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Maurice ‘Prof’ O’Connell Joins Media Team At Star Europeans & Sailors League In Garda

12th May 2019
Prof and his Star partner Ben Cooke leading the first race at the 2007 Bacardi Cup in Miami Prof and his Star partner Ben Cooke leading the first race at the 2007 Bacardi Cup in Miami

Maurice ‘Prof’ O’Connell joins the media team for next week’s Star Europeans and Star Sailors League on Lake Garda.

The professional sailor and coach, and one-design expert with North Sails Ireland, will be providing the in-studio commentary and analysis with Digby Fox for live action on StarSailors.com along with Shirley Robertson who will be out on the water.

Prof is no stranger to broadcast sailing coverage, having been in the RTÉ studios for the last three Olympic Games — and he’s certainly no stranger to the Star class, with his final race at the Star Worlds in Miami only 11 years ago.

This year Ireland’s focus will be on the O’Leary brothers Peter and Robert, set to compete against a who’s-who of the racing world from this Wednesday 15 May.

Published in Star
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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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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