Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Latest Stories

There was both disapppointment and excitement for Irish Sailing fans at the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup on Sunday when the Royal Cork Yacht Club team headed by Anthony O'Leary failed to make the top ten of the 14–boat fleet overall but confirmation from New York that a County Wicklow design is to be used for future Cup competitions might give the rub–of–the green to future Cork – or indeed Irish– campaigns.

O'Leary finished the series in 11th but previously finished as high as fifth in 2009.

The weekend event brings to a close the involvement of the Swan 42 one-design, which was instrumental in getting the regatta off the ground eight years ago. The foundation laid by the Swan 42 class will be carried forward in 2019 with the IC37. As Afloat.ie reported in May, The Club has committed to purchase a fleet of 20 identical keel boats built by Westerly Marine to a design by County Wicklow's Mark Mills (the 2009 Afloat Sailor of the Year). New York Yacht Club say this 'will ensure that the world's premiere Corinthian one-design keelboat regatta remains a must-do event for sailors around the world'.

More information on the 2019 edition will be released before the end of 2017.

In Saturday's single race, the Southern Yacht Club was as sharp as they had been in the previous 11 races, starting strongly and never wavering. SYC eventually finished second to Royal Thames in the race, and four places ahead of their only remaining competition for the overall trophy, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron from Australia. In 12 races, the Southern Yacht Club team accumulated just 34 points, the lowest winning total for a Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup by 10 points.

With a margin of 8 points over second-placed Royal Sydney to start the day, and only one race remaining, Southern Yacht Club was in a comfortable position. But light air and fog can dampen the confidence of even the most credentialed sailor. A long delay only added to the anxiety.

Southern Yacht Club was the first rookie competitor to win the Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup since the host New York Yacht Club won the inaugural competition in 2009. But the team, which was composed of veteran sailors with many significant campaigns under their collective belt, approached the regatta with the appropriate commitment. Buoyed by the membership, and especially crew member Stephen Murray Jr., the team was able to purchase a boat to train on all summer and sail in regatta.

The 2017 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup took place September 9 to 16 at the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court, in Newport, R.I. Amateur sailors representing 14 yacht clubs from around the globe converged on Newport to race in the ultimate one-design, big-boat competition. The boats and sails are provided and the rig tune is standardised across the fleet. The Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup is sponsored by Rolex, Porsche, Nautor's Swan, AIG and Helly Hansen.

Final results

1. Southern YC, USA, 34
2. Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, AUS, 46
3. Eastern Yacht Club, USA, 67
4. New York Yacht Club, USA, 74
5. Royal Thames Yacht Club, UK, 77
6. Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, HKG, 85
7. Japan Sailing Federation , JPN, 88
8. Yacht Club Argentino, ARG, 92
9. Itchenor Sailing Club, UK, 96
10. New Bedford Yacht Club, USA, 114
11. Royal Cork YC, IRL, 114
12. Royal Swedish Yacht Club, SWE, 121
13. Shelter Island Yacht Club, USA, 121
14. Royal Yacht Squadron, UK, 134

Published in Royal Cork YC

Anthony O'Leary's fifth time a the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup at Newport, R.I has opened with a fourth overall position for the Royal Cork Yacht Club entry. After three races in a fresh southwesterly breeze, Southern Yacht Club and Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron stand first and second in the regatta, with five and seven points, respectively.

Click here for the overall results.

Amateur sailors representing 14 yacht clubs from eight countries from around the globe have converged on Newport to race in the ultimate one-design, big-boat competition. The boats and sails are provided and the rig tune is standardized across the fleet. 

After qualifying by winning last September's Resolute Cup, Southern Yacht Club has spared no expense nor effort to prepare its team for the Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup. The Club syndicate purchased a Swan 42 and competed in a number of regattas this past summer. The results of this hard work were immediately obvious today as Southern Yacht Club, with Marcus Eagan at the helm and 2004 Olympic silver medalists John Lovell calling tactics, took second in the first race, second in the second and then added a first in a third.

"We have a good team," said Lovell, a four-time Olympian in the Tornado class. "We’ve been practicing. Andrew [Eagan]’s trimming the jib really well. We’re really excited and hoping to stay in that top group. I’m sure we’re going to have one of those days where we get in the back a couple times. We had a couple crosses where we barely made it, and if we hadn’t we would have been pack in the pack. So everything just seemed to go right today."

On the other hand, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, the helmsman for the Royal Sydney team, hadn't laid a hand on the wheel of the Swan 42 for two years when he showed up for the first day of practice on Saturday. And his team hasn't spent a lot of time sailing together. But that didn't stop them from winning the first race and then adding a pair of thirds for a comfortable second place in the overall standings.

"It’s so nice to have a group of guys to come together," said Belgiorno-Nettis. "They were all sailors for a long time, but we had hadn’t actually sailed together as a team. They just dug deep, and we figured out the way pretty quickly by the looks of things."

But the wiry Australian—of Italian descent—was quick point out that prior success is no indication of future performance. And that there are four days left in this event.

"I'm sure we’re going to go backwards in other races because it’s natural," he added. "You can’t do great work every day in every regatta. I've been to too many. I think for us it was a good moral lift to be able to be successful today, we’re happy to end out in the front end. The guys are enjoying it. The New York Yacht Club puts on one of the best regattas in the world, if not the best."

Eastern Yacht Club finished strong with a second in the the third race and currently sits third, with 13 points. Rounding out the top five are Royal Cork Yacht Club—a five-time Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup competitor—and the defending champions from Royal Thames Yacht Club.

The biggest cheer in the tent today, however, went to a team that currently sits sixth. After 45 races over four regattas, the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club team finally won its first Invitational Cup race in the day's second contest. Few teams have matched the passion of the RHKYC, which always shows up determined to have a good time and has succeeded each time, no matter the final results.

Published in Royal Cork YC

For Anthony O'Leary from Ireland's Royal Cork Yacht Club, the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup is something of a family tradition. O'Leary represented the Royal Cork at the first regatta in 2009 and has returned to each event since, accompanied by one or more of his sons on the crew, along with his wife Sally.

"The Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup offers brilliant racing in very equally matched boats," said Robert O'Leary, who sailed in 2011 and 2013 and will be serving as tactician for his father this year. "The minor speed differentials upwind and downwind mean that racing is always extremely tight. The variety of amateur teams racing at such a high level is what entices us back every time."

The elder O'Leary is a tireless campaigner who has twice been named the Irish Sailor of the Year and regularly competes in both small planing one-designs and larger offshore events. While the crew doesn't have the opportunity to sail the Swan 42 except at this event, Robert O'Leary thinks their collective experience in four previous editions of Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup will allow them to get up to speed quickly during the three days of pre-regatta practice.

"Every bit of boatspeed helps, be it a quarter knot of straight-line speed or having good speed out of a tack or jibe," Robert O'Leary said. "For the helms and crews that sail these boats on a regular basis, they certainly have spent the time to perfect their tuning and maneuvers. Luckily we have a fantastic crew who have all sailed a variety of boats over the years and will adapt quickly to the 42 for the event."

If experience in the event itself is the key to success in the fifth edition of the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, then the list of favorites has to start with the three teams helmed by sailors who have competed in each edition of this biennial Corinthian challenge. The teams representing the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Cork Yacht Club and the defending champions from the Royal Thames Yacht Club will be led by sailors who have sailed in every single race in the history of Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup.

The 2017 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup will take place September 9 to 16 at the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court, in Newport, R.I. Amateur sailors representing 14 yacht clubs from around the globe will converge on Newport to race in the ultimate one-design, big-boat competition. The boats and sails are provided and the rig tune is standardized across the fleet. The Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup is sponsored by Rolex, Porsche, AIG, Nautor’s Swan, and Helly Hansen and will be broadcast live via the web.

In 2009, John Greenland skippered the Royal Thames Yacht Club team to 13th place in the inaugural running of the event. While it was hardly an auspicious start for the storied British club, it exposed the club to the commitment required to win. In 2011, Greenland called tactics for the Royal Ocean Racing Club, finishing seventh. When the Royal Thames returned to the competition, in 2013, the team committed to a summer of training in Newport and was rewarded with a third-place finish. Finally, in 2015, Royal Thames YC became the first European team to take home the prized trophy.

"Last time, we were rolling from 2013 straight into 2015," says Greenland. "This time around the team has had a bit more of a break; but we’ve been more focused in our approach. We sailed both the Annual Regatta presented by Rolex and the Swan 42 U.S. Nationals this year, in Mutiny, which we also have for the Rolex Invitational Cup. Because we’ve had the opportunity, largely thanks to William Edwards with the support of other Royal Thames members, to focus our efforts over the years, we’ve got a better feel for what is working and isn’t working. We also have eight of the 11 teammates from the 2015 event [returning this year]."

The team seems to have checked nearly every box. However, they are not alone in that regard.

John Hele (left, at helm) knows better than anyone in this event what it takes to win. Hele was a part of the team representing the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, which finished second in the inaugural event in 2009, won it in 2011 and 2013, and finished 10th in 2015. This September, however, Hele will be representing the New York Yacht Club, where he's been a member for more than 25 years. And while he served as the tactician for all four RCYC efforts—Olympic silver medalist Terry McLaughlin was the helmsman—he'll be steering the boat for the NYYC team.

"As a NYYC Member since 1991, I have always held a strong interest in representing the host club, and so I decided to try for the berth this time, especially since I became a United States Citizen in 2016," said Hele. "It is an exceptional feeling and tremendous privilege to sail under the New York Yacht Club burgee and be helming for the event."

The strict eligibility requirements for the crew, which require that all but two be members of the represented yacht club, means that Hele had to almost completely rebuild his crew for this challenge. Fortunately, the New York Yacht Club is stocked with plenty of talented amateur sailors, including tactician Brad Read, a former J/24 world champion, and main trimmer Chip Whipple, who sailed for the Club in 2011 and 2013, finishing second and ninth, respectively. Hele and his crew have left no stone unturned in their preparation for the event, training numerous days under the watchful eye of America's Cup veteran Tom Burnham, who coached the Artemis team during the 2017 America's Cup in Bermuda.

"It’s a game of inches out there," said Whipple. "You know everyone's going to show up at the windward mark at the same time. If we have any advantage at all, it’s going to be because we've been training so much and working so hard. It may only be a difference of a half a boatlength, but that half boatlength will get you around the mark before the bulk of the fleet."

Because the Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup uses supplied sails and standardized rig tune, the boat is a little different from the Swan 42 that is sailed in every other event. Mastering those subtle differences has been a focus of the team's training.

"In this event, the whole playing field has been completely leveled," said Whipple. "There’s only going to be a few times when we're in the sweet spot of the sails and rig tune we’re given. Other times we’ll be overpowered or underpowered, that’s where the experience of the boathandling and sail control will show up and start to make a difference. We've practiced with old sails, smaller sails, we’ve tried to simulate how the boat will behave given the equipment we're using."

