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Displaying items by tag: Peter O'Leary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Results below and link here

Star Mid winters

 

Published in Star
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#rorcbdcc – It was a night of pride, joy and no little emotion at Royal Cork Yacht Club as winning Commodores' Cup captain Anthony O'Leary brought the Cup home to Crosshaven writes Claire Bateman.  

Last night was the occasion for Anthony O'Leary to return, for the second time to his home base, the magnificent Commodores' Cup first won in 2010.

Admiral Pat Lyons, members of the Executive Committee, members and staff were on hand to join in with the enthusiastic welcome accorded to the Irish team members present and the Admiral accepted the presentation of the Commodores' Cup to display where all can admire this beautiful trophy.

Also joining in the celebrations were Norbert Reilly, Commodore, Irish Cruiser Racing Association and David Lovegrove, ISA President.

The gathering enjoyed a drinks and finger food reception before going on to the official part of the evening.

Admiral Lyons in his welcome and congratulatory speech welcomed everyone and was proud to illustrate how sailing develops from the youngest members in their Optimist dinghies right through the ranks to the ultimate accolades at the highest end of sailing.

He also pointed out that of the thirty one members of the Irish winning team at Cowes no less than fourteen of them were from the Royal Cork Yacht Club and said he would like to emphasize it was not just the winning of the event but the manner in whicb it was accomplished with a tremendous margin of almost 175 points.

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Happy crew – members of the Commodores' Cup team are welcomed home by Admiral Pat Lyons (right) and RCYC flag officers. From left to right are: Kieran O'Connell Rear Admiral Keelboats, Anthony O'Leary, Peter O'Leary, Alan Curran, Robert O'Leary,  Dan O'Donovan,Tom Durcan, Clive O'Shea, Derek Moynan  Photo: Bob Bateman

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Royal Cork turns out to welcome home the cup. Photo: Bob Bateman

In his reply Team Captain Anthony O'Leary endorsed the Admiral's comments regarding junior sailing and none better to do this as he has been involved in the promotion of the juniors since the early nineties and especially in the promotion of Optimist sailing. He then went on to give due credit to the other team skippers of the Irish Team, Marc Glimcher from the United States. He mentioned that Marc had added Patrick to his name during the week to assert his Irishness.

He then went on to explain the difficulties experienced by the co-charterers of Quokka 8, Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling, in trying to overcome delays in having the boat returned from the Carribeann and the magnificent effort they put into chartering other boats to work up with the squad while awaiting Quokka's return and one can only marvel at the results obtained.

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Team Captain Anthony O'Leary (left) hands the Cup over to Admiral Lyons. Photo: Bob Bateman

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ICRA Commodore Norbert Reilly

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ICRA Commodore Norbert Reillly spoke and told of the astonishment of the other teams at how the event was won. Where the other countries had boats for heavy weather, light weather and where we had a Ker 40 they had two Ker 40s. Where Ireland had a Grand Soleil, they had a Grand Soleil and where we had a Ker 39 they had a Ker 39 and he jokingly mentioned that he was sure Ker 39's would now treble in value throughout the yachting world which resulted in a round of applause and cheers. Commodore Reilly didn't miss a trick and also pointed out that the Irish had "cleaned out all the other trophies at the Commodores' Cup event".

Following the finish of the official welcome home, the prize giving took place for the final night of the Marshall Marine League.

TOMORROW ON AFLOAT.IE

THE COMMODORE¹S CUP ­– HOW IRELAND WON IT, AND WHERE IT MIGHT GO FROM HERE

Tomorrow in Afloat.ie's Sailing on Saturday blog  W M Nixon meets winning Team Captain Anthony O'Leary for a free-ranging discussion about Ireland¹s convincing international victory in the Brewin Dolphin Commodore¹s Cup, how it was done and what the future could bring. Click HERE.

Published in Commodores Cup

#1720 – Baltimore Sailing Club's Peter O'Leary has won the 1720 European championships by half a point at Howth Yacht Club over the weekend. O'Leary beat another Munster campaign, Denis Murphy's Aquatack, after an eight races series sailed in light and shifty conditions as part of Howth's inaugural Sportsboat Cup. Full results downloadable below as a jpg file.

The winning 1720 'Jacob's Bar' was sailed by helmsman O'Leary, a double Olympian, with crew Adam Hyland, Cathal Cohrell, Jamie Donegan and Youen Jacob.

Breaking up the Munster domination at the top of the 15–boat fleet was a Dun Laoghaire Sailing School entry skippered by Kenneth Rumball. Rumball's INSC.ie second placing in the final race yesterday afternoon put him four and a half points clear of TBSC's Ricochet.  Last Year's champion Anthony O'Leary in Antix was fifth. 

The first 'Sportsboat Cup' was completed after 3 successful days of racing incorporating the 1720 Europeans, J24 Eastern Championships and Sailfleet J80s. 

 

Published in 1720
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#commodorescup – An announcement of the three–boat Irish team to contest the Commodore's Cup this July is imminent, according to Afloat.ie sources this morning.

