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Murphy ends 13-year drought

18th May 2009

Dun Laoghaire sailor Annalise Murphy has become the first Irish sailor to win a Europa Cup laser event in 13 years. Murphy, the longest-standing member of the ISA Academy, topped out a 76-boat Radial fleet in the Netherland venue of Hoorn to win by just three points in her first event as a senior.

The Ijselmeer event is one of thirteen regattas in the Laser Europa Cup series run each year at venues around Europe. Each is hotly contested and attract up to 200 of the top Laser sailors from around the world.

The last Irish sailor to win such an event was Olympian and fellow National Yacht Club sailor Mark Lyttle, who won a French Europa Cup event in 1996, going on to take a race win at the Atlanta Olympics the same summer.

A very competitive fleet of 76 Laser Radial sailors from 17 nations sailed 6 races in mixed conditions on the IJsselmeer at Hoorn. The first day was very testing for all involved especially the race committee as the wind swung 180 degrees before becalming the fleet forcing a decision to abandon racing.

Day two saw a change in fortunes with strong southerly breeze holding steady to allow a full schedule to be completed. Rain on the final day, Sunday, did not cause too many problems as the wind held steady. A series of recalled starts saw second placed Dutch sailor Marit Boumeester get a 'Black Flag' penalty on the start line of the last race, and a third-place finish, after a bullet in the preceding race, was enough for Murphy to take the win overall.

Murphy was being coached by the ISA's new Radial coach, Ian Clingan, at the event. Clingan, a recent signing from the RYA where he was their Olympic Radial coach, said she sailed 'the regatta of her life' to win.

Academy coach Rory Fitzpatrick, said: "Annalise beat some pretty big names in the Radial class in this event, like Jon Emmett, and a lot of senior guys who are pretty good.

"The other girl, Marit, who won Hyeres, would be considered a potential medallist."

Fitzpatrick continued: "Annalise would be our hardest-working sailor. She's been sailing regularly on weekdays and weekends in her Radial for years."

"She was our top performer in 2008, when she came fourth in the Radial Youth Europeanss and fifth in the Radial Youth Worlds, so she's had the pedigree to back it up as a youth, and this shows her potential going into the senior ranks."

"She's also quite independent - last year she drove to the Youth Europeans herself, in Douarnenez in France. Two of the people who beat her competed in the Olympic Games."

Results for the event are here, and you can also view an animated replay of how the races played out by clicking here.

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