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Displaying items by tag: James Espey

#CORKKingston – Belfast's James Espey lies 41st from 53 in the Gold fleet of the Laser Worlds in Canada and Cork's Fionn Lyden is 12th from 53 in the silver fleet. Both fleets have sailed three races of their final series. Results are HERE.

Ireland has already qualified for the Olympics in the Laser class, thanks to Espey's efforts in Santander, the focus for both Irish sailors in Kingston will be on achieving their best results in advance of the forthcoming Irish Olympic Laser trial.

Yesterday began with strong winds of 15 knots from the south. As the day progressed the wind lowered to 8 knots, and kept competitors on their toes with tricky conditions and shifting winds.

Previous regatta leader Philipp Buhl, Germany, had a tough day, finishing 15, 16 and 27, dropping to 3rd overall, with Great Britain's Nick Thompson moving up to 1st. Thompson stayed at the front of the pack, playing the breeze and finishing 7, 2, 4. Thompson has a 20 point lead going into the final day of racing. Australia's Tom Burton moved up to 2nd today with a 15, 27, 2.

Yesterday Stephano Peschiera from Peru, qualified his nation for a spot in the 2016 Olympic Games. This is the first time Peru has earned a sailing berth in the Olympics through the qualification process. Seven other nations earned their Olympic Birth by sailors qualifying for Gold fleet, with one berth still undecided. It will go to the top sailor in silver flight representing an unqualified nation. Joaquin Blanco, Spain and Alexandr Denisiuc, Moldova are the top two competitors in Silver flight who's nation have yet to qualify.

Tomorrow is the last day of Laser Standard World Championship Racing on Kingston Waters. Racing begins at 0900, with three races scheduled.

Top ten 1. Nick Thompson, GBR, 27 points
2. Tom Burton, AUS, 47
3. Philipp Buhl, GER, 52
4. Tonci Stipanovic, CRO, 53
5. Pavlos Kontides, CYP, 55
6. Christopher Barnard, USA, 64
7. Bruno Fontes, BRA, 68
8. Matthew Wearn, AUS, 73
9. Charlie Buckingham, USA, 73
10. Sam Meech, NZL, 74

 

Published in Laser
Tagged under

#saildlr – A forecast of strong winds looks set to sweep Annalise Murphy to the the top of the fleet in Medemblik this week and assure her of the single Irish place at the Olympic test event in Rio in August. Already the Dun Laoghaire solo sailor has made the gold fleet, curently in fifth overall, clear head of four other Irish rivals in her 82–boat fleet. Likewise Belfast's James Espey in the mens division is counting four top ten results after another solid day yesterday with a seventh and a seventh to put him eighth overall, critically he's placed in the gold fleet with discard still intact. He leads four other Irish trialists.

Also competing in Medemblik for just two places at Aqueece Rio, Brazil are radial saiors Aisling Keller, Aoife Hopkins, Erica Ruigrok and Nicole Hemeryck. Irish Laser men competing are Fionn Lyden, Chris Russell, Finn Lynch and Darragh O'Sullivan.

Published in Olympic

#sailDLR2015 – Ten Irish Laser sailors are fighting for two places at this year's Olympic test event in Rio in August but it is the London 2012 incumbents who are producing the results on a windy day one of an Irish trial, sailed as part of the massive 700–boat Delta Lloyd regatta in Holland.

Dun Laoghaire's Annalise Murphy, sailing in her optimum conditions, opened her Dutch account with a first and a third to be fourth overall, putting down a marker to would be rivals Aisling Keller, Aoife Hopkins, Erica Ruigrok and Nicole Hemeryck.

Belfast mens Laser ace James Espey had a solid first day on the Ijsselmeer with an eighth and an eighth scored to put him 12th overall. Next best to Espey is Schull's Fionn Lyden in 48th. Chris Russell, Finn Lynch and Darragh O'Sullivan are also racing. 

The selection rules say the Irish sailor ranked the highest at the conclusion of this week shall be recommended for Aqueece Rio in August.

Full results here

It was a strong-wind opening day for the 700 boats competing at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, Holland.