Perhaps the best advice, however, has nothing to do with the boat, rig or sails. These three teams may be favorites on paper, but everyone starts with the same score on Tuesday, and the same ultimate goal.

"Never underestimate the other teams," said Robert O'Leary. "They are extremely competitive and we are all out there with one goal in mind, to take home the trophy."

Published in Royal Cork YC

Mark Mansfield, tactician on The Big Picture, fourth overall at August's Euro Car Parks Half Ton Classic Cup 2017, reviews progress in the Class and the Kinsale Yacht Club event.

Having done the last two versions of this event I feel I have a decent level of knowledge to comment on the racing and the classes progression. Firstly well done to the organisers for staging a great event at Kinsale Yacht Club and well done to the Principal Race Officer Anthony O'Leary for running it so well. Finally, well done to Phil Plumtree and the Swuzzlebubble team for winning the regatta with a race to spare. This is the third win for Swuzzlebubble in three events, each with a different owner. More about this later.

The Big picture MansfieldMike and Richie Evans's The Big Picture, from Howth Yacht Club was fourth overall. Tactician and article author Mark Mansfield is wearing the white cap Photo: Bob Bateman

Day One—Nigel Biggs' new Checkmate XV111 just led from Paul Pullen's Miss Whiplash on countback. Swuzzlebubble lay one point back and Mike and Richie Evans,The Big Picture, lay a further point behind. David Cullen's Checkmate XV was a few points further back and it seemed likely that these five boats would be the feature boats in the event. All had professional sailors aboard and one of these boats had three professional sailors. Swuzzlebubble had an eighth place on this day which she would eventually discard but it was clear that she would be the one to watch as she was the top rating boat by some margin and was using that extra speed to get out in front allowing her to sail her own race.

Halfton classic cup 17 5267Phil Plumtree's Swuzzlebubble had an eighth place on day one but it was clear that she would be the one to watch as she was the top rating boat by some margin Photo: Bob Bateman

Day Two—Strong Southerly winds were forecasted for the following few days and so the organisers took the decision to delay the coastal race until later in the week and use day two to get in as many short WL races as possible. In the end four good races were sailed in moderate to fresh testing conditions. Swuzzlebubble counted two wins and two second places to shoot into a large lead over David Cullen's Checkmate who also scored two firsts. One point back was Checkmate XVIII and The Big Picture lay in fourth, a few points back. Big loser of the Day was Paul Pullen's Miss Whiplash who had four very average results and fell out of the running. It was now clear that the first four boats (Swuzzlebubble, Checkmate XV, Checkmate XVIII and the Big Picture) were pulling well clear of the pack and the winner would be from this group. Occasionally, other boats such as Paul Wayte's beautiful newly optimised Headhunter, Johnny Swan's Harmony and Philippe Pilatte's General Tapioca would come to the fore, but it was the first four that generally filled the top three results in each race and were pulling well clear.

Halfton classic cup 17 5359Paul Pullen's Miss Whiplash had four very average results on day two and fell out of the running Photo: Bob Bateman

Day Three—Wednesday was postponed due to excess wind and many enjoyed a long lunch in Kinsale's Fishy Fishy restaurant accompanied by some very nice wines.

Day Four—Strong Southerly winds greeted the competitors and three races were planned including the none–discard coastal race. Swuzzlebubble took a first and a second in the earlier Windward Leeward races to extend her lead and the two closest followers, the two Checkmates each counted a poorish race to allow Swuzzlebubble be on the cusp of winning the regatta outright if she had a decent last coastal race. The Big Picture had consistent top results to lie in fourth. The final race of the day, the coastal race, ended in Swuzzlebubble taking a fifth, though a relatively poor result for her, it was enough to ensure Swuzzlebubble could not now be caught and did not need to sail the final race on the Friday.  1.5 points now separated the Two Checkmates with Dave Cullen in the marginal lead. Big Picture finished the Coastal race in second place and lay in fourth overall and could neither fall to fifth in the last race on Friday, nor get up to third. There was then a large points gap to General Tapioca and Headhunter.

Halfton classic cup 17 5274Only 1.5 points separated the two Checkmates with Dave Cullen's Checkmate XV (below) in the marginal lead. Photos Bob BatemanHalfton classic cup 17 5274

A successful Class dinner was held in Actons Hotel on Thursday night which went on late into the night, for some.

Day Five—Swuzzlebubble decided not to sail on the Friday. First and fourth places were already finalised (Swuzzlebubble and The Big Picture). Nigel Biggs needed to finish ahead of Dave Cullen and have a boat between them to finish in second overall. 17 to 20 knots greeted the fleet and PRO O'Leary signalled an around the buoys race consisting of two rounds and a finish off Charles Fort in Kinsale. Nigel Biggs got the best of the start and was ahead most of the race. However, Dave Cullen was in a bunch close behind that included the Big Picture. By the last mark Nigel Biggs rounded in the lead, followed by three other boats flowed by Big Picture with Checkmate XV behind her. Big Picture pulled through to second and Checkmate XV to third across the line. Big Picture with her lower handicap had a chance to snatch the win and deny Checkmate XVIII second overall but fell short by nine seconds and so the race finished with Checkmate XVIII winning followed by The Big Picture, followed by Checkmate XV, thus giving second overall to Nigel Biggs and Third overall to David Cullen. Fourth overall went to the Big Picture, fifth to General Tapioca and sixth to Miss Whiplash.

