The Delta Lloyd Olympic Regatta at Medemblik opened today with an extremely windy start to the six day event following the trend of the previous European events. The strong North-Easterly wind provided excellent racing with thrills and spills in all classes. This is an extremely important event for the Irish Star Class sailors as it sees their olympic trials get under way for the right to represent Ireland at the Olympic Regatta at Weymouth in July 2012 and with the recently announced elimination of the class from the Olympic scene in 2016 it will surely be the start of a tension filled and hugely competitive year.
Today saw the start of the epic competition between our own Peter O’Leary of Royal Cork and his crew David Burrows in which they will face Maxwell Treacy and Anthony Shanks of Dublin. As is usual in the International Star Class, they will be facing a fleet of Olympic Gold Medalists and World Champions in this the toughest of the fleets. Not only are the two Irish crews competing against one another in this the first of the Irish Olympic trials, but in the final analysis it will be necessary to qualify Ireland to obtain one of the very scarce places for the Olympic Regatta.
With over 30 knots registered in their racing area, the Star Class was postponed until 5pm to allow for the wind to settle but it was still around 20 knots when the fleet started their first race after 6pm. Two races were sailed with O’Leary and Burrows finishing in 5th place counting a 6th and 5th and Treacy and Shanks finishing in 10th place counting a 12th and 9th. Gold Medalists Robert Scheidt and Iain Percy finished first and second over all respectively with world renowned sailor Torben Grael finishing in 9th place.