Displaying items by tag: Laser Radial
#LaserEuro2013 – Ireland's Annalise Murphy is the new Olympic Laser European Champion, winning her first major international trophy urged on by family and supprters on her native Dublin Bay this afternoon. It's a sweet victory on home waters that won't quite make up for missing out on an Olympic medal this time last year but it is all the same a major boost to her Olympic campaign towards Rio 2016.
The Dubliner won an outstanding seven races out of ten in the week long series, a feat seldom seen in top flight Olympic class competition and one that mirrors Weymouth and London 2012 in many ways.
The 23–year–old National Yacht Club sailor finished second, third and first in the final three races this afternoon to win the regatta by some margin.
In the end, a much anticipated final race fight between rivals Murphy and Olympic silver medalist Marit Boumeester of Holland did not materialise. Dun Laoghaire's golden girl took the upperhand from the start of the final race of today's championships, looking very much the winner, beaming with confidence and chatting and joking with fellow competitors between races.
Her many supporters afloat and ashore all knew well how the 23–year–old had lost out an Olympic medal in Weymouth in the closing stage a year previous, so there could be no repeat today on home waters.
With a ten knot wind moderating and a nasty chop on Dublin Bay, Murphy pulled out the stops to lead her 90-boat fleet by 100 metres at the first weather mark. It was a lead she never relinquished, she built a solid lead over Belgium's Evi Van Acker to take the European title in some style.
Immediately after she cleared the finish line, Annalise punched the air, smiling broadly as she was handed an Irish tricolour to wave, sailing home to her National Yacht Club for a hero's welcome. Nearby boats and yachts let off hand flares as an armada of supporting vessels gathered around the winning dinghy helmswoman.
Annalise celebrates her European Radial win in Dun Laoghaire today. Photo: Richard Langdon
Fourth place - the so called leather medal - is always the hardest result to accept for an Olympic athlete. But for both the 2012 Olympic sailors who collected their respective Laser European titles today after a thrilling final day on the sparkling waters off Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, winning the first big championship since they finished fourth in the Laser Olympic regatta marked the first steps on the long road from 2013 Dublin Bay to Rio 2016 on Guanabara Bay, with a key title victory.
For Murphy it was a fairy-tale win, her first ever major Laser title, won on the waters where she learned and trained as a youngster and the same sea to which she returned to the Laser in the freezing cold of last November, her first time back in the boat since the bitter disappointment of losing an Olympic medal on the last race. Murphy had lead overall after the first two days of her first Olympic regatta, winning four races in succession and went in to the Medal Race finale as one of four girls who were only one point apart.
Just over a year ago Murphy proved to be the one who finished empty handed and disappointed in but as she triumphantly topped out the European Championship standings today, with eight wins from 12 starts, she left Holland's 2012 silver medallist Marit Bowmeester in her wake as runner up, a conclusive 22 points behind, and Belgium's bronze medallist Evi van Acker 31 points adrift. Britain's Alison Young took third overall.
Murphy was carried up the slip of the National Yacht Club shoulder high by her fellow Irish sailors still in her Laser, smiling broadly. "It was pretty tough after the Olympics. It hurt to have finished fourth, especially to have been in a medal position all the way through. It made me train pretty hard this year, I have been pretty focused these last few months and I knew I had a goal here. I was not too sure how everyone else was going to perform. I am so delighted."
Annalise (centre) celebrates her trophy win with father Con looking on and Marit Boumeester (left) second and Alison Young third. Photo: Richard Langdon
"It is so special to win here at my home club. My mum and dad are here, my sister is here. It is awesome, it is great to see all the club members here sharing it with me. They have been such a huge support for me over the last two years. It is great. Rio is still three years away. I have a lot of training to do and a lot of racing, But this feels great to win my first big event."
"I have not done any more or less training here or before Weymouth. I have always done plenty. I have another year's experience. I was extremely nervous after my first two days at the Olympics after winning the first four races. But here, after winning so many races, I did not have that same nervous feeling, because I knew what not to do. I was a bit apprehensive today but mostly I want to just prove I could go out and have another good day."
In the Men's Laser Radial fleet Australia's Tristan Brown retained the World title despite a shaky final day. Brown, from Fremantle, WA, is a regular training partner for Marit Bouwmeester who he has worked with since two years before she won the Women's Radial World 2011 title. Poland's three times World Champion Marcin Rudawski pipped 17 year old local ace Finn Lynch, who won silver at last year's ISAF Youth World Championships, to win the European Men's Radial championship.
But Ireland's Finn Lynch didn't fare too badly either. The 17 year old from Bennekerry, Co. Carlow is the 2013 U21 Men's Laser Radial World Champion. He also won Bronze in the overall World Championship and Silver in the European Championship. The ISA Academy teenager sailed consistently throughout the 12 regatta races notching up nine top 5 finishes including two race wins.
Croatia's Tonci Stipanovic secured the Laser Men's European title for the third time, following wins in 2010 and 2011. But it was only within the final 500 metres of the last race that he took the one place that ensured the championship and the European Trophy were both his. In the closest finish to the hardest fought Laser European Championship for many years, the sailor from Split emerged one point ahead of Brazil's five times Olympic medallist and eight times World Champion Robert Scheidt in the European Trophy, and had just two points in hand over Holland's Rutger van Schaardenburg.