Halfton classic cup 17 5211Half Ton racing is excellent, very close. The camaraderie within the class is also very strong

Progression of the class – Three newly optimised boats were among the 21 entries this year. The larger fleets of Half–Tonners are based in France, the UK and Belgium and if the event were in one of these locations it is likely entries would be closer to 30. During the regatta an agm was held to discuss some important points that appear to be affecting the class. These were;

1 Should the class limit the number of professionals on each boat
2 Should the class, like they do in the Quarter ton Class, put an upper handicap limit on yachts taking part.
3 Should the class allow asymmetrical spinnakers.

1—Limiting professionals. A poll of Half Ton members will likely be done to either limit the professionals on each boat to either one or Two. It was felt generally that professionals help to coach the crew and generally are good for the class, but too many and the professionals can effectively sail the boat themselves, thus little improvement happens when the pros depart.

2—Limiting the upper Handicap limit. Swuzzlebubble has been a problem child in this class since Peter Morton did a no–expenses spared restoration of this very long half tonner. This included a taller, ultra high Modulus Carbon Rig with more sail, a deeper keel and other top mods. This led to her being approx. 25–points higher rating than most. Consequently she can go for a conservative start, sail for a few minutes and then her speed allows her to cross the fleet and sail the remainder of the race without other interference. The remainder of the fleet are close on rating and end up very close to each other at all marks, taking wind on downwinds, etc. This is costing the bulk of the fleet a minute or more per race, and often that is about the margin that Swuzzlebubble wins by. She is being well sailed, but she has a great advantage. In the Quarter ton class they stopped this issue early and now most quarter tonners are within 10 points of rating of each other. It is being suggested that an upper limit of .965 be introduced. Swuzzlebubble would be able to get to this by reducing sail area and adding some weight which would lessen the advantage she currently enjoys, especially in light to medium conditions. A proposed poll of the class is being organised on this.

3—Allowing Asymmetric sails. This appeared not to be so straight forward. Some owners already have them (but can't use them at the Half Ton Cup). Allowing them might mean owners have to buy one or two asymmetric kites, perhaps add a sprit and in the end may not even use them at a Half Ton cup. Others would prefer to stay without them as most of the racing is windward leeward anyway. This will also be balloted.

Summary – Having sailed four Quarter Ton Cups and now two Half Ton cups, The Half Ton class is now easily as competitive as the quarter tonners. The racing is excellent, very close. The camaraderie within the class is very strong. I can see more restorations being done in this class and numbers rising for their Half Ton Cups. Next years event will be in Nieuwpoort in Belgium in mid–August and I suspect that there may be up to 30–boats will arrive for that. The inaugural IRC World Championships is being held just up the road in The Hague in Holland a month before the Half Ton worlds so there are many half–tonners considering doing that as well as a warm up event. The boats are of a size that they can, if required, be transported by water, though most will trail behind jeeps.

Mark Mansfield is a four–time Irish Olympian, a helmsman in the Star Class from 1992–2004. He is a World Sailing 'Group 3' Sailor.

Published in Kinsale

It was fifth time lucky for Morty, but the wait is now over. Peter Morton's Carkeek 40+ Girls on Film has won the 2016 One Ton Cup. The Cowes based team that included Ireland's Justin Slattery were worthy winners having scored no worse than a fourth in nine races. Peter Morton has come second in the One Ton Cup on two occasions and the attempts to win the prestigious trophy span over three generations.

Royal Cork's Antx skippered by Anthony O'Leary finished eighth in the 13–boat fleet

“It has been unfinished business.” smiled Peter Morton, rinsed in champagne. “The team on Girls on Film have ben absolutely fabulous. I would also like to thank the Royal Southern Yacht Club and Principal Race Officer , Stuart Childerley and his team for outstanding race management. Also Rob Greenhalgh for coming up with the idea of the FAST40+ Class and putting it together. For those of you that haven't won, I would say just be patient, your time will come.”

Girls on Film: Peter Morton, Darren Marston, Phil Pafford, Nat Ives, Justin Slattery, Ash Curtis, Toby Mumford, Duncan Yeabsley, Nick Butt, Dirk de Ridder and Dave Lenz.

Alex Mills at the helm of Ker40+ Invictus was runner-up, Invictus tactician and FAST40+ Class President, Robert Greenhalgh, congratulated Peter Morton and the Girls on Film crew. “At the beginning of the season, we didn't really know what to expect. The class has grown far quicker than we expected and it is continuing to attract more owners and sailors. The FAST40+ is an ideal boat for the Solent and during the season, the racing has got tighter and tighter. The One Ton Cup is our biggest event and to have nine boats make the podium just shows how competitive the FAST40+ Class is.”

unnamed 33Anthony O'Leary's Antix competing in the One Ton Cup. Photo: Paul Wyeth

On the final day of racing, Mike Bartholomew's South African GP42 Tokoloshe was the winner of the penultimate race of the regatta and Bill Coates Texan Ker 43 Otra Vez finished the One Ton Cup in style winning the final race.

The One Ton Cup owned by the Cercle de la Voile de Paris, presented by Hamble Yacht Services and organised by the Royal Southern Yacht Club, took place between 16-18th September in the Solent, UK. Nine races completed with a mixture of windward-leeward and weighted points factor longer races.