Since last October's news that Ireland is to enter the Cup there has been increased speculation about team composition. Cork Olympic helmsman Peter O'Leary's participation in last month's Key West regatta on the New York based Ker 40 Catapult was seen as the start of the campaign build up. In local Key west interviews both O'Leary and boat owner Mark Glimcher more than hint that the Ker 39 is to join his father Anthony's Ker 39 Antix on the 2014 team leaving Ireland just looking for one more boat to win back a Cup it first won in 2010. 

In the Irish Times on January 3, David O'Brien wrote that the third boat is likely to be a Solent based Grand Soleil yacht. One unconfirmed source this morning names this boat as Quokka under former RORC skipper Peter Rutter, a yacht that is currently being campaigned in RORC's Caribbean 600 series.

Quokka, a Grand Soleil 43, is one of the most successful race yachts in the UK. In 2011 she won the IRC Nationals outright. She also finished in the top 10 overall in the Fastnet 2011, won two RORC offshore races and represented Great Britain in the 2009 Commodores Cup.

Team officials from the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) have remained tight-lipped on the matter however. "It's still a fluid situation but we're working really hard to make this happen," Barry Rose said in early January but hoped to make an annoucement within the month.

Anthony O'Leary, is expected to lead the Irish team on former winner Antix and following a pre-Christmas meeting of ICRA in Portlaoise, the Grand Soleil was identified as the boat to fill Ireland's third boat slot.

More on this story as we have it.

Published in Commodores Cup

#Qkeywest –  Olympic helmsman Peter O'Leary confirms this Summer's Irish Commodore's Cup team will largely be comprised of the crews that won it in 2010. Speaking dockside after finishing third overall at Key West, Florida yesterday, the 2008 and 2012 Star Olympian for Ireland and crew member aboard Catapult, talks about having skipper Marc Glimcher and his Ker 40 join the Irish team for the Commodore's Cup this July.

O'Leary was in Key West this week with Howth's Dan O'Grady, a 1996 Olympian and David Bolton, part of the 2010 Commodore's up winning crew. The aim for O'Leary was to work up a new crew this winter for a bid at a second Irish Commodore's Cup victory.

O'Leary will be competing at the UK IRC championships on board Catapult instead of sailing his Star since the class was ditched for the 2016 Olympic regatta. Although O'Leary says it now looks too late for the reintroduction of the class, the latest plea by the Brazilian government to reinsert the class may change all that.

The American 40 footer will be joined by O'Leary's family boat, Antix, a Ker 39 (crewed by father Anthony and its regular Cork crew) and as previously reported, a UK based Grand Soleil is expected to complete the three boat Irish team.

Final Day Drama and Very Happy Sailors at Quantum Key West 2014

There was plenty of final day drama at Quantum Key West 2014 as the winners of several classes were determined during the last race. And conditions could not have been better for those winner-take-all scenarios with the southernmost point of the United States delivering the strongest winds of the regatta.

North-northeasterly breezes in the 18-24 knot range made for some spectacular racing on all three courses and enabled all 10 classes to complete 10 races for the five-day event.

No class was more closely watched all week than IRC 2, which featured six 52-footers crewed by a who's who of the professional ranks. Quantum Racing, skippered by Amway president Doug DeVos of Ida, Mich., began the day with a three-point lead and did what was necessary to secure the 52 Class championship by placing third in Race 10.

"What a great week!" DeVos exclaimed upon returning to the dock following Friday's lone race. "Great competition, great weather, great race management and great sailing conditions. This is really a fabulous event from top to bottom."

America's Cup veterans Terry Hutchinson and Ed Baird served as tactician and strategist, respectively, aboard Quantum, which wound up winning five of the 10 races. Juan Vila was aboard as navigator for entry fielded by the sailmaking company that is title sponsor of the event.

Ran Racing, the British entry skippered by Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom, finished second in the final race, but wound up two points behind Quantum for the regatta. Ran, the reigning TP 52 World Champion, won two races and placed second or third in six others to finish 5 ½ points ahead of the Italian entry Azzurra, which captured class honors at Quantum Key West 2013.

"It was a fantastic week of sailing and we are very pleased with the regatta in terms of how the team and boat performed," Zennstrom said. "It's a good start to the season, a good start to the series."

Ran and Quantum held first and second for most of Race 10, but Azzurra sailed a great last leg and skipped past both to get the gun. Vasco Vascotto (tactician), Francesco Bruni (strategist) and Guillermo Parada (helmsman) comprised the afterguard aboard Azzurra, which earned the Quantum Sails Boat of the Day award.

An anticipated duel between the top two boats in Melges 32 class never materialized as skipper Dalton DeVos and the Delta team had an on-course-side start and were never able to challenge owner-drive Alec Cutler and the Hedgehog crew.

"We wanted to get a great start and pushed the line. Unfortunately, we were just a tad early and had to turn around," DeVos said. "Hey, that's sailboat racing. They don't let you get a head start."

Multi-time Canadian Olympian Richard Clarke called tactics for Cutler, who got a great start and led around every mark in winning by more than a minute. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Jonathan McKee was tactician on Delta, which battled back to take second and actually tied Hedgehog with 15 total points. Both boats won four races, but the Bermuda entry won the tiebreaker based on the result of Race 10.

