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Displaying items by tag: Peter O'Leary

#commodorescup – The build up for next Summer's Commodore's Cup event starts next month in Florida. Irish Interest in Key West features Cork Olympic sailor Peter O'Leary at the helm of the New York based Ker 40 Catapult, a boat tipped as one of three to form the Irish Commodore's Cup team next July on the Solent. 

Irish crews including O'Leary will be among the racing teams from across the USA and around the world getting ready to compete in the waters off America's southernmost city during the 27th annual Key West Race Week, scheduled Sunday through Friday, January 19-24.

Ireland is aiming to field a team at the Commodore's Cup next July and although the three boat team has yet to be officially announced it is expected the American Ker design will be flying the Irish Tricolour on the Solent. 

The 2012 built yacht will also feature Irish sailor Tommy Murphy on board with the American sailors, according to the Catapult crew entry.

The "wow" factor is clearly in play again for the 2014 edition. All three divisions will feature well prepared programmes gathering to enjoy great competition and renowned Key West sailing conditions, as they pursue coveted podium finishes.

The incredibly popular J/70 class is coming off a very successful Key West debut with the fleet topping 60 boats for their 2014 Midwinter Championship. Returning veterans and newcomers to Key West will experience big fleet racing with exciting starts, tight mark roundings, and close finishes. Both the J/70 Open and Corinthian winners will be recognised with daily and series trophies.

The variety of boat size and type are two of the elements that make Key West special, and big boat racing will again be a meaningful part of the 2014 story. Three 72 footers will test each other in the 'Mini Maxi' IRC class. 2013 winner George Sakellaris' Shockwave and Hap Fauth's Bella Mente will mix it up with Alex Schaerer's 2013 Rolex Capri Sailing Week champion Caol Ila R.

The 52 Class begins their second US Super Series in Key West. They'll continue the series at their 2014 World Championship in Miami next March. Alberto Roemmers and team Azzurra will be back to defend their 2013 title against five other high-powered programs.

The J/80s are the comeback class of the year. These one designs, strong players in Key West for many years, will feature quality and quantity with 14 boats currently on the scratch sheet.

Andrew Kerr, tactician on Ron Buzil's Vayu 2 shared his enthusiasm: "We are excited to have a growing fleet of J80's for this coming year's Key West Race Week. Key West is an important part of the J80 class' winter tour as teams gear up for the World Championships in Annapolis in late September. Racing at Key West always features world class competition in every fleet. Top level race and event management from Premiere Racing, coupled with fantastic sailing conditions, helps the event attract more and more J/80 teams who want to kick start the racing year!"

Handicap racing will also come in the form of a High Performance (HPR), IRC3, and two PHRF classes. For the PHRF racing, three number handicaps will be in play for three established wind ranges - a first in Key West - which is expected to produce even closer racing. All four of these classes boast serious programs, experienced racers and talented afterguards, along with some exciting, new models. A look at the scratch sheet tells a very promising story.

"As the curtain comes down on the 2013 racing season, the Premiere Racing team is looking forward to kicking off 2014 with a bang," remarked Event Director Peter Craig. "The make up of the Key West fleet is different every year, but one thing that never changes is the quality of the competition, which will come in the form of terrific one design, IRC, HPR and PHRF racing."

Regatta dates are January 19 - 24, 2014.

Published in Commodores Cup
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Royal Cork's Anthony O'Leary's Antix, will have his son Olympic helmsman Peter on board the Ker 39 for RORC's weekend Myth of Malham race.

The offshore race starts this Saturday from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line. It is a 230–mile race from Cowes, round the Eddystone lighthouse and back to the Solent and marks the Irish Commodore's Cupper's offshore debut.

"Antix is entered for the Fastnet this year. We will have a good test in Ireland with the Dún Laoghaire to Dingle Race but the quality of the opposition and the route for the Myth of Malham is ideal for our preparations. O'Leary said. 'Looking at the long-term weather forecast, it looks like a northeast wind, which will suit the reaching machines more than us but forecasts can change ' he said.

