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Displaying items by tag: Peter O'Leary

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.

Published in Star
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Cork Harbour brothers Peter and Robert O’Leary from Royal Cork Yacht Club have won the first race of the Star class Bacardi Cup Cup one on a typical Biscayne Bay day in Miami, USA.

The annual Cup kicked off today with a beautiful and very typical Biscayne Bay day which saw the 65 boat race get underway in a south-easterly breeze of about 16 knots.

Today it was all about the iconic Star Class, with the J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640 and the newly welcomed VXOne sports boat and AV8 and Windfoil classes beginning their competition on Thursday 5 March.

As Afloat previously reported, Ireland will be represented in the Viper and Melges classes by Anthony O'Leary and Nigel Young respectively.

After the skippers briefing at Coral Reef Yacht Club, the 130 sailors headed to the water for a scheduled 1200 hours start. Principal Race Officer Carl Schellbach hoisted the U-Flag after the first general recall, which saw over half the fleet cross early, and got the fleet off on the second attempt in stunning race track conditions.

"The Irish brothers delivered a superb downwind strike to claim the lead"

Paul Cayard (USA) and his Brazilian crew Pedro Trouche had a dominant start on the pin end but couldn’t break away and were soon overhauled by the Italian-German partnership of Diego Negri and Frithjof Kleen who led round the first mark. They were closely pursued by Danish skipper Jorgen Shoenherr and his German crew Markus Koy, winners of the Star Midwinter regatta in January on the same race track, and the ‘king of the bay’ Augie Diaz (USA) with Henry Boening (BRA). The Irish brothers Peter and Robert O’Leary were not far behind and delivered a superb downwind strike to claim the lead going into the gate and maintain ownership of the race through to the finish.

“It’s good to be back in Miami, and it is a very good way to start the regatta, even though it is a long series with five more races. We just have to keep working hard and see how it goes,” commented Peter O’Leary. “I think it was good to get out of the pack early and just be clean. Downwind we were pretty quick, we went to the left gate at the bottom which took us to the right hand side of the course for the second upwind and we defended the lead from there.”

While the Irish team secured a significant win, it was neck and neck for second and third and hard to separate Paul Cayard with Pedro Trouche and the 2019 Star World Champions Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Bruno Prada (BRA). They were super close, but the Race Committee had no doubt in awarding second place to the Polish-Brazilian partnership.

Pushing hard in the final downwind were early race leaders Negri and Kleen, but they fell foul of the jury who flagged them for rocking and a penalty turn just before the finish handed fourth place to Eivind Melleby (NOR) and Josh Revkin (USA).

The sixty-five Star Class teams will kick off race 2 of the 93rd Bacardi Cup with a scheduled start time of 1200 hours for another intense day of race track duels on Tuesday 3 March. Before that, tonight all sailors and officials will be hosted by Eddie Cutillas at the magnificent Bacardi Building for the traditional welcome cocktail, where the BACARDÍ rum team will serve up cocktails and fun. The nightly parties ensure the enjoyment continues long after the finish line. The next social event will be the Mid-Week Party at Shake-a-Leg Miami on 4 March to mark the half-way stage of the event and the Prize Giving Dinner on Saturday 7 March

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Cork Harbour sailors will be part of a record-breaking Bacardi Cup Regatta in Miami next week when more than 500 sailors from around the world will race in Biscayne Bay Florida at the 93rd edition of the Cup and Bacardi Invitational Regatta from March 1-7, 2020. 

Ireland's Commodore's Cup-winning captain Anthony O'Leary will race a Viper 640 (named Antix) while sons Peter and Robert are back in their Star boat Archie for the week of competition.

From Myrtleville, North Sails Ireland boss Nigel Young is also Miami bound. Racing under the burgee of Guernsey Yacht Club, Young is racing the Melges 24 Black Seal with Richard Thompson, Mike Claxton, Catherine Alton and William Goldsmith.

See the entry list here.

The O'Leary family are, of course, Bacardi Cup regulars with the brothers coming very close to lifting the prestigious Cup on a race track where they have enjoyed notable previous success.

Offering a unique blend of world-class racing, atmosphere and social events, the Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Invitational Regatta is undoubtedly one of the world’s most prestigious regattas that, in 2020, will welcome a record-breaking 196 entries, attracting an international entry list of professional rock star racers and super-talented Corinthian teams.