Full Results from the One Ton Cup here

 

Published in Offshore

The FAST40+ Class announcement of a One Ton Cup (OTC) event in September has been given the thumbs up from Irish skipper Anthony O'Leary who competes in the new class in the Royal Cork Yacht Club entry, Antix. 

The first Cup event will by hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hamble between 16-18th September 2016. O'Leary hopes the Cup could even come to Ireland at some point in the future. 

'It is a fantastic move by the Fast 40+ Class Assoc. It is most appropriate that the OTC be awarded to the leading team in this class', O'Leary told Afloat.ie 'It will make what is already a most competitive class all the more challenging', he added.

The ONE TON CUP is steeped in history and reputation in the world of yacht racing. Created by the Cercle de la Voile de Paris (CVP – Paris Yacht Club) back in 1899 and widely recognised as a masterpiece of art nouveau style, initially raced for in regattas between one tonner sailing yachts. The trophy itself was designed in 1897 by the jeweler Robert Linzeler and was made by Bratiau in 1898. It is made of solid silver and weighs 10 kgs standing at 57cm high and 58cm wide.

one ton cup

The One Ton Cup has been raced for in International 6 Metre yachts, and for a short time on 6.5m SIs. In 1965 this trophy moved into the world of ocean racing, and from there into the RORC and IOR ruled racing circuits. Most recently, in 1999, the Cup was presented to the Corel 45 Class. Winners of the Cup include many legends in our sport such as Syd Fischer, Royal Cork's Harold Cudmore, Henrik Soderlund, King Harald V of Norway, Paul Cayard and Russell Coutts.

The hosting of this event and the realisation of getting the magnificent One Ton Cup trophy to the UK has been made possible through the support of a number of organisations and individuals, especially Cercle de la Voile de Paris for recognizing the profile of this growing class and agreeing that this is an event worthy of such a trophy, and Hamble Yacht Services who will be the Presenting Partner for the event.

Francois Laborde (President of the Cercle de la Voile de Paris – Paris Yacht Club), commented:
"We are excited to announce this partnership with the Fast40+ Class for the 2016 edition of the One Ton Cup. The boats have amazing performance characteristics, are fun to race, and are attracting top sailing talents. Those characteristics are exactly in line with the tradition and objectives of our Cup."

The FAST40+ CLASS represents the modern day One Ton race yacht, light displacement race boats, with IRC TCCs of between 1.210 and 1.270. This narrow band of high performance race yachts is designed to deliver fast, close inshore racing.

Robert Greenhalgh, Class President, came up with the concept in 2014 and, after engaging the commitment of a number of interested owners and sailors, this year the class will host a fleet of 14 race boats competing at the highest level over a circuit of 5 UK based events. The boats hail from 7 countries – UK, Ireland, Scotland, USA, South Africa, New Zealand and Germany – and the fleet is growing quickly in competitor numbers and profile.

Robert commented, “The owners of this exciting class take their racing seriously – we are already experiencing incredibly close and exciting inshore racing and it seems to be ticking all the boxes. To secure such a significant trophy as the One Ton Cup to be our showcase trophy for 2016 is sure to add pressure and focus to the racing – this is THE trophy to win this year.”

Traditionally the One Ton Cup regattas consisted of inshore racing, a coastal race and a proper offshore race. Reflecting the changing times and demands of race circuits today, the Fast40+ One Ton Cup will be raced between 16th and 18th September hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club and will consist of 8 scheduled races over the 3 days with event rankings for each boat being multiplied by 2 for the overall 2016 Race circuit results. The courses will be a mixture of windward – leeward and coastal courses sailed in Solent Waters, each race lasting between 45-180 minutes.

Peter Morton , owner of Girls on Film, added his thoughts, “I have seen a new lease of life injected back into the Solent racing scene through the Fast40+ Class since 2015. Close racing, passionate owners and competitors who reveling in the competitive scene, a good onshore social scene and all run by a professional organisation – and now with the addition of this slice of history to win, what more could we want!”

Published in News Update

In a well-lived life in Cork in which he was exuberantly involved in several sports and long active in a pioneering role in business, he was known to everyone as Archie O’Leary. Yet properly speaking he was Arthur O’Leary, sharing his name with the historic and heroic figure of Art O’Leary (1746-1773). But this modern Arthur O’Leary, who has now gone from among us at the age of 86, was of more than enough significance to merit his own distinctive name.

It was as Archie O’Leary that he played rugby for Ireland, rising through the ranks of Cork Con (where he was Captain) and Munster, to win three caps in the national side in 1952. It was Mr & Mrs Archie O’Leary who became well known in racing circles, their most famous and successful horse being Florida Pearl. And it was as Archie O’Leary that he served as Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club from 1977 to 1980, crowning a very long sailing career which was to continue until the1990s, when he changed his perspective afloat by moving into a Nelson 42 powercruiser, the kind of motoryacht which was designed with senior sailing people in mind.