"We knew we had to go out and win the race. That was the only option," Cutler said. "The committee boat was favored and we won that end of the line. We then put the hammer down and just sailed as fast as we could."

Cutler, a former intercollegiate sailor at the Naval Academy, has competed in Key West five times and been runner-up twice in Melges 24 class. This was his first victory in the annual midwinter regatta off the Conch Republic. "Our entire crew worked really well together and our boat-handling was outstanding the whole week," he said.

Organizers with Premiere Racing deemed the most impressive performance of the regatta was put forth by skipper Tim Healy and his team on Helly Hansen, which won the 60-boat J/70 class in convincing fashion. Healy, a professional with North Sails, repeated as class champ in Key West by winning two races and placing second or third in five others.

Helly Hansen clinched the regatta by finishing third in Race 9 and therefore did not sail the final race, using that as its throw-out. Geoff Becker and John Mollicone combined on tactics and trimming while Gordon Borges worked the bow for Healy, who is also a standout J/24 sailor.

"Obviously the biggest key to success is having a good team. My guys did an awesome job of boat-handling and tactics," Healy said. "We sailed here last year so we had a real good feel for the race course. This team has also sailed J/24s together the past few years so we have a comfort level that makes a big difference."

Healy and Helly Hansen came away with the biggest prize - capturing Quantum Sails Boat of the Week honors. "We had a huge class down here last year with a lot of really good sailors so it's a great accomplishment to come out on top. Winning Key West is definitely one of the highlights of my career," said Healy, a 42-year-old resident of Jamestown, R.I. Eight different boats took first place during the week.

Hot Mess, skippered by Rob Britts of St. Petersburg, Fla., was crowned as Corinthian champion of J/70 class. Britts posted six wins and three seconds within the 14-boat sub-class comprised of all-amateur crews.

Four boats entered the final day of action with a mathematical chance to win IRC 3 class, comprised of a diverse group of designs. Arethusa, a Swan 42 owned by Phil Lotz of Fort Lauderdale, finished fourth in Race 10 to hold the lead for a third straight day. Former Olympic medalist Jeff Madrigali served as tactician aboard Arethusa, which placed seventh out of 10 boats in Race 1, but never finished lower than fourth the rest of the way. Just eight points separated the top three boats in IRC 3 with the Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens (Peter Vroon, The Netherlands) the runner-up by five points.

"We are very excited about winning our class at such a prestigious regatta," said Lotz, who had placed at Key West a couple times before. "Our boat was very good in the medium breeze that predominated this week. We tried to start cleanly and had a fairly conservative game-plan. Jeff was outstanding tactically all week and did a good job of keeping us in phase."

PHRF 1 was also up for grabs going into the last race and Spaceman Spiff, the J/111 owned by Rob Ruhlman of Cleveland, Ohio, seized the moment by winning. This was the 13th trip to Key West and the first class victory for the Spaceman Spiff program.

"We've been trying to win this regatta for a while and it feels good to finally break through. It feels even better because of the quality of competition we faced. This is some of the closest PHRF racing in which I've ever participated," said Ruhlman, who had his wife and son aboard. "We really had a blast this week. It was great sailing and all the people in the class are so friendly. We passed Teamwork on the way into the harbor and their entire crew applauded us."

Teamwork, a J/122 skippered by Robin Team of Lexington, N.C., came up short in its bid to three-peat in Key West - finishing 4 ½ points behind Spaceman Spiff.

Skipper Bill Sweetser has been bringing his J/109 Rush to Key West for 11 years and been runner-up on four occasions. The Annapolis resident sported a huge smile on Friday morning after clinching the class championship in PHRF 2 on Thursday. Sweetser steered Rush to victory in five races and placed second or third in fourth others in building an insurmountable lead that allowed him to stay ashore on Friday.

"It feels fantastic to finally win here in Key West! You could say we got the monkey off our back, or maybe it was a gorilla. I was tired of going home and hearing people say 'Too bad you got second again.' The whole bridesmaid talk was getting old," Sweetser said. "Everybody is so ecstatic. We can't wait to get the whole crew up on stage at the awards party."

Skipper Ron Buzil and his team aboard Vayu2 were wire-to-wire winners in J/80 class, which attracted 12 entries. A pair of highly-regarded professionals, Jahn Tihansky and Andrew Kerr, served as helmsman and tactician aboard the boat chartered from J/World Annapolis. This was the second straight year that Buzil had chartered the boat and the team repeated as class champs.

"We had our mojo going early and managed to build a fairly substantial lead. We never really had a bad race and I attribute that to being able to get off the line cleanly and go where we wanted," said Tihansky, owner of J/World Annapolis Performance Sailing School. "Andrew Kerr knows these waters well and did a masterful job of playing the shifts."

Little Wing, an Italian entry owned by Nicola Ardito, had the most firsts in the regatta, reeling off nine straight victories in Melges 24 class before sitting out the final race and using that as its throw-out.

