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#rio – After an early lead this week Annalise Murphy dropped to eighth on Tuesday but this morning is back up to second overall as Spain's Trofeo Sofia regatta in Palma moves into its final stages. The Radial fleet has been full of surprises with change of leadership and some unexpected outcomes all week. Regatta favourite Marit Bouwmeester of Holland retired from the competition on the second day with a shoulder injury. Despite the absence of the world #1, the Gold fleet shows no shortage of talents. After a productive "off season" in Australia and two victories at Sail Sydney and the Melbourne SWC, Alison Young (GBR) has returned to take the lead of the Gold fleet in front of Annalise Murphy and Anne Marie Rindom (DEN). World #2 Evi van Acker (BEL) took the bullets today to climb into fourth position.

The Trofeo Sofia title will be hard fought today and tomorrow with medal races scheduled for Saturday morning.

Published in Annalise Murphy

#annalisemurphy – The National Yacht Club's Annalise Murphy dealt well with the demanding conditions in the Bay of Palma yesterday in the opening rounds of the Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia in Mallorca.  In the Radial, experienced sailors Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR), Alison Young (GBR) and Annalise are top three after two races in gusty winds. Annalise lived up to her Irish Sports Council star billing as a 'podium athlete' and leads Irish squad fortunes so far in Spain with Irish Olympic class sailors also competing in the 49er, 49erFX and the Laser dinghy classes.

The wind played dirty tricks all day in Palma on sailors and race committees who had to juggle with big shifts and different pressure. From 4 to 20 knots, and reaching 40 in some gusts, the wind turned around the bay playing with everybody's nerves! However, the show was on with the bay covered with white caps and the 800 boats that raced their first day in the event.

The Finns were the first fleet to return ashore with two races completed. World champion Giles Scott (GBR) took the first race, managing the shifts to his advantage.

The wind played havoc in the first women 470 race with two third of the fleet in the blue group failing to finish within the time limit.

Sailing the Nacra today proved to be quite an athletic performance with gusts reaching over 30 knots. Only ten boats managed to finish the first race in both groups where capsizes and broken equipment was a common sight

Olympic medalists and World champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) are taking a perfect start in the 49er event with two victories. Northern Ireland skiff pair Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern are 14th from 71. 

Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP) proved just as good with a clean score in the FX. Dun Laoghaire's Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey are 29th from 40.

Jesper Stalheim (SWE), Tom Burton (AUS) and Lorenzo Chiavarini (GBR) have claimed the only race sailed in the three laser groups. Belfast lough's James Espey lies 64th from 150.

Only eight out of 45 windsurfers crossed the finish line in the Men RS:X yellow group. Today windy race was won by World champion Julien Bontemps (FRA) and Samuel Sills (GBR) in the Men and by Maayan DAVIDOVICH (ISR) and Sofia Keplacka (POL) in the women.

For the second day in a row, the kites didn't race. The wind was either too strong or too gusty to allow for proper racing.

Racing continues today for all classes.

Published in Annalise Murphy

#TrofeoSofia – James Espey is the only member of the Irish Olympic Sailing Team to qualify for this morning's gold fleet racing at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Trofeo Princesa Sofía in Palma. The Belfast dinghy sailor scored seventh in yesterday afternoon's race five to give him three top ten results to bring him up to 24th overall in his massive 144–boat fleet.

The results scored 10, 13, 8, 27 and 7 are all the more satisfying for the Royal Ulster sailor given they were produced in difficult light winds, conditions that have frustrated his Irish London 2012 team–mates and have consigned them to silver fleet participation for the rest of the regatta.

The shifty winds kept the sailors busy all day with bands of wind up to 14–knots then down to 6–knots coming down the course areas of the fourth ISAF World Cup event.

Fleets are now split into gold and silver for the final three days before the medal race on Saturday.

After four races Annalise Murphy counts 32, 46, 48 and a 31 to be placed 86 from 96. It's a big disappointment for the Irish Laser European champion especially given her light wind preparations at the Rio Olympic venue itself last season plus there are forecasted strong winds expected later this week, sailing conditions which the Dublin 'Breeze Queen' relishes.

One race in the split 96-boat Laser Radial fleet sees Murphy's long time rivals Marit Bouwmeester (NED) head into gold fleet racing two points clear of Great Britain's Chloe Martin.

Bouwmeester finished second in the yellow fleet whilst Martin took a third in the blue fleet as the top two spots remain unchanged.

"It was a nice day even though it was quite a long day on the water because we got a good race in and now we can do gold fleet racing," said Bouwmeester. "There are so many girls here and the racing is really good. It should be a fun three days in the gold fleet which will be nice."