His energies afloat and on the sports field were matched by his energy in business – in 1961 he founded the O’Leary Insurance Group which today, under the Chairmanship of his son Anthony, has expanded to become an all-Ireland force in the industry. The strength of family values within the O’Leary clan is also reflected by the fact that Anthony took on the demanding role of Admiral RCYC at a young age in 2000, just twenty years after his father had headed the club. And Anthony has of course carved his own distinctive and successful career in sailing (he’s currently the Irish Champion Helmsman), while his own sons in turn – Archie’s grandsons – include Olympic sailor Peter, Student World Sailing Champion Nicholas, and Irish Student Champion Robert.

ar chie2
Archie O’Leary, Admiral RCYC 1977 to 1980

Today, we honour the memory of the Patriarch of this remarkable family of sailing high achievers, for Archie O’Leary was an extremely successful owner-skipper in his own right. Like many of Cork sailing’s racing aristocracy, his first proper taste of the sport was with the National 18s. But by the early 1970s he found that offshore racers best suited his tastes, and he campaigned an S&S 34 for a couple of seasons, starting to build up friendships at home and abroad which well withstood the test of time.

By late 1973, the new blossoming of Cork sailing was becoming very apparent, and while the most active campaigner Hugh Coveney went for the peak challenge of the International One Ton Cup with the state-of-the-art one-off Ron Holland-designed, George & Killian Bushe-built 36ft Golden Apple, Archie O’Leary took a different tack by commissioning a new though standard Carter 37 from the board of Dick Carter. Carter had burst upon the scene in 1965 when his innovative 34-footer Rabbit won the Fastnet Race overall, and had subsequently won the One Ton Worlds with the Dutch-American owned Tina in 1966, Optimist of Germany in 1967 and 1968, and the Italian entry Ydra in 1973.

From today’s perspective, it is difficult to grasp the scale and enthusiasm of the One Ton Worlds at Torquay in 1974. Here were more than forty red hot boats around the 36ft mark from all over the world, and all competing absolutely level, sailed in many instances by Olympic-standard crews. Many were expensive purpose-built one-offs, yet there was also a small but significant group of production boats, tuned to the One Ton rating, which were expected to be little more than cannon fodder in a field of this standard.

ar chie3
The first Irish Mist of 1974 was a standard Carter 37, and she was clear winner of the Production Boat prize at the One Ton Worlds that year

But Archie O’Leary’s standard Carter 37 Irish Mist was definitely not cannon fodder. With the young Anthony O’Leary now very much an active member of his father’s crew, Irish Mist was at the races, and then some. She won the Production Boat prize by a very clear margin, and placed tenth overall with an entire host of extremely hot one-offs astern of her.

As his sailing career progressed and developed, Archie O’Leary was to win many other major prizes, both offshore and on the championship circuit. But in later life there was no trophy he cherished more than the fine cup he’d been given in perpetuity for that Production Boat win at Torquay, for he reckoned that was purer sport than the competition he was soon to experience at the very sharpest end of international sailing.

Yet the pace was now inevitably set, and for 1975 the O’Learys commissioned a one-off Ron Holland Two Tonner, the 40ft Irish Mist II, built at Rochestown by George and Killian Bushe. This superboat really did have all the bells and whistles, complete with a Bergstrom Ridder hyper-light mast. She lived up to all her billings, winning the 1975 RORC Channel Race as a member of the Irish Admirals Cup team, in addition to many other podium places, while the following year she was overall winner of the RORC Irish Sea Race and was also top boat in the biggest regatta in Ireland that year, ISORA Week 1976 at Cork.

In the mid-1970s, the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association was at its most numerous, and if they brought their Race Week to some venue, it guaranteed big turnouts. But ISORA had at least half a dozen and more locations to choose between – they mightn’t be back for another ten years. However, by this stage Archie O’Leary was rising through the officer ranks in the Royal Cork, and by the time he became Admiral in 1977, he’d realized that a more regular regatta week was essential for the good health of Crosshaven, and he’d plans in shape for what would become Cork Week, run on a biennial basis with the first one in 1978.

To make it all happen, he drew on firm friendships made through his years of active campaigning on the RORC and Celtic Sea programmes, and thus people like Chris Dunning from the Solent and Rob Davies from South Wales could be relied on to beat the drum for their friend Archie and his regatta in Cork, and this was to be the start of something big.

But in the best Cork traditions, while working busily in the administration of the rapidly-expanding Royal Cork YC, Admiral O’Leary continued as a very active sailor, moving on from the timber-built Irish Mist II to the glassfibre Swan 39 Irish Mist III, the production version of the fabulously successful Ron Holland-designed Regardless, and from there he went on to a Lightwave 395.

Although he was best noted for his national and international achievements, Archie O’Leary was never happier than when involved in the notably high standard of club racing against old friends at Crosshaven, when the finest traditions of the world’s oldest yacht club are given a contemporary twist.

In fact for decades – with his actively sailing family spreading onto three generations – Archie O’Leary was the very expression of the Cork sailing spirit. And even when he’d reduced the pace by changing to the Nelson powercruiser, his taste for a spot of sport afloat was undiminished. My most abiding recent memory of Archie O’Leary was of a time one Spring some years ago when his beloved Cork Constitution Rugby Club (of which he was President in 1973-74) had won through to the Irish club final, to be played at Lansdowne Road in Dublin. Archie noted that the weather pattern was settling down nicely, so he suggested to his regular shipmates that they should go in style to Dublin with the powercruiser, and use her as a houseboat for the weekend of the match.

Then as the weekend approached, a wondrous and unseasonal calm settled over all Ireland. So what did the O’Leary crew do? They came to Dublin from the north. Bound for the rugby match, they left Cork heading west, streaked up the Atlantic seaboard, roared along the north coast, zoomed down the Irish Sea to take in the match, and then went on home by sea as though this was all part of a normal weekend away for rugby fans. That was how Archie O’Leary approached life. Our heartfelt condolences go to his family and very many friends.

WMN

Published in News Update

It has been confirmed by the Irish Cruiser-Racing Association (ICRA) that it’s extremely unlikely that Ireland will be mounting a defence in July 2016 of the RORC Commodore’s Cup, which we so convincingly won in 2014 with the team of Catapult, Antix and Quokka 8. Apparently the defence has foundered on the difficulties of finding a person or group willing to take on the campaigning of a third boat which would be suitable to back up Anthony O’Leary’s 2014 Ker 40 Antix (ex-Catapult), and Michael Boyd’s new JPK 10.80. Michael Boyd and Anthony O’Leary had lined up a possible charter of Quokka 8 on a speculative (and expensive) retention fee in the hope that a team of optimal make-up could take shape, but no-one has proved willing to take up the costly full-charter option to make her the third boat. W M Nixon reflects on this unhappy follow-up to a good news story which helped lift Ireland out of the gloom of the recession in 2014.

The Commodore’s Cup 2016 as a Sail Training exercise? It’s one of the less crazy scenarios which is emerging from the conclusion that a realistic and highly-powered defence of Ireland’s 2014 win is simply not on the cards. The word is that the two front-line boats have been unable to find people with mega-resources and a crew willing to take up the third slot with Quokka, or possibly another boat altogether. Thus all bets are off.

To outsiders, it all sounds like a bit of the old hissy-fits, and more. Surely something could have been done? But those who have been in the midst of the Commodore’s Cup cauldron have some idea of both the stress involved (which is huge at the front of the fleet), and just how very much it is more important than ever to have a finely balanced team.

com cup2
The big day – the Irish team park their tanks on the Royal Yacht Squadron lawn in Cowes after winning the Commodore’s Cup, July 2014

It all looked so easy once 2014’s win had been stitched up. But as the post-series review here on August 2nd 2014 revealed, the stresses and strains – particularly on Anthony O’Leary who did the heavy lifting in putting the team together and keeping the show on the road – were beyond most people’s imagining.

With hindsight now, it is easy to say that it was somewhere back towards Easter this year that the writing on the wall began to appear about how Ireland was going to have to opt out of the 2016 series. The new wave of Fast40+ boats on the Solent in the RORC Easter Challenge had been giving the already senior Antix a very hard time. If Anthony O’Leary and his crew were going to give of their best in campaigning their own boat in what is rapidly emerging as the hottest class in Europe, then they didn’t really need the distraction of rustling up a Commodore’s Cup team to add to their struggles.

For sure, back in 2014 the Commodore’s Cup was top billing. But the remorseless growth of the Fast 40s is making them the top show in town for 2016. They’d seven or eight of them in serious contention last year. At Easter, it was 10 and 11 boats, many of them barely out of the wrapping. In two weeks time, when they have their next major three day event on the Solent from May 20th to 22nd, we will be looking at a dozen and more boats so hot you could fry an egg on them.

Numbers like this, at this level of competition, inevitably attract the heavy hitters among owners and top professional sailors, providing a challenge which you either take head on, or opt out of altogether. For the amateur crew of Antix, it’s a case of take it or leave it. In taking it with full commitment to Fast40+ racing, they simply have to accept that they can’t overload themselves by the extra effort of running Commodore’s Cup involvement, though perhaps they could contemplate being in an Irish squad if by some miracle the perfect team package is put completely and exactly in place by some sort of offshore racing fairy godmother.

But you don’t get fairy godmothers in the rough tough world of offshore racing. The perfect dream package isn’t there, and it won’t be. So Antix and her crew of dedicated amateurs are going to be in the David and Goliath situation of throwing themselves totally into the fray of the Fast 40s, and we can only hope that the original David and Goliath scenario is replicated, for this is definitely the big boys’ game.

And yet, and yet……there’s no such thing as an inevitable outcome. Who knows what might emerge from the first proper gladiatorial confrontation of the Fast 40s in their newly confident expanded numbers? We may be saying this morning that an Irish defence is over and out. But surely it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that in the heady post-regatta atmosphere at the RORC’s Cowes base in a fortnight’s time, somebody might say: Why don’t we as a crew take a boat and join up with Antix and the new JPK 10.80 to race for Ireland?

com cup3
The JPK 10.80 Courier du Leon wins the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race

Stranger things have happened in putting Commodore’s Cup teams together in the past. In 2014, so speculative was the buildup that Anthony O’Leary admitted afterwards that until the American Ker 40 Catapult was actually unloaded from a Transatlantic ship on European soil, he wasn’t a hundred per cent convinced she was going to appear at all.

Yet ironically, there was Catapult on the quay as hoped for, after various dockside and clubhouse meetings and negotiations in Key West way back in January. But the whereabouts of the team’s third boat Quokka 8, which had been chartered by Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling, was now a matter for concern.

She’d been campaigning in the Caribbean through the winter, but had been scheduled to be shipped back in plenty of time for the start of the new RORC offshore season. But the ship she was aboard was re-routed, then re-routed again. She arrived back this side of the Atlantic barely in time for the team’s first get-together at Volvo Cork Week in July 2014. But then it all became sweetest fantasy, as Quokka won Volvo Cork Week overall, following which the Irish team won the Commodore’s Cup going away.

com cup4
Quokka 8, overall winner of Volvo Cork Week 2014

So who knows what might just somehow develop. But meanwhile the critics are sharpening their knives, and there’s much muttering about it being disgraceful that Ireland doesn’t look like defending a trophy we were so pleased to win just two short years ago.

