O'Leary strikes for gold

 

SAILING: AFTER A busy week at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing venue, Ireland emerged with a gold medal in the highly competitive Star keelboat class when Peter O’Leary with German Frithjof Kleen rounded off a memorable week in Saturday’s medal race finale.

The pair had a string of top six results including a race win early on that bounced them into contention and ahead of multiple gold medallists such as Torben Grael and Robert Scheidt and world champion Iain Percy.

“It was nice to do it at the venue, two years prior to the main event so its a big plus and a step forward to where we want to be – hopefully we can build on it,” O’Leary said yesterday.

The gold was almost compromised on Friday when Kleen stumbled overboard just yards from the finish but though they dropped from eighth to 16th in the race after he was recovered by O’Leary, they were still assured of at least a bronze.

In the final, a “flyer” by Loof to get ahead of O’Leary and Kleen failed and the pair were clear winners.

Meanwhile, Laser Radial single-hander Annalise Murphy also delivered on her goals for the event when she secured a place in the medal race final from the Gold fleet that she qualified for on the strength of a great performance that included a race win and second place on the same day.

Irish 49er skiff sailors Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern reached their target of the Gold fleet in their class and finished 24th overall.

Other Irish results included a race win in the Laser Radial Silver fleet for Tiffany Brien to finish fourth overall in that division followed by Saskia Tidey in 25th.

The other Star class contenders, Max Treacy with Anthony Shanks didn’t sail the final two days of racing due to boat problems.

Ed Butler and Ben Lynch placed 18th overall in the 49er Silver at their first major international event.

Amongst the men’s single-handed Laser fleet, veteran campaigner James Espey finished fourth in the Silver fleet while Chris Penney was 29th. In the Finn single-hander, Ross Hamilton was 37th out of 51 boats.

Ireland off to a flying start

IRELAND OPENED in strong form at the biennial Rolex Commodore’s Cup at Cowes yesterday when all three boats almost delivered a double hat-trick of wins and hold the overnight lead.

Conditions began in light winds off Osborne House on The Solent where the remains of the highest tides of the year added some spice to the short inshore course.

Anthony O’Leary’s Antix in Class 1, Dave Dwyer’s marinerscove.ie and Rob Davies Roxy 6 all won their opening races. The result was almost repeated in the afternoon except Dwyer was beaten into second place by just five seconds. The other teams trail the Irish Cruiser Racing Association team by some 16 points overnight. Teams GBR Red and Hong Kong are tied for second place.