Displaying items by tag: Olympic
#genuineprospects – If you're contemplating a gentle summer holiday in the south of England in August, forget it. Unless, that is, you see wind and rain of the kind experienced there during the past fortnight as being an essential part of the vacation experience.
With the green and pleasant land becoming grey and soggy and wind-battered last week, Irish teams felt at home and made hay in the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta at Weymouth. It's the final main event in the countdown to the Olympics at the same venue in August, and went so well for our sailors that by Saturday night the Irish squad were in dazed contemplation of a new store of precious metals.
A Gold Medal for Peter O'Leary and David Burrows in the Star, and Bronze for Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial. As a bonus, the 49er crew, northerners Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern, won their fleet and placed seventh overall - their best yet – in the main division.
If this is the kind of scoreline which can be obtained when the going is very bad weatherwise, then let's have more of it. Let's have medals galore even if horrible weather is a key ingredient. Certainly, some of the Irish sailing and Olympic community are praying for such weather in August on a daily basis. And if that fouls up your beachtime in Bognor – tough.
But we should be careful what we wish for. It wasn't wall-to-wall bad weather. The final section last Saturday, the all-important Medal Races, saw the English Channel in classic lively good humour. A sunny breezy day with a good sou'west breeze, 15 knots in the morning, pushing to a brisk and gear-breaking 23 knots after noon, a testing buildup.
The O'Leary-Burrows leap from third into Gold was achieved partly by the duel between the overnight leaders. Britain's Ian Percy and Bart Simpson had been one point ahead of Brazil's Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada. Then the Brazilians uncharacteristically got themselves into a knot, and had to throw a penalty turn. But Percy and Simpson stayed with them for covering purposes so closely that the Irish team were able to build on a correct tactical decision in the first beat, emerging as deservedly clear and triumphant winners.
Annalise Murphy showed her power in a breeze, and she moved onto the podium, while the Seaton-McGovern progression continued on its merry upward trajectory through the 49er class.
A less happy 49er sailor is Iker Martinez, whose perfect 2012 programme would have been to clinch his early lead in the Volvo Ocean Race at its Galways finish at the end of June, and then go on to race for Spain in the Olympics in the 49er in August.
It was all going along as planned, with Martinez in Telefonica flying the flag with steady success in the first half of the Volvo stages. But in the final stages his campaign has gone wobbled. Most embarrassingly for an Olympian, the inshore racing has been his Achilles heel. Last weekend in Lisbon was excruciating with his rattled crew dropping a sail over the side, and the boat placing last to drop more points, points hard won over thousands of miles of ocean.
Race leaders Groupama Sailing Team, skippered by Franck Cammas from France, with Kerry's Damian Foxall onboard lead the fleet at full speed, on the approach to the finish of leg 8, from Lisbon, Portugal, to Lorient, France, during the Volvo Ocean Race Photo: Paul Todd
Franck Cammas and Damian Foxall with Groupama have gone from strength to strength and top the leaderboard with 189 points to Telefonica's 181. But now with the fleet racing back from rounding the Azores and on towards Lorient, Telefonica is once more in charge, but placings are mighty close in very rugged conditions.
The 2012 ITC Lambay Race at Howth, with a fleet of more than a hundred, saw overall victory for Dun Laoghaire, the Lambay Lady Trophy going to the First 31.7 Blue Fin 2 (Bernie Bryson and Mia Delaney, National YC) after a race so fast the sunshine only caught up with the fleet at the finish.
W M Nixon's sailing column is in the Irish Independent on Saturdays
While the boycott reduced Olympics of 1980 may have given hope to the Irish Olympic Sailing team, it is perhaps fair to say that the performances of the class of 2012 are closer to the positive end of the hope-expectation scale. With superb timing, in the last major confrontation of Olympic contenders, the Irish medal race sailors put in tremendous final race performances to take away a first, a third and a seventh from the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta last week.
With only a few weeks to go to the ultimate competition in this quadrennial, Ireland is set to emulate and perhaps exceed the 1980 result. If we do, it could lessen the burden carried for so long by Wilkins and Wilkinson in the same way that Michael Carruth's gold in Barcelona eventually relieved the nation's unreasonable reliance on Ronnie Delaney.
Peter O'Leary and David Burrows on the way to overall victory in the Star class. Photo: Brian Carlin
In the Star Class, Peter O'Leary and David Burrows have been mixing it with the world's best for a couple of years now and in getting the better of current World champions, Brazilians Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada and the British Olympic Champions, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson, the Cork/Dublin combo have laid down a very clear message that the destiny of this year's top reward is no longer the two horse race that many punters have been predicting. With consistency across a variety of conditions, the Irish Star team are no longer outsiders for a medal, but have clearly signalled their intention to, once again, ascend the Weymouth podium come August 5th. However, this Star Class is deep with talent and anyone of ten teams could realistically medal. Canada, Switzerland, Poland, France, Denmark and Greece all harbour aspirations to medal in the Star and our heroes will need to double check equipment on a daily basis to ensure they are not denied by equipment failure, particularly with the additional restrictions on coach support during the Games itself.
Annalise is recognised as the world leader in heavy airs. Photo: Richard Langdon
Annalise Murphy's welcome return to form, following a Radial worlds dogged by inconsistency and a poor showing (by her standards) at a reduced quality Delta Lloyd regatta, augurs well should Weymouth enjoy decent breeze. Recognised internationally as the class's best heavy weather sailor by some distance, it was encouraging to see that she wasn't completely off the pace in the lighter winds on the regatta's first day. Annalise has set out her schedule for the remaining period prior to the Games – more work on light air sailing work should be a part of the work plan.
Ryan Searton and Matt McGovern produced three race wins at Sail for Gold last week. Photo: Richard Langdon
Team officials must be delighted, not only with the Star and Radial performances, but also by the 49er team of Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern. 10th in the 2011 World Championship in Perth must have seemed to be a distant memory with a poor start to 2012.
Less than stellar results in the early season World Cup events culminated in failing to make gold fleet at the 2012 Worlds in Croatia in May last month. However, the Northern Ireland duo bounced back in fine style to record their best result to date. Barely hanging on to the medal race spot in the final gold fleet race, the boys then finished 5th in the medal race, leap frogging three competitors to finish in 7th overall. With three British sailors ahead of them, this conceivably puts them top five in the Olympic fleet. However, form suggests the gold medal battle will be between Spaniards, Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez, currently away on Volvo duty, and Australian World Champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, with the battle for the minor medal between any number of countries - France, Britain, Finland and Denmark are among those – making the Irish team outsiders. But outsiders with a great boost to their confidence, and this young team, should they continue, will have made a huge claim for enhanced support for the next quadrennial.
So, Irish sailing embarks on the voyage to London 2012 with a reasonable expectation for a positive outcome. But for it to be similar to the Sail for Gold result will not only demand that all our sailors are on their best form, but also that there is consistently strong breeze for the duration. A tall order perhaps? Gaoth láidir, le do thoil!
#sailforgold – Peter O'Leary and David Burrows are wearing Gold tonight in Weymouth having won the most important pre-Olympic regatta of the season. They finished third in the Olympic Star class medal race to leap frog the Olympic and World champions raising further the expectation that the Cork-Dublin pair can deliver Ireland's first Olympic medal since 1980 in just under two months time.
The duo, who were fourth at last month's world championships in France performed consistently again this week staying in the top three in some of the toughest condtions of the season. Racing was cut short on Thursday when gales hit the Olympic venue.
The Irish Olympic bound pair were third overall heading in to this afternoon's medal race and a third place finish in the double points final this afternoon saw them jump ahead of Brazilian rivals Scheidt & Prada (BRA) and Brtiain's Olympic champions Percy and Simpson who were involved in a collision.
It is the second Gold for O'Leary in Weymouth he previously won with German crew Fritjof Kleen at Sail for Gold 2010.
Earlier today, in a big day for Irish sailing single hander Annalise Murphy took bronze in the Laser Radial and in the 49er class Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern were seventh giving Ireland three medal possbilities at the Summer Olympics.
#sailforgold – Three Irish crews are in the Medal Races of tomorrow's washed out Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta after racing was scrubbed again today because of high winds.
Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial, Peter O'Leary and David Burrows in the Star and Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern in the 49er earn medal race starts by virtue of their top ten placings overall. The most likely medal prospect is O'Leary and Burrows who currently lie in the bronze medal position but tomorrow's racing will be worth double points so everything is still to play for.
Ger Owens and Scott Flanigan in the 470 class finish the regatta in 1st place in the Silver Fleet while James Espey finished 4th in the Laser Silver Fleet. Paralympians John Twomey, Ian Costello and Anthony Hegarty in the Sonar class finish 12th overall.
#sailforgold–Annalise Murphy believes she is on track for a top ten finish in her debut Olympics following a fine week at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta writes our special correspondent Paul Smith.
The Irish Laser Radial sailor picked up a win and a third place from her two races on day four in Weymouth, as the series entered the gold fleet stage.
Murphy, of Dublin, is now ranked fifth overall, with China's Lijia Xu in first and Britain's Alison Young second. Sari Mutala, of Finland, is third.
The National Yacht Club's Murphy is pleased with how her week has gone so far as she steps up her preparations for London 2012, and she is keen to illustrate her credentials.
"I've had a pretty consistent week, I had one bad race on Wednesday which is probably going to affect me overall in the end but I'm pretty happy," said the 22-year-old, who picked up a further first place on day three.
"I have had much more consistent results than usual so it is good.
"I came here and wanted to be in the top ten to get some medal experience, because every medal race here is important as it is like a step towards the Olympics.
"This will be my first Olympics so I am just going to try and get a good experience. I want to finish in the top ten and hopefully that will give me a good stepping stone towards 2016 but I don't know, anything can happen."
Providence Resources is the sponsor of the Irish Olympic Sailors
Investment specialist Skandia is the principal sponsor of the British sailing team
#sailforgold – Capitalising on her favourite conditions at the mid point of the Skandia Sail for Gold regatta in Weymouth today Olympic bound Laser Radial Sailor Annalise Murphy scored a first and a third. They are important scores that move the Dun Laoghaire sailor up to fifth overall, virtually assuring her of a place in Saturday's medal race.
Conditions have deteriorated in Weymouth for Day four of the event and continuous rain and winds of between 20 and 25 knots have prohibited many fleets from getting out on the water.
The Star class spent the day waiting ashore for a chance to sail but it never materialised leaving Peter O'Leary and David Burrows in third overall.
The race management team made the decision to move most of the racing into the more sheltered harbour area however this meant a reduction in course space. With the forecast for tomorrow looking to be even worse, the focus for today was on providing races for the Gold Fleets. This meant that the only Irish Olympic Sailors lined up to sail today were Annalise Murphy, Peter O'Leary & David Burrows and the 49er boys Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern.
Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern finished 12th in their first and only race of the day, putting them 10th overall.
Ger Owens and Scott Flanigan in the 470 Silver Fleet, James Espey in the Laser Silver Fleet and the Paralympic Sonar team were not racing today.
Tomorrow will be the final day of racing before the top 10 in each class progress to the medal races on Saturday. Conditions do not look to be favourable but organisers remain confident about getting competitors out on the water.
#sailforgold – Olympic bound Irish duo David Burrows and Peter O'Leary are in medal contention at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta - and that is exactly what they intend to be when the Games itself gets underway writes our special correspondent Paul Smith.
Burrows and O'Leary compete in the star class and are ranked third after six races over the first three days of the regatta, which is being held at the Olympic venue in Weymouth.
An interrupted first day saw just one race, in which they came fifth, before claiming a second, fourth and first place on day two to lead overnight.
Yesterday was less successful as they discarded their seventh place in race five before claiming fifth in the final outing of the day. It leaves them trailing Britain's reigning Olympic champions Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson, and Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada of Brazil.
Dublin-born Burrows, a veteran of three Olympics having competed in the star class in 1996 and finn in both 2000 and 2004, says the duo are content with their performance but are also looking at the bigger picture.
"We are just testing some things here, getting ready for the Olympics in a few weeks' time," said the 35-year-old.
"This is the last chance to really test a few things against all of the competitors who we are going to be racing against at the Olympics, and so we are just testing a few settings and gears and also getting used to the racecourse a bit better.
"Our goal is to be standing on the podium (at the Olympics) that is what we are here for.
"We are quite happy with how our progress is going so far, and we are happy with the week we are having here at the Sail for Gold Regatta.
"We are confident enough and we just need to stick to our programme.
"The result isn't so important. It is more about just learning about your equipment, your gear, and also the venue itself and the racecourse."
Burrows and Cork-born helmsman O'Leary, 29, came together in the star class in 2009, with their sights firmly set on London 2012.
And with the Games now under two months away, Burrows believes a successful week in Weymouth will stand them in good stead.
"The first day, the first race was late in the evening and we scored a fifth in that race and we were pretty happy with the good start," he said.
"On Tuesday we were delighted with ourselves. We had a very solid day, with three races in pretty relentless conditions, but it suited us as we are from Ireland so we are used to it, and we were very happy.
"It is Weymouth. I think you can have any conditions in the summer time as we have seen, so you just have to take anything that comes really."
More on sail for gold regatta: www.skandiateamgbr.com Investment specialist Skandia is the principal sponsor of the British sailing team
More: Irish Olympic sailing news
#sailforgold – Three Irish boats in the top ten of the Skandia Sail for Gold regatta marks a new high for the Irish Olympic sailing team with team efforts now focused on ensuring early advantages are maintained through consistent sailing as the competition edges closer to Saturday's medal race finals.
Although Peter O'Leary and David Burrows have lost their overall lead they have maintained a strong position in the top of the Star fleet. They had a seventh and a fiftth today which leaves them 3rd overall. Significantly it is the strongest competitors who have passed them out, Percy & Simpson (GBR) and Scheidt & Prada (BRA) who lead in first and second respectively.
The weather had improved slightly from Tuesday's inclement conditions, but it was still another tough day on the water. The moderate wind from the south-west peaked at around 19 knots, providing challenging sailing conditions in which only the best could thrive.
Belfast skiff pair Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern had their third race win of the championship in the 49er class. The duo move up three places to ninth overall following an additional ninth and third in their other two races of the day.
In the Laser Radial Annalise Murphy of Dun Laoghaire also had a race win, finishing first in her second race of the day. Combined with the 15th from her first race she is inside the top 10, now seventh overall.
Unfortunately Ger Owens & Scott Flanigan were disqualified from their first race of the day. They slip one position to 24th overall following their 9th place in the second race of the day.
Laser sailor James Espey finished 25th and 28th in his two races. He lies 52nd overall in the 95 boat fleet.
And in the Paralympic Sonar class, John Twomey, Ian Costello and Anthony Hegarty lie 12th overall.
#sailforgold– They might head into London 2012 as reigning Star champions but Andrew Simpson and Iain Percy admit they have still have work to do after a Jekyll and Hyde start to their Skandia Sail for Gold assault, already Ireland's Peter O'Leary and David Burrows are 11 points clear but everyone knows there is still a big fight ahead writes Ben Baker.
The British duo are getting an early taste of what to expect at the Olympics in two months time as they look to claim the Sail for Gold crown at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy for the first time since 2009.
But the duo, who were forced to settle for silver at last month's World Championships behind Brazilians Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, have had to endure a mixed bag so far on the south coast.
Simpson and Percy sit fourth after the second day, results of first and third being sandwiched between finishes of seventh and 12t.
There is still time to close the gap on the leaders however, O'Leary and Burrows 11 points ahead, and Simpson insists they will continue to close the gap right up until the Games themselves.
"Day two was a tricky day," Simpson said. "We were struggling a bit for speed but it's good racing.
"It's tricky conditions and a lot of people did well and badly in races. We kept struggling but catching up which is good but struggling for speed against some of the guys so we have got a bit of work to do to find out what is going wrong.
"We had a first and a third so we are catching up now. There is a long way to go in this series and we aren't far off I don't think and won't be far behind so we have just got to work hard and see how it goes.
"This regatta is a good check in of where you are. You need to be close to where you need to be for the Games as it's not long now.
"You can't be far behind or miles away, you need to work on where you are and what you have got to do next."
For more: www.skandiateamgbr.com. (Investment specialist Skandia is the principal sponsor of the British sailing team).
For more: Irish Olympic Sailing news
HOWTH YACHT CLUB. TUE + SAT SERIES 2 (RACE) 05/06/2012 17 Footer SCRATCH: 1, Rita Curley/Lynch; 2, Pauline O'Doherty/Ryan; 3, Isobel B & C Turvey; 17 Footer HCAP: 1, Pauline O'Doherty/Ryan; 2, Anita Cassidy/Faherty; 3, Rita Curley/Lynch TUESDAY SERIES 2 Puppeteer SCRATCH: 1, Yellow Peril N Murphy; 2, Harlequin Clarke/Egan; 3, Nefertari Morgan/Murray; Squib SCRATCH: 1, Kerfuffle Craig/Ruane; 2, Shadowfax P Merry; 3, Fantome R McDonell; Etchells SCRATCH: 1, Kootamundra D O'Grady; 2, Fetching Quinn/O'Flaherty; 3, Jabberwocky S Knowles; Puppeteer HPH: 1, Schiggy G Kennedy; 2, Mr Punch NiBhraonain/Wilson; 3, Nefertari Morgan/Murray; Squib HPH: 1, Shadowfax P Merry; 2, Kerfuffle Craig/Ruane; 3, Fantome R McDonell