'We are very happy with the changes we made to the boat last year but the best way to truly find out if you are fast is to race against the best' he added.

The RORC Season's Points Championship continues over the May Bank Holiday weekend with one of the longest races of the season. Fresh from victory in the North Sea Race, Piet Vroon's Dutch Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens 3, is the scratch boat in IRC One but will surely be under tremendous pressure from three Ker 40s: Harmen de Graaf's Baraka GP, Edward Broadway's Hooligan VII and Andrew Pearce's Magnum III. Mike Greville's Ker 39, Erivale III, is a former winner of the race.

120 yachts have entered the Myth of Malham Race and no doubt many teams see the race as a dress rehearsal for the first part of the Rolex Fastnet Race. However, the race from Cowes, around The Eddystone Lighthouse and back to the Solent, can be extremely tough, as the competitors in last year's race can testify.

In IRC Four Harry Heijst's Dutch S&S 41, Winsome, was one of only three yachts to complete last year's race, coming second overall and winning class. The veteran Dutch skipper will be racing agin this year and commented: "I am 67 years of age and I have done a lot of racing; round Britain and Ireland, the Fastnet, the Sydney Hobart and I remember a very tough St. Malo Race but I have to say that the 2012 Myth of Malham Race was one of the hardest races Winsome has ever done. The waves were five metres high going past The Needles and the cockpit filled up with water on several occasions. This year looks like it will be a colder race but hopefully in 20 knots less wind." For this year's Myth of Malham Race, Winsome will be defending their class title against 35 other yachts, including a gaggle of seven Sigma 38s and proven race winners, such as Jean Yves Chateau's Iromiguy and Noel Racine's Foggy Dew.

Two-Handed racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club has been going from strength to strength and 17 teams will take part in the Myth of Malham with just two crew on board. Robin Elsey is just 20 years of age and won his first ever RORC Two-Handed race last month, racing Figaro II Artemis 21 in the Cervantes Trophy Race with Sam Matson.

"Winning class in the Cervantes Trophy Race was just brilliant," commented Robin, " but the Myth of Malham is a very different race, it is very tactical with all of the different tidal issues along the headlands and it is a much longer race but it is so long that you can really get into a rhythm. It will be important for us to get the balance between going flat out and backing off just right but personally I am also looking forward to the race because I come from Cornwall so I will be racing in my own home waters."

Todd Wells' Je Vante is one of ten J/109s entered for the Myth of Malham. "The big entry shows that a lot of yachts are using the race as a significant part of training for the Fastnet. Depending on the weather, this will be a particularly sanitizing event for crews at all levels. Last year was incredibly tough but that is part of the attraction of offshore racing, you either talk about it in the bar or get on with it."
John Allison will be racing J/109, Jumbuck, for the first time but John and the vast majority of his crew are experienced offshore sailors. "In my honest opinion, the first 24 hours of any ocean race are easy, the next 24 the hardest, and then one normally settles into a pattern that gets progressively easier as each day passes. So maybe there is a case for saying overall, the Fastnet is not as hard as the Myth of Malham," commented John. " Having said that the race will be a good training exercise for the Fastnet, as it allows one to get familiar with that coastline in race conditions. As Jumbuck is a new boat for us for the race, it will bring the pleasure of bringing a crew and new boat up to speed, not just against other yachts, but also against weather and routing conditions."
Capstan Sailing's Yuri Fadeev is the skipper of Reflex 38, Intuition. "It's the first Fastnet for most of the crew, so we are taking qualifying races very seriously to get into shape. The crew is from UK, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine with a great mix of abilities but some of the guys have sailed with us for a few seasons now. As most of the races we do are on a commercial basis, safety is paramount, and most of the preparation effort goes into that, although we do like to give the competition a bit of a challenge, so making sure the boat is fast is always a good thing. I am sure the guys will know all about beating by the time we round Eddystone!"

Line Honours favourite for the race will be Andrew Budgen's Volvo 70, Monster Project. "This is the first time we have entered this race and dependent on the weather it could be quite hard but it is much shorter than the Fastnet Race and there is no Celtic Sea to worry about. The start mirrors the Fastnet but the weather at this time of year will be very different but saying that, the tide areas will be very similar. The crew is mostly friends that have previously sailed on our Volvo 60, all good amateur sailors. As always, the race will be a test of mental as well as physical strength."

Published in RORC

Ireland's 'Spiced Beef', Peter O'Leary's Star keelboat, finished eighth overall at the Bacardi cup in Miami, Florida at the weekend with a disappointing 27th scored in the penultimate race pushing the Cork man, sailing with Rodney Hagebols, out of overall contention in the 55-boat fleet.

O'Leary won the fourth race of the series in big breeze but failed to capitalise on this win in the latter half of the series that ended on Friday.

With points tight among the top contenders the big story of the regatta was the win of the 86th Bacardi Cup by the Florida team of Mark Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg) and Brian Fatih (Miami). Having started their series on Monday by picking up the max number of points for an over early start, the duo worked their way back up the standings to end the penultimate day of the series in second overall.
"We started [the series] not in the best way, but we turned it around," said Mendelblatt, who previously won the Bacardi Cup in 2005.  "It was a disappointing start and it was my fault for not having a good first race. After that we've been very consistent with low scores. We won the last two races and everything went our way.  Winning the Cup again means a lot to me; it's really great because winning any big Star regatta is not easy at all! I am very happy to have had Brian with me.  He is a great crew and wanted to have his name on the Tito Bacardi trophy. The Bacardi Cup is a great event and now, with the addition of all the other classes, it's even more satisfying."
Mendelblatt and Faith, who represented the USA in the Star class at the 2012 Olympics, won the single race contested by the 56 Star teams on the final day of the series to move to the top of the standings with 26 points. 

Lars Grael and Mario Lagoa (BRA), who had been atop the overall standings throughout the week, took second overall with 30 points after placing seventh in the race.  Defending champion Xavier Rohart (FRA) ended the series tied on points with Grael after finishing the race in fourth place to take third in the overall standings.  The only change for Diego Negri and Frithjof Kleen (ITA) or 2003 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Augie Diaz (Miami, Fla.) and Arnis Baltins, was in the point totals as both retained their positions in the top-five with, respectively, 33 and 41 points.

Class results here

Published in Olympic
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#bacardicup – Now fifth overall in the standings at the 2013 Bacardi Cup in Miami is Irish Olympian Peter O'Leary and Rodney Hagebols who have 13.5 points after finishes of 2.5-36-11.

Breeze just into the double digits made the second day of racing for the Cup a test of experience and persistence for the 56 Star teams racing on Biscayne Bay.

Two races were completed as the sunshine warmed temperatures into the low 70s, and, with three races scored a drop race now comes into play.  While Lars Grael and Mario Lagoa (BRA) remain first overall with two points net after adding today's finishes of 12-1 to their win of yesterday's lone race, less than 12 points separate the top-five teams.

Lars Grael and Mario Lagoa (hull 74) are the standings leaders after two days of racing for the 86th BACARDI Cup

"Races were similar to yesterday although the second race overall was more gentle," said Grael.  "On the first race today we did a wrong jibe and we rounded the mark fifth, closed the downwind leg 25th and finished 12th; it was a difficult race for us.  Second race of the day started well, we rounded the mark first and protected the position.  While fighting with Xavier Rohart we managed to keep a good gap with the rest of the field.  Overall we're happy because competition is tough and we're competing against Augie Diaz who is a local sailor and I believe has the home advantage."
Diaz, with crew Arnis Baltins, is just three points out of first place and knows winning this championship will come down to more than local knowledge.

"The first race was difficult, but we managed to do well," said Diaz of the win of today's first race. "We had better opportunities and with a little bit of luck we were able to round the weather mark third and then take the lead to the end. Second race of the day was more challenging because we decided to go on the right side of the course while the wind went left; I'm therefore happy with a 10th place. I have a lot of respect for Lars because he is very good in all conditions and in all venues.  I don't think I have a big edge by being local; really not as big an edge as he might think I have."

