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Displaying items by tag: Peter O'Leary

Baltimore Sailing Club’s Star keelboat pair Peter and Robert O’Leary look to be the most likely Irish duo to fly the tricolour at the centenary Star Worlds in Marblehead, Massachusetts this September.

The 2022 Star World Championship from 8-17 September will mark 100 years of history since the first World Championship was held in 1922. 

This year’s event at the Eastern Yacht Club will also celebrate one of sailing’s most popular, successful and appreciated boat and its legends.

The world’s best Star sailors will be etched into history on the event’s coveted trophies | Credit: YCCS/Studio BorlenghiThe world’s best Star sailors will be etched into history on the event’s coveted trophies | Credit: YCCS/Studio Borlenghi
 
Remaining true to the heritage of the Star Class since 1922, the Worlds will be contested over six days with one long daily race, bringing together the world’s best in class alongside emerging talent in a battle of endurance, fitness, strategy and competition.

The single-race format is also reflected at the iconic Bacardi Cup, partner of the Star Class since 1927, at which the O’Leary brothers finished just shy of a podium place this past March in Miami.

Staking a place on the Star World Championship leaderboard remains as competitive as ever and the challenge for victory is as tough as the first edition back in 1922.

Published in Star

Miami, USA turned on another beautiful sailing day – brilliant breeze, sparkling turquoise waters and warm weather – as the Star Class was joined by the full line-up of one-design classes at the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta on Thursday, March 10.

Biscayne Bay was a spectacular vista, packed with boats that have converged on Miami from around the world. The Star contested the traditional one race, with three races wrapped up for each of the J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640 and VX One. The 69F, which made its BCIR debut, completed six races.

Cork's Peter and Robert O'Leary were tenth in the Star race, a result that puts them fifth overall. Their father, Anthony, racing in the Viper 640 with Clive O'Shea and Neil Fulcher is also lying fifth.

Across the race courses, the breeze tracked from 10-18 knots, with the overcast morning giving way to sunshine. The forecast has so far delivered perfect race conditions and looks set to remain game on for Friday, March 11.

Post-race another keenly anticipated Bacardi happy hour got underway at Shake-A-Leg Miami, giving the perfect atmosphere to unwind and enjoy a glass of rum.

Star Class

Racing got underway in a 10 knot breeze and very similar conditions to Wednesday. A couple of rain showers either side of the course for the second windward leg yanked the breeze, forcing a change of course.

Jack Jennings (USA) and Pedro Trouche (BRA) got to work straight away on ‘Pied Piper’, conjuring up more of yesterday’s magic to call the race track tune, lead from start to finish and claim another win. They shift up to leader board 4th and sit just one point adrift of Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi, who finished the race immediately behind and retain 3rd overall.

“I feel really glad with the way we are sailing,” said Trouche. “We are feeling good with our routine. Every day in the morning we have breakfast together, briefing for the day and then we go out as early as we can, doing some practice. So it is working out, yeh.”

Defending Bacardi Cup Champions Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada hold firm as series leaders, but again struggled further back in the pack. Unlike yesterday, they couldn’t chip through and had to settle for a 6th place finish. Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise crossed the line in 4th place and hold firm in 2nd overall.

The race discard kicked in which, though not impacting the order of the top three, has shuffled places behind and compressed the points a little closer, making tomorrow’s race a challenge for control of the podium places ahead of Saturday’s concluding race.

Provisional Top 5 Results – after 4 races

1. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 8548) - 4 pts

2. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA 8423) - 8 pts

3. Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA 8567) - 10 pts

4. Jack Jennings / Pedro Trouche (USA 8464) - 11 pts

5. Peter O'Leary / Robert O'Leary (IRL 8465) - 14 pts

J/70 Class

Three races of around fifty-five minutes were completed in 13-18 knots of breeze and superb planning conditions. With so much depth in performance, racing was close around the track, but the clear frontrunners scoring 1,3,2 to lead the J/70 fleet are Paul Ward (GBR) and his team of Charlie Cumbley/Elliot Willis/Matt Howard on ‘Eat Sleep J Repeat’

Explaining their consistency, Ward said, “We’ve had a couple of really good days training. It is really, really nice conditions out here and we have felt really, really quick. We were going quick upwind, Elliott was doing a great job with the trim and then downwind Matt was getting a really good workout on the kite. We were just fast pretty much every direction, so it was a good day today.”

“Our plan was clean starts, get to the right-hand side and it seemed to pay off quite nicely,” continued Cumbley. “It always looked better the further you nudged that way for the most part.”

Race wins also went to Mexico’s Ignacio Perez and team on ‘Zaguero’, and the USA’s Bobby Julien with his crew on ‘Dingbat’. Mixed fortunes for Ed Lebens (USA) on ‘Reggae Shark’, who scored a masterful 2,2, before being knocked back to a 27th place finish in race 3.

Winning in Miami is always tricky as teams face the challenging and notoriously unpredictable race track, and in a thirty-nine boat fleet packed with talent, there is everything to play for.

Provisional Top 5 Results – after 3 races

1. Paul Ward / Charlie Cumbley / Elliot Willis / Matt Howard (GBR 1127) - 6 pts

2. Ignacio Perez / Santiago Perez / Juan Ignacio Perez / Moritz Spitzauer (MEX 1323) – 14 pts

3. Bobby Julien / Alec Anderson / Will Felder / Chris Waters / Sam Loughborough (USA 639) - 19 pts

4. Charles Thompson / Craig Burlton / Ben Saxton / Chris Grube (GBR 1123) - 20 pts

5. Peter Cunningham / Tony Rey / Bernardo Freitas / Marc Gothier (CAY 1310) - 21 pts

Melges 24 Class

Getting into groove straight away for the 9-race series was 2021 and 2020 BCIR champion Bora Gulari (USA) with his team on ‘Powered by Moms’. He followed up with a 4th in race 2, but then Gulari and two other boats were over the line for the start of race 3, so will need the discard to kick in after race 6 to get back in the frame.

Back-to-back 2nd places finishes pitches Brian Porter’s ‘Full Throttle’ in front.

“It’s always great to come down to Miami and it is super exciting to be back at the Bacardi regatta this year”, said RJ Porter, son of Brian.

“We just came from Wisconsin where it was snowing yesterday, so great to be in the warmer weather. Competition was very tough out there, so being that consistent was very good for us. We’ve definitely got to take it race by race, get off the starting line that’s the most important thing, and just try not to get ourselves caught up in a corner.”

Drew Freides on ‘Pacific Yankee’ took the race 2 win, with race 3 in the hands of Travis Weisleder on ‘Lucky Dog’.

Racing on ‘Pacific Yankee’, Morgan Reeser, the 1992 Olympic silver medallist in the 470, was brimming after the day, saying, “I am probably the luckiest person in the world today! An amazing day, nice and warm, no foul weather gear needed and the rest of my team is so good.”

Explaining their race strategy, Reeser said, “When it is from the south, there is no land in the way, the shifts aren’t that big, so it is mostly boat speed. So the key is just clear lanes. Early in the day some storm clouds probably right better than left, then later in the day it turned into a sea breeze and it was left better than right. Just go fast, which was awesome.”