Published in Racing

#Qkeywest – Ireland's Peter O'Leary on board the Ker 40 Catapult still has it all to play for in the final day of Key West regatta today. In IRC 3, an extremely competitive 10-boat class with a diverse group of designs, is still very much up for grabs.  Arethusa, a Swan 42 skippered by Phil Lotz, maintained the lead for a second straight day by placing second in the last two races on Thursday. Catapult, owned by Marc Glimcher of New York, is seven points behind in second. Tonnere de Breskens 3, a Ker 46 campaigned by Peter Vroon of The Netherlands, is just one point behind Catapult.

Key West 2014 got off to an atypically slow start due to difficult conditions the first couple days, but reliably strong winds off the Conch Republic certainly delivered on Wednesday and Thursday. Organizers with Premiere Racing have crammed six races into the last two days and just like that all three divisions are on the threshold of reaching the regatta goal of 10 for the week.

Northerly winds ranging from 12 to 16 knots allowed for another three-race day on all courses.

Hap Fauth's Bella Mente has pretty much secured overall victory in IRC 1 class on Thursday. The Minneapolis resident has steered his Judel-Vrolijk to first place in five of nine races in totaling 15 points, three better than runner-up Caol Ila R, a 69-footer owned by Alex Schaerer. With only one race scheduled on Division 1 for Friday, Bella Mente needs only to complete the course in order to win the regatta.

Spookie, the Carkeek 40 skippered by North Sails pro Steve Benjamin, has clinched victory in the High Performance Class. Heidi Benjamin is calling tactics for her husband, who has won five races and placed second or third in the other four in totaling 15 points.

IRC 3, an extremely competitive 10-boat class with a diverse group of designs, is still up for grabs. Arethusa, a Swan 42 skippered by Phil Lotz, maintained the lead for a second straight day by placing second in the last two races on Thursday. Catapult, a Ker 40 owned by Marc Glimcher of New York, is seven points behind in second. Tonnere de Breskens 3, a Ker 46 campaigned by Peter Vroon of The Netherlands, is just one point behind Catapult.

Dave Brennan, principal race officer on Division 2, is hoping to complete two races on Friday. That may not be possible with afternoon winds expected to exceed 20 knots, which might be too much for the J/70s and Melges 24s on the course.

Standings after Four Days - Top Three in Class

Mini Maxi Class (IRC 1) (IRC - 3 Boats)
1. Bella Mente, Hap Fauth , USA, 15
2. Caol Ila R, Alex Schaerer , USA, 18
3. Shockwave, George Sakellaris , USA, 24

52 Class (IRC 2) (IRC - 6 Boats)
1. Quantum Racing, Doug DeVos , USA, 20
2. Ran, Niklas Zennstrom , UK, 23
3. AZZURRA, Pablo A. Roemmers , ARG, 29.5

52 Class (Super Series) (One Design - 6 Boats)
1. Quantum Racing (SS), Doug DeVos , USA, 20
2. Ran (SS), Niklas Zennstrom , UK, 24
3. AZZURRA (SS), Pablo A. Roemmers , ARG, 28

High Performance Class (HPR - 4 Boats)
1. SPOOKIE, Steve & Heidi Benjamin , USA, 15
2. Riot, Marc Ewing , USA, 21
3. Decision, Stephen Murray , USA, 23

IRC 3 (IRC - 10 Boats)
1. Arethusa, Phil Lotz , USA, 26
2. Catapult, Marc Glimcher , USA, 33
3. Tonnerre de Breskens 3, Peter Vroon , NED, 34

Melges 32 (One Design - 7 Boats)
1. Delta, Dalton DeVos , USA, 13
2. Hedgehog, Alec Cutler , BER, 14
3. Helly Hansen Inga from Sweden, Richard Goransson , SWE, 27

Melges 24 (One Design - 6 Boats)
1. Little Wing, Nicola Ardito , ITA, 7
2. Tramp, Thomas Ritter , USA, 18
3. Zingara, Richard Reid , CAN, 25

J 70 (One Design - 60 Boats)
1. Helly Hansen, Tim Healy , USA, 15
2. Savasana, Brian Keane , USA, 42
3. Boats.com, Ian Atkins , GBR, 46

PHRF 1 (PHRF_ToT - 8 Boats)
1. Spaceman Spiff, Rob and Ryan Ruhlman , USA, 28.5
2. Fireball, Team Fireball , USA, 30
3. Teamwork, Robin Team , USA, 31

PHRF 2 (PHRF_ToT - 7 Boats)
1. Rush, Bill Sweetser , USA, 15
2. Heat Wave, Gary Weisberg , USA, 28
3. Rhumb Punch, John and Linda Edwards , USA, 29

J 80 (One Design - 12 Boats)
1. Vayu2, Ron Buzil , USA, 12
2. Rumor, John Storck, Jr , USA, 35
3. Blue Jay, Bob & Cheryl Hayward , USA, 40

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#QKeyWest–  Peter O'Leary's win  in IRC 3 earned the Lewmar/Navtec Boat of the Day award for him and the crew of Catapult in yesterday's second day of the Quantum Key West regatta off Florida Keys. Veteran professional Geoff Ewenson is calling tactics for Glimcher, who captured an IRC Sub-Class at Quantum Key West 2013. This year Glimcher is also joined by Irish Olympic sailors Peter O'Leary and Dan O'Grady, part of a work up for this Summer's Commodore's Cup on the Solent.

In the above video skipper Glimcher from New York confirms to Key West interviewer Bill Wagner the Ker 40 is joining the Irish Commodore's Cup team in July in a full on campaign based in the UK. 

After yesterday's performance Catapult now lies second overall, in the ten boat fleet, just three points behind the Swan 42, Vitesse.

IRC 3 was the most competitive class on Tuesday with the top five boats finishing within a minute of each other on elapsed time and the top eight boats inside of three minutes on corrected time.

"What a spectacular day of racing. We had a big build-up and were not disappointed," said Glimcher, who finished just 17 seconds ahead of Vitesse on corrected time. "Winning Boat of the Day is very exciting for the Catapult team."

Rain squalls and wind shifts couldn't put a damper on the competition during Day 2. Multiple storm bands that were quite severe at times challenged the race committees and forced delays. Ultimately, perseverance and patience paid off as Division 1 completed a race while Divisions 2 and 3 got in two each.

"We were seeing massive wind shifts - pre-squall and post-squall. The breeze went in a circle for a while," said Ken Legler, veteran principal race officer on Division 1. "We had to move the signal boat a couple times and once we got a race going we had to move the weather mark a couple times."

After postponing twice, Legler got a start away at 2:25 in the afternoon and it was a wild ride for the five classes competing on Division 1. Doug DeVos, skipper of Quantum Racing, saw 30-plus knots on the wind gauge.

"We saw just about everything out there. On a crazy day like this it's important for everyone to remain calm, which is the way it was on our boat," DeVos said. "You try to keep guessing what will happen, but you don't get too antsy when something different happens. You just have to accept that this is what we have and adjust."

Quantum Racing, with America's Cup veterans Terry Hutchinson and Ed Baird giving DeVos advice on tactics and strategy, scored its third straight victory in the professional-laden 52 Class. DeVos was all smiles to hold a four-point lead over Ran (Niklas Zennstrom, Great Britain) following two challenging days off the Conch Republic.

"We feel really good. How can you not? You just want to keep yourself in the regatta when the conditions are difficult. Our team is not only keeping us in it, they have us winning races," DeVos said.

Caol Ila R, the 69-footer skippered by Alex Schaerer of Newport, R.I., took first place in the Mini Maxi class ahead of 72-foooters Bella Mente and Shockwave. It was the second victory in three races for Caol Ila R, which can benefit from sailing in clean air while the two bigger boats battle it out.

"In a way it's an advantage for them," admitted Mark Mendelblatt, a member of the Shockwave afterguard. "There are times when we can tack on them and push them back, but we also have to be aware of Bella Mente."

Decision maintained the lead in High Performance Class for a second straight day after placing second in the day's lone race behind fellow Carkeek 40 Spookie. It's a tight class with only three points separating the first and fourth place entries.

"We are very evenly-matched with Spookie and it seems like we've been swapping leads with them every leg, which is exciting," said Murray, who also praised the performance of the Farr 400 Rock & Roll and the McConaughy 38 Riot. "Really, any of these boats could win the regatta. They are all well-sailed and it's been great competition so far."

Vitesse, a Swan 42 skippered by Jon Halbert of Dallas, Texas, has displayed superb consistency in placing second in all three races against a tough fleet in IRC 3. Catapult, a Ker 40 owned by Marc Glimcher of New York, has sandwiched a pair of bullets around a seventh and stands second overall with nine points.

"We have a great crew and they are sailing the boat very well in trying conditions," Halbert said. "The wind was all over the place today - we saw everything from five to 35 knots with 30 degree shifts. It was important to anticipate the wind oscillations and change sails accordingly."

Catapult's victory in IRC 3 earned the Lewmar/Navtec Boat of the Day award. Veteran professional Geoff Ewenson is calling tactics for Glimcher, who captured an IRC Sub-Class at Quantum Key West 2013.

IRC 3 was the most competitive class on Tuesday with the top five boats finishing within a minute of each other on elapsed time and the top eight boats inside of three minutes on corrected time.

"What a spectacular day of racing. We had a big build-up and were not disappointed," said Glimcher, who finished just 17 seconds ahead of Vitesse on corrected time. "Winning Boat of the Day is very exciting for the Catapult team."

Boat-handling was at a premium on Division 2 as the J/70 and Melges 24 classes were buffeted by the big breeze. There were plenty of knockdowns and round-ups as the sport boats with oversized spinnakers were pounded with sudden gusts.

Skipper James Allsopp and his team on Moxie showed tremendous skill and strategy in winning both races in J/70, largest class of the regatta with 60 boats. Former College of Charleston sailor Zeke Horowitz was on his game calling tactics on Moxie, which led after the first day of racing last year as well.

"We went out there with a plan and we stuck with it. Everything just kind of came together for us today," said Allsopp, who competed collegiately at the Naval Academy. "We got off the line well in both races and did a good job of managing the shifts. We had a good time today."

