Saturday 24 March 2018

Sailing: O'Leary Irish charge

Fresh winds graced the opening day of the Sail for Gold Regatta at Weymouth yesterday, where 989 sailors from 56 nations started the six-day World Cup series finale at the London 2012 Olympic sailing venue.

Several of the largest classes are holding qualifier rounds to determine Gold and Silver fleets for later in the event, but yesterday saw Ireland’s best results come from the Star keelboat class, where Beijing 2008 veteran Peter O’Leary produced a fourth place and lies 13th out of 36 boats.

David Burrows – O’Leary’s campaign crew – was unable to take part this week and has been replaced by German Frithjof Kleen.

Ireland’s second Star class contenders are Max Treacy and Anthony Shanks, who had a promising start in yesterday’s first race and held a place among the leaders until the second stage, where they slipped down the fleet to finish 17th.

That result was followed by a 32nd place in race two and the pair are 32nd overall this morning. Wind and rain are expected off the Isle of Portland today, which could allow Ireland’s 49er skiff sailors Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern to show off their heavyairs boat-handling techniques that badly let them down yesterday with a capsize in their third race of the day.

The pair had earlier delivered a fourth and an eighth, arguably the best result of the entire squad given that these boats sail shorter, faster courses and so have an extra race.

However, the pair have set their sights on reaching the Gold fleet for this event and using their discard so early as the capsize in race three barely allowed them time to recover three places from last place to finish 24th in their flight.

Other Irish results included 16th for Annalise Murphy in the women’s Laser Radial, the best of the three Irish boats.

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