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Peter & Robert O'Leary in Action at First Junior Star Worlds in Florida

4th February 2019
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Crosshaven brothers Peter (left) and Rob O'Leary on their way to Walker Cup victory in Miami last year. The change positions and race for Junior World Honours at the same venue today Crosshaven brothers Peter (left) and Rob O'Leary on their way to Walker Cup victory in Miami last year. The change positions and race for Junior World Honours at the same venue today

Cork Harbour brothers Robert and Peter O’Leary start the first ever Star Junior World Championship at Miami, Florida, at Coral Reef Yacht Club today. 

Following a successful week for Ireland's Finn Lynch in the Laser class at the same race track last week, the O'Leary's go into battle on Biscayne Bay today.

As Afloat.ie reported previously, Robert, normally crewing for his older brother Peter (sailing twice at the Olympics for Ireland), will helm with Peter crewing. The Irish duo are no strangers to Miami waters either sailing to victory at the Walker Cup this time last year. 

"Robert, normally crewing for his older brother Peter, will helm with Peter crewing"

About 35 skippers 30 and under will be racing starting today February 3rd through Wednesday the 6th to win the title of Star Junior World Champion. Fifteen Nations are represented in Miami and many newbies will helm one of the oldest and most traditional boats, the Star. Designed in 1911 and still holding very popular regattas around the world in which some of the heroes of our sport race.

At the Junior Worlds in Miami, there will be the youngsters, skippers who have yet to be 31 year old, but they will race with crew with no age restrictions, and quite many of them have history in the class. Like Frithjof Kleen (GER), Star World Champion who attended the London Olympics in 2012 and won the SSL Finals 2017, sailing here with young Italian Laser Radial World Champion Guido Gallinaro (ITA), or Brian Fatih (USA), who finished 7th at the Games in Weymouth and won with Mark Mendelblatt (USA) the SSL Finals twice, crewing in Miami for British Laser sailor Lorenzo Chiavarini (GBR), and again, Star World Champion Samuel Gonçalves (BRA), crewing for Nick Grael (BRA) and Austin Sperry (USA), 11th at Bejing Olympics, at the bow of American Laser sailor Charlie Buckingham.

All of them, and many more, experienced crew will sail with and support the young skippers, but some of the entries are not new to the class at all. Like Daniel Cayard (USA), who was born among Star sailors with both his father, Paul, and his grandfather, Pelle Peterson (SWE), Star World Champions – his grandfather also won the Silver medal in Kiel in 1972 – or Robert O’Leary (IRL), normally crewing for his older brother Peter (twice at the Olympics for Ireland), will helm with Peter crewing, or American Joshua Revkin (USA), who won the Star Worlds in 2017 crewing for Eivind Melleby (NOR), will helm with Arthur Anosov (USA), and again Dutch skipper Thomas Allart (NED) sailing with Kilian Weise (GER) with whom he finished third at the Eastern European Championship in Trieste 2018. There is even an under 30 girl helming at the Junior Worlds, Chloe Holder, from San Francisco, who will take some time of her 420 junior programme. Too bad the Star World Champion and SSL Finals 2018 winner, Jorge Zarif (BRA), won’t be able to attend due to his Finn Olympic campaign commitment.

The regatta will officially begin tomorrow with the first warning signal at 12.00 (EST) on Biscayne Bay, two races per day are scheduled each day from Monday to Wednesday with no races starting later than 2.00 pm.

Published in Star
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The Star keelboat is a 6.9 metres (23 ft) one-design racing keelboat for two people designed by Francis Sweisguth in 1910.

The Star was an Olympic keelboat class from 1932 through to 2012, the last year keelboats appeared at the Summer Olympics at which Ireland's representatives were Peter O'Leary and David Burrows.

Ireland has performed well in the class internationally thanks to some Olympic campaigns including a bronze medal at the Star World Championships in 2000, won by Mark Mansfield and David O'Brien.

The boat is sloop-rigged, with a mainsail larger in proportional size than any other boat of its length. Unlike most modern racing boats, it does not use a spinnaker when sailing downwind. Instead, when running downwind a whisker pole is used to hold the jib out to windward for correct wind flow.

Early Stars were built from wood, but modern boats are of fibreglass and carbon construction.

The boat must weigh at least 671 kg (1,479 lb) with a maximum total sail area of 26.5 m2 (285 sq ft).

The Star class pioneered an unusual circular boom vang track, which allows the vang to effectively hold the boom down even when the boom is turned far outboard on a downwind run.

Another notable aspect of Star sailing is the extreme hiking position adopted by the crew and at times the helmsman, who normally use a harness to help hang low off the windward side of the boat with only their lower legs inside.

At A Glance – Star Specifications

Designer Francis Sweisguth
Year 1910
Crew 2 (Skipper + Crew)
S + 1.5 C ≤ 250 kg (550 lb)[1]
Draft 1.016 m (3 ft 4 in)
Hull Type keelboat
Hull weight ≥ 671 kg (1,479 lb)
(including keel)
LOA 6.922 m (22 ft 9 in)
LWL 4.724 m (15 ft 6 in)
Beam 1.734 m (5 ft 8 in) at deck
1.372 m (4 ft 6 in) at chine
Hull appendages
Keel/board type bulb keel
401.5 ± 7 kg (885 ± 15 lb)
Rig
Rig type sloop
Mast length 9.652 m (31 ft 8 in)
Sails
Mainsail area 20.5 m2 (221 sq ft)
Jib/genoa area  6.0 m2 (65 sq ft)
Upwind sail area ≤ 26.5 m2 (285 sq ft)

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