Provisional Top 5 Results – after 3 races

1. Brian Porter / RJ Porter / Bri Porter / Matt Woodworth (USA 849) - 6 pts

2. Drew Freides / Charlie Smythe / Morgan Reeser / Federico Michetti / Lara Poljsak (USA 865) - 12 pts

3. Harry Melges IV / Finn Rowe / Ripley Shelley / Carlos Robles / Nick Muller (USA 866) - 13 pts

4. Travis Weisleder / John Bowden / Hayden Goodrick / Mark Mendleblatt (USA 858) - 18 pts

5. Bruce Ayres / Kate O’Donnell / Ted Hackney / Thomas Dietrich / Jeremy Wilmot (USA 851) - 20 pts

Viper 640 Class

Front of fleet results were spread around, with a fairly even performance amongst the top boats on day one.

Three races down and their 1,3,4 scorecard gives ‘Vellamo’ helmed by Colin Santangelo the advantage, with Caterpillar’ helmed by Peter Ill 3 points back. ‘Evil Hiss’ who finished 2nd in 2020, under the expert helm of Mary Ewenson raced a solid series, picking up a win in race 2 to end the day in 3rd.

Escaping from the snow in Ottawa is Canada’s ‘Jackpot’ skippered by Brad Boston, who have only recently started sailing together and compete for the first time in Miami. Crew member Quentin Gallon grinned, “We are loving the sunshine and loving the people!”

“We had a phenomenal breeze all day,” continued Gallon on their fifth overall. “Awesome races. As we sailed throughout the day we just got better. We found our starts were our key thing, just bow down and power on. We are a little heavy crew, so we figured we could hike out the boat and really keep it powered up upwind. That worked great for us.”

The team finished 2nd in the last race 3 of the day, as Gallon explained, “On our last race we were doing great upwind and downwind it was all about the communication in the boat and finding the breeze. It was really key for us building as a team and we are excited for the next couple of days.”

Provisional Top 5 Results – after 3 races

1. 277 USA 277 Caterpillar Viper 640 Peter Ill / Stephen Sparkman / Maxwell Plarr 1 4 5 10.0
2. 297 USA 297 Evil Hiss Viper 640 Mary Ewenson / Mark Zagol / Jane Moore / Max Vinocur 3 1 8 12.0
3. 246 USA 246 Strategery XI Viper 640 Cam Farrah / Cliff Farrah / Eric Heilshorn 2 8 3 13.0
4. 294 Doyle Sailmakers CAN 294 Wadjet Viper 640 Van Sheppard / Quinton Gallon / Brad Sheppard 5 7 2 14.0
5. 296 USA 296 Antix Viper 640 Anthony O Leary / Clive O Shea / Neal Fulcher 6 2 7 15.0

VX One Class

2022 year marks the largest VX One fleet yet in Miami, with twenty-five new and returning teams.

Establishing themselves in the game early on and getting on the scoresheet with a 6th place and two race wins are Austin Powers/Monica Morgan on ‘Tudo Bem’, who lead by a one-point advantage. Kaitlyn Liebel/Mark Liebel racing ‘Another Bad Idea’ won the opener, following up with a 6,2 to place 2nd overall.

“This is the biggest fleet of VXs,” commented Hayden Bennett, who finished 2nd at the recently held VX One Mid-Winters and sits in 7th overall. “Flat water, big breeze, warm weather, you can’t really complain about too much.

“Miami always puts on a good show, so we always have nice competitive racing. It’s obviously great to mingle in with the other fleets, the social events are always perfect, the few days we are here is always a blast.”

Provisional Top 5 Results – after 3 races

1. Austin Powers / Monica Morgan (USA 296) - 8 pts

2. Kaitlyn Liebel / Mark Liebel / Jordan Wiggins (USA 313) - 9 pts

3. Kevin Northrop / Max Albert / Andrew Brennan (USA 306) - 11 pts

4. Tim Pitts / Tim Desmond (ISV 286) - 13 pts

5. Jim Ward / Jeff Eiber / Monica Wilson (USA 275) - 14 pts

69F Class

The fully-foiling 69F three-person monohull made a spectacular debut at BCIR, flying at speeds of up 28 knots in the 14 knots of breeze.

Six races down and four wins to the ‘Miami Yacht Club’ Team puts them in pole, with Brian Higgins driving, crewed by Pietro de Luca and Nicolas Aragones. A race win to ‘Sail America’, helmed by nineteen-year-old Gavin Ball with siblings Pearl and JP Lattanzi places them in second. Third to ‘Clean Sailors Youth Racing’ skippered by Lukas Hesse who claimed the race 5 win.

“Every time we sail the 69F we are learning by the second,” said Hesse. “Reaching starts, single laps of a square course, and anything up to nine races in a day. It’s full-on, very intense and very good fun.”

The 69F contests an open format, so there is no limit on the number of races and all to count, putting the pressure on a consistent performance race after race

Racing continues Friday, March 11, with one race for the Star, three races for each of the J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640 and VX One, and an open race schedule for the 69F.

Full results here

Published in Star

Baltimore Sailing Club Star keelboat duo Peter and Robert O'Leary are lying fourth after three races sailed at the 95th Bacardi Cup.

Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada hold onto the series lead but did not take the race win on day 3.

Spectacular conditions guaranteed a day of hiking and downwind fun for the fifty-eight boat Star Class fleet. After two days of domination by defending Bacardi Cup Champions Kusznierewicz/Prada, today saw new faces accelerate to front of fleet racing.

Biscayne Bay is always a race track that rewards confidence and switching on their afterburners to manage the fleet skilfully and break away to race glory were Jack Jennings (USA) and Pedro Trouche (BRA). They made their assault from the outset, sailing a perfect race to catch the leaders in a decisive move at the end of the first downwind, set the pace back upwind and surge ahead to victory.

Registration is completed for the J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640, VX One and 69F Classes who join the melting point of kindred spirits for the next three days of racing and renowned Bacardi hospitality. 

New Faces out Front

The fleet were evenly spread along the race 3 starting line and up the first windward leg with no favoured side.

Sailing together for the first time, Great Britain’s Ed Wright and Italy’s Alberto Ambrosini gave the fleet the early run for their money. The team had a good start, although a bit behind the boats around which worked to their advantage, as they were in a position to tack off to port. They sailed the lift until they got knocked and headed into the windward mark covering the fleet from the right.

Wright/Ambrosini continued their form downwind, opting left to drive fast through the fantastic waves and surfing conditions. But when they switched to the right, their lead unravelled.

After an exciting gate rounding, Jack Jennings/Pedro Trouche sailed strong upwind, dictating the leader board shuffle as they approached the windward mark for the second time. The pair managed to pick their spots to tack into a clear lane and manoeuvred to the right of Wright/Ambrosini to take the lead, with 2019 Bacardi Cup champions Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise chasing.

Ed Wright (GBR) and Alberto Ambrosini (ITA) take initial lead in race 3, 95th Bacardi CupEd Wright (GBR) and Alberto Ambrosini (ITA) take an initial lead in race 3, 95th Bacardi Cup 

Rounding the windward mark, Wright/Ambrosini were in a tussle with 2018 Bacardi Cup winners Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi who came in on port tack, with Kusznierewicz/Prada in 5th. Paul Cayard/Frithjof Kleen followed, with the O’Leary brothers and Jørgen Schönherr/Markus Koy neck and neck, and Eivind Melleby/Joshua Revkin close behind.

A strong bounce back from Schönherr/Koy, who were off the track yesterday due to Jørgen’s broken foot, as they target an upgrade on their partnership’s 8th place finish from 2020. Koy finished 3rd at the 2021 Bacardi Cup with Augie Diaz (USA).

Heading back downwind, the pressure remained consistent across the course, with plenty of wave action to accelerate the gains to Jennings/Trouche. An impressive passage of play from Kusznierewicz/Prada, who clawed back from around 5th at the final leeward gate to finish in 2nd, with Doyle/Infelise finishing 3rd. A 4th place finish to reigning Star World Champion Negri with crew Lambertenghi advances them to leader board 3rd, knocking the O’Learys down to 4th.

Jennings/Trouche are racing only their fifth event together, and their win advances them two places up the leader board to 7th overall.

“For sure we had a lot of fun surfing, sailing by the lee sometimes, playing with different modes,” explained Trouche, who won the 2018 Star Sailors League Finals. “Our talking was way better today on the downwind, so we had some gains on the first downwind. I am super happy. A champagne day in Biscayne Bay!”

“I think the key was to just keep doing the little things the right way,” smiled Jennings, “like getting a good start, which we have had the last two days, and then working on our downwind mode a little bit and also working on our communication. So more important than the result is, I think, we made an improvement in all those areas and we sailed the boat well from the beginning to the end.

“There are so many great champions here that it is always nice to have a good result. A lot of it is due to Pedro’s good hiking, our teamwork off the line and to have the boat in the right mode and keep our lane.”

 Jack Jennings (USA)/Pedro Trouche (BRA) win race 3, 95th Bacardi CupJack Jennings (USA)/Pedro Trouche (BRA) win race 3 of the 95th Bacardi Cup

From pole position, Wright/Ambrosini lost their pace to finish the race in 7th. The pair only partnered up after their respective skippers were unable to compete. Progress has been steady, with an improving scorecard of 18, 11 and 7. For Wright, their front of fleet territory matches his pedigree, having previously stepped onto the Finn Gold Cup podium six times, including gold in 2018.

On pressing the accelerator, Wright said, “From the first day to now, we are sailing the boat much differently. We are driving the boat a lot faster and really trying to power it up instead of pinching, and that made a huge difference with our boat speed.”

Eivind Melleby/Joshua Revkin finished 5th to hold their leader board 5th, with Cayard/Kleen finishing 6th in the race and on the leader board. Cayard first competed at the Bacardi Cup forty-two years ago crewing for Tom Blackaller. He has raced many times since, but is yet to taste victory.

"I've never won the Bacardi Cup", declared Cayard. "I've been second many times, so it would be nice to win! We have a lot of great competition here, I think there must be 10 world championships racing, so when you're in the top 10 in the races it's tough".

On their new partnership, Cayard said, "We are working on the speed and the set-up of the boat, so just trying to keep improving and if we do I think the result will be good. Frithjof is the current World Champion crew and I have a lot of experience, he is young and I'm a little older so I think we have a good mix of experience and youth and physical capability".

Reflecting on the event history, Cayard added, "The Bacardi Cup is like the Star Class. The two brands have been together for 95 years, in Cuba first and then here in Miami. They are both brands that represent excellence in a sector and respect tradition and so the fusion of these two brands is what makes the Bacardi Cup special. So, it is quite an honor just to be participating."

As always, the challenge for Bacardi Cup victory is as tough today as the first event hosted in Cuba back in 1927.

Blaise Gallahue/Tom Hurwitch (USA7469) head downwind, 95th Bacardi Cup

Provisional Top 10 Results – after Race 3

1. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 8548) - 4 pts
2. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA 8423) - 8 pts
3. Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA 8567) - 12 pts
4. Peter O'Leary / Robert O'Leary (IRL 8465) - 14 pts
5. Eivind Melleby / Joshua Revkin (NOR 8543) - 18 pts
6. Paul Cayard / Frithjof Kleen (USA 1988) - 22 pts
7. Jack Jennings / Pedro Trouche (USA 8464) - 23 pts
8. Augie Diaz / Christian Nehammer (USA 8509) - 27 pts
9. Erik Lidecis / Greg Smith (USA 8459) - 35 pts
10. Ed Wright / Alberto Ambrosini (AUS 8320) - 36 pts

This evening, the mid-week cocktail party and social is hosted at Shake-a-Leg Miami

Published in Star
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Baltimore Sailing Club's Peter and Robert O'Leary are tied on points for second place but lie in third overall on the scoresheet at the Star Class Bacardi Cup in Miami.

The Star Class leader board ended the same as Monday’s opener, with defending Bacardi Cup Champions Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada again dominating the fifty-eight boat fleet for their second win in two races.

Race 2 of the 95th Bacardi Cup got underway on attempt number two, after a bunch of ambitious teams in the middle of the line forced the Race Committee to a general recall. A perfect day delivered as good as Star Class racing gets, with a consistent south-easterly breeze of around 12-15 knots, waves serving up full hiking upwind legs and super surfing conditions downwind for the 110 minutes, 9 nautical mile race.

Behind Kusznierewicz/Prada, it is a tiebreak between Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise (USA), who won here in 2019, and brothers Peter O'Leary/Robert O'Leary (IRL) who sit on 5 points apiece, having matched each other’s scores across the two races. 2018 Bacardi Cup victors Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) are in fourth.

Star Class racing on day 2 of 95th Bacardi Cup day 2, Biscayne Bay, MiamiStar Class racing on day 2 of 95th Bacardi Cup day 2, Biscayne Bay, Miami

The Race Track Story

Kusznierewicz/Prada know the nuances of Biscayne Bay well, opting for the left side upwind, before making a faultless tactical decision to move to the right side and find the increasing pressure for the final part of the first upwind. The leaders were chased hard by Augie Diaz/Christian Nehammer (USA), Peter O'Leary/Robert O'Leary (IRL), Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise (USA) and Jack Jennings/Pedro Trouche (USA), who had all made a break ahead of the fleet.

Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL)/Bruno Prada (BRA) win race 2, 95th Bacardi CupMateusz Kusznierewicz (POL)/Bruno Prada (BRA) win race 2, 95th Bacardi Cup

The teams who played the left side of the track got crushed and a significant number overstood the port tack layline, leading to a crazy and close mark rounding.

Downwind the easing breeze consolidated the fleet, picking up as teams rounded the gate to again favour the strong and experienced who flew back upwind. As before, a significant gap unfolded between the top seven boats and the rest of the fleet. Heading upwind, Kusznierewicz/Prada extended their lead, with Diaz/Nehammer, the O'Leary brothers and Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi battling (ITA) it out for second place.

On the final downwind the O’Learys made a key move, pressing Kusznierewicz/Prada every step of the way, as Peter explained, “Robert decided we would go round the other gate, at the bottom left looking down, and he was spot on. We gained a nice bit of space and were able to get close to the leader.”

Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise (USA) move into 2nd place on day 2, 95th Bacardi CupEric Doyle/Payson Infelise (USA) move into 2nd place on day 2, 95th Bacardi Cup

Onto the final upwind, the brothers got forced a bit past the layline, giving Doyle/Infelise the advantage to move into second by a couple of meters, the Irish in third and Italians fourth.

“It was proper racing,” continued Peter. “It is as close to an Olympic standard as you are going to get. There was very little between the boats.”

Doyle/Infelise were pleased with their score, having chipped their way through the fleet to get back on form and pop the result after an uninspiring start.

“It was beautiful tough sailing, it’s a super competitive fleet,” said Infelise. “The key was to sail by yourself, get going fast, hit the shifts when you can and just keep the boat moving as quickly as you could.”