Thus a suggestion is floating around that ICRA should be prepared to allow just about any old team to go and join the scrap for the Commodore’s Cup 2016. Why not, they suggest, just allow three J/109s to go along to represent the Ould Sod, and give their crews a real taste of sailing at the sharp end?

Certainly the Commodore’s Cup as a Sail Training event has a distinct Quixotic appeal. But underneath the whole story is the reality that while in places like the Solent the top end of high-profile sailing is invariably dominated by professionals, within and around Ireland we don’t really do professional competitive sailing at all.

We’re compulsive and obsessive amateurs, and that’s the way we like it. If our sailing isn’t fitted in to cherished little slivers of free time carved out of the day job, then we don’t really think it’s genuine sport at all. Thus while it’s fine and dandy every so often to take on the Solent heavies and maybe just occasionally show them the way, we’d just as soon save our limited holiday time for a proper tilt at the West Cork Regattas or events like the ICRA Nationals, where we’re racing against people we know, and not shelling out money for exorbitant Cowes rentals. Like it or not, that’s the way we are.

Meanwhile, it’s rumoured that the 2018 Commodore’s Cup will be based of teams of just two boats each. Now they tell us…….But that’s not teams. That’s multiple doubles matches.

com cup5
A demanding animal to sail. The tiller-steered Ker 40 Antix is not for the faint-hearted

Read also: ICRA Statement on 2016 Irish Commodore's Cup team

Published in W M Nixon

Cork Harbour's Anthony and Robert O'Leary and Tom Durcan have finished in the top eight of the competitive Viper 640 Bacardi Sailing Week fleet. The overall result brings a successful conclusion to a week of racing in Miami, Florida where the Royal Cork YC trio also finished second in the EFG Winter Cup regatta the previous weekend. O'Leary was pipped for the overall EFG win by Lawrence and Luka Crispin and Hector Cisneros, a British entry that swept the Viper Miami week of sailing.

O'Leary counted six top ten results in the eight race Bacardi Cup, missing seventh place in the 29-boat fleet by just two points.

After turning in a dominating performance for the EFG Winter Cup, Crispin and crew controlled Bacardi Miami Sailing Week Regatta which was also the EFG Viper Pan-American Championship.

By placing well in two Pan-Am qualifiers (the NAs and the Winter Cup) Lawrence, Luka and Hector will also be taking home the Pan-Am Champs as they return to the UK and Stone Sailing Club. 

The Viper 640 class is coming to Volvo Cork Week in July.

Meanwhile, for the week that's in it, we very much like the spinnaker on Trey Sheehans' J70 Bacardi Sailing entry from Put-in-Bay Yacht Club, Ohio. 

J/70 at BACARDI Miami Sailing Week

Posted by IPHOTOJOURNALIST on Saturday, 12 March 2016
Published in Racing

The defending All Ireland Sailing Champions Anthony O'Leary with crew Dan O'Grady and Cian Guilfoyle were winners again but this year by a clear margin of five points after two days of competition on Dublin Bay.

Counting two wins and two second places in the supplied J/80 sportsboat fleet, the Commodore's Cup champion from Royal Cork beat fellow Cork Harbour sailor Alex Barry of Monkstown Bay and Royal Cork who was runner up on 11 points. See full results sheet below.

Not only does today's give Royal Cork a one–two in the senior competition but the Munster club also won the Junior Helmsmans title a fortnight ago too.

Third today was Howth's ICRA representative Cillian Dickson on 12 points. The ISA event was hosted by the National Yacht Club.

'We definitely sailed better this year than last' O'Leary told reporters on coming ashore. 

But O'Leary didn't have it all his own way early on. As the south-easterly breeze built at mid-day O'Leary led the first race but RS400 rep Barry stayed within striking distance and at the finish line the MBSC sailor took the advantage by a boat length, setting up a thrilling conclusion to the 2015 All Irelands.

Anthony O'Leary's sons Peter and Nicholas have also won the ISA championship a number of times (in both the 1720 and J/80 sportsboat classes) bringing the O'Leary family total to seven of the last ten championships.

All Ireland sailing 2015 7After a series of light air qualifiers on Saturday, Sunday brought more breeze for the eight finalists

All Ireland sailing 2015

The start of race two – O'Leary (5) to leeward with a second or two to go

All Ireland sailing 2015 6

(Above) Anthony O'Leary with crew Dan O'Grady and Cian Guilfoyle in winning form in race two and (below) setting up for race three. Time between races was at a premium with competitors having only minutes to prepare in a rapid fire final.

Anthony O'Leary with crew Dan O'Grady and Cian Guilfoyle

All Ireland sailing 2015 5

Sailing with four up, Howth's ICRA representative Cillian Dickson was third overall. Diana Kissane (pictured above), crewing for Dickson was the only female in the top three crews. Diana will sail in the women's match racing grand final at the end of October. 

All Ireland sailing 2015 2On the water judging was a feature of the All Ireland's on Dublin Bay

All Ireland sailing 2015 4Roy Darrer from Waterford harbour SC was fourth

2015 ISA All Ireland Sailing Championships Results

all irelands overall 2015

Read also WM Nixon on why The Irish Championship Of Sailing Champions Is More Important Than We Might Think 

2015 All Ireland photo gallery HERE

Published in All Irelands
Page 1 of 8

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

DBSC
nyc sidebutton flag

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

chmarine sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating