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O'Leary and Milne are Sailors of the Month for March

21st April 2010
O'Leary and Milne are Sailors of the Month for March
Peter O’Leary and Stephen Milne are the Afloat.ie/Irish Independent “Sailors of the Month” for March after their superb performance to place second overall in the Olympic Star Class Bacardi Cup series against an international fleet of 84 boats in Florida.

Though the north-south duo have teamed up only relatively recently, it seems that Cork Harbour and Belfast Lough can

do the business to produce a crew of world standard. At 26, O’Leary is only beginning to settle into the specialized and hugely demanding hothouse of Star class boats, but he has shown enough dedication and innate talent to be taken seriously in the big boys’ game.

He has linked up with German Star ace Marc Pickel, who is both a specialist builder of these exotic boats, and a leading coach. O’Leary and Milne were racing one of his P-Star boats, which outclass most others in the vital goal of getting weight amidships, and having the narrowest possible rudder and keel.

But there was much more to it than boat optimization. Pickel was in Miami as coach to the Irish crew, and for his part O’Leary has undergone an intense sports science programme which, in 18 months, saw him put on a weight gain of pure muscle from 80kg to 92kg in 18 months.

The breezy Miami event was a severe test of boats and crews, but in the Irish case, everything held together, and their final scoreline included a first and two thirds. Those astern included the double Olympic Gold Medallists Mark Reynolds and Hal Haehnel of the US, and defending champion Peter Brumby of Bermuda.

The Irish pairing’s next outing on the international stage will be in May. Meanwhile, their success in Florida has boosted business for Mark Pickel and the P-Star range. But those jumping in with an order will find that Peter O’Leary is already there – he has a deposit placed on an even more highly-tuned new boat.
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