Displaying items by tag: Aoife Hopkins
With under 200 days to go to the Olympic Games, Irish radial sailors Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins are preparing for the second round of their Olympic trials at Miami Olympic Classes regatta next week. Murphy leads after the first round of the trials on Rio waters in December and now the Irish rivals will enter the second test at the ISAF World Cup on Biscayne Bay. Hopefully, there will be no unexpected implications in Florida as there appeared to be in Rio.
Murphy has been busy over the Christmas period competing again in Rio, finishing ninth overall at the Brazilian championships, giving her more valuable race time on Olympic waters.
Apart from Irish interest in the trial for the single Irish place, the Laser Radial fleet will be the one to watch in Miami with a special trio facing off at the top of the 80-boat fleet. London 2012 gold medallist Lijia Xu (CHN) will be joined by silver medallist Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and bronze medallist Evi Van Acker (BEL).
Alongside Murphy, Xu, Bouwmeester and Van Acker had a famous four way battle for gold at London 2012 with the Chinese racer coming out on top. Xu stepped away from the Laser Radial in 2013 but after a two-year hiatus she returned to Olympic sailing at the 2015 Laser Radial World Championship.
The rivalry with Bouwmeester and Van Acker resumed instantly as she finished sixth to their second and third. With more miles and training in the bag, Xu, who stole the hearts of the sailing world in 2012 will be aiming to make an impression in Miami.
Denmark's Anne Marie Rindom continues to excite in the Laser Radial and returns to Miami to defend the title she won 12 months ago. Rindom also comes into the American World Cup regatta off the back of a world championship victory last year and will be aiming for the medals once again.
Much like the Radial, the Laser fleet will feature many of the leading lights of sailing and is set to be a hot contest. There will be no Irish mens trial in Florida as the second trial after Rio has moved back to a European venue.
World #1 Tom Burton (AUS) and #2 Matt Wearn (AUS) will spearhead a fleet that includes key players on the road to Rio. Five-time Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt (BRA), 2014 world champion Nicholas Heiner (NED), Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED), Andy Maloney (NZL), Jesper Stalheim (SWE) and Charlie Buckingham (USA) will be amongst the front runners looking to capture top honours.
Racing is set to commence at 10:00 local time on Monday 25 January across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic fleets. Medal Races on Saturday 30 January.
Also racing in Miami next week is Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey in the 49erfx, 49er duo Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern and the Paralympic trio John Twomey, Ian Costelloe and Austin O Carroll who have just launched a logo campaign.
The second Olympic Women's Laser Radial trial in Miami is looming but it looks like there were some unexpected implications from December's first trial between Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins in Rio because men were racing with women in the Radial class at the Copa Bresil de Vela regatta writes Water Rat.
In the race for the single Irish berth at this year's Olympics, the Irish Sailing Association currently rank Murphy as leading the Olympic trial ahead of Hopkins. There is no doubt that Hopkins was well beaten, no matter what way you read it. They all sailed off the same start, with the same competitors. But whether she was beaten by 10 boats (women only) or by 13 boats (men and women) could become significant in the event of closer racing in the next trials at Miami on January 25th and Mexico.
Should the results not be based on female participation only?
If the answer is negative, perhaps Hopkins should make an appeal immediately so that the issue can be sorted before this month's second Miami based trial in ten days time. In the absence of any appeal procedures on the ISA website, Water Rat looked over the race documents from Copa de Brazil and makes the following observations:
In NOR 3.3 there are 2 separate competitions the Copa Bresil de Vela and the Copa Bresil de Vela Jovem (Youth)
The Irish Girls were competing in the Copa Brasil Laser Radial (W) class.
In the youth event there were both men and womens categories in the Laser Radial.
NOR 5.1.2 states:
For Olympic classes the regatta will consist of an opening series followed by a Medal Race as per item 5.2. Youth classes Laser Radial and RS:X will be grouped with their Olympic class on a single starting sequence, course and overall results and for Medal Race criteria will be considered as one single class.
NOR 16.1 states that prizes will be awarded to the top 3 boats in each class.
NOR 16.2 reads :
16.2 In Youth classes Laser Radial (Male and Female) and RS:X (Male and Female) the top 3 boats will be defined by the better three boats in the overall results grouped with the Olympic classes
According to the results Aoife was considered to be sailing in the Youth event.