The goal is to build on the long tradition of the Star Class and maintain and champion performance in other popular classes, whilst retaining the mix of outstanding racing on Biscayne Bay and superb shore side atmosphere and socials for which the event is renowned.

Across the fleets, sailors from around the USA will be joined by teams representing nineteen countries, including Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and Thailand. Four courses will operate simultaneously and this year, the iconic Star Class will be joined by the J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640, and brand new for the race track this year are the VXOne sports boat and AV8 and Windfoil classes.

Racing for the Star Class gets underway in Biscayne Bay on Monday 2 March, with the J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640, VXOne and windfoils taking to the track on Thursday 5 March. The Star fleet will contest their traditional one race per day in a true test of endurance relished by the sailors, whilst all other fleets will sail eight races across three days. 

“We have an outstanding race management team who join us for the event and ensure scrupulous attention to detail,” commented Mark Pincus, Regatta Chairman. “We are super pleased to continue our path of innovation by embracing the latest technology and new for this year will be the MarkSetBot robotic mark laying system. These self-propelled marks are controlled by a smartphone and will help us deliver fast mark laying whatever the weather throws at us. The race tracks are complex and unpredictable, ensuring lots of opportunities for teams to really test themselves and guarantee some intense action.”

The largest entry goes to the Star Class where World Champions, Olympians and America’s Cup legends will crowd out the fleet in the pressure battle for the elusive Bacardi Cup title. The Star Class competed at eighteen Olympic Games over eighty years and holds a pedigree for producing legends of the sport and plenty of them will be in Miami. Numerous mainsails will feature the golden Star logo, awarded only to Star Class World Champions, including the renowned Paul Cayard (USA), who has been sailing the Star for over 40 years alongside his successful career in the America’s Cup and big yacht racing. Gold stars on the track will also be carried by two-time World Champion Xavier Rohart (FRA), and 2004 Olympic Bronze medalist and reigning World Champion Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL), who will be racing with his record five-time Star World Champion crew Bruno Prada (BRA). Kusznierewicz is also a Gold and Bronze Olympic medalist in the Finn class, and Prada is an Olympic Silver and Bronze medalist in the Star. The 2016 Star World Champion and runner up at the 2019 Worlds Augie Diaz (USA) will be racing, as will Diego Negri (ITA) who won the 2018 Bacardi Cup and this year is crewed by the renowned Frithjof Kleen (GER). Looking to trump them all however and keep a tight hold of their title will be the 2019 Bacardi Cup winners, Eric Doyle and Payson Infelise (USA), who will once again hope to enjoy the sweet taste of victory and retain the honour of drinking Bacardi rum from the winner’s trophy come Sunday 7 March.

The J/70 fleet has a compelling line-up of forty teams with the potential to seize the crown, as demonstrated at the two winter warm-up events where different faces claimed the top three standings. Those likely to feature up front include the USA teams headed up by Joel Ronning, Ryan McKillen, John Heaton, Trey Sheehan and Pamela Rose. But equally, some of the newer teams such as Great Britain’s JOLT, which includes plenty of Olympic talent, could pack a punch and change the leaderboard guard. Of course, the reigning J/70 World Champion, Paul Ward (GBR), will no doubt also set the race track rivalry stakes.

Plenty of twists and turns will unfold in the fully-primed Melges 24 fleet, where both the reigning silver and bronze World Championship medalists, Bruce Ayres (USA) and Andrea Pozzi (ITA), will be on the starting line. Amongst those also up for the challenge in the twenty-eight boat fleet will be the best two overall finishers from the two warm-up events here in Miami over the winter, Bora Gulari (USA) and Travis Weisleder (USA), who will resume their neck and neck performance.

Last year’s champion in the Viper 640, Mary Ewenson, returns to defend her title but will have to go through some tough opposition to be on top of the twenty-two other teams on the track. Plenty of talent will join the action across the VXOne, AV8 and Windfoil classes and new heroes will be born.

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It looks like Baltimore Sailing Club's Peter O'Leary made the most of his two boat tuning in Star keelboats in Cork Harbour back in July as the double Olympian took second in the Star Eastern Championships in Austria today with new crew Joost Houweling of Holland.