“Everywhere you look you are turning around and looking at a World Champion or a silver Star, so super competitive. I think it is the most competitive we have had in a few years here. It is really nice to have all the Europeans and everyone back here.”

Another 4th place finish from Italy’s Negri/Lambertenghi positions them 3 points behind the Americans and Irish.

“More or less the performance was even worse than yesterday,” commented Lambertenghi as we caught up with him relaxing post-race in the pool.

“We were a little bit slower I think, because it was lighter than yesterday, and we were not so brilliant as we felt yesterday. But anyway, we had a good race, a couple of mistakes on manoeuvre on my side and a couple of small mistakes on the tactics. We had fun and we had the same result as yesterday and we are quite satisfied – not 100%, but good!”

Provisional Top 10 Results – after Race 2

1. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 8548) - 2 pts
2. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA 8423) - 5 pts
3. Peter O'Leary / Robert O'Leary (IRL 8465) - 5 pts
4. Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA 8567) - 8 pts
5. Eivind Melleby / Joshua Revkin (NOR 8543) - 13 pts
6. Paul Cayard / Frithjof Kleen (USA 1988) - 16 pts
7. Augie Diaz / Christian Nehammer (USA 8509) - 17 pts
8. Erik Lidecis / Greg Smith (USA 8459) - 22 pts
9. Jack Jennings / Pedro Trouche (USA 8464) - 22 pts
10. Peter Vessella / Phil Trinter (USA 8573) - 26 pts

The camaraderie continued into the evening, as teams headed to Coral Reef Yacht Club for the Bacardi Happy Hour.

With four races ahead to complete the six-race series, and one discard coming into play after race 5, there is plenty of race track brilliance to come and plenty of luminaries ready to make their move to lift the hefty silver Bacardi Cup and Tito Cup trophies come Saturday, March 12.

Race 3 is scheduled to start at 1200 hours on Wednesday, March 9, and registration gets underway tomorrow for the other classes – J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640, VX One and 69F – who join the racing from March 10-12 and includes Royal Cork's Anthony O'Leary in the Viper Class.

Published in Star

Irish brothers Peter and Robert O’Leary sailing their Star keelboat 'Nink Nonk' are in second overall after day one of the Bacardi Cup and happy to be out of lock-down and sailing the Star after two years. 

Two-time Bacardi Cup Champions, 2020 and 2021, Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Bruno Prada (USA) controlled the opening day of racing in Biscayne Bay, Miami.

An epic line-up of fifty-eight Star Class teams kicked off racing at the 95th Bacardi Cup under a picture-perfect blue sky dotted with clouds, breeze of around 14-16 knots and choppy seas. The week ahead is looking equally stunning, with a cracking mid-teens breeze forecast through until the end of racing on Saturday, March 12.

“We have a beautiful week set up for weather and parties,” smiled Mark Pincus, Regatta Chair. “It gives us great pleasure to be able to have everybody here again and to be able to do the regatta and the week the way we normally do. We are so happy to have over 500 sailors for the week and all of our Star sailors back again that we haven’t seen in a couple of years.

“The weather is going to be phenomenal this week. There should be some great times out on the water with a great week of races and competition that we have been missing over the last couple of years. Year in year out, everyone wants to come back and sail Bacardi because they have so much fun as well as great competition.” 

Fifty-eight Star Class teams compete in race 1 at the 95th Bacardi Cup, Miami, USAFifty-eight Star Class teams compete in race 1 at the 95th Bacardi Cup, Miami, USA

Thrilling Opening Day

As always, the Star fleet featured plenty of World Champions, identified by the distinction of a gold mainsail logo, along with Olympians and legends of the Star Class in this high stakes battle for Bacardi Cup supremacy.

A clean start got racing underway at midday, wrapping up one hour and 45 minutes later with the win in the hands of the defending Bacardi Cup partnership of Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL), 2-time Star Class World Champion (2019, 2008), and four-time Star World Champion (2019, 2012, 2011, 2007) Bruno Prada (BRA).

“I am honoured to be here on the 95th anniversary of the Bacardi Cup,” said Kusznierewicz. “We had a plan from the beginning to play upwind on the left side, because of the wind pattern but also the current. We knew that maybe on the beginning it would not look very good for us, but we had to be patient and then coming to the left side it will start to pay off and it did.” 

Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL)/Bruno Prada (BRA) win race 1, 95th Bacardi CupMateusz Kusznierewicz (POL)/Bruno Prada (BRA) win race 1, 95th Bacardi Cup

From 7th place at the first mark, the pair accelerated to close the gap, as Kusznierewicz joked, “We pushed a special button in our boat, we got superpowers, especially on the reaches we were performing very well and that gave us the lead.”

It didn’t start that way, as controlling the fleet for the first two legs were the California based partnership of Erik Lidecis/Greg Smith, with Lidecis saying, “We had a really nice lane and just chugged out to the left for a while, held it as long as we could, got a little leftie, tacked on it and went across the fleet, which was beautiful.”

Lidecis/Smith stayed in phase to round the windward mark first and hold their advantage to the reaching mark, before all change. The easing conditions saw the crews mostly back in the boat for the reaching legs as submarining was inevitable if too far forward, with plenty of action as crews were in and out of the boat to keep on the chine in the lulls and puffs.

“The wind was super challenging because it was a good wind, a strong wind,” reflected Bruno Prada, who is racing his sixteenth Bacardi Cup, “but especially on the downwind reaches it was a little bit less wind, so the crew movement in the boat - forward and backwards, leeward and windward – trying to balance the boat was super challenging, trying to keep the boat with a lot of power, especially releasing the back stays. There were a lot of little details that I think was our success.

“We never think about winning regattas, we think day by day, enjoying day by day and then if in the end if we do a good average, we have a good chance to win.”

 Erik Lidecis/Greg Smith (USA) led the first two legs of race 1, 95th Bacardi CupErik Lidecis/Greg Smith (USA) led the first two legs of race 1, 95th Bacardi Cup

Kusznierewicz/Prada set their pole and made some gains on the first reaching leg. They had the capacity to capitalize and went low on the next leg to advance underneath the fleet, before going high in the closing metres to the gybe mark, boosting their boat speed to exploit an opening and get around everybody to take the lead into the second upwind.

As the breeze dropped to around 12-13 knots, the Race Committee changed the second lap to a downwind course format. Behind the leaders, the fleet consolidated on the next downwind and played the right side of the course more on the third and final upwind.

Whilst Kusznierewicz /Prada oozed class to extend and take the race win, thrilling tacking duels unfolded for 2nd between Peter O'Leary/Robert O'Leary and Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise, with Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi and John MacCausland/Rodrigo Meireles battling for 4th and 5th place. 

Tonci Stipanovic/Tudor Bilic (CRO) compete at their first Bacardi CupTonci Stipanovic/Tudor Bilic (CRO) compete at their first Bacardi Cup

Two-time Star Class Olympian (2008 and 2012) Peter O’Leary, who is racing with his brother Robert, was stoked to come out on top of their duel and claim second. Last time racing at the Bacardi Cup in 2020, the pair finished 6th overall.

“I guess if you didn’t like today, you are never going to like Star sailing!” laughed Peter. “It was good to be back in the boat after two years. We ended up reaching on the first lap and that’s a fun thing to do in the Star.”

Robert chipped in, saying, “We’ve done a good bit of training reaching, but I’ve never actually raced a reaching course, so it was a bit of a shock to the system trying to decide whether jib on pole or not. We did it for the first leg and it definitely paid, and then the second leg we were just trying to defend, keep our lane, keep the air clear going down. We got inside three boats at the gybe mark.”

An impressive passage of play from Paul Cayard/Fritjof Kleen whose broken outhaul a couple of minutes before the start left them slumped mid-fleet at the first mark, before getting back on pace to finish in 10th.

Paul Cayard (USA)/Frithjof Kleen (GER) finish 10th in race 1, 95th Bacardi CupPaul Cayard (USA)/Frithjof Kleen (GER) finish 10th in race 1, 95th Bacardi Cup 

Post-race, Bacardi hosted Star sailors and the Race Committee at the Bacardi Building, Coral Gables, in a celebration of the partnership and legacy between the Bacardi Cup and the Star Class.

Race 2 is scheduled to start at 1200 hours on Tuesday, March 8.

Provisional Top 10 Results – after Race 1

1. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 8548) - 1 pts
2. Peter O'Leary / Robert O'Leary (IRL 8465) - 2 pts
3. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA 8423) - 3 pts
4. Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA 8567) - 4 pts
5. John MacCausland / Rodrigo Meireles (USA 8448) - 5 pts
6. Eivind Melleby / Joshua Revkin (NOR 8543) - 6 pts
7. Erik Lidecis / Greg Smith (USA 8459) - 7 pts
8. Peter Vessella / Phil Trinter (USA 8573) - 8 pts
9. Tonci Stipanovic / Tudor Bilic (CRO 8540) - 9 pts
10. Paul Cayard / Frithjof Kleen (USA 1988) - 10 pts

The perpetual Bacardi Cup Trophy will be awarded to the first placed skipper and the Tito Bacardi Cup to the first placed crew, with prizes also presented to winners in the Master’s (skippers aged 50 through 59), Grand Masters (skippers aged 60 and above), Exalted Grand Masters (skippers aged 70 and above) and the Tammy Rubin-Rice Trophy will be presented to the highest placed team not otherwise receiving a prize.

Published in Star

With lots of Europe countries in COVID lockdown, it is no surprise this year's Star European Championships at Lake Garda in Italy has drawn only 18 competitors.

As regular Afloat readers will know, Ireland's Peter O'Leary and Robert O'Leary from Baltimore Sailing Club and Royal Cork Yacht Club are regular International attendees but the sole Irish Star duo are not competing this year. 

The O'Leary brothers finished 14th overall in a fleet of 90 at the 2019 European Championship in Italy.

While this year's entry is low, the strength of the class is shown in the wide spread of ten European countries competing at Lake Garda.

Yesterday, two more extraordinary races sailed today in Riva del Garda, Italy, on the third day of racing. A strong wind from the North allowed the fleet to keep the schedule and close today Race Five and Six in the morning, granting the teams to throw out their worst score.

European Champion Diego Negri with crew Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) were on fire yesterday, after a very slow start of the championship, winning both races with a huge margin over the rest of the fleet, and by discarding a 10th they jump up to fourth place, two points away from the podium. In third place, Croatian duo Tonci Stipanovic and Tudor Bilic, in second the Austrian team comprised of Hans Spitzauer and Christian Nehammer and on top, after four days leading, Piet Eckert (SUI) and Frederico Melo (POR) who discarded today their worst score so far, a seventh.

One more day today, and only one more race allowed to reach the maximum of seven races scheduled by the Notice of Race. If Negri/Lambertenghi can still aim for podium, the mission looks almost impossible for the team in the provisional rankings, 2017 Star World Champion Eivind Melleby with Martin Hejlsberg (NOR), eight points away from third. Nonetheless, we might still see some changes among the top teams, and the fight for the title of 2020 European Champion will be fierce tomorrow on the water.

Full results here

Published in Star

In spite of a scoresheet that features two race wins and four results from six in the top ten, such is the competition at the Star Class Bacardi Cup that sole Irish entry Peter and Robert O'Leary missed the podium and finished sixth overall.

In further top results for visiting Royal Cork crews, the brother's father Anthony sailing with third brother Nicholas O'Leary, who were competing in the Viper 640 class, took third overall sailing with Ben Field (see below). North Sails Ireland's Nigel Young was one place outside the Melges 24 top ten in 11th overall.

Rob O LearyNicholas O'Leary (centre) collecting the Winter Cup in Miami for Antix (IRL 296), the Viper 640 warm-up to the Bacardi Invitational Regatta Photo: Martina Orsini

Tough, rough and exhilarating conditions showed up in Biscayne Bay on the last day at the invitational regatta for the thrill of the 524 sailors gathered in Miami for this world-renowned event. An average 15 knots breeze, with gusts of over 20 knots, tested teams and served up a spectacular final day of racing for sailors and the spectator flotilla following the racing.

The 2020 Bacardi Cup Champions secured their title with a race to spare yesterday, but Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Bruno Prada (BRA) still delivered an impressive final race. The pair led the fleet for the first half of the race, before they confused the upwind mark of another racecourse with the Stars’ bottom gate, giving the opportunity for Diego Negri (ITA)/Frithjof Kleen (GER) to overhaul them and extend to win the race by 150 metres. With it Negri/Kleen managed to climb to fourth overall.

“We were forcing on them on the last downwind,” commented Diego Negri, who was happy to conclude the Bacardi Cup with a race win. “We both had a bit of a misunderstanding about the marks, we have had a couple of changes of course during the race, but we luckily realised we were going in the wrong direction before they did and managed to gain over them and round the mark in front. They were fast on the last upwind for another very tight finish. I am happy we won the race, it always feels great, but it’s even better at the Bacardi Cup!”

With Negri/Kleen taking out the final race win, the fight for second and third on the podium unfolded between Paul Cayard (USA)/Pedro Trouche (BRA) who tamed the strong wind and the waves and finished race 6 in 3rd, Augie Diaz (USA)/Henry Boening (BRA) in 4th and Eivind Melleby (NOR)/Joshua Revkin (USA) who started the day in second place dropping to third overall after a 9th place finish. Claiming the glory of second place, by tiebreak advantage over Melleby/Revkin, were Diaz/Boening.

The Race Committees had predicted a full programme on the final day, and with the wind increasing as the afternoon progressed they delivered another day of outstanding racing for all eight classes.

Two races for the J70 fleet, where Eat Sleep J Repeat (Paul Ward/Ruairidh Scott/Ben Saxton/Mario Trindade) maintained their leading position with one win and a 7th, Surge (Ryan McKillen/John Wallace/Sam Loughborough/Mark Mendelblatt) ended their regatta in second overall and Midlife Crisis in third (Bruce Golison/Steve Hunt/Jeff Reynolds/Erik Shampain) after delivering the best race performance of the day, back to back 2nd place finishes. The other race win went to the team on Catapult (Joel Ronning/Patrick Wilson/Christopher Stoke/Paul Brotherton) who claimed fourth overall.

“It is great fun for us to come race up here,” commented Paul Ward, helm of Eat Sleep J Repeat who are the reigning J70 World Champions. “And winning is the icing on the cake or it’s the 10 year old Bacardi Rum on top of everything else! The hardest thing for us was to keep the boat going faster upwind with this kind of chop and the big gusts coming from the north. We don’t sail them much back home and we are not good with them. It was also tough to play catch up with our American friends.”