The ISA trial regulations (as quoted) state:
Points shall be awarded to the Candidate in each Trial Regatta exactly corresponding to that Candidate’s final overall placing in that Trial Regatta as shown on the official final results sheet published by the regatta organisers. For example, an overall first place shall score one point; a second place shall score two points and so on
1. It could be argued that Annalise and Aoife were not sailing in the same class nor even in the same event! In this case Annalise finished 14th in the Copa Bresil de Vela 2015 Laser Radial Class (W) and Aoife finished 3rd in the Laser Radial (W) in the Copa Bresil de Vela Jovem 2015. In which case the results of this event cannot provide significant information to select a sailor for the Olympics.
2. It could also be argued that both sailors were competing in the Olympic Women's Single-handed Class (for which the trial is designed to select the Irish competitor) which excludes male competitors but not those under 19 . In which case Annalise finished 14th and Aoife 24th.
3 Finally, a strict reading of the ISA regulations places Annalise 15th and Aoife 28th as per the results provided by the event.
4. The intention of the event organisers to sail and score all the Laser Radial classes as one class was clearly signalled in the NOR. It is the responsibility of the competitors to read the NOR and raise any objection before or during the event. However, in this case it would seem that the trial organisers may equally have failed to fully appreciate the implications of the NOR for the trials?
National Yacht Club sailors from Dun Laoghaire lead both the mens and womens Irish Olympic Laser Trials in the early stages in Rio. Anomalies in the scoring of Ill Copa Brazil de Vela have been resolved and overall results after four races now in the women's Laser Radial class show Annalise Murphy in 13th place in the 44–boat fleet with Aoife Hopkins 28th. Best results so far are a third for Murphy in race three, Hopkins has scored 22nd in races two and three. Belgium's Evi Van Acker continues her overall lead.
Yesterday, in a confusing situation, Murphy was scored as a 'Did Not Compete' and ranked last but an overhaul of the official scoresheet has rectified this and also increased the number of competitors to 44.
Ill Copa Brazil de Vela is the first of three Olympic Laser trials for two Irish Laser Olympic places. In total this gives the trials series 32 races over six months, with four now sailed.
In the mens division, Finn Lynch is 32nd and best of three Irish in the 48–boat fleet. Fionn Lyden is 40th and James Espey, Ireland's London 2012 representative, is 44th.
Official results are downloadable below.
Though there was no Irish dimension to the Sailing World Cup in Abu Dhabi both Irish trialists Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins will have been watching the results sheet closely in the Laser Radial class. Josefin Olsson of Sweden beat Dutch favourite Marit Bouwmeester and Anne-Marie Rindom of Denmark was third.
The battle for gold in the Laser Radial was one of the most intriguing of the World Cup final, and ultimately it went to Sweden's Josefin Olsson who had trailed Holland's Marit Bouwmeester by a single point overnight. "This is my first World Cup win so it feels great," said Olsson, "It's always good to win the final. It means a lot to be up there and fight it out with the top girls and get a podium position in the end."
While Olsson finished fourth on the day, Bouwmeester slipped to eighth in the Medal Race. Denmark's Anne-Marie Rindom, first to finish, subsequently collected a penalty but was still able to beat Belgium's defending champion Evi Van Acker to the bronze medal.
In skiff news, Dun Laoghaire duo Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey will make their final bid for Rio qualification later this month in the 49erfx. There was no 49erfx racing in Abu Dhabi.
Australia's Mat Belcher and Will Ryan led the gold rush as the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final reached its conclusion in Abu Dhabi
The result underlines the Aussies' position as firm favourites to strike gold at next year's Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro and adds to Belcher's haul of six Men's 470 world titles, three won in tandem with Ryan.
Final top three:
1. Mathew Belcher / William Ryan, AUS, 10 points
2. Anton Dahlberg / Fredrik Bergstrom, SWE, 21
3. Stuart Mcnay / David Hughes, USA, 28
1. Hannah Mills / Saskia Clark, GBR, 15
2. Lara Vladlau / Jolanta Ogar, AUT, 21
3. Al Kondo Yoshida / Miho Yoshioka, JPN, 22
1. Nico Delle-Karth / Nikolaus Resch, AUT, 22
2. Stefano Cherin / Andrea Tesel, ITA, 28
3. Gabrial Skoczek / Yann Rocherleux, FRA, 35
1. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, CRO, 15
2. Alican Kaynar, TUR, 17
3. Pablo Guitian Sarria, ESP, 21
IKA - Formula Kite
1. Oliver Bridge, GBR, 10
2. Florian Trittel, ESP, 7
3. Alejandro Climent Hernandez, ESP, 5
1. Tom Burton, AUS, 21
2. Pavlos Kontides, CYP, 33
3. Matthew Wearn, AUS, 36
Laser Radial Women
1. Josefin Olsson, SWE, 27
2. Marit Bouwmeester, NED, 34
3. Anne-Marie Rindom, DEN, 38
1. Ivan Pastor Lafuente, ESP, 30
2. Ricardo Santos, BRA, 39
3. Tom Squires, GBR, 44
1. Bryony Shaw, GBR, 12
2. Flavia Tartaglini, ITA, 21
3. Patricia Freitas, BRA, 29
Full results: www.sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php
Next month marks Howth Yacht Club's 120th anniversary and the north Dublin club are marking the important occasion with an inaugural 'Boyd Ball' on Saturday the 14th November.
The dinner will be a black tie affair and commences with a Commodore's drinks reception at 19:30, 'celebrity' pianist during dinner, after-dinner entertainment by local 'Apres Match' impressionist comedian Gary Cooke and the 'Savage Eye's' John Colleary. The night will conclude following live music and dancing.
This entertainment-filled night will also contribute to the fundraising campaign of Howth's own Aoife Hopkins, as she strives to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio.
With a disappointing showing by the Irish squad in the pre-Olympic Regatta in Rio in August, hopes are not high for our performance in the 2016 Sailing Olympics at this light wind city venue, which has already been the subject of heated debate about the specific racing locations, and the water quality. W M Nixon takes up the story, and looks at the possible new turn in the Irish lineup.
World sailing (which as it happens, is what ISAF is going to become in a couple of weeks time) needs the Olympic Games rather more than the Olympic Games need sailing. Such is the extraordinary international appeal of the five ring circus, as it rolls remorselessly along through its four year cycle, that other more spectator-friendly but currently non-Olympic sports are ready and waiting to take over sailing’s small space in this global sporting showcase, and they’ll do so if sailing is perceived as not delivering the Olympic goods in television audience response, in spectators trying to see the racing, and in its global spread of participants.
The smaller specialist sports still outside the huge Olympic tent know only too well that it’s their one opportunity for a place in the international limelight, and on a scale which they can never hope to attain if they try to continue as a minority interest simply getting on with doing its own thing.
Of course, for many sailing and boating folk, as for enthusiasts in other specialist sports, simply getting on with doing their own small thing is what it’s all about. The Olympics is something in which they might take a polite interest, but only when the Olympiad itself is taking place.
But for those involved with running national sporting authorities, the publicity and prestige which Olympic involvement brings, plus the capacity it confers on national sporting administrators to deal with government and national agencies on basis of equality, rather than as some lowly supplicants seeking meagre support, gives the Olympics huge importance.
The old ideal of Olympic Sailing was that it should be in open water clear of shoreside imbalances. This is Ireland’s Annalise Murphy at Day 3 of the 2012 Olympics off Weymouth, when the races were still being held in open water in good breezes, and the Irish sailor was in contention for the Gold medal.
At a world level, it means that when an Olympic venue city has been selected, international sailing is obliged to swallow its pride (and probably some decidedly polluted sailing water as well), and accept that wherever in its bailiwick the host city has decided that the sailing events should be staged for maximum spectator and civic impact, then that is definitely where the Olympic Sailing is going to be, regardless of how much huffing and puffing some sailing perfectionists might make beforehand.
For the fact is, most major and participant-popular sailing venues are not anywhere near the heart of some great but water-polluted city. But ever since their inception - or rather their re-invention - the Olympic Games in modern times have been allocated to a city. And though in times past the sailing may have been held at some remote location to provide decent sport – as it was at Weymouth when the Games were in London in 2012, and even then it was distorted with the Medal Races staged much too close to the shore – the Rio de Janeiro situation with the sailing more or less in the heart of town is definitely the way the city fathers are determined to go.
The final races at Weymouth in 2012 were held close inshore. This is the way hosting cites would like to see the Sailing Olympics develop, but it facilitates spectators rather than participants.
Yet despite these obviously painful compromises which have had to be made, such is the kudos which the Olympics bring to any sport that in any country, and most particularly in a small country, that the Olympics loom over everything else like some remote yet all-powerful and voracious monster which has to be fed and generally appeased
And of all sports in all countries, it is probably sailing in Ireland which is most affected by this situation. In the international community afloat, Ireland is recognised as punching way above its weight as a sailing nation. But we’re a small country in every other way, and within Ireland itself, sailing has to compete with a range of many and varied sports in a sports-mad place which, while it may be an island, is basically so utterly rural or completely urban in its attitudes that the only time sailing comes up on the public radar is when it’s on in the Olympics – and doing well – or when some great tragedy occurs, such as the Fastnet Race disaster of 1979.
