Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

O'Leary Father & Sons Among Cork Harbour Sailors Heading for Bacardi Cup, Miami

26th February 2020
The Star class Bacardi Cup begins on March 1 The Star class Bacardi Cup begins on March 1

Cork Harbour sailors will be part of a record-breaking Bacardi Cup Regatta in Miami next week when more than 500 sailors from around the world will race in Biscayne Bay Florida at the 93rd edition of the Cup and Bacardi Invitational Regatta from March 1-7, 2020. 

Ireland's Commodore's Cup-winning captain Anthony O'Leary will race a Viper 640 (named Antix) while sons Peter and Robert are back in their Star boat Archie for the week of competition.

From Myrtleville, North Sails Ireland boss Nigel Young is also Miami bound. Racing under the burgee of Guernsey Yacht Club, Young is racing the Melges 24 Black Seal with Richard Thompson, Mike Claxton, Catherine Alton and William Goldsmith.

See the entry list here.

The O'Leary family are, of course, Bacardi Cup regulars with the brothers coming very close to lifting the prestigious Cup on a race track where they have enjoyed notable previous success.

Offering a unique blend of world-class racing, atmosphere and social events, the Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Invitational Regatta is undoubtedly one of the world’s most prestigious regattas that, in 2020, will welcome a record-breaking 196 entries, attracting an international entry list of professional rock star racers and super-talented Corinthian teams.

The goal is to build on the long tradition of the Star Class and maintain and champion performance in other popular classes, whilst retaining the mix of outstanding racing on Biscayne Bay and superb shore side atmosphere and socials for which the event is renowned.

Across the fleets, sailors from around the USA will be joined by teams representing nineteen countries, including Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and Thailand. Four courses will operate simultaneously and this year, the iconic Star Class will be joined by the J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640, and brand new for the race track this year are the VXOne sports boat and AV8 and Windfoil classes.

Racing for the Star Class gets underway in Biscayne Bay on Monday 2 March, with the J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640, VXOne and windfoils taking to the track on Thursday 5 March. The Star fleet will contest their traditional one race per day in a true test of endurance relished by the sailors, whilst all other fleets will sail eight races across three days. 

“We have an outstanding race management team who join us for the event and ensure scrupulous attention to detail,” commented Mark Pincus, Regatta Chairman. “We are super pleased to continue our path of innovation by embracing the latest technology and new for this year will be the MarkSetBot robotic mark laying system. These self-propelled marks are controlled by a smartphone and will help us deliver fast mark laying whatever the weather throws at us. The race tracks are complex and unpredictable, ensuring lots of opportunities for teams to really test themselves and guarantee some intense action.”

The largest entry goes to the Star Class where World Champions, Olympians and America’s Cup legends will crowd out the fleet in the pressure battle for the elusive Bacardi Cup title. The Star Class competed at eighteen Olympic Games over eighty years and holds a pedigree for producing legends of the sport and plenty of them will be in Miami. Numerous mainsails will feature the golden Star logo, awarded only to Star Class World Champions, including the renowned Paul Cayard (USA), who has been sailing the Star for over 40 years alongside his successful career in the America’s Cup and big yacht racing. Gold stars on the track will also be carried by two-time World Champion Xavier Rohart (FRA), and 2004 Olympic Bronze medalist and reigning World Champion Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL), who will be racing with his record five-time Star World Champion crew Bruno Prada (BRA). Kusznierewicz is also a Gold and Bronze Olympic medalist in the Finn class, and Prada is an Olympic Silver and Bronze medalist in the Star. The 2016 Star World Champion and runner up at the 2019 Worlds Augie Diaz (USA) will be racing, as will Diego Negri (ITA) who won the 2018 Bacardi Cup and this year is crewed by the renowned Frithjof Kleen (GER). Looking to trump them all however and keep a tight hold of their title will be the 2019 Bacardi Cup winners, Eric Doyle and Payson Infelise (USA), who will once again hope to enjoy the sweet taste of victory and retain the honour of drinking Bacardi rum from the winner’s trophy come Sunday 7 March.

The J/70 fleet has a compelling line-up of forty teams with the potential to seize the crown, as demonstrated at the two winter warm-up events where different faces claimed the top three standings. Those likely to feature up front include the USA teams headed up by Joel Ronning, Ryan McKillen, John Heaton, Trey Sheehan and Pamela Rose. But equally, some of the newer teams such as Great Britain’s JOLT, which includes plenty of Olympic talent, could pack a punch and change the leaderboard guard. Of course, the reigning J/70 World Champion, Paul Ward (GBR), will no doubt also set the race track rivalry stakes.

Plenty of twists and turns will unfold in the fully-primed Melges 24 fleet, where both the reigning silver and bronze World Championship medalists, Bruce Ayres (USA) and Andrea Pozzi (ITA), will be on the starting line. Amongst those also up for the challenge in the twenty-eight boat fleet will be the best two overall finishers from the two warm-up events here in Miami over the winter, Bora Gulari (USA) and Travis Weisleder (USA), who will resume their neck and neck performance.

Last year’s champion in the Viper 640, Mary Ewenson, returns to defend her title but will have to go through some tough opposition to be on top of the twenty-two other teams on the track. Plenty of talent will join the action across the VXOne, AV8 and Windfoil classes and new heroes will be born.

Published in Star
Afloat.ie Team

About The Author

Afloat.ie Team

Email The Author

Afloat.ie is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

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)

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2020

Wave button for Afloat new dates

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

quantum sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating