At 27 years of age Peter O'Leary has more achievements than many Irish sailors gain in a lifetime. Ireland's Beijing Olympic representative talks in this podcast below about his first tack in an Oppy (aged four), and how those formative years on the Owenabue river in Crosshaven have shaped his sailing career.
His family continue to be a big influence (including one Grandad who won a Bronze medal at the 1968 Mexico Olympics). His early sailing was in Optimist and Laser dinghies and the ocassional cruiser until he started racing Cork's own 1720 sportsboat, a move the former Helmsmans Champion says was another big influence on him.
O'Leary reveals how local encouragement from Royal Cork club mate and four times Olympian Mark Mansfield first put him into the Star in 2007, a move that has given Ireland some stellar results.
He's sailing the Star now with David Burrows in a campaign for London 2012, the pair having just completed a month of training in Miami, Florida.
The pair have secured a competitive edge through a new P Star boat that is proving very fast downwind. The boat and the sailors themselves will be back in Ireland next September for a crack at the class European title when it is sailed in Dun Laoghaire.
Peter (left) and his stand in German Crew Frithjof Kleen celebrate their win in the Sail for Gold Regatta in August. Photo: Onedition
Peter O Leary – Sailing CV summary
1996 Optimist Europeans Palma
1997 Optimist Europeans Slovenia
1999 ISA Representative Youth Worlds – Finland 24th place from 31 countries
2000 ISA Representative Youth Worlds – Sydney 12th place from 30 countries
2001 ISA Representative Youth Worlds – France 6th place from 39 countries
2000 / 2001/ 2002 Laser Irish National Champion
2005 / 2006 1720 National Champion
1999 – 2006 Tactician on several winning keelboats inc. Boat of the Series at Scottish Series(2004 and 2006) and at Sovereigns Cup 2005.
2006 ISA Helmsmans Champion
2008 Olympic Representative, Beijing
Below a youtube clip of Star keelboat sailing from Germany's Kiel Week