Two races for the Melges 24 and two stunning wins for USA 820 (Bora Gulari/Taylor Canfield/Kyle Navin/Norman Berg/Ian Liberty) to win overall by a 13 point margin. Second to Raza Mixta (Peter Duncan/Victor Diaz de Leon/Mattero Ramian/Carlos Robles/Willem Van Waay) and Shaka (KC Shannon/Jackson Benvenutti/Ben Lynchi/Tom Sawchuk/Elizabeth Whitener) remained in third overall despite being black flagged in the last race.

“It was a glamor day out there today,” said Taylor Canfield helm of the winning crew. “Biscayne Bay is great in this condition and we had two wins to close the event. I am sailing with a great team, they are really sharp and make my work a lot easier. This was a great tune up for the 2020 Worlds that will take place in Charleston in May. We have learned a lot. It’s my first event in the class after some time and I loved it.”

In the Viper 640, no change to first and second overall with the overnight leaders on USA293 (Will Graves/ Ryan Cox/Greg Dair) claiming a 1,4 to win by 11 points over last year’s champions on Evil Hiss (Geoff Ewenson/Mary Ewenson/Tyler Bjorn), while Antix (Anthony O’Leary/Ben Field/Nicholas O’Leary) climbed up the leader board to finish in third overall.

The team on Caterpillar (Peter Ill/Alec Chicoine/Austin Powers) took out the final race of the day to wrap up in 7th overall.

No change in the top three in the VX One, as Sendit (Bill Wiggins/Jeff Eiber/Darby Cappellin) maintained their form, to win by 2 points over Flying Jenny (Sandra Askew/Kyle Kandt/Jason Curvie) and just 1 point behind in third was VX1 (Ched Proctor/David Guggenheim/Monica Morgan). Today’s only race was won by LM Realty (Tim Pitts/Rachel Daye/Ethan Hanley), who lost out on a podium place on tiebreak and had to settle for fourth overall.

In the new Olympic windsurf class, it was a challenging day out on the track as the foilers tackled the gusty wind and chop. Gabriel Browne (BRA) again demonstrated his speed in the Open Windfoil to take out another win, ending his debut here in Miami with 7 race wins and two 2nd places to easily secure victory. Justin Ahearn (USA) finished in second overall and Alexander Temko (USA) in third.

An eight-race series for the Cabrinha AV8, the flying kiteboards, saw Damien LeRoy win both of today’s concluding races and the overall series. It was an all-American podium, with Brendan Healy in second and third to Kent Marcovich.

Published in Star

Royal Cork Star sailing brothers Peter and Robert O’Leary scored their second bullet of the Bacardi Invitational Regatta in Miami, Florida and are now in striking distance of the podium, placed in third overall as they enter the last race today.

After a very stormy morning, with gusts of wind weaving through from all directions and a short postponement ashore for some classes, 542 sailors headed out to the water for the penultimate day of racing at the .

The wind eventually settled on all racecourses and the race committees made final course adjustments in response to the shifty breeze, which increased from around 6-7 knots to 10-12 knots. The building breeze backed up the forecast of a strong northerly front for Saturday’s final race day.

On the Star course magic happened and this year’s heroes were born as the 2020 Bacardi Cup Trophy was claimed. The leaders of the series, Polish Finn Olympic Champion Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Brazilian five-time Star World Champion Bruno Prada (BRA) rounded the first windward mark in the unusual position of 10th, a place they had not found themselves in all week. Tack after tack they worked their way through the tough opposition to put in another powerful performance and cross the finish line in second, securing the 2020 crown of one of the oldest trophies in the sailing arena with a race to spare.

“I’ve attended the Bacardi Cup for so many years in my Olympic career but have never managed to win it,” said an enthusiastic Kusznierewicz, who is also the reigning Star Class World Champion. “It is an unbelievable feeling to finally win this after finishing runner-up last year. Bruno and I had an amazing week, three bullets and two seconds, I can’t remember having had a regatta so perfect in my life. I think I am ready for the Tokyo Olympics,” he laughingly concluded.

With the iconic Bacardi Cup trophy securely in the hands of the Polish-Brazilian partnership, attention now turns to the fiery battle for second and third on the podium. The Irish brothers, Peter and Robert O’Leary scored their second bullet of the series and are now in striking distance of the podium, placed in third overall. They engaged in an intense fight with the USA’s Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise, who opened their day with some boat damage and just made it ashore and back out in time for the start of race 5. Doyle/Infelise had to settle for a 3rd place score to place seventh on the leaderboard. Despite scoring their worst result of the series, a 9th place, Eivind Melleby (NOR)/Joshua Revkin (USA) sit firm in second place. Tomorrow’s last race will be a gruelling battle to complete the 93rd Bacardi Cup leaderboard, with the top seven teams separated by just 12 points and all in reach of a podium finish.

“Sailing with Bruno Prada is fantastic, I enjoy it so much,” continued Kusznierewicz. “We had an amazing year together, we won the Star Worlds last June, then the qualification round for the SSL Finals and now this epic race. Of course, it’s easier to enjoy it when you are winning, but I loved this event so much, and I love sailing, I don’t ever want to stop!”

Three races were sailed in the J70, Melges 24, Viper and VXOne classes, four in the Open Windfoil, but no racing for the AV8 kite boards.

In the J70 fleet, holding firm as leaders are the team on Eat Sleep J Repeat (Paul Ward/Ruairidh Scott/Ben Saxton/Mario Trindade), who despite an unusually up and down scorecard remain the most consistent in the fleet. Second and third respectively are the teams on Surge (Ryan McKillen/John Wallace/Sam Loughborough/Mark Mendelblatt) and NINE (Oivind Lorentzen/David Shreiner/Lucas Calabrese/Ian Coleman), who each claimed a race win and showed great form around the track. The opening race win of the day went to the corinthian team on Dime (Mallory Loe/Andrew Loe/Cardwell Potts/Brian Shores) who are 15th overall and second in their division.

The door is still very much open in the J70 fleet for any number of teams to step up to the podium, making tomorrow’s final day a challenge for control of the fleet. Ending their day just two points off the podium is the team on Midlife Crisis, with Bruce Golison on the helm.

“Today was a very tricky day on the racecourse,” said Golison. “The wind was coming from all over the place with lots of gains and losses for everyone. We had an ok day, not too good and not too bad. We are looking forward to the big breeze tomorrow, it should be a lot of fun and a great way to end the Bacardi Invitational Regatta”.

In the Melges 24 fleet, overnight leaders USA 820 (Bora Gulari/Kyle Navin/Norman Berg/Ian Liberty/Taylor Canfield) had to surrender the track performance of the day to Raza Mixta (Peter Duncan/Victor Diaz de Leon/Mattero Ramian/Carlos Robles/Willem Van Waay), who claimed two firsts and a second, but USA820 holds onto first overall on tiebreak advantage. Realistically, unless there is a major change in form, the fight for first and second will be between these two teams. On an 11 point deficit to the leaders and in third overall going into the final day is Shaka (KC Shannon/Jackson Benvenutti/Ben Lynchi/Tom Sawchuk/Elizabeth Whitener). Claiming the third race win of the day was Team Sebaajo (Jan Frederik Dyvi/Jan Boro/Herman Horn-Johannessen/Malin Rorvik-Sundelin/Stian Ness Rorvik), who elevate themselves to be first corinthian team and 11th overall.

Tight margins in the Viper 640 fleet, with just 3 points separating the top three teams, led by USA 293 (Will Graves/Ryan Cox/Greg Dair) on 14 points, second to Evil Hiss (Geoff Ewenson/Mary Ewenson/Tyler Bjorn) on 15 points and in third is Ness (Mark Zagol/Tim Desmond/Arielle Darrow) on 17 points, who won the day’s opening race. Bullets also went to Gnixe (Bill Vickers/Chip Steiner/V Vickers) and Antix (Anthony O’Leary/Ben Field/Nicholas O'Leary).