As a result of this Olympo-reality, as we might call it, we have ended up with a national sailing authority which at first glance, seems more unbalanced the more we look at it. But should we describe the ISA’s situation as being unbalanced? Perhaps “realistic” is a better description. This is how it has to be. Whatever, when we analyse the money, we find a huge chunk of the ISA’s income is directed from the Government through the Sports Council more or less directly into the ISA’s High Performance squad, which has become a thriving mini-industry within a bureaucracy.
Follow the money, they say, and in this blog on August 8th on the topic of our team of hopefuls departing for the pre-Olympic regatta in Rio, while trying as gently as possible to warn that we expect far too much of our Olympic contenders, we also published figures which had been extracted for us by a forensic accountant from the ISA’s own published balance sheets. These showed just how much of the national sailing spend went directly into what is ultimately hoped to be Olympic standard sailing, and it was frankly scary.
What makes it even more scary is that it isn’t nearly enough, and with budgets being pared back left right and centre, while the staff on the High Performance squad may seem to enjoy remarkably high salaries and many attractive perks, by world standards they’re only just getting by. And as Irish amateur boxing has painfully shown this past week, if you don’t look after your Olympic coaches properly, some other nation will be only too pleased to do so instead.
But even with the supply of Sports Council money, the resources are largely limited to keeping the permanent staff in being and up to the job. The actual potential sailing athletes need much parental and other support, including direct sponsorship, if they’re going to be able to make best use of the expertise which is available from the training professionals. For the reality is that while you may be delighted that your son or daughter has risen through the sailing ranks to qualify for an ISA High Performance course, as the course progresses you can expect regular invoices, while going to events is something else which will also make a significant dent in the assets of the Bank of Mum & Dad.
But pure sailing talent is such a beautiful thing that we should give it all the support we can, and out to the northeast of Dublin there’s an impressive “Howth Can Do It” movement getting under way on the Peninsula to ensure that one of our own, 17-year-old Aoife Hopkins, gets all the support we can find in order to fulfill a remarkable talent which has developed prodigiously in recent months.
Aoife Hopkins of Howth with her father Troy at the time she was starting to make a national impression on Irish Optimist Racing. Photo: Niamh Hopkins
Aoife’s enjoyed success in Optimist racing became an integral part of Hopkins family life
From being a child sailing star in the Spring of this year, Aoife in the Autumn finds herself with near-adult status despite having only recently turned seventeen. And it’s an adult status which has brought with it a rising world ranking in the Laser Women’s Radial class which entitles her to compete for the Irish place – already secured for us by 2012’s fourth-placed Olympian Annalise Murphy – in the Laser Women’s Radial class in the Rio Olympics next August.
Upping the ante – Aoife Hopkins gets to grips with Laser radial racing – and already has boats astern of her
Making the grade at the international level – a very determined looking Aoife Hopkins slices her way towards the front in the Lasers Women’s Radial class.
Her rapidly rising international status made Aoife (left) enough of a sailing celebrity to be recruited for the photo-op to promote the Try Sailing initiative with Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney (right) and John Twomey, World President of Disabled Sailing.
It’s an uncomfortably challenging scenario for Irish sailing. Annalise Murphy has served this country so very well, and so nobly, and will long continue to do so. But her exceptional heavy weather sailing abilities – which at one stage had her in the Gold Medal position in Weymouth in 2012 – have not provided a happy interaction with the light and flukey conditions which prevail in Rio in August.
Until a few weeks ago, the scenario was that the already identified talents of Aoife Hopkins were only under guidance towards the Tokyo Olympics of 2020. But after the setback of August, a different outlook began to take shape. Now that Hopkins was eligible to compete, if she could somehow continue her onward and upward rise through the remaining Olympic selector events towards Rio August 2016 - a three part international series which will conclude next March – and if she has actually got ahead of Murphy, why shouldn’t she go to Rio?
She’d still be only seventeen, but she’s so sensibly grounded with full family and community support that competing in the Olympics as a total newbie needn’t be an upsetting experience, whatever the result. And who knows, but it could even be surprisingly good. And anyway, so long as the longterm view is kept properly focused towards Tokyo where she will be an even more mature 21, then why not take in Rio on the way?