Despite setting the early pace Bouwmeester isn't getting carried away, "I'm just trying to sail as best as I can, learn as much as I can and then if I win I would like that but if not then there has to be more work done."

The days race wins went to Daphne van der Vaart (NED) in the blue fleet and Anne Marie Rindom (DEN) in the yellow fleet.

Racing got off to a late start in the afternoon with a light morning breeze ensuring Palma Bay resembled a shiny pane of glass. When the first race got underway after 14:00 local time a moderate 5 knot breeze that picked up to 10 knots saw the light wind specialists continue their strong early form. 

On a separate course, with scores of 19, 31, 23, 22, 25, and 19, Belfast lough 49er duo Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern lie 51st from 79. 

Last night 49erfx Irish newcomers, Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey, who are making their Rio campaign debut in Palma reflected on their overall position of 44th from 50 on twitter: 

"Tough day for us at the office. A wee bit soul destroying when the things you can't control attack and you're left to fight back... Today was not our day. We have come away from it with the positives which were good speed and starts again. We will be competing in silver fleet for the rest of the regatta which will be an excellent opportunity to practice what we need to and take the most we can from the rest of the week. We got this ... Just need to give it time and have patience!

Unfortunately our result on the score board doesn't show how much our sailing has improved and how far we have come this winter but we are happy and feel like we are making gains and couldn't be prouder!"

The girl's Royal Irish club–mate Ross Hamilton is 72 from 92 in the Finn dinghy.

How to handle the super tricky conditions experienced so far in Palma are captured in this youtube account by British Finn sailors Andrew Mills and Giles Scott.

Racing begins this morning at 11am with an easterly wind of 5 knots shifting to a southerly position and increasing to 14 knots this afternoon and possibly more.

Full results here

Published in Olympic
The medal races and Women Match racing finals have crowned today the sailing champions in the 42 Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma. The Irish Sailing team did not qualify for the final rounds.

The Women Match racing finals were a hard fought battle with Silja Lehtinen, Silja Kanerva, Mikaela Wulff (FIN) taking the first match by a small margin, then Sally Barkow, Elizabeth Kratzig-Burnham, Alana O'Reilly (USA) winning the next three close matches to win the Gold medal.
"It feels really good to win a Sailing World Cup event. We came into this event thinking it was going to be a kind of warm up leading up to the first phase of the U.S. Trials in May. We really showed a lot of progress through the event and that was really important. We still have a lot to work on and we're off to Weymouth next week to train with the rest of the U.S. Team then on to Hyères." commented Sally Barkow (USA) after the win.

The Finals and Petit-Finals were sailed in perfect conditions after the sea breeze filled in around midday to a steady 7-10 knots. The Petit-Finals saw Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer, and Deb Capozzi (USA) defeat Claire Leroy, Marie Riou, and Claire Pruvot (FRA) in two straight matches to win the Bronze medal.

In many classes, yesterday leaders kept their early position after the double pointers medal race to win the title.

For Ben Ainslie (GBR), who was playing for Gold or Silver, winning the medal race from start to finish settled the questions. Giles Scott (GBR) kept Silver and Thomas Lebreton (FRA), the bronze.

Ben Ainslie, coming back to the Finn after a break sailing in the Match racing circuit, is successful with a win in Sail Melbourne a second in Miami and a second SWC win in Palma. The Olympic champion is also taking the Ultimate Trophy which crowns the best sailor across all classes in the event.

"The come back to the Finn has been hard work. I need to work more on my fitness. It is good to see the other British do well, it is motivating and is good for sailing in England." Ainslie's next stop will be Hyères and Sail for Gold for the start of the British Olympic selections.

The Gold medallist is slightly increasing his lead on the SWC standings over Giles Scott, but the two British are sailing away from Zach Railey (USA) in third place.

Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED), Tom Ashley (NZL) and Nick Dempsey (GBR) kept a strong hold on their early lead to take the podium in the RS:X class. Dempsey takes second place behind the Dutch in the Sailing World Cup standings.

"I feel really happy with my results." says Dorian van Rijsselberge. "It was a wonderful regatta, with sunshine and plenty of wind! My goal here was to finish in the top three and winning is always very nice."

Marina Alabau (ESP) who has been leading the event since the second day, is winning the Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE for the first time. Charline Picon (FRA) remains in second to take silver. Coming into the medal race in third, Laura Linares (ITA) suffered from an early start disqualification in the Medal race. The last place on the podium goes to her rival and first day leader Alessandra Sensini (ITA) who placed third in the Medal race. Marina Alabau (ESP) takes also the lead in the Sailing World Cup.

With victory going to Percy and Simpson (GBR) on the penultimate racing day, the battle on the Star medal race was for Silver and Bronze. Robert Stanjeck and Frithjof Kleen (GER) got to their best placing in the event to win second overall on equal points with Torben Grael /Marcelo Feirrera (BRA) and Diego Negri /Enrico Voltolini (ITA).

Manu Dyen and Stéphane Christidis (FRA) successfully defend their title in Palma. This is the tenth time the French duo compete in the Spanish event. Today they transformed their early lead into Gold after a Medal race where the Italians nearly succeeded in taking the championship.

"We had a god start with the Italians just behind us. On the first beat we fell in an area with less wind. The Sibello passed us and had a good gap on us at the mark, enough to take the regatta." A good gybe set at the bottom gate reduced the distance and gave the French the advantage and the title.

Pietro and Gianfranco Sibello (ITA) conserves the Silver. The bronze was up for grab by the next six teams. The Danish team of Allan Norregaard and Peter Lang (DEN), favourites for the Bronze, missed their chance after finishing 9th in the Medal Race. It is the Austrians Delle-Karth/Reisch who take the bronze.

New teams sail to success in 470.

In the 470 as well, the top two kept their early position after the medal race to secure a place on the podium and points towards the Sailing World Cup Standings. French Nicolas Charbonnier and Jérémie Mion (FRA), sailing together since last February have found their mark and transformed the last two training months into success. "There are still many points to adjust but this week was a good test for us as new team."

When asked about their objectives and the French selection coming soon in Hyères, the Olympic bronze medallist answers that "winning the next Olympics is the main goal" and that they will not be distracted by anything else. Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos keep the second place overall but lose the title won last year.

Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell (GBR) climb on the podium to grab third place after a 4th in the Medal race.

In the 470 women, one week training together, seemed to be enough for Jo Aleh and Bianca Barbarich-Barber (NZL), who claimed victory in their fist event together. Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JAP) conserve second position and the Israeli team of Gil Cohen and Bouskila Vered, the third.

Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes (GBR) fourth in Palma places them ahead of the Sailing World Cup standings.

There is a new champion in the Laser class with Olympic Gold medallist, Paul Goodison winning the event on the last day. The results were tight among the top three and the medal race decisive. A two places gap was enough for Goodison to take Gold from World Champion, Tom Slingsby (AUS) who has to settle for Silver. Sail Melbourne winner, Nick Thompson (GBR) keeps the Bronze and extends his lead on the Sailing World Cup standings.

Sarah Winther (NZL) takes Gold in the Radial with Evi van Acker (BEL) keeping second place. Gintare Scheidt (LTU) wins the medal race and the third place on the podium.

"I am very happy with my week." says Winther, "I didn't come here to win, I used this event to work on some key things. Racing in Palma was awesome this year, surely the best."

Sailors will be heading to the next Sailing World Cup event starting in two weeks in Hyères.

Published in Olympics 2012

Sailing in Palma today, Dun Laoghire's Annalise Murphy had mediocre results compared to yesterday's stellar opening round, dropping her from second overall to 14th in a fleet of 78 boats.

The second day of racing in Palma offered the 1000 sailors racing in the 10 Olympic classes and the 2.4 paralympic event, tricky conditions with moderate and shifty winds. Today's races were sailed in opposite wind directions, with the remaining North-Easterly opening the day but replaced in the afternoon by the expected sea breeze. The committee was able to complete a race for all classes in both winds in moderate conditions averaging 10 knots.

The British team capitalised on yesterday's results to take top placing in three classes.

Olympic Gold medallist and Sailing World Cup leader, Ben Ainslie (GBR) claimed today's races and the lead in the Finn class in front of team mate and earlier leader Giles Scott (GBR), and Pieter-Jan Postma (NED). In the other group the races went to Australian Brendan Casey coached by Finn medallist, John Bertrand (USA) and by junior sailor Jorge Zarif (BRA) coached by Robert Scheidt brother and ex-coach Thomas Scheidt.

Bronze medallists in the 2011 Rolex Miami regatta, Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell add two more victories to their score in the 470 men fleet and climb from 6th to 1st overall. Nick Rogers and Chris Grube (GBR) remain in second overall, three points ahead of Australians Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page.

"The racing was good today, the forecast was right. We started in the offshore wind and came back with the sea breeze. There were different styles going on so it was good to train, keep your eyes out and keep sailing to all the changes going on around you." explained Luke Patience.