Published in Star

Royal Cork Yacht Club's Peter and Robert O'Leary are seventh overall after four races sailed at the 93rd Star Bacardi Cup in Miami, USA yesterday. The Cork Harbour duo scored an eighth in race four, their third top ten of the series so far. Meanwhile, the O'Leary's father, Anthony along with third brother Nicholas, have started racing in another fleet at the Cup and they are currently third overall in the Viper 640 class.

On Thursday, the Star Class was joined by the complete line-up of one-design classes racing at the Bacardi Invitational Regatta. Taking on their first day of racing were the J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640, and, brand new for the race track this year, the VX One sports boat, AV8 and Windfoil classes. The blend of sailors battling it out for glory on Biscayne Bay is phenomenal, with a mix of professional rock stars and super-talented Corinthian teams.

For 2020, the Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Invitational Regatta have welcomed a record-breaking 175 entries and well over 500 sailors representing 19 nations, proving its status as the sport’s most popular Spring regatta. Racing is across four-course areas, with the Star Class on a dedicated track and course sharing for the Melges 24 and J70, Viper 640 and VX One and AV8 with the Windfoil.

The Bacardi Invitational Regatta was in full swing today and all of the classes were able to get a taste of the joy of racing on Biscayne Bay as Miami showcased its Caribbean genes of heat, humidity and a steady 9-10 knot breeze to sailors from around the world.

Mateusz Kusnierewicz (POL)/Bruno Prada (BRA) made it another big day in the Star Class, as they seized the bullet to make it three wins in a row and lead the fleet on a perfect scorecard of 3 points. The pair have shown classy form and today secured a critical points edge with just two races to go to crown the 93rd Bacardi Cup champions. Behind the order of play remains the same at the end of the day as at the beginning with Eivind Melleby/Joshua Revkin (NOR) and Augie Diaz/Henry Boening (USA) pushing hard in second and third. It will now take an epic assault to unseat the reigning Star Class World Champions Kusnierewicz and Prada from their top billing, but one the chasing teams are willing to try. Among them are Paul Cayard (USA)/Pedro Trouche (BRA), who sit in fifth overall after a disappointing 17th finish yesterday. But they rebounded to deliver their best day, a 2nd place, and proved they can still fight amongst the best.

“This might be my 25th Bacardi Cup, surely the first one was in 1980,” commented Olympian, multiple World Champion, Louis Vuitton Cup and Whitbread Round the World winner Paul Cayard. “We had a very bad day yesterday when I could not put us in a good position at the start, but I am happy about today, our best result so far. It’s just that Mateusz and Bruno are so fast, and with three wins, we can all just fight to be second best.” 

Out on the track first were the Melges 24 and J70 who raced in the south of the bay, starting out in a fluky 5-6 knots before the breeze steadied to 9-10 knots. Three races in the Melges 24 saw the big hitters out front early on, with Bora Gulari and his team of Kyle Navin/Norman Berg/Ian Liberty and match racing superstar Taylor Canfield setting the pace to secure two wins and a second place to lead overall. They know what it takes to win, having wrapped up victory in one of the Bacardi Winter Series warm-up events in January 2020. Just 2 points behind are KC Shannon/Jackson Benvenutti/Ben Lynchi/Tom Sawchuk/Elizabeth Whitener, with Peter Duncan/ Victor Diaz de Leon/Mattero Ramian/Carlos Robles/Willem Van Waay in third. Duncan and crew race in Miami fresh from their Melges 24 victory at last month’s 2020 NOOD Regatta where they nailed an all-win scorecard.

The aptly named ‘Eat Sleep J Repeat’ helmed by reigning J/70 World Champion Paul Ward (GBR) with crew of Ruairidh Scott/Ben Saxton/Mario Trindade were the pace setters in the J70 fleet, stamping their authority on the chasing pack with a 2,2,1 scorecard, but it was no easy racing. Ward’s crew boasts plenty of successes, but so do the other teams with World Champions and Olympians aplenty. Second to Ryan McKillen/John Wallace/Sam Loughborough/Mark Mendelblatt (USA) and third to Chile’s Pablo Herman/Luis Felipe/Felipe Echenique/Will Welles.

“It was a really, really good day and we finally started to work out how to sail out here,” grinned Paul Ward. “We always love coming to Bacardi Cup because it is cold, wet and miserable at home and the sun is shining here and we have some fantastic racing.”

Anticipating the races ahead, Ward continued, “There are two more days and there are a lot of fast boats, which is why we love coming out here as the competition is great. We’ve just got to see how we go and the boys are going well, everyone’s enjoying themselves and the bar is open, so life is good!”

Viper 640

In the Viper 640 fleet, it was Will Graves/Ryan Cox/Greg Dair who set the early running, with results of 1,2,3, but the defending Bacardi Invitational Champions Geoff Ewenson/Mary Ewenson/Tyler Bjorn soon settled into their groove to claim wins in races 2 and 3. This fleet is renowned for its camaraderie, so plenty of post-race analysis chat flows helped along with the Bacardi hospitality.

“Today was nice, a beautiful building breeze out of the east which took a bit longer than expected, but eventually it came in,” commented Geoff Ewenson who is a familiar face in Miami, counting fifteen appearances at the Bacardi Cup. “We were caught a little bit out of tune in the first race, but we figured it out throughout the race. We knew the boat didn’t feel quite right, so we worked hard after the first race and made some adjustments to the rig tune and were able to find our speed and were particularly fast downwind.” 

An all-American line up is contesting the VX One fleet, and reflecting the closeness of racing a different team won each of the three races. Matching scorecards to Ched Proctor/David Guggenheim/Monica Morgan and Sandra Askew/Kyle Kandt/Jason Curvie (USA) in the first two races was ultimately settled by a 2nd place finish for Proctor and crew in race 3 to give them the series lead. Second to Askew/Kandt/Curvie on tiebreak advantage over Bill Wiggins/Jeff Eiber/Farby Cappellin.

“Miami is my favourite place to go sailing,” smiled Proctor, before Guggenheim chipped in, “The water is warm, the breeze is strong!”

“It was pretty nice today, as the first two races were fully powered up,” continued Proctor, “although the last race we were a little depowering. It was a pretty perfect day for sailboat racing. This is the best place in North America to sail in the winter.”

Brazil’s Gabriel Browne produced a punishingly accurate performance to claim four back to back race wins in the Windfoil Class. Hunting him down in each race with four second places was Alexander Temko (USA) with Justin Ahearn (USA) in third overall.

“We have a lot of participation at this event, as it is our first time with the big boat fleet,” commented Alex Morales, representative of the Windfoil Class. “We have some of the top guys from Brazil and the USA, plus some juniors from the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club who are doing their first event in this Olympic windsurfing class. We are super excited, we feel really welcome and are really pleased to be part of the Bacardi Invitational Regatta.”

Plenty of kite racing pedigree in the hydrofoil Cabrinha AV8 Class and joining the AV8 are legends Damien Leroy and Jon Modica, who make their AV8 racing debuts amongst the normal class veterans. Leroy was fast off the start and superbly foiled his way to knock out four race wins. Second to Brendan Healy (USA) with Kent Marcovich (USA) in third.

