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It's not often that Irish sailors are at a loss for words, but the outcome of the huge Delta Lloyd Olympic Classes regatta in the Netherlands on Sunday had our top performer's scoreline being described as everything from startling through extraordinary to just plain weird.

Be that as it may, Annalise Muphy of the National YC is clear winner of the Independent "Sailor of the Month" award for May after recording an outstanding five race wins in the 63-strong Women's Laser Radial class at Medemblik, an event which was blasted by the severe weather of May.

On this summery weekend, that weather is now but a vague memory. But the reality of the 21-year-old Murphy's performance looks even more remarkable the more we look at it. Twice she led overall, twice she lost it to regain the lead, yet at the end, despite those five great wins, she failed to get into the medals.

It was a regatta of extremes, and the tougher the weather, the better the Irish sailor's showing. On Day 3, conditions deteriorated so rapidly that all fleets except the Laser Radials were ordered back to port before racing could be completed.

But the Laser Radials, with Murphy in the lead, had powered through their race to such good effect that they were finished before the winds and weather went completely crazy. Thus Ireland's hope went into Day 4 nicely in the points lead, but things then went completely pear-shaped.

In both that day's races, she was in a group that was over the line at the start. That results in disqualification. In a series like this, you can carry maybe one DSQ, but not two. Yet she showed her mettle with more wins before the series finished on Sunday, even if that wasn't enough to offset the two losses.

In all, an astonishing, extraordinary, startling, mind-blowing performance, stellar stuff, and worthy of the mad May award. But there's barely time to digest it, as Ireland's Olympic hopefuls are now squaring up for next week's Sail for Gold regatta at the 2012 Olympic venue off England's Dorset coast – racing is from June 6th to June 11th, and the stakes are high.

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Strong winds and the chance of a podium finish required more than Dutch courage for three of Ireland's top flight Olympic crews in the closing stages of the Delta Lloyd regatta at the weekend. Ireland's Star keelboat, Laser Radial and 49er sailors produced medal race results in a week where Irish crews made the headlines and all for the right reasons.

Olympic Sailing Latest here,

Except for two false starts for Annalise Murphy on Friday – which in all probablility cost a medal – the week ended with some stellar performances from an Irish squad of 13.

This morning to cap it all off Ireland's 49er pairing Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern won the medal race moving them to fifth overall, their best Olympic campaign result to date. This plus the fourth overall scored in the Star Class and the Laser Radial performance that included five race wins are being held out as performances that give great hope for next year's Olympic Games regatta in Weymouth.

Royal Cork's Peter O' Leary and crew David Burrows from Malahide YC have finished fourth overall in the Star class at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Holland which concludes today.

The regatta also doubled as an Olympic trial for Ireland and the Dublin-Cork combination have scored an important first blow against rivals Max Treacy and Anthony Shanks of the Royal St. George Yacht Club who finished 12th overall.

O'Leary and Burrows made it into the top ten for yesterday's medal race as expected and finished the Delta Lloyd regatta fourth overall, a result in the top class fleet that compares well with last year's sailnig highlight, the win at Weymouth Sail for Gold Regatta.

In the Laser Radial, sole Irish campaigner Annalise Murphy finished ninth from a fleet of 63, but regardless of qualifying for the medal race, (a feat not achieved in Palma in April), there is regret that had it not been for 'Black Friday', the 21-year old National Yacht Club dinghy sailor would have been in the medals.

In the 49er class Irish duo Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern won this morning's 49er high performance dinghy medal race. The impressive win moves the Irish pair to fifth overall.

With six medals each, the Dutch and the Australians are claiming most medals with Holland taking four Golds in the 2.4, Women 470, Laser radial and Women Match Racing.

The first medal race saw the 49ers creating the show with the top four boats battling for the medals in windy conditions.

