conditions last week with never a bother. And the racing results speak for themselves”

Published in Star
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Cork Harbour brothers Peter and Robert O'Leary have stunned the international Star Keelboat fleet by winning the 'Walker Cup' as part of the Star American mid-winters championships in Miami in their new boat 'Dafnie', beating the famous America's Cup helmsman Paul Cayard by 16–points in the process.

Despite not winning any races, the sole Irish crew gave a consistent top ten showing in a fleet comprised of World Champions and Olympic sailors drawn from ten nations for the Miami regatta.

The O'Leary's, who sail under the burgees of both Royal Cork Yacht Club and Baltimore Sailing Club, were the only pairing to count all eight races in the top ten of the 44-boat fleet with second place former Star World Champion Cayard crewed by Josh Revkin, just two points ahead of another former World Champion Eric Doyle in third. 

Peter OLeary starPeter and Robert O'Leary in their new Star boat, 'Dafnie' sail into the lead in Miami. Photo: Star Class

The final day was another episode of snakes and ladders at the top of the fleet. The Californian team of Doyle and Infelise won the day with a pair of bullets. They were fast upwind and even faster downwind. It was enough to move them onto the podium after slowing climbing up the fleet throughout the event. Augie Diaz / Bruno Prada went into the last race solidly in second place, but hit the windward mark, and couldn't recover enough in such a deep fleet to keep them on the podium. Cayard and Revkin continued to shine in the breeze. Their second and fifth places today, were enough to put them back into second place overall, but nothing could hold back the Cork Harbour pair.

Royal St. George Yacht Club's Antnony Shanks was also sailing and finished 25th sailing in British entry Swedish Blue. 

Peter O'Leary is a veteran of the 2008 and 2012 Olympics in the Star Class, previously finishing as high as fourth at the Star Worlds in France sailing with David Burrows. 

Final Results (Top 10 of 44; 8 races)
1. Peter O'Leary / Robert O'Leary, IRL, 46 points
2. Paul Cayard / Josh Revkin, USA, 60
3. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise, USA, 62
4. Augie Diaz / Bruno Prada, USA, 64
5. Peter Vessella / Phil Trinter, USA, 64
6. Luca Modena / Sergio Lambertenghi, ITA, 70
7. Arthur Anosov / David Caesar, USA, 75
8. Jack Jennings / Frithjof Kleen, USA, 80
9. Tom Lofstedt / Joost Houweling, SWE, 96
10. Jim Buckingham / Mark Strube, USA, 99

Results below and link here

Star Mid winters

 

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#classicboat – Cowes Classics Week has an eligibility policy with a rolling 50 year design date. This means that three new classes become eligible in 2015 and are preparing to celebrate their anniversary at Cowes Classics Week 2015 writes Dave Elliott.

Tempest: designed by Ian Proctor for the 1965 trials for the new Olympic Keelboat used alongside the Star in 1972 in which the British won the Silver Medal and as the two-handed keelboat in 1976. The Tempest is unusual for a keelboat in having a trapeze and can reach remarkable speeds.

Soling: designed by Jan Linge of Norway in 1965 based on ideas that emerged while tank testing a 5.5mR for the 1960 Olympics, ideas which were outside the 5.5mR rules. The Soling was selected as the men's triple-handed boat for the 1972 Olympics in selection trails at which it was the only survivor in heavy conditions at Kiel and remained an Olympic class until 2000.

Contessa 26: designed by Jeremy Rogers and heavily influenced by David Sadler and the Folkboat to produce a 25.6ft fibreglass boat that proved to be a very successful racer and capable of long-distance, blue-water cruising.

In addition, other new classes that will join us in 2015:

Star: designed in 1910 by Francis Sweisguth—draftsman for William Gardner's Naval Architect office and has been an Olympic class since1932 until 2012 - it will not compete in 2016. They will wear their artist-designed sails - Fine Arts Sails have produced a set of sails with designs by renowned artists and are coordinating events for the class in support of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.

Royal Burnham One Design: designed by Norman Dallimore in 1932, the RBOD is similar in hull profile to the Alfred Westmacott designed XOD. Continuing our ambition to get together one-design classes from around the country as they are not well set up for travelling, CSCCW will be assisting with bringing some of the boats to Cowes.