The Bacardi Invitational Regatta marks the third major event of the season for the Cabrinha AV8 class. The AV8 is a strict one-design hydrofoil racer, positioned as an affordable and accessible form of hydrofoil kite racing. Racing is tight, tactical and fast with speeds easily reaching the 30-knot range in as little as 10 knots of wind speed.

Tonight teams will enjoy another memorable party night hosted by Bacardi at Shake a Leg Miami. Racing continues on Friday 6 March, with one race for the Star Classes and three to four races for all other fleets.

Bacardi Cup 2020 – Star Class Top 3 – After 4 races

Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 8548) – 5 pts
Eivind Melleby / Joshua Revkin (NOR 8234) – 10 pts
Augie Diaz /Henry Boening (USA 8509) – 14 pts

J70 – Top 3 – After 3 races
Eat Slepp J Repeat (GBR 1127) – Paul Ward / Ruairidh Scott / Ben Saxton / Mario Trindade – 5 pts
Surge (USA 179) – Ryan McKillen / John Wallace / Sam Loughborough / Mark Mendelblatt – 12 pts
New Wave (USA 456) – Pablo Herman / Luis Felipe / Felipe Echenique / Will Welles – 17 pts

Melges 24 – Top 3 – After 3 races
USA 420 (USA 420) – Bora Gulari / Kyle Navin / Norman Berg / ian Liberty / Taylor Canfield – 4 pts
Shaka (USA 801) – KC Shannon / Jackson Benvenutti / Ben Lynchi / Tom Sawchuk / Elizabeth Whitener – 6 pts
Raza Mixta (USA 820) – Peter Duncan / Victor Diaz de Leon / Mattero Ramian / Carlos Robles / Willem Van Waay – 15 pts

Viper 640 – Top 3 – After 3 races
USA 293 (USA 293) – Will Graves / Ryan Cox / Greg Dair – 6 pts
Evil Hiss (USA 297) – Geoff Ewenson / Mary Ewenson / Tyler Bjorn – 8 pts
Antix (USA 296) – Anthony O’Leary / Ben Field / Nicholas O'Leary – 17 pts

VXOne – Top 3 – After 3 races
VX1 – (USA 187) – Ched Proctor / David Guggenheim / Monica Morgan – 6 pts
Flying Jenny(USA 277) – Sandra Askew / Kyle Kandt / Jason Curvie – 10 pts
Send it (USA 160) – Bill Wiggins / Jeff Eiber / Darby Cappellin – 10 pts

Cabrinha AV8 – Top 3 – After 4 races
Damien Le Roy – 4 pts
Brendan Healy – 10 pts
Kent Marcovich – 14 pts

Open Windfoil – Top 3 – After 4 races
Gabriel Browne – 3 pts
Alexander Temko – 6 pts
Justin Ahearn – 9 pts

Published in Star

Royal Cork Yacht Club's Peter and Robert O'Leary are third overall after two races sailed at the 93rd Star Bacardi Cup in Miami, USA yesterday. 

On the second day, the sixty-five teams were greeted by warmer temperatures and a cloudy sky at Coral Reef Yacht Club, the now home of the event which was first held in Havana, Cuba, in 1927.

With a tricky 8-10 knots of breeze from the southeast, the 165 sailors left the dock ready for the starting sequence at 1155 hours to battle it out in one endurance race per day, as per the traditional format of the Star Class. The Race Committee hoisted the ‘U’ flag but that didn’t cool down the spirits of the fiery teams kicking off the line, as the first start ended up in a general recall. Principal Race Officer Carl Schellbach opted for the penalty threat of the black flag for the second attempt and got race two off to a clean start.

The starting line-up boasts one hundred and thirty sailors from over fifteen nations and a fleet packed with former and reigning World Champions, who are easily spotted by the gold star on their mainsail, and Olympic medalists. With such massive depth in elite performance, numerous teams can mount a credible bid for victory and most of the big names opted for the Committee end of the line. Only local super hero Augie Diaz (USA) sniffed out a preference for the left side of the track, but by the windward mark all the best players were in the leading pack anyway. The light air guru George Szabo (USA) with crew Guy Avellon (USA)rounded the mark first, hunted down by the Danish/German team of Jorgen Shoenherr and Markus Koy, then the reigning Star World Champions Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Bruno Prada, and in 4th Diaz and Henry Boening (BRA). By the downwind gate the order of play was the same, with the addition of Star Class newcomer Manu Hens (BEL), who is usually found racing a Snipe, showing his talent at the helm and gearing up to sixth. Ever present in attackKusznierewicz and Prada took control of the fleet ahead of mark three and extended to the finish line to conquer race two. Adding a win to their second place from yesterday places them at the top of the leaderboard.

Nigel Young of North Sails Ireland sent this vid (below) of the sole Irish duo leaving the dock yesterday. Young himself is competing at the Bacardi Cup tomorrow in the Melges class.

“It feels great,” said five-time Star World Champion and Olympic medalist Bruno Prada. “In today’s conditions our boat is super fast and that makes our job much easier, but also today we executed what we had planned and this always feels very rewarding.”

Five-time Olympian Kusznierewicz, who also counts Olympic and World Championship medals in the Finn Class to his tally of successes, added, “I can only say that we have great communication onboard. From the minute the flags are hoisted we know exactly what to do both upwind and downwind, and the tactics come easy as we move on the racecourse. It’s a really good feeling and winning the race only shows it’s all working well.”

The 2017 Star Class World Champions Eiind Melleby (NOR) and Joshua Revkin (USA) added a 3rd to their scorecard and leap to second overall, with overnight leaders Peter and Robert O’Leary (IRL) dropping to third after their 7th place. The ‘king of the bay’ Augie Diaz, racing with Henry ‘Maguila’ Boening, finished in 2nd to advance to fourth overall. Keeping in fighting distance of the leaders are the 2019 Bacardi Cup winners, Eric Doyle and Payson Infelise (USA),who count two top 10 finishes to sit in 9th overall.

Provisional Top 10 – After 2 Races

1. Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada (POL 8548) - 3 pts
2. Eivind Melleby/Joshua Revkin (NOR 8234) - 7 pts
3. Peter O'Leary/Robert O'Leary (IRL 8458) - 8 pts
4. Augie Diaz/Henry Boening (USA 8509) - 9 pts
5. Diego Negri/Frithjof Kleen (ITA 8533) - 11 pts
6. Paul Cayard/Pedro Trouch (USA 8466) - 12 pts
7. Jørgen Schönherr/Markus Koy (DEN 8532) - 12 pts
8. Manu Hens/Joost Houweling (BEL 8379) - 17 pts
9. Eric Doyle/Paison Infelise (USA 8423) - 17 pts
10. George Szabo/Guy Avelon (USA 8129) - 18 pts

The Star Class is scheduled to contest a six-race series and tomorrow the fleet will head back out on the bay for race three, with the conditions forecast to be just a little windier.

Alongside overall victory in the Bacardi Cup, teams in the Star Class are also jostling for wins across the Masters (aged 50-59 years), Grand Masters (aged 60 and above) and Exalted Grand Masters (aged 70 and above) divisions.

From Thursday 5 March, the Star Class will be joined by the J70, Melges 24, Viper 640, VXOne sports boat and the foiling AV8 and Windfoil classes. The welcome party for these classes will take place on Wednesday afternoon at Shake a Leg Miami, where the Bacardi Invitational Regatta village will officially open.

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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

©Afloat 2020

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