Poland's world-class windsurfing squad has always enjoyed the strong breeze, and Pawel Tarnoski leads the RSX men's windsurfer division after a perfect day of three race victories. Zofia Noceti-Klepacka leads the RSX women's division with scores of 2,1,2.
In the women's skiff, the 49er FX, Dutch team Annemieke Bekkering and Annette Duetz blasted around the course with incredible consistency, racking up 3,3,3 to lead the regatta, although the Aussie team in 2nd place, Tess Lloyd and Caitlin Elks, also sit on 9 points with scores of 1,4,4.
It's a similar tie-break story at the top of the men's 49er leaderboard; New Zealand's young team of Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski hold the lead in the men's skiff fleet, but on equal points in 2nd place is Australia's Joel Turner and Lewis Brake. Near the back of the fleet, but not surprising after their first day ever of competition in the highly challenging 49er, is the team from Oman, Musab Al Hadi and Hashim Al Rashdi. "If we can get round the course, and not crash into anyone, we'll be happy," said Al Hadi, although he was disappointed to finish outside the time limit of the final of their three heats, after multiple capsizes on the last leg of the race.
Part of the challenge of racing on the IJsselmeer is that the shallow 5-6m waters generate a short choppy wave pattern that makes it very easy to stick the nose of a fast boat like the 49er into the back of the wave, resulting in pitchpoles and capsizes. It's a similar problem for the high-speed catamaran, the Nacra 17. However this didn't upset the World No.1s from France, Billy Besson and Marie Riou who dominated the multihull fleet with 1,3,1 scores, sitting 10 points in front of Great Britain's Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves in 2nd place just ahead of Olympic medallists from Australia, Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis.

annalise_delta_lloyd_2015.jpg

Annalise in race winning form on Day one of Delta Lloyd regatta in Holland. Photo: Sander van der Borch

Matthew Wearn from Australia did well in his side of the three-way draw in the 162-boat Laser qualifying fleet, with scores of 1,2 leaving him well placed after day one. Rutger van Schaardenburg is the top Dutch sailor in a very competitive home fleet, lying 2nd overall with a 4,1 score. In the women's singlehander, the Laser Radial, Annalise hammered home her traditional big-breeze advantage to win the first race of her qualifying group. On the other side of the draw, Olympic silver medallist Marit Bouwmeester from the Netherlands won her race at a canter, easily justifying her early selection to the Olympic team for Rio 2016.
In the three-person Paralympic keelboat, Colin Harrison's team from Australia tops the 12-boat Sonar fleet. In the SKUD doublehanders, Great Britain's Alex Rickham and Niki Birrell hold a one-point lead over the Netherlands' Rolf Schrama and Sandra Nap. France's Damien Seguin enjoyed a perfect day in the 2.4mR singlehander keelboat, winning both races.
In the 470 divisions, Finland's Niki Blassar and Mikaela Wulff lead the women's fleet, and Korea's Kim Chang-Ju and Kim Ji-Hoon lead the men. Pieter-Jan Postma didn't have it all his own way in the Finn singlehander, although the Dutchman still looked impressive on home waters to lead with scores of 3,1. "When it's windy and shifty like that, and with the waves on the IJsselmeer, it can be tricky for sailors visiting here, but they are learning quickly," he smiled. "I won't be sharing any local secrets with them, they are working it out already!"

 

 

Published in Olympic

#trofeosofia – Ireland leaves Palma tonight with a medal in the demonstration sport of kitesurfing, thanks to the efforts of Jade O'Connor, plus two medal race finishes for the Irish Olympic sailing team. It's a considerable improvement on last year's 'rusty' Irish performance at the same venue when Annalise Murphy did not make the gold fleet cut.

Unfortunately, Annalise was disqualified as a premature starter in today's medal race dropping the one time regatta leader to fifth overall at the 46th edition of the Trofeo Sofia, a nevertheless strong performance for the National YC solo sailor that featured seven top ten placings from ten races.

Belfast 49er duo Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern finished sixth in their medal race moving them up one place to ninth overall at the first ISAF world cup event event in their new boat.

Dun Laoghaire's Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey in the women's 49erfx finished 20th from 47.

Belfast's James Espey will be disappointed with his score of 45th from 164 in the men's Laser division.

The medal races confirmed the leaders in all classes except in the RS:X men.

Young windsurfer Kiran Badloe (NED) had been gnawing day after day at the points safety margin that separates him from leader Julien Bontemps (FRA). Today he inflicted the killer blow, winning the medal race and the title on equal points with the World Champion. " I am very happy with the win. During the week, results were ok but the sailing is not perfect yet. I started poorly a few times. But with my speed and some smart sailing I could recover nicely. You have to realise the Polish and most of the French are not here including Dorian, so a number of tough competitors are missing. I am very happy with the progress we made last winter in New Zealand. Some of it is paying off now!"

In all other Olympic classes, the medal races didn't affect the leaders.

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) have successfully defended their title in the 470 with command and prove once more they deserve their world #1 status!The Olympic Gold medallists will also be awarded tonight by the Her Majesty Queen Sofia, the prestigious Trofeo consacrating the best team during the week.
Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance (FRA) won the medal race closing the gap to 3 points threatening the kiwis supremacy during the medal race. The French take Silver with Bronze going to Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR).

Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente (ARG) are back in force after an eight month break from the 470 competition. The Argentinians played it well all week, making the most of their combined experience to overcome their absence. "We had many days with shifty conditions and that suited us well. We could make gains on the fleet by sailing smart. It is great for our confidence to see that we are still competitive despite our forced retirement from competition." On the shore, the multiple Olympic medallists were warmly greated by the other 470 teams obviously happy to see their worthy Argentinian opponents back in shape! Luke Patience and Elliott Willis (GBR) take Silver in front of Johan Molund and Sebastian Östling (SWE) who settle for Bronze.

Gintare Scheidt (LTU) won the medal race in the Laser Radial. With Evi van Acker (BEL) taking the title on the penultimate day, Silver and Bronze went to Alison Young (GBR) and Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN). The Laser Radial fleet was one of the most competitive in Palma this week despite the absence of current World Champion Marit Bouwmeester who had to withdraw from the competition at the start of the week.

Philipp Buhl (GER) wins Gold in the Laser after dominating all week in varied conditions. Jesper Stalheim (SWE) claims the medal race to climb to second overall in front of Nicholas Heiner (NED) third. Danish teams proved once again their edge on the fleet with two teams at the front. Training together and spending time in Palma have proven fruitful with again great results collected in the Trofeo IBEROSTAR. Maiken and Anne-Julie Foght Schutt (DEN) win the event with Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thuagaard Olsen a close second. "We have been training for about three weeks in Palma with the other teams and understand the conditions." explains Maiken Foght Schutt. "This week we had everything. When the wind comes from the land it is like in Denmark and with the regular sea breeze we can make the most of our good speed." Olivia Price and Eliza Solly (USA) win the medal race and the third place.

Nacra World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou win the medal race after winning the event with a day to spare. The french teams are performing well in Palma proving that good team work is paying off.
Silver goes to John Gimson and Hannah Diamond. Franck Cammas and Sophie de Turckheim (FRA) grab the Bronze by one point.

The top 3 remain unchanged in the 49er. New-Zealanders Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have been hard to beat, only threatened by German sailors Heil and Ploessel. Third goes to Brazilians Bianchi / Lowbeer. "I like to think that we have many strength and not so many weaknesses. We are working really hard and are consistent with our results." says Burling to explain their good form in Palma.

Finn Wold Champion Giles Scott (GBR) took the medal race and the title. The Finns were blessed with the best conditions out there today. After being sent out and back to the shore in the dying winds, the Finns went back out to enjoy a perfect 15 knots seabreeze allowing pumping. "We had a very good medal race." confirms Giles Scott. "It went well for me – I managed to come away with the win and seal the Championship, which is obviously great news for me!" Scott had to borrow a boat to sail most of the regatta after damaging his Finn earlier this week. "It was good to see how I could go in a different boat. Finns are very personal, so to be able to use someone else's and still come away with the regatta win, you have to take some positives from that and it's all good practice." Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) is taking Silver and Finnish Tapio Nirkko the Bronze.

Female RS:X World Champion, Charline Picon is securing yet another event victory and is continuing on her good form. Lilian de Geus conserves her earlier second place while Eugenie Ricard (FRA) climbs to third overall.

Many stories developed in Palma this week with countries Olympic selections spicing up the contest.

The attention was especially focussed on the Dutch team for which Olympic selection was on the table in many classes. The Trofeo IBEROSTAR was the last chance for Nicholas Heiner to keep the Dutch Laser Olympic trial opened against Rutger Van Schaardenburg. The 2014 ISAF World Champion needed to be in front to extend the trials. "I am very pleased that my results are so good that I have prolonged the national selection with Rutger." explains Heiner, "Above all very pleased with the fact that I perform well under pressure, when it is needed. For the first time I am not on my back foot in this selection. It is all square and we start with a clean slate."

The 49er FX medal race saw the end of a very intense and dramatic Olympic selection between Dutch teams of Annemiek Bekkering / Annette Duetz and Nina Keijzer / Claire Blom. The latest had an eight points advantage after the Miami SWC but were out of the medal race in 12th position in Palma, meaning that Bekkering/Duetz had to finish today at least in 4th position to overcome their rival. A 9th place in the medal race added two points too many to Bekkering/Duetz score who place 5th overall. Nina Keijzer and Claire Blom win the Dutch Olympic selection in the FX.

The third Olympic selection has concretised in Palma for Japanese RS:X sailor Makoto Tomizawa. The Trofeo Sofia IBEROSTAR has also marked the start of Japaneses Olympic selections in the women and men 470.

Paralympic Champion, Helena Lucas has retained her title after a very intense regatta against team mate Megan Pascoe and Norwegian Bjornar Erikstad who take second and third place.

Marc Patino and Pau Balaguer won the Dragon regatta over Patrick Monteiros and Pedro Manuel Da Costa Alemao.