You can cast the runes any way you like, but meeting Aoife and her very supportive mother Niamh this week through the good offices of Howth Yacht Club Commodore Brian Turvey – a longtime supporter of the Hopkins cavalcade – gave me a remarkable insight into what could well be sailing history in the making.
Cometh the hour, cometh the woman…..Like all Ireland’s yacht and sailing clubs, after battling through a rather torrid economic time in recent years with 2012 being the absolute nadir, Howth is fairly leaping back to life. Our boats have gone back to winning here, there and everywhere, and if our popular Commodore says that there’s this girl who is emerging out of Howth sailing who really shows the extra special sort of talent which deserves full support in a very tangible way, then the membership – and indeed the entire Howth peninsula – is more than ready to give it all a favourable hearing.
Aoife’s track into sailing is interesting. Her father Troy is one of those hardy perennials who get afloat with the long-established Howth Laser winter series, but Aoife herself isn’t a cradle sailor. On the contrary, she was around nine when she started with an introductory course at Howth YC, but soon was hooked, and by age eleven she was gunning with her already proven determination for a place in the National Optimist Squad, which soon came her way, and life became one of Optimist fun and high-level competitive sport, morphing on into a year or so with Toppers, and then the Laser Radial where she soon felt at home.
The results have been impressive, but then we’ve had many young people who show great sailing promise, but somehow in their mid teens the interest wanes, and it’s unfair to everyone to try to keep them at it.
Aoife Hopkins continues to enjoy the more traditional aspects of Howth sailing – she is seen here helming the Howth 17 Isobelle to victory in this 118-year-old class’s annual Junior Race. In the Howth 17s, a “junior helm” is under the age of 30……..
But Aoife Hopkins and boats become something very special. She just lives for sailing, so much so that during 2015 she put in some weeks as an Instructor in the Junior Sailing Programme at HYC between campaigns which had already seen her making the cut in the Laser Radial Rankings, at the same time she found the space to race one of the J/80s which are now club-based in Howth, and when Brian Turvey asked her if she’d like to helm his classic Howth 17 in the Juniors Race, she leapt at the chance and won, even if somewhat bemused to find that in the 118-year-old Seventeens, a “Junior” is a helm under the age of thirty…..
Yet thanks to Howth being such a settled community with large networks of friends, she was by no means unhealthily boat-obsessed, and she still had the energy to do very well indeed in school (it’s Santa Sabina, alma mater to the girls of Howth) while her family were now getting steadily more involved with sailing.
In fact they must be unique in that in the Howth Laser Winter series, Aoife has been competing both with her father Troy and younger brother Daniel, and although mother Niamh is not a Laser sailor herself, she found herself doing so much of the class’s administration that she was elected the non-sailing Class Captain.
Keeping up with the knitting – Aoife Hopkins last December racing in the Howth Laser Frostbite Series, which dates back to 1974. Aoife, her brother Daniel, and father Troy are all regulars in this series, and mum Niamh is non-sailing Class Captain
Beyond all that, there has been the growing international commitment, with some member of the family always available to travel in support of Aoife when she headed off for some distant major event. She and Niamh are more like a pair of sisters rather than mother and daughter as they recall various adventures in pursuit of international sailing competition, a special highlight being a drive by the pair of them right across Europe to Poland with the Laser on top of the family car, and success at the end of it.
At the moment, this extraordinary story of personal sailing development is at an exciting and entertaining early stage, and it’s still fun – it can cheerfully be admitted there was a healthy amount of laughter at this week’s meeting in the board-room atop Howth Yacht Club. But there’s no doubting the underlying seriousness of the challenge, and ideas for moving it forward were flying around in best kaleidoscope style.
At its most basic, the Aoife Hopkins campaign through the remaining three Olympic selector events will cost a minimum of €20,000, and it all has to be raised by Aoife and her family and supporters. But she has already made a very good start with her Crowd Funding project which was launched on Facebook with support from Afloat.ie and others, and within a week she’d raised €2000, which is ten per cent clear and counting.
Yet obviously there’s still much heavy lifting to be done, but in a club where the annual Christmas Charity Lunch managed to raise €20,000 for the late great sailor Joe English when his diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimers was revealed, €20,000 is very manageable, and Brian Turvey and his team would hope to have a comfortable margin beyond that.
