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Robert O'Leary & Torvar Mirsky Up to Sixth Overall at Star Worlds

19th June 2019
Robert O'Leary (left, bow number 61) competing at the Star World Championship in Italy Robert O'Leary (left, bow number 61) competing at the Star World Championship in Italy Credit: YCCS/Studio Borlenghi

Australian Torvar Mirsky and Cork Harbour's Robert O'Leary are up to sixth overall at this week's Italian-based Star World Championships after three races sailed in Porto Cervo. The pair sailing the Irish Star Dafne now count a 16, 8, and 10 and are two points off fourth overall. Results are downloadable below.

Yesterday was the third day of racing at the Championship organized by the YCCS in collaboration with the International Star Class Yacht Racing Association (ISCYRA) and the support of Main Partner Audi and Technical Partners Quantum Sails and Garmin Marine. The games are still open with the world class sailor Augie Diaz now in the lead followed by Eivind Melleby and Mateusz Kusznierewicz.

Again the breeze took its time to kick in and the Race Committee kept the AP flag hoisted until 1 PM. An hour later, after a general recall, the Star sailors got the event's third race underway. Breeze from the southeast was at 6 to 7 knots at first and in the end built gradually to 10 knots.

Skipper Eivind Melleby, winner of the 2017 Star Class World Championship, and his crew Joshua Revkin worked their way up through the fleet and finished in first place. This win brings them from fifth place in the provisional overall results to second. Second place today was won by Christian Paucksch with Melanie Bentele - one of just two women racing in the Championship- who have been a team to watch all through the event. The Italian Roberto Benamati, Star Class World Champion in 1991, who is sailing with Alberto Ambrosini, placed third today.

Augie Diaz and Henry Boening staged an excellent recovery and finished fourth today and thanks to this result they are currently in the lead overall, trailed by the Norwegian Eivind Melleby. Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Bruno Prada are currently in third place overall after placing eleventh today. Paul Cayard is inching up on the podium: after having finished the day in ninth place overall yesterday, he's in fourth place overall today. So the games are still open with three races left on the calendar.

The Norwegian Eivind Melleby had these words: "It was a good race with pretty stable breeze and small shifts that were hard to play but it was for everyone. Downwind we had really good speed and I think that's how we won the race. We expect to have pretty much the same conditions in the next couple of days then a bit windier on Saturday, so we're half way through the Championship and we will give it our all."

The German Christian Paucksch commented on his performance: "We had a good start on the far left near the pin and then we got every shift right up until the mark. We also had a good tactic for the first downwind run. We tried to control the fleet on the second beat and we managed to do it quite well, then on the last run the fleet split a little and we stayed with the ones going towards the shore. Eivind Melleby passed us just at the end which is too bad, but if I think that when my girlfriend and I started sailing the Star Championship together we said that we should always try to leave a boat behind. We should be very proud of ourselves today as we left quite a few behind."

Today, June 20th, the forecast calls for light and shifty breeze. The first Warning Signal is scheduled for 12 noon.

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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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