It was equally rough-and-tumble for the Melges 32 fleet with Tuesday race winner Deneen Demourkas reporting that all seven boats suffered a knockdown at some point. Demourkas steered Groovederci to victory with Cameron Appleton calling tactics and is two points behind Hedgehog (Alec Cutler, Bermuda) in the overall standings.

"I like the heavy air. You'll never hear me complain about it being breezy," said Demourkas, a finalist for the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award for 2013. "This is a strong fleet. Every boat has the potential to win the regatta."

Principal race officer Wayne Bretsch and his team on Division 3 worked overtime to get in two races, staying on the water until after 5 p.m. Vayu2, the defending regatta champ skippered by Ron Buzil of Chicago, got the gun in Race 3 after placing second in Race 2 and leads J/80 class by seven points.

There is a nice duel shaping up in PHRF 2 with a pair of J/111 entries - Team Fireball (Eddie Fredericks, Annapolis) and Spaceman Spiff (Rob and Ryan Ruhlman, Cleveland, Ohio) tied with seven points after three races. Team Fireball holds the overall lead by virtue of two bullets.

Skipper Bill Sweetser and the Rush crew extended their lead in PHRF 2 by posting a second and a first on Tuesday. Rush is six points ahead of fellow J/109 Heat Wave (Gary Weisberg, Gloucester, Mass.).

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#keywest – Ireland's 2014 Commodore's Cup bulid up began yesterday when Cork helmsman Peter O'Leary took his first tack at Key West regatta on American yacht Catapult, one of three proposed boats to contest this Summer's Commodore's Cup for Ireland. Beijing and London Olympian O'Leary, sailing in Florida with amongst others 1996 Olympian Dan O'Grady from Howth, lie fourth overall in a fleet of ten in IRC 3.  Scroll down this page for full results in IRC 3. As previously reported as well as the former Irish Olympians it is understood the New York Ker 40 has a cohort of of potential Irish Commodore's Cup crew onboard, skippered by Marc Glimcher.

A warm and sunny Monday morning greeted the sailors at Key West yesterday. The light and shifty winds meant a 90 minute delay and time for more coffee and conversation. The voice of Race Officer Dick Neville announcing a planned start was a welcome relief as it meant there would be competition on opening day.

Within minutes of Neville's announcement that race committees were planning a 1 p.m. start on all three courses, there was a flurry of activity as sailors sprang to life and began getting boats ready to go racing.

In the 21 years that Premiere Racing has been running the annual regatta off the southernmost tip of Florida there have only been a handful of days without any action. Despite a gloomy forecast, this would not be one of them.

Ken Legler completed two afternoon races on Division 1 while fellow principal race officer Wayne Bretsch got one start off on Division 3. Dave Brennan on Division 2 was not as fortunate as the breeze never stabilized long enough for his race committee to go into sequence.

"I thought Wayne Bretsch and his team exercised great patience and restraint. They waited and waited to make sure it would a fair competition then made do with what they had," said Jahn Tihansky, tactician aboard the J/80 Vayu2. "It was really nice to have a race on a day when it looked like it might not happen."

Skipper Ron Buzil and the Vayu2 team had reason to be happy after taking first in the 12-boat J/80 class for Race 1. Tactician Andrew Kerr knows the waters off Key West well and made the right calls on Monday.

"Andrew is a real guru down here and he nailed it. He kept us in breeze and kept us moving," Tihansky said. "We got out to a nice lead and were able to extend it. We came off the line cleanly, stayed in the middle of the course and picked up a couple puffs on the first beat that allowed us to pull away."

Fireball, a J/111 skippered by Eddie Fredericks, earned the victory in PHRF 1. Rounding out Division 3 is PHRF 2 with skipper Bill Sweetser and his team on the J/109 Rush coming away victorious in Race 1.

"It was certainly a challenging day. There were some big shifts and you had to kind of hunt for breeze," Sweetser said. "That being said, it was day that you needed an astute tactician and Tom Babel had us in the right place at the right time both upwind and downwind."

Legler got things going on the Division 1 course once he was confident a 4-7 knot zephyr from the south-southwest would hold. Skipper Doug DeVos and his crew aboard Quantum Racing figured things out the best in the 52 Class, winning both races. Tactician Terry Hutchinson and strategist Ed Baird combined to rally Quantum to victory in Race 1 after rounding the first weather mark in fourth.

"There's a fine line between luck and great strategy," Hutchinson joked. "We had a really nice comeback in the first race. We got two nice lifts on the second beat then found an isolated breeze on the run to the finish," Hutchinson said. "Our goal was to come ashore with five points or less so we are very happy with how things worked out."

Ran, the British entry skippered by Niklas Zennstrom, placed second in both races. Azzurra, the defending regatta champion owned by Pablo Roemmers of Argentina, posted a pair of thirds as just four points separate the top three boats.

"It was very tricky, but we ready things pretty well. Niklas got two fantastic starts and we had pretty good speed," said Adrian Stead, tactician aboard Ran. "We sailed the boat about as well as we could in the conditions so we are pleased. It was a good opening day."

In Mini Maxi class, the two 72-footers Bella Mente and Shockwave owe time to the 69-foot Caol Ila R and that made the difference on Monday. Newport skipper Alex Schaerer and his crew notched a first and a second to take a one-point lead over Minneapolis skipper Hap Fauth and the Bella Mente team.

