In what might be the first competitive meeting since the controversial 2008 Olympic Star selection trials – that ended up in front of an Olympic Council of Ireland Appeal hearing – two of Ireland's 2008 keelboat campaigners Peter O'Leary of Baltimore and Royal Cork and Max Treacy of the Royal St. George Yacht Club are back on–the–water and contesting this week's 2018 Bacardi Cup in Miami.
The Cup is one of the oldest and most traditional sailing events in the world. What started out as a three-day event with less than 10 boats in 1927, now attracts more than 200 sailors each year from some 23 countries and the attention of international media. It is is legendary as one of the few sporting events in which weekend enthusiasts have the opportunity to compete head on with Olympian and World Champion athletes.
As long time Afloat.ie readers will be aware, it was O'Leary who went on to represent Ireland in Beijing in 2008. A decade on, and now sailing with new crew, brother Robert, the Cork Harbour ace has taken first advantage yesterday and is placed sixth in the 76–boat fleet while Dublin Bay's Treacy, sailing with 2008 partner Anthony Shanks, is six places behind in 12th overall after one race sailed.
In his new Star boat, named Dafni, O'Leary – who also sailed at London 2012 – is already very much up to speed winning last month's Star Walker Cup at the same venue. It was a result that earned them a February 2018 Afloat.ie Sailor of the Month award in to the bargain.
Yesterday, American's Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada, of the USA took the first winners gun on Biscayne Bay, Monday.
They finished ahead of Eivind Melleby and Joshua Revkin of Norway with Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi of Italy in third place.
Paul Cayard and Mark Strube USA finished fourth and fifth were Eric Doyle and Payson Infelise USA, with Ireland's O'Leary brother's sixth.
Top ten after the first race:
1. Augie Diaz / Bruno Prada, USA
2. Eivind Melleby / Joshua Revkin, NOR
3. Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi, ITA
4. Paul Cayard / Mark Strube, USA
5. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise , USA
6. Peter O'Leary / Robert O'Leary, IRL
7. Robert Scheidt / Brian Fatih, BRA
8. Thomas Allart / Arthur Lopez, NED
9. Peter Vessella / Phil Trinter, USA
10. Luke Lawrence / Pedro Trouche, NED
Full results are here