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26 May 2009, 11:15 am
O'LEARY and GOODBODY Surf Into Their First Silver Star Championship Victory
Peter O'Leary and Tim Goodbody
Peter O'Leary and Tim Goodbody Celebrate their Silver Star

Star Eastern Hemisphere Championship 2009
Hyeres, France

It came down to the final set of waves during the eighth race of the 2009 Star Eastern European Championship to determine that Irishmen Peter O'LEARY and Tim GOODBODY would be awarded their first Silver Star.
No one could have predicted the interesting developments of the final day in Hyères. The breeze filled in from 100º on Saturday and the Star Eastern European Championship fleet set out for the windiest races of the regatta. It was not too windy, however, for four-time Olympian, Xavier ROHART who suffered injuries in a cycling accident last week, to execute a perfect pin end start and hit the starboard tack layline to the first weather mark just ahead of Lars GRAEL and Renato MOURA (BRA) . George SZABO and Rick PETERS (USA) had managed to keep a loose cover on Flavio MARAZZI and Enrico DE MARIA (SUI) , who went into the seventh race one point ahead of him in the overall standings, to round the first weather mark in third place. Andrew MACDONALD and Brian FATIH and MARAZZI and DE MARIA were in hot pursuit.

Rohart/ Ponsot took the low road with GRAEL and MOURA and then surfed their way up to lead Peter O'Leary and Timothy GOODBODY, Dan Lovrovic and Marin Lovrovic Jr. and Szabo/Peters around the right-hand gate at the bottom of the leg. Grael/Moura, in third, led around the left gate.

Rohart/Ponsot held their lead throughout the second beat. They bore away to take the low road while a battle for second ensued between GRAEL and MOURA and O'Leary/Goodbody behind and to windward of them. The Irish prevailed down the run and finished second in the race.

Going into the seventh race, O'LEARY and GOODBODY were winning the regatta. Their second place finish had launched them four points ahead of Robert SCHEIDT and Bruno PRADA's, who had OCS'ed in the seventh race. SZABO and PETERS had pulled ahead of MARAZZI and DEMARIA and ROHART and PONSOT had closed the gap, but were in a distant fifth place going into the final race.

The waves were steeper and there were more white caps for the final race in 15-18 knots. The same teams dominated the top of the fleet during the second race of the day and the deciding race of the regatta. Going into the first leeward gate, the Brazilian coach was lamenting and the American coach complimented the PRO, "this couldn't be a nicer day." The situation that precipitated those comments was that SZABO and PETERS led around the slightly favored right gate and SCHEIDT and PRADA were giving it their all to grind through the fleet, yet rounded the left gate in third overall. ROHART and PONSOT, O'LEARY and GOODBODY and MARAZZI and DEMARIA rounded the right gate in 2, 4, 5, respectively.

Racing stayed tight all the way through the end. SCHEIDT and PRADA surged across the finish line in first. ROHART and PONSOT won the day with their second place finish in the race and O'LEARY and GOODBODY nipped out SZABO and PETERS. MARAZZI and DEMARIA followed within seconds and then came GRAEL and MOURA.

Sorting through the points, O'Leary/Goodbody claimed the title and their first Silver Star. Commented O'LEARY on the Irish victory, "We're coming along. All of the work in the gym is starting to pay off and it is nice to sail at the weight as everyone." GOODBODY sailed the Finn at the Olympics and has been working out an gaining muscle weight for his
the pair's Star efforts.

SCHEIDT and PRADA missed out on winning their fourth Silver Star by two points and George SZABO and Rick PETERS took the final rung on the podium. In addition to their keeper trophies, the podium finishers were awarded bottles of French wine. Andy MACDONALD and Brian FATIH also won a trophy and a bottle of wine as the top Masters team. Most of the sailors packed up and prepared for the dash up to Medemblik, Holland and the Delta Lloyd Regatta. COYCH, Ville D'Hyeres and the over 40 volunteers were thanked by the Star Class for their efforts and Rick PETERS presented the club with a half model of a Star boat for their efforts at hosting the championship.

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Lynn Fitzpatrick
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