Alec Cutler took a year off from the Melges 32 class, but you would not have known it from his performance on Monday. The Bermuda skipper steered Hedgehog to victory in both races to build an early three-point lead over Dalton DeVos and Delta. Richard Clarke, who has represented Canada in multiple Olympics, is calling tactics aboard Hedgehog, which earned the City of Key West Boat of the Day honor for its strong performance.

"It was kind of crazy out there. We had a five-knot breeze that was up and down with 40 degree shifts. Our class caught up to the bigger boats ahead of us, which made things really tough," Cutler said. "We would have been very happy with a one-four today so to put up a couple bullets it's a pleasant surprise. I thought our crew did a great job of staying patient and sticking with the wind we had instead of searching for something that may not have been there."

Vitesse, a Swan 42 owned by Jon Halbert of Dallas, Texas, placed second in both races to take the opening day lead in the highly-competitive IRC 3 class. Mark Reynolds, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time Star world champion, is calling tactics on Vitesse.

"The forecast said the wind would go right, but it actually went left. Fortunately, we went left and it worked out," Reynolds said. "We had good starts and got some good breaks."

In a class comprised of diverse designs, the top three spots in IRC 3 are held by Swan 42-footers. Massachusetts skipper Charles Kenahan steered Mahola to a pair of third place finishes and stands second overall.
J/70 is the largest class in the regatta with 60 boats and the majority of skippers supported the decision to not attempt a race. Brennan, who has been running Division 2 in Key West for years, said he never saw more than five knots of breeze and did not feel it was stable enough.

"Key West is about high-quality racing and we just simply could not provide that with the conditions we had out there today," Brennan said. "We waited and waited for sailable conditions and made every effort, but it became obvious it just wasn't going to happen."

Dave Ullman, the renowned California sailmaker who has competed in Key West many times in various classes, said it was difficult to bob around on the water for almost three hours, but applauded the race committee for not trying desperately to get in a race

IRC 3 (IRC - 10 Boats)

1. Vitesse, USA4240, Jon Halbert - 2, 2, ; 4
2. Mahalo, USA4245, Charles Kenahan - 3, 3, ; 6
3. Arethusa, USA4216, Phil Lotz - 7, 1, ; 8
4. Catapult, USA1253, Marc Glimcher - 1, 7, ; 8
5. Tonnerre de Breskens 3, NED46, Peter Vroon - 4, 8, ; 12
6. Cool Breeze, USA60432, John Cooper - 6, 6, ; 12
7. Tsunami, USA4215, Stephen Polk - 9, 4, ; 13
8. Christopher Dragon, USA4304, Andrew & Linda Weiss - 5, 9, ; 14
9. Otra Vez, USA61137, William Coates - 10, 5, ; 15
10. White Gold, USA4994, James D. Bishop - 8, 10, ; 18

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#keywest – Catapult, a Ker 40 owned by Marc Glimcher of New York, that captured IRC sub-class honors at Quantum Key West 2013 is back to defend this title later this month with Irish Olympic sailor Peter O'Leary onboard. 

Key West 2014 is gearing up for its trademark full week of racing on the aqua-colored waters off the coast of the Conch Republic. From the professional-laden 52 Class to top tier club-oriented programs in the PHRF classes, this midwinter classic offers something for everyone.

Spectators on the water will be thrilled by the sheer size and speed of the racing machines in the Mini Maxi class (IRC 1). Shockwave, skippered by George Sakellaris (Framingham, Mass.) will look to defend its title against fellow 72-footer Bella Mente (Hap Fauth, Minneapolis, Minn.) and the 69-foot Caol Ila R (Alex Schaerer, Newport, R.I.).

Action figures to be intense in the 52 Class (IRC 2), which features an international fleet of six boats loaded with the world's top professionals. Key West is the kickoff event for the 52 Super Series, which was won last year by Quantum Racing. Doug DeVos will skipper the Quantum entry in Key West with America's Cup veteran Terry Hutchinson aboard as tactician.

"We had a very successful 2013 season and are looking forward to getting off to a good start in 2014," said Hutchinson, noting that Ed Baird (strategist) and Juan Vila (navigator) complete a talented afterguard. "We love having Doug driving the boat. He's the leader of the whole program and brings great energy to the team."

Azzurra, owned by Pablo Roemmers of Buenos Aires, Argentina, took first in Key West last year and will have Vasco Vascotto calling tactics again as it seeks a repeat. Ran, which captured the 52 world championship, will look to improve upon its third place finish from a year ago with British pro Adrian Stead calling tactics for owner-driver Niklas Zennstrom.

"It's an impressive fleet and it's going to be quite a battle. Azzurra and Ran are both formidable programs and you can't count out boats like Interlodge, which is a real rocket ship," Hutchinson said.

Defending champion Decision, a Carkeek 40 skippered by Stephen Murray (New Orleans) headlines the High Performance Class and will no doubt duke it out daily with sister ship Spookie (Steve & Heidi Benjamin, Norwalk, Conn.).