Third overall are the defending champions Xavier Rohart and Pierre Alexis Ponsot (FRA), who placed 6-2 today, a strong recovery from yesterday's finish of 25.  They carry eight points and are followed in fourth by the Italian team of Diego Negri and Frithjof Kleen whose scoreline of 13-3-9 totals 12 points. Rounding out fifth in the standings is Irish Olympian Peter O'Leary and Rodney Hagebols who have 13.5 points after finishes of 2.5-36-11.

The Italian team of Diego Negri and Frithjof Kleen are fourth overall with three races scored.

Racing for the Star class resumes tomorrow, Wednesday, March 6.  Starting on Thursday, March 7, the Stars will be joined on Biscayne Bay by sailors in the Viper 640, Audi Melges 20, and Melges 24 classes, along with the J/70 class which makes its event debut.  Racing, for all classes, will conclude on Saturday, March 9

Published in Olympic

#bacardicup – Royal Cork and Baltimore's Peter O'Leary is heading for Florida and Bacardi Cup next week where he lines up against some of his London 2012 Olympic rivals for the first time since Weymouth.

The Star keelboat however is no longer an Olympic class and the prospects of its reinstatement appeared premature this week. In Miami O'Leary will be crewed by former training partner Rodney Hagebols.

This time last year, and the Olympics just months away, O'Leary and Burrows launched a new Star boat for Bacardi Cup and although the Irish pair were one time regatta leaders they were pipped for a second year running by a French team for overall honours.

Headlining a week-long one design regatta, headquartered in Coconut Grove, is the 86th Bacardi Cup. Among the 62 Star teams registered are some of the storied class's most notable.  Leading the lineup are 2012 Star World Champions Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot (France), who are also the BACARDI Cup defending champions.  They will face, among others, 1992 Finn Silver medalist Brian Ledbetter (Medina, Wash.) who has teamed with Canadian 2012 Olympian Tyler Bjorn; 2009 Star World Champion George Szabo (San Diego) sailing with Miami's Magnus Liljedahl, the 2000 world champion and Olympic Gold Medalist; two-time ('08, '12) Olympian Peter O'Leary (Ireland) with Rodney Hagebols (Australia); Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Augie Diaz (Miami, Fla.); and two-time ('88, '96) Tornado Olympic Medalist Lars Grael (Rio de Janeiro, BRA.

Racing for the Star class gets underway on Monday, March 4.

Starting on Thursday, March 7, the Stars will be joined on Biscayne Bay by sailors in the Viper 640, Audi Melges 20, and Melges 24 classes, along with the J/70 class which makes its event debut.  Racing, for all classes, will conclude on Saturday, March 10.

More information here

Published in Olympic
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UPDATE: The governing body for the Star class is reporting that the earlier news of its reinstatement in the Olympics for 2016 is still "just a rumour".

In a statement, International Star Class Yacht Racing Association (ISCYRA) president Bill Allen said that while the Olympic committee in Brazil "may request an 11th medal for sailing", no decision has yet been made and likely will not be made until summer at the earliest.

"The spreading of rumours concerning Olympic status does not help our position," he added, saying he would inform Star class membership with any new developments as and when they arise.

#Rio2016 - Ireland's Star sailors Peter O'Leary and David Burrows could have another shot at Olympic gold in Rio if the latest news from the IOC is to be believed.

Sailing Anarchy reports that "the ink is dry" on an agreement to secure a place for the Star class in the sailing schedule at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The move is thanks to a "quirk" in IOC regulations that allow the host country of any Olympic Games to add an event of their own choosing, provided the hosts cover the costs.

And with local sailing duo Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada in the Star's top ranks - claiming the bronze in London 2012 - the return of the class certainly seems a no-brainer.

The only question remaining now is whether O'Leary and Burrows - who finished 10th in the class at Weymouth last summer - want to go for gold one more time in Rio!