The wind was shifty and gusty with places changing constantly. The new Zealanders took the control of the small fleet at the first bottom mark and were in Silver medal position but a capsize after rounding the top mark again cost them the second position overall. The chase between the Australians Outteridge/Jensen and the British leaders Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes, was a race within the race. The Irish Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern won the medal race and with the Australians finishing in fourth, only two places in front of the leaders, it was not enough for them to take Gold. Morrison/Rhodes (GBR) take the Gold with the defending champions, Outteridge/Jensen in Silver and the unlucky New-Zealanders in third.

“It was tight out there, the Australians did well in the breeze. It was close racing with lots of shifts and it was important for us to avoid penalties so keep far enough but not too much.” commented Stevie Morrison soon after crossing the line.

The Finns saw a tight race and a second Gold medal for Great Britain. World Champion Ed Wright and regatta leader Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic started off with a dual between the leaders. On the run, Ed Wright sailed away and created the gap with the Croat. Wright needed to have a boat between himself and the World #1.

Pieter Jan Postma picked up some good pressure and passed Gaspic, giving at the same time the Gold medal to Ed Wrigtht who won the Medal race by a large margin. The Brit joins his compatriots, Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott on the third step of the Sailing World Cup podium.

“It was exciting to go out there this morning. I saw my friends win the 49ers and it was inspiring! I love these conditions and I was quite confident but you never know with the medal race. I van sailed really well this week and it was hard job to win this event.” declared Ed Wright (GBR).

Young Canadian Greg Douglas, have sailed today his first medal race. The 20 years old who competed in the last Olympics in the Laser for Barbados, vow that there will be more to come. “Medal race is very intense. The start was impressive with everybody 100% to take early advantage; it was tough.”

Laser and Laser radial defending champions retain their title in the 2011 Delta Lloyd regatta.

Tom Slingsby (AUS) offers a second Gold to Australians and defend his title in Medemblik. Despite a slow start into the Medal race, Slingsby caught up to speed, to finish in fourth place.

Milan Vujasinovic (CRO) won the medal race with Bruno Fontes (BRA) close behind in second.

The Brazilian conserves his silver medal and Roelof Bouwmeester (NED) Bronze.

“In australia we like wind and waves! I often perform well here. I won last year and other years as well. I like Medemblik, I feel comfortable here.”

The ISAF Sailor of the year was out of pace on the first beat but came up closer to his opponents: “I struggled to find rhythm in the shifts on the first beat but found my pace later in the race.”

A fourth place in the Medal race secured Gold for Marit Bouwmeester (NED) who retains her title.

Evi Van Acker takes her third medal in the 2011 Sailing world cup circuit. After a Bronze in the Rolex Miami OCR and a Silver in Palma; the Belgium takes Silver in Medemblik.

Xu Lija (CHN) who started the medal race in third position overall, went from leading the medal race to the 9th place, after a capsize that ended her chance for medal. A sixth place for Tina Mihelic (CRO) is enough for the Croat to take Bronze.

The podium remains unchanged in the RS:X men division after a windy medal race. Early leader Taehoon Lee displayed his strong skills in the breeze to take the medal race and his first Sailing World Cup title. First podium also for Canadian Zachary Plavsic who takes Silver. Second in Melbourne last December, Wang Aichen (CHN) takes the Bronze in the Delta Lloyd Regatta.

The wind had picked up when the RS:X women started their medal race. The strong breeze and waves proved tricky at times and provided many capsizes. Among them early leader Mayaan Davidovich (ISR) couldn't recover to finish the race and misses all chance for medal. Li Ling (CHN) who had started the day in second position, wins the Medal race by a big margin to claim the title. This is the first Sailing World Cup podium for Li Ling who placed fourth in Sail Melbourne last December.

Two Australians complete the RS:X women podium. Veteran windsurfer, Jessica Crisp is taking her third Silver medal in Medemblik. The previous ones in 2004 and 2007 were taken in the Mistral raceboard. She is six points from Allison Shreeve (AUS) who takes Bronze medal.

The 2.4 sailed a last race on Sunday. Thierry Schmitter (NED) won all the races in the series. “This has never happened to me! Of course I am really happy but not sure if it is due to my skills or the competition.” One of his main opponent, Damien Seguin (FRA) missed the Delta Lloyd regatta as he was participating in an Ocean race in Normandy.

Megan Pascoe (GBR)is taking Silver after posting a 3rd in the last race. Andre Rademaker (NED) is in 3rd overall.

Team Tunnicliffe (USA) wins the Women Match racing Petite Finale against Wang (CHN) 2-0.

The actions and drama came from the finals in the Women Match racing opposing Groeneveld (NED) and Lehtinen (FIN).

After Groeneveld (NED) won the first match with a tight finish the wind increased for the second match, a huge gust came and the Dutch boat nose dived, sending the two crew flying overboard. This was the end of the second race for the Dutch who had also ripped their jib. The Finnish won the second match and all was to be played in the last.

The wind had already increased to over 30 knots when the last decisive match started. The Finnish covered the Dutch during the first two rounds when finally the Dutch could move away and went down the run on their own. A powerful gust propelled Groeneveld team towards the finish line and allowed them to pass the Finnish a mere seconds before the line.

The Olympic sailing world is now moving to Weymouth to prepare for the 6th Sailing World Cup event, staged on the Olympic arena from the 5th to the 11th of June.

Published in Olympics 2012

Unfortunately an 18th and 9th scored in yesterday's sailing has dropped Annalise Murphy of the National Yacht Club to 11th overall, just one point off qualifying for the medal race.  It means none of the Irish campaigners in Palma will take part in today's finals. However Murphy's result of 11th overall against a 78-boat fleet remains a powerful performance for the Dun Laoghaire Olympic campaigner. She scored six results in the top ten in predominantly light conditions. The 49er crew of Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern who qualified for gold fleet racing ended the regatta 17th. Podcast on Annalise Murphy's Olympic progress.


Annalise Murphy sailing in the last rounds of the Princesa Sofia Trophy Photo: Jesús Renedo

 Two final races completed on Friday in the 2011 Trofeo Princesa Sofia have decided the top ten sailors in each Olympic class who will compete in the medal race Saturday. With the same conditions encountered since Tuesday, there was not many surprises as the top three in most classes remain unchanged.

For Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson, the Medal race will be a formality! The Gold medallists have sailed to consistent results in a talented fleet and have acquired such a lead that they are assured of Gold in the event. However, the fight will remain for the five following teams all eligible for a podium tomorrow. Diego Negri and Torben Grael 's team have remained in second and third.

It wasn't a dream day for Marazzi and de Maria (SUI) who took a penalty on the start of the day's first race and broke their mast in the second.

"We've had a good week" says Percy, "and things have gone well but it was kind of one of those times where things worked out and some of our rivals didn't have good weeks. The result shows us to be a little bit further ahead than maybe we are, but still we're really happy. It's nice to win an event after such a long time away."

The top three remain the same in the RS:X classes with Marina Alabau (ESP) starting in the medal race with a good lead over her opponents. She has already secured her a Gold or Silver. Charline Picon (FRA) is also insured to finish on the podium opened to the top five.

"I don't usually perform in the conditions we had these last few days but I feel really well this week. Tomorrow will be a three way battle between Marina, Laura and me. I have a chance for Gold if Marina makes a mistake but my main objective will be to secure the Silver."

Laura Linares (ITA) and Alessandra Sensini who are competing in Palma in their first Olympic selection event are two places apart.

"My objective is to do as best as I can and will give my best tomorrow. I will not look out for Alessandra and will concentrate to gain places on the podium." explains Linares (ITA).

In the RS:X women and men divisions, the podium is opened to the top five. Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) is conserving the lead and can not stepped down from the podium. Byron Kokalanis's good races today (1-3) have sent him to 5th overall and within reach of a medal.

For Dyen/Christidis (FRA) and the Sibello (ITA) brothers, the medal race will be deciding who takes Gold and Silver. It will be an interesting race within the Medal race! Allan Norregaard and Peter Lang (DEN) are the favourite for Bronze with a seven points lead over their closest rival. However, the Bronze will also be the direct objective for sailors placed up to eighth overall!

The Finn battle for Gold will follow the same scenario as the 49ers with only Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott (GBR) standing a chance for Gold. The two British are continuing to race to top places with Ben Ainslie wining the first Sailing World Cup event Sail Melbourne, and Giles Scott, the second in Miami. With top two places secured in Palma they are sure to increase their lead in the SWC standings.

"We'll see how I get on tomorrow. The medal races are always tight, it's obviously double points so I've got to go out and sail another good race and hopefully I can do that and make it all count." explains Ainslie.

With only two points separating the top three Lasers, tomorrow's medal race will be intense between World Champion Tom Slingsby (AUS), Gold medallist Paul Goodison (GBR), and Nick Thomson who is leading the Sailing World Cup standings after winning Sail Melbourne. New-Zealanders Sam Meech and Andrew Murdoch following 18 points behind on equal points have a small chance for bronze.

The top three haven't changed in the 470 men going into tomorrow's medal race. While seven teams have a chance for a medal, only the top four can pretend for Gold. Nicolas Charbonnier and Jérémie Mion (FRA) have slightly extended their lead on team mate Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos (FRA) who will try to keep their Trofeo Princesa Sofia title.

"Today was good for us," admits Charbonnier, "we have increased the points with the seconds." For the newly formed team, the Princesa Sofia MAPFRE was also the occasion to tune their act together. "We have learned a lot here, especially the areas where we have to work to better our sailing. So it is a very positive week."

The top three remain the same in the 470 women fleet but the teams have exchanged places. Jo Aleh and Bianca Babarich-Barber (NZL) are back in the lead in front of Japanese Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JAP) and in third early leaders Cohen/Vered from Israel. Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes (GBR) in fourth place can technically get to any medal.

The medal race in the Laser radial will start with a new leader. Sara Winther (NZL) takes the lead from Evi van Acker (BEL) after placing 11th in the first race and winning the next. The score is tight between the top 10 and the podium opened to all medal racers! Today best results went to Gintare Scheidt (LTU) who climbs to fourth overall after a first and a second in today's races and is in contention for Gold.

2010 World Champion, Thierry Schmitter (NED) has successfully defended his title in the 2.4 competition after winning six out of ten races. The Dutch especially enjoyed the strong breeze on the first day: "It was great fun, We should have racing like that more often." Second overall was Heiko Kroger from Germany and Megan Pascoe (GBR) third.

"It's always nice to come away with a World Cup medal – it would have been nice to have a different colour but that's life and I did my best with what I had on the last day." says Pascoe.

Another beautiful day on Palma Bay for the Women's Match Racing fleet at the 42nd Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia MAPFRE. The conditions were fantastic for some great battles in the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals.
Silja Lehtinen (FIN) won her Quarter-Final over Silke Hahlbrock (GER) 3-0 and awaited her opponent. Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) saw her unbeaten streak ended by Stephanie Hazard (NZL), but rebounded to win her Quarter-Final 3-1. Claire Leroy (FRA) defeated her countrywoman Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA) 3-1 to reach the Semi-Finals. The battle between Sally Barkow (USA) and Lucy Macgregor (GBR) came down to the 5th and final match with Barkow victorious and winning the knock-out series 3-2 to advance.
This set up an American battle in Semi-Final One between Tunnicliffe and Barkow and a Finnish-French match between Lehtinen and Leroy in Semi-Final Two.
Lehtinen won the first match, then Leroy tied it up. Lehtinen won the next two to secure her spot in tomorrow's Final.
"We had reached the Quarter Finals twice before, but we had never advanced. So, this was a big thing for us. Our goal for the event was to get to the Quarter Finals, so everything from here on is a bonus. There are a lot of great teams here and just getting to the top eight is very difficult. We have been training a lot Tomorrow we will just keep doing what we have been doing, nothing special. We made some big gains in our training before Miami as well and we'll just keep doing what we've been doing." explained Silja Lehtinen.
In the other Semi-Final, the two American teams – Sally Barkow and Anna Tunnicliffe – fought down to the wire in an exciting 5 match series which came down to a near phot finish with Barkow's team victorious.
"The key for today was that we really tried to be patient and not make any aggressive mistakes.  Every time we were getting all fired up, we just tried to calm down and keep it simple.  And I thought we had really good boatspeed and good boathandling and used it to our advantage.  Just a really tough battle with Anna (Tunnicliffe) - it was back and forth more times than I can remember and so we were just pleased to win by inches in the end. We'll just stick to the same game plan – we're going well through the water, so we'll just try to win the starts and go from there." commented Sally Barkow after her Semi-Final win.
The Finals will see Lehtinen and Barkow.  And Leroy will meet Tunnicliffe in the Petit-Finals.
Sally Barkow (USA) defeats Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) 3-2
Silja Lehtinen (FIN) defeats Claire Leroy (FRA) 3-1
5. Stephanie Hazard (NZL)
6. Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA)
7. Lucy Macgregor (GBR)
8. Silke Hahlbrock (GER)
Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) defeats Stephanie Hazard (NZL) 3-1
Claire Leroy (FRA) defeats Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA) 3-1
Silja Lehtinen (FIN) defeats Silke Hahlbrock (GER) 3-0
Sally Barkow (USA) defeats Lucy Macgregor (GBR) 3-2

The medal races are sheduled from 11AM on Saturday 9th of April. They will be sailed on three courses set close to the shore. The Women Match Racing finals will take place in front of the Palma Cathedral

More Irish Olympic Sailing news.

Published in Olympics 2012
Two of Ireland's 2012 Olympic squad crews are ranked in the top twenty in World sailing rankings announced this week.

Peter O'Leary who has been sailing with three different crews, David Burrows, Frithjof Kleen and Timothy Goodbody to date is ranked 17th by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).

O'Leary and Burrows sailing in the Star keelboat class were recent top finishers at 93-boat fleet in Miami. They finished second overall after they lost the overall lead in the last race of the 2011 Bacardi Cup.

Listen into a podcast about Peter O'Leary's Olympic sailing plans HERE.

Fellow Olympic squad member, 21-year old Annalise Murphy from Dun Laoghaire is now ranked 12th in the Laser radial class counting seven ISAF events. Murphy has also had success in Florida this season, she finished fourth in the Miami Olympic Classes regatta in January.

Listen to what Team Manager James O'Callaghan has to say about her progress:

The next release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings will be on 13 April 2011 and will include the Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia Mapfre in Spain.

The ISAF World Sailing Rankings rate skippers based on their performances over the last two years. Skippers score points by competing in ISAF Graded events. The top finishers at all ISAF Graded events score Rankings points, with the highest points awarded to the event winner and then decreasing down relative to position.

More Irish Olympic Sailing News HERE.

Published in Olympics 2012
The National Yacht Club announced its staging of the 2011 Sovereign Ski Topper dinghy World Championships on Dublin Bay from August 15-19 last night and on hand to celebrate its launch was Annalise Murphy, the club's Olympic Laser Radial campaigner who is also a past Topper champion.

The club is expecting a turnout of up to 300 sailors that will make it the biggest dinghy sailing event in the country this year. "We will have a large contingent from the UK and many sailors from far away – we have had interest from Korea, Japan and Hong Kong, for example". Says Margaret Margaret Kneafsey, Chairperson of the Organising Committee.

Carlow sailor Finn Lynch, 16, who is the reigning British and Irish champion finished third in the 2010 World Championships in Lake Como, Italy.

The event has its own website with details on accommodation and logistics and entries.

Published in Topper
Page 3 of 3

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