After winning the British IRC National Championships outright in June, O’Leary captained the successful ICRA Commodores’ Cup team at Cowes before returning to home waters last month and the 1720 National title in Baltimore.
That title secured a nomination to the annual ‘champion of champions’ event in yesterday. Joining him on his Sailfleet J80 were local sailors Dylan Gannon who won the 1720 title with him, and former Olympian Dan O’Grady who also sailed in the winning Commodores’ Cup team. Having placed runner-up in at least four of these championships, yesterday’s final round was a close affair for the last two races as the breeze died.
O’Leary said: “I’d have taken any of the wins this year as a Christmas present. To get three plus this makes this a special year.”
Outgoing champ Ben Duncan, the Irish-based New Zealander and SB20 class nominee in 2013, was edged out as Cork sailor and ex-All-Ireland champion Stefan Hydew was the main challenge to O’Leary, losing after countback on the tie-break. In an all-Cork final fleet top half, Monkstown’s Alex Barry placed third while Ian Nagle of RCYC missed a podium place by just half a point.