The Eastern Hemisphere Championship has just dropped the curtains on Attersee, Austria, after staging a wonderful show with different conditions every day, so that the sailors had to adjust again and again to the wind, weather and waves and could not lower their attention. Wednesday was the "last summer day"; Thursday is the day between the seasons and Friday is called the "first autumn day" here in Attersee: winds from the north, up to 17 knots, 30 km / h, with big waves and the water almost ink black, proved the saying right.

The final ranking was decided only on the last day. The fleet was extremely nervous for the first start and as a result there were two general recalls before the committee hoisted the Black Flag that put the fleet in order. Third time was the charm and the last day was on.

Alexey Zhivotovskiy from Russia was the best at mastering the conditions on this last day. He was in the lead at the first windward mark, and kept the lead until the very end to win the race. Second place went to Peter O'Leary from Ireland, who kept improving over the week. The third place went to Christian Paucksch from Germany with his crew Vera Geck from Austria. She was the first woman on the podium in this series. The overall leader Augie Diaz closed the race with a 4th place and that was enough to ensure him the Eastern Hemisphere Championship title and he decided to not compete in the seventh race. Star Class President, Hubert Merkelbach from Germany, lost his last small chance to win the title with a 17th place finish.

“The Attersee is a beautiful lake and the sailing there is very good – said EHC Winner Augie Diaz – but, what makes the Attersee so special, is the people! The Club and organizers did a great job and they made us feel very welcome. I really enjoyed sailing with Christian Nehammer and the Attersee is his home so he knows the lake well- big advantage for us. The key for us was that we were fast and were able to be consistent”.

The start of the seventh and final race followed immediately afterwards. The big surprise at the first mark was Albert Sturm, a 77-year-old Austrian Star sailor, rounding first and heading downwind on his own. The winner of the 4th race, Piet Eckert, was able to take the win also in the last one, with Hubert Merkelbach getting back on track and securing a 2nd place finish, followed by Haico de Boer (NED), in third with crew Pedro Trouche.

The 2016 Star World Champion, Augie Diaz (USA), with his crew Christian Nehammer (UYC Attersee), earned another title for his rich collection. He didn’t manage to get a single bullet in the series, but with an absolutely consistent performance, he is the 2019 Eastern Hemisphere Champion. He won the series with an 8 point margin and a great score sheet: 2, 2, 3, 6, 2, 4, DNC!! The 2nd place went to Peter O'Leary (IRL) with Joost Houweling, who registered solid improvements throughout the week, (7, 11, 2, 18, 1, 2, 4).

One of the surprises of Attersee, was undoubtedly Haico de Boer from The Netherlands with his Brazilian crew Pedro Trouche. He has never shown at a major international event, but we shall expect it from now on. Hubert Merkelbach was one of the favourites with crew Markus Koy, both German, but three not so strong finishes ruined their overall results. They managed to finish 4th overall with 13, 1, 1, 2, 14, 14, 2.

The second Silver Star at stake for September is the North American Championship, beginning tomorrow, the 10th, at Toms River Yacht Club, New Jersey USA, with the official Opening Ceremony.

Results are here (just overlook the Italian flag for O'Leary's sole Irish entry!) 

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Peter O'Leary and Robert O'Leary from Baltimore Sailing Club and Royal Cork Yacht Club have finished 14th overall in a fleet of 90 at the Star Sailors League Breeze Grand Slam and European Championship in Italy. 

Results are here

In the end, the event went the way of Brazilian pairing Robert Scheidt and Henry Boening who had been the dominant force for much of the week at the Star Sailors League Breeze Grand Slam and European Championship, but they did not have it all their own way

It was an early start and a long day out on the water for some, with a single final qualifying race at 08:30 followed by two knockout races before the winner-takes-all final. Racing was once again held in the Peler wind, running from north to south down the lake and, as in the previous day, the cooler air funneling down two valleys created some significant shifts, particularly at the top end of the course where the breeze softened and the shifts increased in both size and frequency.

The qualifying series, quarter final, and semi final could scarcely have delivered a more mouthwatering final. Of those who made it through from the qualifying series, it was early showers for Eric Doyle (USA) and Payson Infelise (USA), Fredrik Lööf (SWE) and Brian Fatih (USA), and Hubert Merkelbach (GER) and Markus Koy (GER). They were soon followed home by Roberto Benamati (ITA) and Alberto Ambrosini, and Eivind Melleby (NOR) and Joshua Revkin (USA) and Diego Negri (ITA) with Frithjof Kleen (GER).

