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Royal Cork O'Leary Brothers Take Bronze Medals at Star Junior Worlds

7th February 2019
Robert (left) and Peter O'Leary (right) on the podium in Miami Robert (left) and Peter O'Leary (right) on the podium in Miami Photo: Martina Orsini

Royal Cork Yacht Club and Baltimore Sailing Club's Robert and Peter O'Leary were bronze medalists at the first Star Junior World Champion Under 30 after a six-race regatta in the water of Biscayne Bay in Miami, Florida yesterday.

“It’s been great racing this week, I was at the helm but my brother still did most of the tactics – said Robert O’Leary – and we are already looking forward to the next event in Riva del Garda next year in October, it shall be good. This was the first Junior World Championship and it’s been so successful with 36 competitive boats, it’s good to see all these young guys in the class.”

American sailor Luke Lawrence is, with crew Alexey Selivanov, the first Star Junior World Champion hosted by the Coral Reef Yacht Club and organized by the International Star Class.

Oleary starRobert (left) and Peter O'Leary on their way to third overall at the Star Junior Worlds in Miami. The sole Irish team had support from Cork based marine firms CH Marine and sails by North Sails Ireland from Crosshaven Photo: Martina Orsini

The championship started off well for the team who won the inaugural race of the series on Monday, then handed the lead last night to Charlie Buckingham and Austin Sperry (USA) and even today, on the last downwind they were second to Tomas Hornos (USA) and Pedro Trouche (BRA). But the finish line was upwind and they managed to pass a couple of boats, all they needed to conquer the first ever Star Junior World Championship title.

"I was at the helm but my brother still did most of the tactics"

“We had a great time, we worked very well together and we had much fun – said an enthusiastic Luke Lawrence – We have to thank doctor Jim Revkin without whom this would not have happened if he hadn’t called me five days before the event and told me Alexey was ready to crew for me and gave us the boat 8507 and new sails. He went straight to the point of this event, he helped the new guys enter the class and keep them going. There are a lot of Star sailors who gave their boats and helped this event become possible, we have 36 boats here! I am now planning to stay in the class and race more, maybe attend the SSL Finals and I will train for that!”

Luke Lawrence is 28 years old and has been sailing for most of his life, first the Laser then his real passion the Finn, and in the past few years he fell for the Star attending the main events such as the Worlds and the SSL Finals in 2014. A little break from sailing in the past year or so, before the great comeback winning the first Star Junior World Championship in the familiar waters of Biscayne Bay.

The day started early with a 10:30am warning sequence and a very technical race with about 10 knots from East, some big shifts and a change of leaders. The young Italian Laser Radial Youth World Champion Guido Gallinaro with German Olympian crew Frithjof Kleen won the first race over the 35 teams racing.

Before the start of the last race the top teams were all within a few points and you could feel the tension on the race course that caused a general recall. This was a five leg race with the finish line set upwind, not an irrelevant detail because at the last downwind gate American Tomas Hornos with Brazilian crew and winner of the last SSL Finals Pedro Trouche were leading the overall ranking. Hornos and Trouche finished the race second behind the Irish brothers Robert and Peter O’Leary, but Lawrence and Selivanov managed to overtake enough boats on the last upwind leg to win the event by three points.

“Tricky conditions with a lot of back and forth – said Tomas Hornos with Pedro Trouche – but we are very happy with the results, it’s always good to be on the podium. We will be now busy with the Walker Cup and Midwinters starting tomorrow, it’s a long week for us. We don’t know yet what is coming after this, maybe Europeans/SSL Grand Slam maybe the Worlds in Porto Cervo, surely we’ll continue sailing the Star together.”

For most of the fleet is now time to move to the next event starting tomorrow here at the Coral Reef Yacht Club; the Walker Cup on Thursday and Friday followed by the 2019 Midwinters on Saturday and Sunday. While the next Silver Star is set for May 11th to the 19th at the Europeans in Riva del Garda, first time organized together with the Star Sailors League for what it will also be the SSL Breeze Grand Slam. At the end of the month of May the Western Hemisphere in San Diego, California, and in June the Star World Championship 2019 in Porto Cervo, Italy.

The curtains are closing on the inaugural Star Junior World Championship, with huge support by the International Star Class particularly by Executive Director Jon VanderMolen, the Star Legacy Foundation officer Larry Whipple and the Secretary of District 20 Austin Sperry.
This was the first event of a series of great ones to come over the years.

Top ten teams:

1 - USA Luke Lawrence – Alexey Selivanov
2 - USA Tomas Hornos – Pedro Trouche
3 - IRL Robert O’Leary – Peter O’Leary
4 - USA Charlie Buckingham – Austin Sperry
5 - BRA Nick Pellicano Grael – Samuel Gonçalves
6 - GBR Lorenzo Brando Chiavarini – Brian Fatih
7 - ITA Guido Gallinaro – Frithjof Kleen
8 - AUS Jake Lilley – Lewis Brake
9 - MEX Juan Ignacio Perez – Mark Strube
10 - ARG Facundo Olezza – Frederico Melo

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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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