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Hurley hits the Spot for June

3rd July 2009

Barry Hurley is the latest Irish Independent/Afloat.ieSailor of the Month” , having hit the spot on June 22nd with his class win in the OSTAR – the single-handed Transatlantic Race. Highlighting Hurley’s achievement among so many successes during a remarkably busy sailing month has been a demanding task for the adjudicators. But the consensus is that everything about his win – it included taking line honours in the IRC Division – was an example for every sailor in these economically challenging times.

For this was no flash-in-the-pan. He did his research and training rigorously, and settled on the French-built Jeanneau 35 OD as being the ideal boat for the job. A 13-year-old version of the marque was sourced in Scotland, and so perfectly fitted his requirements and budget that he didn’t let any superstition about the age get in the way.

Indeed, he threw old superstitions aside in changing the boat’s name too – she became Dinah, named for the girl in the sailor’s anthem The Holy Ground about Cork Harbour. It was off Cobh that he started his sailing in childhood, and during 2008, Hurley and Dinah sailed many useful training miles offshore.

Apart from seagoing experience, he’s an ace at technology, and his employers O2 gave him the time off for the Atlantic race. Technology, sailing ability, and people skills – Hurley was on target with his shore team of his sister Aileen and Shore Manager Bob Hobby whom he’d met through Glenans Ireland. And on May 28th the race started from Plymouth, faced with everything the Atlantic could throw at Dinah and her skipper.

He was good at communication too, sending daily reports to an increasing fan base, and the sense of a genuine sailing enthusiast finding increasing please in sailing the ocean in all its mood captured the imagination. And the finish was perfect, nipping into the lead into Newport, Rhode Island, using inshore sailing skills honed in Cork Harbour.

In all, a marvellous yarn for the times that are in it. Barry Hurley joins a distinguished pantheon of stars from the current year. May’s joint winner was Peter O’Leary of Cork (he won the Olympic Star East European Champoionship, crewed by Tim Goodbody of Dun Laoghhaire to beat multiple world and Olympic winner Robert Scheidt of Brazil). He has since won the ICRA Championship in Tralee Bay, sailing Dave Dwyer’s Mills 39 Marinerscove.ie.

Designer Mark Mills of County Wicklow was our January “Sailor of the Month” for his success with the new King 40, the prototype of which - Eamon Rohan’s swift and attractive Blondie IV – won her class at the weekend’s Sovereign’s Cup series in Kinsale. Meanwhile, the production line of the King 40 in Argentina has come on stream , and Blondie’s sister-ships have been winning major events on both sides of the Atlantic, the most recent being Block Island Week in America.   Two of the King 40s are head to head in next week’s four day Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta which starts on Thursday - Blondie IV and Scottish champion Argie Bargie (Allan Hogg)

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