This left four teams who had been standout performers all week and it was hard to call who might walk away with the title. Of: Scheidt and Boening; Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Frederico Melo (POR); Paul Cayard (USA) and Arthur Lopes (BRA); and Xavier Rohart (FRA) and Pierre Alexis Ponsot (FRA).

Rohart and Ponsot in particular had found incredible form at the tail end of the event, winning the final race of the penultimate day, then the first race this morning, before picking up another win and a second in the knockout stages.

It was Kusznierewicz and Melo, however, who finished qualifying in top spot, earning a free pass to the four-boat final. They may well wonder whether this was a blessing or a curse as they appeared to struggle to get fired up in their single final race and never really challenged for the win.

For his part Cayard, celebrating his 60th birthday out on the rainy Lake Garda, was also looking solid and his unparalled tactical skill was coming into its own as the fleet sizes reduced. “To win this, you will need a perfect start, be fast and then it will come down to some metres here or there at some point,” he predicted ahead of the start.

The American sailor, so revered here in Italy for skippering the Italian Il Moro di Venezia to Louis Vuitton Cup success back in 1992, barely put a foot wrong early on and led for the first lap of the final race. However, a split in the fleet saw Rohart and Scheidt, on the right of the second beat, sail past. By the final windward mark the French led Scheidt by a distance, with Cayard and Kusznierewicz further back still.

“We’ve tried really hard in the last few days to develop our downwind skills,” explained Rohart after racing. “And we said on that last upwind ‘okay, right we need to make a big gap here to prevent him coming back’, but Robert is such a specialist it was always going to be tough.”

With lighter winds and limited waves, Scheidt’s downwind speed advantage appeared reduced in the semi final, even with free pumping allowed and it was easy to believe the French had done enough by the final windward mark to take victory. What followed was a nail-biting race to the finish with Scheidt clawing in metres on the French team using all his skill to finally overhaul them right at the line. In winning, the Brazilian pairing claim the SSL Breeze Grand Slam title, European Championship title, and the biggest stake of the $100,000 prize purse. No doubt Scheidt will return to his home here in Garda a very tired, but happy man.

Despite a variable forecast and unusually wet weather, the first ever combined Star Sailor’s League Grand Slam Breeze and European Championship has been an outstanding success. Among the 92 boats competing where some of the finest sailors you will find anywhere in the world, but also taking part where any number of amateurs and weekend sailors going up against their heroes.

Most of the fleet will gather again in less than a month’s time in Porto Cervo, Italy, for the 2019 Star World Championship, where a fair amount of SSL Ranking points will be at stake and the World title, and then, the top 10 ranked with up to 15 VIPs will attend the SSL Finals 2019 in Nassau, The Bahamas, from December 2nd to the 7th.

1 BRA Robert Scheidt Henry Boening
2 FRA Xavier Rohart Pierre-Alexis Ponsot
3 USA Paul Cayard Arthur Lopes
4 POL Mateusz Kusznierewicz Frederico Melo
5 ITA Diego Negri Frithjof Kleen
6 NOR Eivind Melleby Joshua Revkin
7 ITA Roberto Benamati Alberto Ambrosini
8 GER Hubert Merkelbach Markus Koy
9 SWE Fredrik Lööf Brian Fatih
10 USA Eric Doyle Payson Infelise

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Cork Harbour's Peter and Robert O'Leary - and Ireland's sole entry - are 19th from 90 at the Star Sailors League Grand Slam Breeze and European Championship.

Download full results here

Robert Scheidt and Henry Boening (BRA) delivered another masterclass on the second day of racing after a big day of racing in Riva del Garda, Italy.

There will be plenty of weary sailors after an epic three-race day in winds that hovered around the high teens. But with variable winds predicted later in the week, the race committee wisely decided to take advantage of today’s weather to provide flexibility later in the series.



It was not just the breeze that was taking its toll on the teams, however, as the 1.5 mile beats consistently saw a drag race to the right-hand side of the course, making it an effective conveyer belt towards the windward mark and a hiking contest to get there first.