Howth Can Do It - Planning the way ahead for Aoife and Niamh Hopkins with Howth YC Commodore Brian Turvey at a meeting this week in the club to consider the options for fund-raising in order to provide the €20,000 necessary for the three series final selection process for the Olympics 2016. Aoife has already raised more than €2000 through her own crowd-funding project, launched less than ten days ago. Photo: W M Nixon
But as well, there can be supportive help in kind. Howth is a peculiar place in that people who live there but work in Dublin tend to discard their professional status when they head home eastward through Sutton Cross. They may be highly qualified specialists in the day job in nearby Ireland, but beyond Sutton Cross out in Howth, they prefer to be just another peninsula person, as anonymous as possible.
However, if the need arises, there’s this extraordinary range of special skills within easy reach of the club, and when Aoife mentioned that one of the things she missed after the cutbacks at the ISA was the availability of a Sports Psychologist as a matter of normal training procedure, within a few seconds Brian Turvey had thought of someone living locally who could put the team in contact with the ideal person for the job on a voluntary basis.
And this emergence of a special sailing talent has couldn’t have come at a better time, for as Howth emerges bruised and battered - but feeling better by the minute - after the Great Recession, it has suddenly been remembered that November 18th 2015 precisely marks the 120th Anniversary of the foundation of the club, and events built around that – including a back-tie fund-raiser on Saturday, November 14th for Aoife Hopkins – will go a long way to keeping this very special show on the road.
Keeping fit. Aoife Hopkins current routine includes gym at least four times a week, cycling on at least three days, and sailing whenever possible – and she still is a full time student at school. Photo: Niamh Hopkins
Howth Yacht Club teenager Aoife Hopkins has declared her hand for the forthcoming Olympic trials for the Irish Olympic Sailing Team and launched a sports crowdfunding campaign to help fund her bid for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The 16-year-old sprung to prominence last year when being nominated for the Irish Youth Sailor of the Year award and went on to be the youngest competitor to be invited to the Sailing World Cup in the UK this June.
Sailing in the Laser Radial category, she ranks 81st of 550 in the World table after finishing 20th in the World Championships in Kingston Ontario, Canada, and also boasts a top ten finish in this year’s Youth European Championships.
These accomplishments have prompted the Irish Sailing Association to put her forward as a Rio 2016 candidate, but in order to qualify she must be the top performing candidate at three major events, beginning with Copa Brasil de Vela in Rio this December.
It is estimated the total cost of qualifying for the Olympics will exceed €20,000 for the Howth sailor and she is asking Irish sailing and Olympics fans to contribute €5,000 of that through crowdfunding on PledgeSports.org.
She said: “I have achieved my goals for this year, which were top ten at the Europeans and top 20 at the Worlds and my ultimate goal is to win a medal for Ireland at the 2020 Olympics, but Ireland has qualified for a place at the 2016 Olympics in Rio in Laser Radial and I have been forward as a candidate for that place.
“The approximate cost of the Olympic campaign is €20,000 and I hope to raise €5,000 through Pledge Sports. Your help, no matter how small, will make my Race to Rio possible.”
To support Irish sailing starlet Aoife Hopkins and find out more click here.
16–year–old Howth Yacht Club sailor Aoife Hopkins will compete in an Irish Radial Olympic trial for Rio against Annalise Murphy and potentially several other female sailors who have yet to declare. The Radial trial devised by the ISA consists of three events involving three transatlantic trips in six month's starting this December. The cost of the proposed women's trial was the focus of an Irish Times Article last Friday here.
Hopkins is self-funded and although she receives coaching support from the ISA there is little direct funding available towards the cost of the trials estimated at €20,000.
‘In June I competed in the Sailing World Cup in the UK. I qualified based on my impressive domestic and international results in 2015. The top 40 in the world (of all ages) were sailing in this event. I was the youngest competitor in the World to be invited and was honoured to represent my country at such a high level. I have achieved my goals for this year which were top 10 at the Europeans and top 20 at the Worlds. My ultimate goal is to win a medal for Ireland at the 2020 Olympics, Hopkins said.
Hopkins has launched a pledge site to raise funds for the campaign here
Hopkins also qualified for that event, being the youngest competitor at the age of 16 – which means she has years of experience to build ahead of her to show her true potential, and achieve her dream of a medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
That's quite an achievement for a teenager who's only been sailing the Laser Radial for two years!
#isafworldcup – Annalise Murphy is in the top three of the women's Laser Radial fleet at the ISAF World Cup fleet in Weymouth after today's two opening races in an 'uncommon' 15–knot easterly breeze. The Dun Laoghaire star scored a second in the first race and a sixth this afternoon in her 36–boat fleet. 16–year–old Aoife Hopkins of Howth Yacht Club, who earned her place by virtue of her performance (40th overall in an 82–boat fleet) at last month's Delta Lloyd regatta in Holland, lies 35th.
Belfast Lough's Ryan Seaton and Matt Mc Govern are 27th from 39th in the 49er skiff dinghy after counting a 13 and a disappointing 35 this afternoon.
In the women's skiff, Royal Irish pair Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey are scored as 'did not compete' in the first three races of the 49erFX class. Unfortunately the Dun Laoghaire pair were unable to race as a result of Tidey's 'suspected food poisoning' or 'some sort of vomiting bug'.
Ranging from 10-15 knots, the breeze coupled with glorious sunshine, resulted in some exceptional racing on the 2012 Olympic waters.
The stakes have been described as high by the competitors competing in Great Britain and rightly so with internal Rio qualification battles on-going, ISAF Sailing World Cup honours, a share of the prize fund and Abu Dhabi Final spots up for grab.
Racing commenced at 11:00 local time and wrapped up early evening with the ten Olympic, three Paralympic and Kiteboarding events completing their race schedule.
New Zealand's Andy Maloney came out with intent in the Laser, taking the day one lead with a strong performance as he explained, "We had good breeze between 10 and 15 knots. It was pretty shifty on the course but I had good pace and played the shifts and managed to come away with a first and second which is pretty solid. It was a good day."
The Road to Rio is a hard one and as well as international threats, Maloney also has to contend with domestic rivals on his journey. With the likes of his compatriots Sam Meech, Mike Bullot and Thomas Saunders all capable of challenging for medals, Maloney feels no internal pressure, "It's good for us and the Australians to have a good squad and we're all pushing each other hard.
"It's exciting more than anything now in the Laser because it's coming down to the final part of the cycle so it's crunch time now."
Yachting New Zealand named six crews for the Olympic Test Event on 18 May – see release here - . And as stated, will consider nominations the Laser following the World Cup Weymouth and Portland. A good performance by Maloney could go a long way for selection with Bullot in 15th, Saunders 20th and Sam Meech 21st after the opening day.
Nick Thompson (GBR) was not far off of Maloney's pace, finishing behind him in both races to sit in second.
London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Pavlos Kontides (CYP) was almost as strong in Weymouth and Portland's conditions as he did so well three years prior. A seventh and a fourth puts him third overall but he's got his eye on the top, "I'm satisfied with my performance and races today but there's still a long way to go and I hope to move up. Having 40 top guys with this new ISAF World Cup, the stakes are high.
"You have to push to the end and every race counts. You can win this event without winning any races. Consistency will prove vital in the end."
The day's remaining race win went the way of Jesper Stalheim (SWE) who is fourth overall.
The last time Marit Bouwmeester (NED), Evi Van Acker (BEL) and Annalise Murphy (IRL) competed against each other at Weymouth and Portland they were locked in a battle for Olympic medals.
Fast forward three years and they're fighting it out again at the ISAF Sailing World Cup.
Marit Bouwmeester (NED) was assertive on the race course, winning both races by a comfortable margin. The Dutch sailor, who won silver at London 2012, sits atop the pile with Evi Van Acker, London 2012 bronze medallist, trailing on five points following a 3-2 scoreline.
Murphy came through in second in the opening race and followed it up with a sixth in Race 2. She is third on eight points.
Great Britain's Alison Young sits fourth on 13 points.
49er and 49erFX
On the face of the 49er results it would be quick to assume that leaders Lukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski (POL) were the stand out performers of the day. However, regattas aren't won on the first they. It takes a consistent performance across five days of racing to come out on top and the most consistent team of the day were the first placed John Pink and Stu Bithell (GBR).
The pair recorded a 8-3-9 scoreline and were the only team to record three single digit scores. "On the first day of the regatta it's always nice to start well and we're thrilled to bits with three top tens. We're fifth overall which is great and tomorrow brings another challenge because it's going to be windy and we'll be pushing on and hopefully get into that top three.
"It's a great fleet, the top boats in the world are here and no one is really missing. It's great that everyone is competing in the ISAF Sailing World Cup."
