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Cork's O'Leary Brothers 13th After Race One of Bacardi Cup

4th March 2019
Nicholas (left) and Robert O'Leary competing in the first race of the 2019 Bacardi Cup in Miami Nicholas (left) and Robert O'Leary competing in the first race of the 2019 Bacardi Cup in Miami Photo: Martina Orsini

Nicholas and Robert O'Leary were 13th in race one of the 2019 Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta in Miami yesterday. It was a new departure for the O'Leary campaign with 2020 Vendee Globe hopeful Nicholas taking the place of Peter on the tiller of the family's Star keelboat IRL 8527, named 'Brotherly Love'.

The new Baltimore Sailing Club combination is the only Irish crew competing in the Star class in Florida but as Afloat.ie previously reported their father Anthony is racing in the Viper class this week at the same venue.

Results after day one are here

A sunny and very hot South of Florida morning welcomed the 128 Star sailors at Coral Reef Yacht Club for the first day of the 92nd Bacardi Cup.

The regatta is one of the most appreciated competitions in the sailing calendar, with a long and celebrated history starting in Havana, Cuba in 1927. Since then, with only ten boats in the line-up, the Bacardi Cup has grown into one of the world’s major sailing events with peak records of more than 100 entries. In 2018, the Bacardi Cup Organizing Committee extended an invitation beyond the Star Class, to embrace other high-profile one-design fleets, making the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta one of the most attended spring sailing events. The J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640 and Flying Tiger 7.5 will begin their racing on Thursday, March 7th, but today it was all about the Star Class.

Star sailingStars go downwind in Miami Photo: Martina Orsini

After the skippers briefing, the 64 teams headed to the Biscayne Bay race course for a 11:55 hours start. No surprise the fleet was eager to get going, with PRO Carl Shellbach giving two general recalls before Race 1 got underway. The black flag played its deterrent role and only three boats were over the line, among them Polish Olympic Gold and Star World Champion Mateusz Kusznierewicz, racing with World Champion crew Firthjof Kleen.

The upwind leg opened with a light breeze of 6/7 knots from ashore, with most of the fleet opting for what they predicted was the favourable left side. First to the windward mark was Italy’s Diego Negri with crew Sergio Lambertenghi, winner of the 2018 Bacardi Cup, followed by the Norwegian World Champion Eivind Melleby with Josh Revkin (USA). The two exchanged positions in a tussle to the downwind gate, before Negri/Lambertenghi stepped up their pace to reclaim the advantage in a tricky second upwind leg. Behind, Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada came through, in a masterclass of ‘right place at the right time’ as the wind began its big shift to the right. A few boat lengths into the last leg saw the morning wind drop, giving way to a different breeze from the land to give the race an unexpected reaching finish.

Letting the fleet know they have every intention of defending their 2018 title, Negri and Lambertenghi kept their lead in front of Augie Diaz/Bruno Prada, with Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise finishing in third. After starting strong, Eivind Melleby/Joshua Revkin could only hold onto an eighth place.

“It is such a great feeling to be leading this excellent fleet,” smiled Diego Negri after racing. “The day was really tricky with two pressures fighting each other, so the first half of the race the left side was favourite while on the second half it was the right that ended with a reaching finish. We kept eyes well open, we kept control and we managed to finish with a bullet in a first beautiful race.”

Tonight, teams are guests of Eddie Cutillas at the beautiful Bacardi Building for the traditional welcome cocktail, where the BACARDÍ rum team will greet and host the competitors. BACARDÍ has sponsored the event since its inception in 1927. The nightly parties make sure the fun continues long after the finish line. Next social event will be the Mid-Week Party at Shake-a-Leg Miami on March 6th to mark the half-way stage of the event and the Prize Giving Dinner on Saturday, March 9th.

Before that, tomorrow another sailing day awaits the 64 teams for Race 2 of the 92nd Bacardi Cup, with an 11:55 starting sequence and more head to head battles set to unfold.

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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