After day one, where tactics had been much the same as today, the race committee added some port bias to the startline to reduce the crowds at the committee boat end. It certainly saw a spread in the field with many fighting for the pin end and several teams coming unstuck in doing so. Scheidt’s day looked as though it would get off to a bad start when a port tacker managed to make a mess of the bunch of boats queuing at the pin in Race 1, of which the five-time Olympic medalist was one.

Scheidt showed his class, however, and by the first mark had miraculously hauled his way up to seventh picking off a few extra positions to finally end up third. Consistently fast, he was always near the front and was usually able to pick off a few spots downwind, showing once again why he is considered by many to be the best downwind sailor in the world. His 3, 5, 2 scoreline across the three races sees him lead the overall results by some six points, but there were plenty of other teams looking dangerous in these testing conditions.

Diego Negri (ITA), sailing with Frithjof Kleen (GER) also had a good day picking up a 1, 10, 3. With another win on their scorecard from day one and a discard in play after four races – allowing them to drop a UFD (over the startline) in yesterday’s second race – they now sit at 2nd overall and, like Scheidt, are looking consistently strong downwind. “I think downwind I have often been quick and I think that comes from sailing a Laser all those years,” Negri explained. “It has been a while for me since I sailed a Laser, but the years sailing that boat put you in touch with the waves and that was very important today. But Frithjof was also doing a great job working the boat today.”

Another sailor showing their form was 2012 Olympic star gold medalist, Freddie Lööf (SWE), who improved throughout the day to take the win in the final race by a country mile. Lööf was one of those who struggled near the raft of boats at the pin end in race one: “The first race was difficult as the left side of the startline was really biased, so it was hard to get out of that side. Then they changed things later on and it was great for the rest of the day. It was still hard to get off the line and get over to the cliffs in space but that is the same for everyone.” Lööf’s 11, 3, 1 is particularly impressive as his crew, Brian Fatih (USA), is nursing an injury after being hit in the back by another boat yesterday.

One of yesterday’s top performers, Paul Cayard (USA), looked set to continue his form, taking a second in the first race of the day. But bad starts in the second and third races saw him struggling to break into the very top placings. His 2, 24, 10 over the course of the day is hardly a disaster and he did extremely well to mitigate the damage, but he’ll expect better results tomorrow.

If the day cannot be categorized as a disaster for Cayard then the last race of the day will certainly be labelled such by Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Frederico Melo (POR) who were looking fast all day taking a sixth in race one and victory by a big margin in race two. “For us we have been really enjoying the downwind and I think we have been going really fast,” Mateusz said at the end of the second race. But fighting for a podium position on the final run of the day the Pole’s mast snapped in two leaving him to drift towards the finish ­– where he still managed to pick up a 27th for his drifting efforts.

Tomorrow looks set for more of the same with a 1pm start and two races scheduled, and will be streamed live on internet with expert commentary from double Olympic gold medallist, Shirley Robertson (GBR) and Star Olympic campaigner and coach, Maurice O’Connell (IRL). On the water, the latest in hi-tech camera technology, as well as 3D tracking Graphics, will provide thrilling viewing.

1 BRA Robert Scheidt Henry Boening
2 ITA Diego Negri Frithjof Kleen
3 POL Mateusz Kusznierewicz Frederico Melo
4 USA Paul Cayard Arthur Lopes
5 SWE Fredrik Lööf Brian Fatih
6 USA Eric Doyle Payson Infelise
7 FRA Xavier Rohart Pierre-Alexis Ponsot
8 ITA Roberto Benamati Alberto Ambrosini
9 GER Ubert Merkelbach Markus Koy
10 CRO Marin Misura Tonko Barac

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Maurice ‘Prof’ O’Connell joins the media team for next week’s Star Europeans and Star Sailors League on Lake Garda.

The professional sailor and coach, and one-design expert with North Sails Ireland, will be providing the in-studio commentary and analysis with Digby Fox for live action on StarSailors.com along with Shirley Robertson who will be out on the water.

Prof is no stranger to broadcast sailing coverage, having been in the RTÉ studios for the last three Olympic Games — and he’s certainly no stranger to the Star class, with his final race at the Star Worlds in Miami only 11 years ago.

This year Ireland’s focus will be on the O’Leary brothers Peter and Robert, set to compete against a who’s-who of the racing world from this Wednesday 15 May.

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