Bithell won silver in the Men's 470 at London 2012 and on his home waters he knows what the venue is all about, "You could argue that I know Weymouth fairly well," he said with a smile. "I've lived here for some years now, did the Olympic Games here and is there a home advantage," he pondered, "yes there probably is but incidentally we don't always get the wind direction we had today."
The Polish crew lead on seven points with Pink and Bithell four points off the leaders. Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) and Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign (GBR) are tied on 8 points in second and third.
Maiken Foght Schutt and Anne-Julie Schutt (DEN) lead the way in the 49erFX on three points following scores of 6-2-1. Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) follow in second place on six points.
Sarah Steyaert and Aude Compan (FRA), Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP) and Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) are tied on seven points from third to fifth.
Men's and Women's RS:X
It's a British 1-2 in the Men's RS:X and Women's RS:X. Nick Dempsey and Tom Squires are locked on three points apiece in the men's whilst Isobel Hamilton leads Bryony Shaw by a single point in the women's.
From three races Dempsey and Squires took a race victory each with the third place Mattia Camboni (ITA) taking the other.
"We had nice racing, very close," exclaimed Dempsey. "Tom and I are quicker than the fleet. Our training's gone really well and we're starting to sail well. It's nice and quite good fun racing."
The pair train together on a daily basis which has helped them in the build-up to the regatta as Dempsey explained, "It's nice having a competitive training partner. When we train we know we're training against one of the fastest people in the world.
"You never have to compensate. If you're beating Tom then you know you're going fast. That is what we've always missed having with our training partners so it's brilliant news."
"It's nice and quite good fun racing Tom."
In the Women's RS:X, Hamilton enjoyed a solid day on the water, staying at the front of the pack notching up a 6-2-2 scoreline. "It was definitely my best first day at a World Cup so far," said the smiling Hamilton, "I would love to be able to hold on to first for the whole week.
"It was really good racing and it's really nice to be racing at home. Weymouth is a fantastic venue and it's really great to be back here."
Shaw is a point off of Hamitlon after her 4-1-4 with London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Tuuli Petaja-Siren third overall. The day's race wins went to Joanna Sterling (AUS), Shaw and Ingrid Puusta (EST).
Andrew Murdoch (NZL) opened his Weymouth and Portland account with a strong display in the Finn, notching up a 3-2 to lead the 24-boat fleet.
Murdoch, a 2012 OIympian in the Laser, used his experience to full effect at the front of the fleet. He has opened up a four point lead over Jonathan Lobert (FRA).
Giles Scott (GBR) took the opening race victory of the day and followed it up with a 12th. He is third overall. The remaining race victory went the way of Josh Junior (NZL) who is sixth overall but just three points off the third placed Scott.
Men's and Women's 470
It's like London 2012 repeated in the Women's 470 with the gold and silver medallists occupying the spots they claimed three years ago.
Gold medallists Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) dominated the day by taking both bullets whilst silver Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) were forced to look at the back of the Kiwi boat in both races as they settled for two seconds.
Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO) sit in third after the opening two races following a 4-3.
In the Men's 470, Stu McNay and David Hughes (USA) have a tasty six point lead over World #1 Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE). A fourth and a second gives them the lead at the early stage but with their experience, they won't be getting carried away.
Victories on the day went to the Greeks and Ferdinand Gerz and Oliver Szymanski (GER) who are sixth overall.
As of 19:20 local time Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank (AUT) lead the way in the Nacra 17. However, many of the competitors sailed the wrong course in Race 1 with Race Committee protests and vice versa. A handful of protests remain open that may result in further amendments.
As it stands the Austrians top the pile on four points followed by Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger (SUI) and Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS).
London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas (GBR) began her World Cup campaign with intent. Double bullets give her a two point lead over Antonio Squizzato (ITA) who finished directly behind the Briton in both of the days races.
Malaysia's Al Mustakim Matrin sits in third overall.
In the SKUD18, Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti (ITA) and Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) are level on three points.
The Italian and British teams shared the top two places on the day, taking a bullet and a second apiece.
Will Street and Megan Pascoe (GBR) are third overall.
It is tight at the top in the Sonar with four crews locked on five points.
Norway's Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen Kristiansen took the opening bullet of the day and followed it up by a fourth.
John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR) took the second bullet of the day but like the Norwegians also count a fourth.
Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden (AUS) and John Twomey, Austrin O'Carroll and Ian Costelloe (IRL) notched up a second and a third each and are also tied with the Norwegian and Irish crews.
Racing resumes at 11:00 local time on Thursday 11 July with some great race action on the cards.