Published in Olympics 2012

#ISA -  Supporters of Irish sailing are asked to come together for a night of celebration and pay tribute to some of the outstanding contributors to sailing across six categories including the Mitsubishi Motors Club of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Instructor of the Year and Training Centre of the Year.

Irish sailing's stars of tomorrow - such as ISAF Youth Worlds silver medallist Finn Lynch - are also in the running for the title of Youth Sailor of the Year.

Last year was an incredibly successful year for Irish sailing: 11 sailors represented Ireland at both the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, dozens of medals were claimed at events around the world and we played host to such high profile events as the ISAF Youth Worlds, the Volvo Ocean Race finale, the Tall Ships Race and the MOD 70s, to name but a few.

The ISA Awards Ball is the occasion to celebrate 12 months of successes and also launch the 2013 season in style. Tickets for the ball are €65 per person and must be booked by Friday 22 February 2013. Full details can be found at the ISA website HERE.

Published in ISA

When Peter O'Leary (29) and David Burrows (34) came ashore in Miami last month having taken silver for the second time at the Bacardi Cup, the London Olympic pair showed the depth of their ambition when they left the venue disappointed at not having lifted the prestigious cup.

It moved the Cork-Dublin pairing on from Dublin bay where they won a bronze medal on home waters at the class European championships last September set them up for 12th overall and a ticket to London in Perth last December at the ISAF world championships. They are now ranked in the top five in the world.

Helmsman O'Leary's family continue to be a big influence including one Grandad who won a Bronze sailing medal for Britain at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

The pair who count six Olympic appearances between them (It is Burrow's fourth Olympics since Atlanta) are banking on an extra turn of speed from a brand new P-Star keelboat they launched in Florida to bring home the medal they are tipped for. It's their only chance for success in the Star as the class is being ditched from the Olympic line up for 2016.

Published in Landing Pages

#Olympics - It was a match made in Beijing - and now four years on, Crosshaven sailor Peter 0'Leary and sprint hurdles champion Derval O'Rourke have announced their engagement, as Independent Woman reports.

The Olympian couple are keeping mum for the time being, but it's expected that they will wed in their home county of Cork.

O'Leary and O'Rourke apparently struck up a companionship at the closing ceremony of Beijing 2008, when both were coming down after disappointing Olympic campaigns in their respective sports.

That first conversation quickly blossomed into a relationship that's clearly done no harm to their improving performances on the track and on the water - O'Rourke reaching the 100m hurdles semi-finals, and O'Leary finishing a respectable 10th in the Star with partner David Burrows.

It's also surely a welcome turn of events for O'Leary especially after a stressful few months following London 2012 that culminated in a warning from the International Olympic Committee over his betting on a competitor at the 2008 Games.

IOC chiefs announced last week that they had "no proof of any match fixing" and agreed that O'Leary was at the time not fully aware of the rules against competitors betting on Olympic events.

The Irish Sailing Association (ISA) has hit out at what it called a "malicious campaign" against the Star helmsman, noting that the facts present a very different picture from the story that circulated in the media on the eve of his opening race at Weymouth this summer.

Published in Olympics 2012

#OLYMPICS - Irish Olympic sailor and current All-Ireland sailing champion Peter O'Leary has been let off with a warning by officials after betting on a competitor to win at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

O'Leary and his then partner Stephen Milne did not qualify for the Star class medal race in Beijing, in which O'Leary won €3,600 after placing a €300 bet on 12-1 Britain.

The story came to light days before O'Leary and current teammate David Burrows began their Star class campaign at this summer's London Olympics, prompting an investigation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

But IOC chiefs announced yesterday that they had found "no proof of any match-fixing".

While Olympic athletes are banned from betting on Olympic events, the IOC's ethics commission agreed that O'Leary was not fully aware of the rules at the time.

"The athlete was unaware he could not bet on Olympic events," said IOC spokesperson Mark Adams. "It is not something we agree with and we condemn it but we will not take any more action."

O'Leary and Burrows finished 10th in the Star class at the London Games in what was a milestone summer for Irish sailing on world sport's biggest stage.

Published in Olympics 2012
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