Despite winning a race yet, consistent racing brought Nick Dempsey (GBR) in top place in the RS:X fleet. Beijing Bronze medallist, Shahar Zubari (ISR) got to second while Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) drops to third after suffering in today's conditions. Today's races went to Mashia Nimrod (ISR) and 2008 Olympic champion, Tom Ashley (NZL).

With a total of five races sailed in the event and tricky conditions close to the shore in Palma, the 49ers fleet has collected high scores. The Sibello (ITA) brothers are back on the international circuit after the Sail for Gold regatta. The 2009 European champions are in good form winning two out of three races. They claim the top place four points from early leaders Dylan Fletcher and Alan Sign (GBR).

The Princesa Sofia defending champions, Manu Dyen and Stéphane Christidis (FRA) are taking third overall.

The Japanese AI Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JAP), are conserving the first position in the 470 women fleet with top five results collected in diverse conditions in during the last two days. The Japanese have been training in Palma for the last three weeks with some of the top teams.

"We used to be lacking speed in the breeze but our intense training in Palma has paid off on Monday. We were able to master the breezy conditions and continue with good results today. Lots of other top teams have changed crew like the Dutch or the British so it does give us an advantage." declared Ai Kondo.

The Sail For Gold winners are only two points from Jo Aleh and Bianca Barbarich-Barber (NZL) who claimed today's races. The Princesa Sofia regatta is the first event together as a team for Joe and Bianca who stand in for Polly Powrie who is recovering from a bike crash! The new composed team who has been training together for six days only before the event is collecting great results.

"There was a lot less wind than yesterday. The conditions were good for us. We had lots of fun!" says Aleh.

Australian Tom Slingsby conserves his lead in the Laser fleet with top three results so far. However the day was perfect for Olympic Champion Paul Goodison (GBR) who took two bullets and climbes to second overall only five points from the World Champion. Julio Alsogaray (ARG) is in thrid after winning the day's first race and placing fifth in the next.

In the Radial, Paige Railey (USA) has collected four second places to lead the fleet in front of Marit Bouwmeester (NED). Tania Calles (MEX), Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR), Gintare Scheidt (LTU) and Cecilia Saroli (ARG) all win a race today.

The RS:X women fleet has a new leader with Marina Alabau (ESP) racing consistently to a fourth and a second placing: "I am happy with my day, the wind was difficult, light and shifty. I stayed fourth during the whole first race and started the second in the same position but was able to catch up two places and pass Blanca before the finish."

Alessandra Sensini (ITA) didn't perform in the lighter conditions adding twenty points to her score today. She is now in second position overall. Charline Picon (FRA) who had suffered from equipment failure in Monday's windy races, was undefeated today with two bullets. She seats in 12th position overall but could come up in the front when the discard comes in.

Mateus Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki (POL) win the first race and claim the lead in the Star in front of Percy/Simpson (GBR) and Scheidt/Prada (BRA). The Italian team of Diego Negri and Enrico Voltolini (ITA) win the second race to place fifth overall.

In the 2.4m, Thierry Schmitter (NED) is keeping the lead in the ten boats fleet after collecting another first and a third.

After a long day on the water Stage One was completed for the Women's Match Racing at the 42nd Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia MAPFRE in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

Advancing to the Gold Group are the three undefeated teams (Lehtinen, Barkow and Tunnicliffe) and the three 2nd place teams in each group (Leroy, Hahlbrock, and Macgregor).  They will sail a round robin to determine the seeding of the Quarter-Final Knock-out series.

Fighting for a chance to join the Gold Group in the Quarter-Finals are: Skudina, Roca, Groeneveld, Souter, Le Berre, and Hazard. They will sail a round robin with the top two advancing.

The remaining 12 teams will continue racing in the Silver and Bronze groups to determine places 13 through 24 in the event.

Racing will resume on Wednesday at 10am for the Women match racing and 11am for the other classes.

All our Olympic news HERE

Published in Olympics 2012

Sailing in a talented fleet of a thousand sailors from 53 nations, Annalise Murphy has scored a 1 and 2 in today's opening round of the 42nd Trofeo Princesa Sofia regatta, the third event in the Sailing World Cup circuit.

Murphy, from the National Yacht Club, won today's second race by a staggering margin of one minute and 30 seconds as the breeze freshened to 15 knots off Palma de Mallorca, on the Balearic Island of Spain.

The 21-year old sailor from Dun Laoghaire is in a tough fleet of 78, made up of all the top international trailists for next year's Olympic regatta in the Laser Radial Class. Today's opening races in 15 knots of breeze are the first of six days of racing. 

Lastest Olympic Sailing News here

 

Published in Olympics 2012

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