Cruisers (non-Spinnaker): a new class that will appeal to those not so well set up for racing.

And, we are assured by the class associations of increased turnouts from XOD (the largest class that should reach 60 boats), Sunbeam and Daring (both of which have more boats in action than ever before as boats are restored, recovered or built/rebuilt) and 6mR (one of the most iconic classes ever).

Published in Historic Boats
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#star – Beginning tomorrow, Monday, June 30 until Saturday, July 5, Star Sailors from across the world will come together in Malcesine, Italy at Fraglia Vela Malcesine to compete in the 2014 International Star Class World Championship on the infamous waters of Lake Garda. But sadly after such intense interest in the class from Ireland over the last 20 years, there is no Irish Star boat competing tomorrow.

90 teams will participate in the 6 race series, all fighting to become the next International Star Class World Champion, one of Sailing's most prestigious titles. This year the Star Class World Championship regatta's media coverage will include Virtual Eye tracking and for the first time ever will be accompanied by LIVE online broadcasting and commentary provided by the Star Sailors League.

Anticipation and expectations for this year's 2014 International Star Class World Championship are high and the competition within the Star fleet has already proven to be fierce with the attendance of over 20 of the International Star Class's most successful members, making up a total of 15 teams.

Within 10 of the top 15 Star teams racing this week, 11 of the individual sailors have competed in the Olympics, 4 of which won medals, and 7 are International Star Class World Champions. Olympic competitors Include: skippers Torben Grael (BRA), Alex Hagen (GER), Flavio Marazzi (SUI), Eivind Melleby (NOR), Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE), Mark Reynolds (USA), Xavier Rohart (FRA), and Robert Stanjeck (GER) as well as crews Bruno Prada (BRA), Antonis Tsotras (GRE), and Frithjof Kleen (GER).

Among the Olympic competitors, Torben Grael won Gold Medals in 1996 and 2004 as well as Bronze Medals in 1988 and 2000, Mark Reynolds won Gold Medals in 1992 and 2000 as well as a Silver Medal in 1988, Xavier Rohart won a Bronze Medal in 2004, and Star crew Bruno Prada won a Silver Medal in 2008 and a Bronze Medal in 2012. International Star Class World Champions present at this year's event include skippers Roberto Benamati (ITA), Torben Grael (BRA), Alex Hagen (GER), Mark Reynolds (USA), Xavier Rohart (FRA), and George Szabo (USA), as well as crew Bruno Prada (BRA).

Other notable Star sailors in the top 15 Star teams are Lars Grael with crew Samuel Goncalves (BRA), Hubert Merkelbach with crew Gerrit Bartel (GER), Diego Negri with crew Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA), Johannes Polgar with crew Markus Koy (GER), and Augie Diaz with crew Arnis Baltins (USA).

The Star Sailors League's live Virtual Eye with broadcasting and commentary is scheduled to begin tomorrow, Monday June 30, at 12:20 (CET) just before the 12:30 Start of Race 1 of the 2014 International Star Class World Championship.

Quote of the Day:

Lars Grael, International Star Class Yacht Racing Association President: "We are going to have a very nice event with 90 Stars. We're going to have quantity of boats and quality, lots of famous sailors, many World Champions, European, North American, South American Champions of the Silver Star, and a very nice place, which is a paradise, Lake Garda. The Championship so far has been very well organized so we have very good expectations about the Championship."

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#Star - It's been confirmed that the Star, the last keelboat event among the Olympic sailing classes, will not be a part of Rio 2016.

Despite hopes that the class would find a place in the schedule for the next Olympic Games - especially after Brazil's president threw her support behind the cause - Scuttlebutt reports that the decision was made final at a meeting of the IOC in Sochi this week ahead of the Winter Olympics.

It's a blow to Brazil's own sailing community, which has claimed six golds in the Star in the past and finished on the podium in the last two Games.

And closer to home, the decision also scuppers chances of Peter O'Leary and David Burrows making another run at Olympic gold in the Star - but it's surely not the last we've seen of them on the world sailing stage.

Published in Olympic
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Page 4 of 12

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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