The prize giving ceremony will take place tonight under the Cathedral to honour all the winners. Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain will present the awards.

Top three by class:

470 Men
1. Lucas Calabrese / Juan De La Fuente, ARG
2. Luke Patience / Elliot Willis, GBR
3. Johan Molund / Sebastian Ostling, SWE

470 Women
1. Jo Aleh / Polly Powrie, NZL
2. Camille Lecointre / Helene Defrance, FRA
3. Hannah Mills / Saskia Clark, GBR

49er
1. Peter Burling / Blair Tuke, NZL
2. Erik Heil / Thomas Ploessel, GER
3. Dante Bianchi / Thomas Lowbeer, BRA

49er FX
1. Maiken Foght Schitt / Anne-Julie Foght Schutt, DEN
2. Ida Marie Baad Nielsen / Marie Thuagaard Olsen, DEN
3. Olivia Price / Eliza Solly, AUS

Finn
1. Giles Scott, GBR
2. Ivan Kljukovic Gaspic, CRO
3. Tapio Nirkko, FIN

Laser
1. Philipp Buhl, GER
2. Jesper Stalheim, SWE
3. Nicholas Heiner, NED

Laser Radial
1. Evi Van Acker, BEL
2. Alison Young, GBR
3. Anne-Marine Rindom, DEN

NACRA 17
1. Billy Besson / Marie Riou, FRA
2. John Gimson / Hannah Diamond, GBR
3. Franck Cammas / Sophie De Turckheim, FRA

RS:X Men
1. Kiran Badlow, NED
2. Julien Bontemps, FRA
3. Sebastian Fleischer, DEN

RS: X Women
1. Charline Picon, FRA
2. Lilian De Geus, NED
3. Eugenie Ricard, FRA

2.4 Metre
1. Helena Lucas, GBR
2. Megan Pascoe, GBR
3. Bjornar Erikstad, NOR

Kiteboard Men
1. Florian Trittel, ESP
2. Alejandro Climent Hernandez, ESP
3. Ivan Doronin, RUS

Kiteboard Women
1. Elena Kalinina, RUS
2. Anastasia Akopova, RUS
3. Jade O Connor, IRL

Dragon
1. Marc Patimo / Pau Balaguer, ESP
2. Patrick Monteiro De Barros / Pedro Manuel, POR
3. C. Carbajal / J. Company/N.Sanchez, ESP

Published in Olympic

#aquecerio – Ireland is expected to issue details of its selection trials shortly for The Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta 2015, the second of two Rio 2016 Olympic Test Events with the first being held in 2014.

Only one athlete per country can be represented with a major fight already on the cards between Finn Lynch and James Espey for the single Irish mens Laser slot.

Rio will welcome sailors once again from 13-22 August 2015 with racing taking place inside and outside of Guanabara Bay.

Each ISAF Member National Authority is entitled to enter one boat in each Olympic event and must apply to enter by 1 May 2015.

Sailors will compete in an opening series before Medal Races on 20, 21 and 22 August bring the regatta to a close.

Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition

The Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition will take place at the Marina da Glória, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and will feature 380 athletes competing across ten events.

Racing is scheduled to take place from 8-18 August 2016 and the competition format for all events is fleet racing.

Published in Olympic

A live crowd of thousands and a worldwide TV audience watched the Laser and Laser Radial fleets conclude racing at the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships with Dutch dominance afoot. Unfortunately there was no Irish participation as both James Espey and Annalise Muprhy, although gold fleet racers, did not make the medal race cut.

Marit Bouwmeester (NED) took a ten point lead into the Laser Radial Medal Race and finished third to seal the deal with Josefin Olsson (SWE) taking silver and Evi Van Acker (BEL) picking up bronze.

Nicholas Heiner (NED) dominated the Laser Medal Race as he emphatically sealed the world championship title. Tom Burton (AUS) had to settle for silver whilst Nick Thompson (GBR) takes bronze.

Laser Radial

The Laser Radial fleet were first away on the Medal Race course at 13:15 local time. In a gusting southerly 20 knot wind blowing straight on to the stadium breakwater Evi Van Acker (BEL) won the start at the committee boat and was one of the first to tack off to the starboard side of the course.

Meanwhile Marit Bouwmeester (NED) went for speed off the start and sailed off more to the left before crossing to the right hand side. Van Acker led Mathilde de Kerangat (FRA) and Alison Young (GBR) round the first mark with Bouwmeester 20 seconds behind in fourth. The backwash from the spectator breakwater was causing some awkward waves on the downwind leg but all 4 boats got to the halfway point of the 30 minute race without incident. The second upwind was all about change. Acker led a group to the left whilst Bouwmeester played the middle to right won. Defending champion, Tina Mihelic (CRO), was best placed to take advantage of a right hand shift and she jumped from eighth to first.

Van Acker failed to cover the right hand side of the course and paid a high price dropping to eighth on the next rounding of the windward mark, one place behind Young. Bouwmeester maintained her fourth place which was all she had to win the title. In fact she gained a place on the downwind leg to the finish third to regain the title she won at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Australia.

In amongst a crowd of Dutch press and TV Bouwmeester said, "I am really happy to come away with a win. I had a good start with a good back swell. It was kind of tricky on the first upwind. I wanted to go right but didn't quite make it. I was happy with my second upwind. I tried to defend a little watching the girls on the left but it was tricky. The back swell was awesome."

Laser

At the start Nick Thompson (GBR) won the committee boat end above Phillipp Buhl (GER) and Nick Heiner (NED). Further down the line defending champion, Robert Scheidt (BRA) powered off the line and tacked on small shift to pass behind all the boats that were to windward of him. It got him to the favoured side of the course and when he tacked back he had moved up to fifth which he turned into fourth rounding the first mark behind New Zealander Sam Meech, Heiner and Buhl.

Overnight leader, Tom Burton (AUS), stuck to the left hand side of the first windward leg and struggled to get across to the favoured right and as a result rounded last with championship title slipping through his hands.

Heiner took his chance and held his second place on the downwind leg before finding an extra gear, pulling out a one minute lead on the next upwind whist those behind "played mix the places" in the shifting conditions. After that Heiner only had to navigate the back wash downwind and finish to take the title which in spite of a scary roll as a gust hit just before the finish. Thompson had worked his way up to fifth in the race and second overall before he got caught in a backwash wave on a gybe just before a tight finish. In a close fleet the stall was enough to drop him to eighth place behind Burton in seventh and drop him to third overall with Burton taking the runner up position.

After racing Heiner said, "Going out to the race I knew it was going to be a battle between the five us so I just wanted to give it everything I could and do my best. I wasn't nervous. I was really keen to get racing. The start was difficult. I had a lane but it was really a case of who got the first wave off the break water. It took me a little time to find my rythym I struggled a bit on some chop but half way up the first beat I found it. Pretty much after that I got going.

"When I went round the downwind mark I look around and pretty sure the next shift was coming from the right. I found a nice set of waves on the right with some pressure and then pretty much planed up wind for half of the beat. It was awesome."

Laser and Laser Radial Reports courtesy of Jeff Martin, International Laser Class Association

Published in Olympic

#santander2014 – Belfast's James Espey is the first Irish sailor to qualify for the Rio Olympics following a fine light air performance again in Santander today when the 30–year–old Ulster man qualified for Gold Fleet racing at next week's ISAF World Cup, finshing 32nd overall, well within the top 49 cut to qualify for Rio 2016.

In further good news for the Irish team, Annalise Murphy recovered from a disappointing opening day in 86th overall yesterday in the Womens Radial division to be 58th overall after a nine and seven scored today. The result is just inside the top 60 to qualify for gold fleet racing and crucially stays on course for a Rio place next week.

Only two days into the six-day regatta and Espey has qualified for the Gold fleet in the Laser Standard class. With 22 nations being represented in the Gold fleet but a total of 23 nation places available Espey has now guaranteed Ireland a spot in Rio.

Today was an important day for the Irish Laser sailors competing at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander, Spain. James Espey, Annalise Murphy and Finn Lynch each had two fleet races to sail before the Gold, Silver and Bronze splits were decided for the remainder of the regatta.

The men's Laser Standard Blue fleet had a general recall in Race 3 which delayed proceedings slightly. However a successful second attempt saw the 49 boats get a clear start over the line at 14.10. James Espey finished 33rd to sit comfortably in the top third of the 150 boat fleet in 38th. Finn Lynch finished 27th moving him up to 100th overall.

Race 4 got underway at 17.15 and Espey had another solid performance. His 15th saw him climb to 40th overall and within the top 49 which qualified him for the Gold fleet and as only 22 nations will be represented in the Gold fleet Espey has now guaranteed Ireland a spot in Rio.

Finn Lynch finished 29th, dropped one place to 101st and will now compete within the Bronze fleet.

Race 3 got underway at 13.35 CEST for Annalise Murphy and the Laser Radial Blue fleet, in light conditions. Yesterday Murphy struggled to get off the line, but today she had a great start and was free to make good tactical decisions. Drastically improving on her previous performance, Murphy finished 9th to jump up the leader board from 86th to 58th.

The female Laser competitors then had a long and frustrating wait on the water as they watched the wind completely die off. An attempt at a second race was made at 14.55 but abandoned 15 minutes later when the wind dropped to 2 knots. At 17.15 the breeze filled in to between 7-10 knots and Race 4 finally got underway. Murphy pulled in another top 10 result, finishing 7th to leap even further up the leader board to 41st overall and guaranteeing her the all-important place in the top 60 boat Gold fleet so stays in the hunt for a Rio place this week.

With 50% of Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition spots available at the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships, the fight for positions is tight, tense and tough.

After a four race qualification series, the 23 Laser places on offer at Santander 2014 have been picked up as the fleet divides up into gold, silver and bronze packs.

Twenty four nations make up the 49-boat Santander 2014 Laser gold fleet but with Brazil automatically receiving a spot as host nation the 23 Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition places available at Santander 2014 have been decided:

Laser

Australia
Belgium
Canada
Croatia
Cyprus
Denmark
Finland
France
Ireland
Italy
Germany
Guatemala
Great Britain
The Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Singapore
Sweden
Poland
Portugal
Tunisia
USA
U.S. Virgin Islands

The next opportunity for Laser qualification will come at the 2015 Laser World Championship where nine places will be on offer. Two places are set to be awarded at each of the 2015/2016 African, Asian, European, North American and South American Continental Qualification Events. A single place will be available at the 2015/2016 Oceanic Continental qualification Event whilst Brazil, as host automatically receives a spot. Two final places will be awarded via Tripartite Commission Invitation places.

The qualification series has concluded in the Laser Radial but with 33 nations making the gold fleet and 19 Rio 2016 places available the fight will go on for three days of final series racing.

Click for the Rio 2016 Olympic Qualification System

Schedule of Racing:

12-18 September, Laser and Laser Radial
13-19 September, RS:X Men and RS:X Women
14-20 September, 470 Men and 470 Women
15-21 September, 49er, 49erFX, Finn and Nacra 17

Published in Olympic

#santander2014 – Ireland's Olympic Laser sailors were first into battle today at the ISAF World Championships in Santander, Northern Spain for an event that has as its prize Olympic selection for up to eight Irish sailors in five of ten disciplines.

Belfast Lough's James Espey was best of the Irish with a solid sixth and 16th to be placed 26th after the first rounds, and certainly on course for Rio qualification. 18–year–old Finn Lynch, who is current U19 Laser World Champion, finished 27th in his first race but took a 43rd in the second to be 109th after two.

Disapppointingly, Annalise Murphy opened her world championship account with two poor results dropping her to 86th overall, leaving her a big job to recover in the last two preliminary rounds tomorrow.

More here from David O'Brien in the Irish Times.

The thick fog that covered the harbour in Santander at the start of the day soon burnt off and gave way to a light 5 to 7 knot breeze from the north east allowing the Laser and Laser Radial Fleets to get afloat and start the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships.

After a delay ashore there was a further postponement afloat waiting for the wind to fill before the start of the four race qualification series.

Laser Radial

The 120 boat Women's Laser Radial Fleet is split into two groups of 60, each scoring points from 1 to 60. In this size fleet a good start is critical especially as the right hand side of the course was favoured and in the lighter conditions boat speeds are similar. Those sailors that were able to put together two single figure results were guaranteed a place in the top ten whilst others were having death and glory results not necessarily in that order.

Veronika Fenclova (CZE) had a big smile on her face as she explained, "In the first race I had a good start and led at the first mark but I could not hold my position downwind and dropped to third even though we did change places several times before the finish." In the second race she led from start to finish, "I had a good lead which protected me on the downwind." Fenclova's results were better than she expected as she has had a year off from sailing although she has been training hard for a month at Santander prior to the championship.

Min Gu from China is already looking like a worthy successor to the retired Olympic Champion Lijia Xu as she shares the same points with Fenclova at the top of the pack.

Laser

In the record 76 nation Men's Laser fleet, sailing on a nearby course to the women, the story was much the same with Juan Maegli from Guatamala scoring exactly the same as Fenclova. He said "I had two good starts and went right both times. I had good speed and concentrated on trying to be consistent."

He has created a four point gap over second place Tom Burton (AUS) who scored a fifth and third.

Defending champion Robert Scheidt BRA saw his fellow countryman Bruno Fontes finish four places ahead of him but he has been around enough to know that there is still a long way to go in this event, "I did not get far enough right for the shift. I struggled to catch up and could only get back to 13th. I was happy to finish second in the next race."

Two more races are scheduled for tomorrow to conclude the qualification series before the fleet is split into a gold, silver and bronze. A final six race series will be followed by a Medal Race.

Full results here

Published in Olympic

#isafsantander – The game will be wide open in the Laser and Laser Radial at the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championship with large numbers gunning for World Championship glory and a Rio 2016 Olympic place. Ireland takes its place on the Laser start line with newly crowned national champion James Espey and Finn Lynch seeking Rio qualification while Annalise Murphy is aiming for Laser Radial qualification in just under two weeks time.

Seventy two nations featuring 150 sailors will compete in the Laser fleet whilst 58 nations will sail in the 120-boat Laser Radial fleet. Both fleets will kick start racing in Santander on Friday 12 September.

Santander 2014 acts as the first qualification regatta for the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition. Twenty three Laser and 19 Laser Radial nation spots are there for the taking which will make for tight and fierce competition on the Bay of Biscay.

Brazil's Robert Scheidt heads to Santander as the defending champion having taken his ninth Laser world title at the 2013 class World Championship in Al Mussanah, Oman. Since returning to the Laser in March 2013 Scheidt has picked up where he left off, racing at the front of the pack.

Throughout the 2013-2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup series Scheidt has continually been at the top of the leaderboard with silver in Miami, a ninth in Mallorca and a fourth in Hyeres to his name. With a tenth Laser world title in sight the Brazilian is excited to head onto the Santander race track, "It's going to be a huge regatta and I've never sailed there but I've heard it's very challenging with different courses with different conditions so I'm really looking forward to it.

"We know it's not going to be easy. The Laser is a very tough and demanding boat and there are a lot of good guys at the moment pushing very hard. I think I'll have my chances so I'll go there and play the game."

For the Brazilian sailors across the ten Olympic fleets the pressure to qualify for Rio 2016 is off with the host nation automatically receiving one spot in each event. For the Brazilian Laser sailors, Scheidt, Bruno Fontes and Alex Veeren it is a weight off their shoulders with all efforts and focus channelled towards top finishes, "We don't have to make a good result at the worlds but at the end of the day when you go to a regatta you always go to try and win regardless of the qualification system. A lot of the good guys already know that they're going to take a spot and do the best they can," concluded Scheidt.

Australia's Tom Burton heads into Santander as the man in form and the one to beat. Burton has amassed three consecutive race victories in highly competitive fields. He took ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca and Hyeres gold before winning on Rio 2016 Olympic waters at the first test event, Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta 2014 in August.

After a ninth at the last World Championship Burton has his eyes on the prize in the Spanish city, "Going into Oman the goal was to win the Worlds and I was pretty disappointed with how I went and the result there. Santander, definitely, I want to win the worlds. A few years back I was thinking, 'yeah win the worlds that would be pretty good', I was young and time is moving on so it's now time to start winning."

Burton has five World Championship appearances under his belt, building up knowledge and experience and he knows that in the competitive field anyone, on their day, can strike gold, "Robert will always be tough to beat at the worlds. For myself the worlds is a step up and only happens once a year so it's tough to get the experience of that atmosphere but Robert's been there so many times, won it so many times it's probably a little bit more chilled for him.

"Tonci's [Stipanovic (CRO)] been the most on form this season and I think he's got his Olympic trials there so he's putting in a bit more effort into it. The usual guys will be up there. Tonci, Robert, Rutger [Van Schaardenburg (NED)] and the Kiwis but it depends who's on form throughout the week. Anyone in the top 20 in the world could be really having a good week and be at the front."

All of the world's top 25 sailors in the Laser will sail in Santander with World #1 Stipanovic, World #2 Nick Thompson (GBR) and World #3 Pavlos Kontides (CYP) coming in with good form and aiming to take gold.

Competition in the 120 boat Laser Radial fleet will be fierce with any sailor who brings their A-game capable of taking gold.

Throughout the 2013-2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup series there were separate winners' at all five regattas. Dongshuang Zhang (CHN) took gold on her home waters in Qingdao, Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR) claimed the Melbourne honours, Paige Railey (USA) defended her Miami title, Marit Bouwmeester (NED) dominated the Mallorca field and Evi Van Acker (BEL) stormed to Hyeres gold.

All will be in contention in Santander but several other contenders will be full to the brim with confidence and optimism ahead of racing inlcuding Ireland's Annalise, fourth in the 2012 Olympics and European champion in 2013.

Denmark's Anne-Marie Rindom has consistently been at the front of the pack in the Laser Radial over the last 12 months yet lacked a major title. Her breakthrough came at the Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta 2014, the Rio 2016 Test Event, where she took gold in a world class field.

With Rio gold behind her Rindom is full of positivity going into Santander, "It's good to win before the World's next month," said the Dane after racing in Rio, "It's a good signal that you can sail at the Olympic venue.

"Top ten in Santander will be really good because then we will have funding for next year and that's the most important thing. Also it is important to get a national place for the Olympics, that will be really good but I'm also going for a medal now I know I can do it. I am looking forward to it."

At the Rio Test Event the Radial fleet were pushed to the max with big waves and plenty of breeze on the race courses outside of Guanabara Bay. The conditions were not too dissimilar to those expected on the race courses in Santander with the Bay of Biscay famous for big swell.

Ireland's Annalise Murphy thrived in the big conditions in Rio and goes into the ISAF Worlds eager, "I was in Santander training just before I came here [Rio Test Event] and it's a really nice place to sail. Again there's really big waves so maybe being here will help a little bit.

"I want to go and have a good event and qualify the country for the Olympics and try and race well. I'm looking forward to it, it's a big world championship and it's my goal of the year and I can't wait.

"If I can sail well and race well I want to try and be at the top of the fleet and kind of see how it goes. I've been pretty up and down this year but I'm going to try and do the simple stuff right and hopefully the results will come. It's going to be a really good event and really competitive."

Croatia's Tina Mihelic won gold at the 2013 Laser Radial World Championship in Rizhao, China and will aim to defend her title in Santander. Further contenders for the podium positions will be 2014 European Champion Svenja Weger (GER), Alison Young (GBR) and World #6 Tuula Tenkanen (FIN).

The Laser and Laser Radial fleets will be the first to commence racing in Santander and will take to the water on Friday 12 September for two races. The Qualification Series will conclude on 13 September with four races deciding the gold, silver and bronze fleets.

Final series racing will start on 14 September with 15 September a reserve day. Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 will see the Medal Race places decided before the finale on Thursday 18 September where the medallists will be decided.

Published in Olympic

#lasersailing – After three days of strong winds, the final day of the Zhik Laser National Championships was always forecast for light breeze before strengthening in the afternoon writes Mark Mackey. Race Officer Robin Gray attempted several early starts but the wind kept shifting from side to side and it was early afternoon before things settled down. It meant there was time for only one race as an early time limit jad been agreed so that people could get home.

James Espey again took the lead on the downwind in the Standards and led the way home. Fionn Lyden eventually overtook Finn Lynch in a close battle to take second place and also second place overall. Finn had to settle for third overall though also added 1st Irish Laser Youth to the World Under 19 title won two weeks ago. This was James Espey's fifth Irish National title matching the record of Bill O'Hara. Bill was also competing here coming 14th (3rd Master), before flying off tomorrow or get ready as Race Officer for the upcoming Volvo Round the World Race. Thomas Chaix was first Master.

In the Radial class, Cian Byrne won the final race from Annalise Murphy and with it second place overall. Annalise won overall (her second Nationals title) and was 1st Lady. Liam Glynn had been leading Cian overall coming into today although only by one point. Unfortunately a bad start and an early yellow flag for body pumping put paid to any chances of Liam catching Cian. Ross O'Sullivan had another consistent day to take 4th overall.

NSH_0486.jpg

4.7 winner Johnny Durcan

Johnny Durcan continued to show his great form at the top of the Laser 4.7 fleet adding a second to his tally, finishing with only eight net points overall and ten points ahead of his nearest rival Rory Fekkes. Rory Caslin won the final race but this was still only good enough for 3rd overall with Scott Levie in 4th.

Ron Hutchieson was given a special award at the prize giving for 35 years of continuous service to the Laser class by event organiser Paddy Brow and ILA's Colin Leonard. Many thanks were given to the Race Officer Robin Gray, safety lead Ruth Mullan and the many volunteers for another great event.

Standard
1st James Espey Ballyholme YC/ RUYC (1),1,1,1,1,1
2nd Fionn Lyden Schull SC 2,(6),3,2,3,2
3rd Finn Lynch (1st Youth) National YC 3,2,(6),3,2,3
4th Darragh O'Sullivan Kinsale YC 7,5,2,4,4,(8)
5th Colin Leonard Ballyholme YC 4,3,4,6,(8),5

11th Thomas Chaix (1st Master) Kinsale YC 12,12,(13),7,13,12

Radial
1st Annalise Murphy (1st Lady) National YC 1,1,1,2,(3),2
2nd Cian Byrne Royal Cork YC 2,6,6,1,(7),1
3rd Liam Glynn Ballyholme YC (6),4,5,3,2,22
4th Ross O'Sullivan Kinsale YC (16),5,3,4,4,5
5th Conor O'Beirne Royal St George (11),7,2,7,5

4.7
1st Johnny Durcan Royal Cork YC 2,1,1,(13),2,2
2nd Rory Fekkes Ballyholme YC (8),2,4,1,4,7
3rd Rory Caslin National YC (9),4,2,4,8,1
4th Scott Levie Lough Derg YC 1,9,9,11,(40 BFD),3
5th Conor Sherriff Courtown SC 5,8,3,15,6,(16)

NSH_0495.jpg

Annalise Murphy, Radial winner

NSH_0505.jpg

James Espey, Standard winner

 

Published in Laser
Page 3 of 7

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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