Robin Team (Lexington, N.C.) and the boys aboard Teamwork will look to repeat in PHRF 1 while going against another J/122 and four J/111 designs in this competitive 8-boat class.

Rick Wesslund was a regular at Key West from 2004 to 2010 with his El Ocaso program and returns after a three-year hiatus with his newly-purchased J/122. "This is our debut regatta and we are really eager to put our best foot forward. We are cautiously optimistic, but know this will be a real good performance test for the boat. Robin has a terrific team and that is always a well-sailed boat so we will have to be on top of our game in order to win," said Wesslund, who earned the PHRF Boat of the Week honor in 2006.

Regatta chairman Peter Craig is excited about the 10-boat lineup in IRC 3, which will have such diverse designs as a Swan 42, Sydney 43, Mills 43 and Ker 43. Catapult, a Ker 40 owned by Marc Glimcher of New York, captured IRC sub-class honors at Quantum Key West 2013 and will be challenged by an influx of new entries.

Among the newcomers are Andrew and Linda Weiss (Mamaroneck, N.Y.), whose Sydney 43 was designed specifically to the IRC rating rule. Andrew Weiss is eager to see how his boat performs against boats of similar size, but different design characteristics.

"We are very happy with the makeup of the class. There is a nice mix of designs and a lot of strong teams," said Weiss, who has competed against the Swan 42s as well as Catapult and the Mills 43 Cool Breeze (John Cooper, Cane Hill, MI) in the past. "It will be interesting to see which boat comes out on top over the course of five days and in varying conditions."

Newport-based professional Tim Healy will be back to defend his title in J/70 class, which has attracted a whopping 62 boats. Runner-up Brian Keane (Weston, Mass.) and third place finisher Bruno Pasquinelli (Dallas, Texas) will also be back as the J/70 class contests its Midwinter Championship.

A real bounce-back one design at Key West this year is the J/80 class, which will have 13 boats on the starting line. Skipper Ron Buzil and his Vayu2 team will try to repeat as regatta winners against a deep fleet that includes former North American champion Rumor (John Storck) and several other accomplished programs.

"Our owners love coming to Key West and we're thrilled to have a very competitive fleet this year," said Chris Chadwick, national class secretary for the J/80. "Premiere Racing always puts on a quality regatta and the racing is second to none."

Talk to the owners and skippers heading for Quantum Key West 2014 and you will hear a similar story.

Dave Franzel attended what was known as Key West Race Week way back in 1981 as crew for a J/24 program. The founder of the Boston Sailing Center returned 32 years later as a J/70 skipper and was crowned as Corinthian champion after finishing eighth overall in the 39-boat fleet.

"I had an absolute blast. It was one of the best regattas I've ever been to. It made me wish I hadn't waited so long to come back," said Franzel, a resident of Somerville, Mass. "I was very impressed with the race management. The courses were sound and the starting lines were solid. We got in 12 races in five days and you can't ask for more than that."

Deneen Demourkas will be sailing her Melges 32 after being nominated for the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award for her performance on the Farr 30 circuit in 2013. Her husband, John Demourkas, will be racing in J/70 class as the couple makes their annual pilgrimage from Santa Barbara, Cal.

"John and I have been attending this event the last 14 years and we love the relaxation Key West affords, particularly after a hectic holiday season," Demourkas said. "And then there is Race Week, which always delivers. You can pretty much guarantee great sailing conditions, beautiful weather and good competition. Why wouldn't you be here?"

John and Linda Edwards have been bringing their Rhumb Punch racing program to the southernmost tip of Florida every January since 1999. Quantum Key West 2014 will be the 15th year of participation for the couple.

"There's just something special about Key West," said Edwards, a Maryland pharmacist. "You combine amazing weather with great competition, that's a perfect formula. If you don't love sailing in Key West, you don't love sailing."

The Rhumb Punch team has enjoyed plenty of success in Key West, winning eight of nine races to capture J/29 class in 2007. The Edwards moved into the Farr 30 class the following year and finished third in PHRF 1 at the 2010 regatta.

"It's become a family tradition. We come down every year with the same team and stay in the same house," said Edwards, who always sails with Quantum professional Clarke McKinney as tactician. "I think a big part of the attraction is that our wives love being in Key West. It's great to be somewhere warm in the middle of January and there is so much fun stuff to do."

"We have a terrific fleet and there should be some exciting competition across the board," said Farley Fontenot, executive vice president of Quantum Sail Design Group. "I think the reason this regatta survives and thrives is because it rolls with the trends of the sport."

This will be the third straight year that Quantum will serve as title sponsor and Fontenot said the Michigan-based sail-making company has enjoyed its partnership with Premiere Racing.

"It's been a great relationship because we both have the same interests in mind, which is to keep an iconic regatta moving forward in tough economic times," said Fontenot, who will be in Key West coaching the Melges 24 team aboard Delta. "Quantum's goal for this is to perpetuate our sport by supporting one of the greatest events in the country."

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#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.

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About boot Düsseldorf: With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. From 18 to 26 January 2020, around 2,000 exhibitors will be presenting their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

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Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Messeplatz
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668
Web: https://www.boot.com/

The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

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