After a full diet of 12 races on Dublin Bay in a broad range of conditions, from 5 to 20 knots and most directions of the compass, only five points separated Stipanovic from Great Britain's Nick Thompson who started the final day with a two points lead but finished fifth overall. On Weymouth & Portland's notorious Medal Race arena 14 months ago Stipanovic rounded the final gate in bronze medal position but rather than cover, he tacked away from Sweden's Rasmus Myrgren who worked ahead to steal the medal.
The doughty Croat gave himself just a month off from training and has worked tirelessly since. Murphy took time away from the Laser after the 2012 Games but retained her fitness with competitive triathlon and iron-man events. As respective rewards for their European victories Murphy was due to treat herself to a '99' cone from legendary local ice-cream Teddy's of Dun Laoghaire maker while Stipanovic was relishing to seven days at home, looking forwards to long walks with his beloved dog.
Stipanovic, World Championships runner up last year in Boltenhagen, Germany returned to the boat park this afternoon dazed but delighted, confirming this was significantly harder than his previous European titles. "This was the hardest because when it was not going good I was pushing, pushing. No one could say I was lucky."
"I am sailing better than this time last year. I am fitter and stronger for the strong winds when I am feeling more comfortable."
"It was so hard today. I was trying to do the best I could. On the first upwind mark it was not looking good I was 31st and managed to finish eighth. So I was leading by one point. The second race we were all close but I lost the wind pressure downwind and they all passed me. Then I knew I had to push more. In the end I finished sixth. That was enough. It was so hard."
Of his fourth place at last year's Olympic Games, he said "The Olympics finished last year and that is it. And the door is closed. Now it is a new road to Rio. I don't think about the Olympics, what happened. I had very little time off because I did not do my job properly, so I had to train more and not to rest. So I started working almost immediately to be better for Rio."
Robert Scheidt, back in the Laser after a seven years gap, proved he is close to his championship winning best. Two weighty scores in the four Finals races meant Scheidt counted a 23rd in his 46 pts final aggregate. Otherwise he never finished worse than fourth and lead overall into the final race. "Overall I am happy to finish second" Scheidt said, "I had two big scores in this regatta a 24th and a 23rd, so to end up second is a good result. But overall it was a great regatta, testing all the skills strong medium and light winds, current, very high level competitors. I am glad to have come here. And for me the main thing is my performance not necessarily the result."
Rutger van Schaardenburg missed the European title by two points but Holland's Laser sailors finish runners up in both Men's and Women's Olympic classes. He said "I am really happy with my second in the last race and in fact my end result as well, but two points from being European champion is pretty hard to take at this moment. That is really hard, you start to think about those races which went before, maybe the odd point here and there you could have gained. But, then, that is what makes the difference between being champion and runner up. I am really pleased, but when it is that close it is hard."
Poland's three times World Champion Marcin Rudawski pipped 17 year old local ace Finn Lynch, who won silver at last year's ISAF Youth World Championships, to win the European Men's Radial championship.
See www.lasereuropeans2013.com for full results.
#SailforGold– Irish Olympic Sailing sensation Annalise Murphy is back in Weymouth to make it three out of three in the Eurosaf Champions Sailing Cup series after already taking gold at the first two events in Italy and Holland.
She is joined by four of her London 2012 Olympic team mates this weekend to begin competing at the Sail for Gold Regatta. Murphy (Laser Radial) is joined by Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern (49er) and James Espey (Laser) will begin racing on Sunday in what will be the third of five EUROSAF installments
This will be the first regatta of the 2013 season for Seaton and McGovern who finished 14th overall at the Games last year. Back in familiar waters after months of physical and mental training, the duo are eager to once again feel the adrenaline of elite competition as they begin their campaign towards the Rio 2016 Olympics. Up against some of the top international 49er teams, the Northern Irish men will be looking to shake off the cobwebs after an extended break from competition.
Also campaigning for the Rio Games and competing for the first time in the 49er FX class will be two new all-female pairings. Claudine Murphy, older sister of Annalise, has teamed up with Andrea Brewster while Tiffany Brien and Saskia Tidey, will be sailing the other Irish entry for the new Olympic class.
After a sensational win at the first Eurosaf event in Italy a week ago Dun Laoghaire's Annalise Murphy has been buoyed up by Government congratulatons sent by Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring TD.
"Annalise was tipped from the start as favourite and demonstrated nerves of steel in mixed weather conditions to persevere and clinch the gold" Minister Ring said in praise of Afloat's Sailor of the Year. Tomorrow morning Annalise will be hoping to do it all again at the first race of Delta Lloyd regatta in Medemblik, Holland.
Although the fleet size is similar Annalise will be well aware this morning's Dutch series is very different from Lake Garda because she will be up against a higher quality field. Significantly the Dutch fleet includes at least three arch rivals from London 2012 that were not competing in Italy.
Olympic champion Lijia Xu of China is competing in the 47–boat fleet and Olympic Silver medalist Marit Boumeester is on home waters.
Britian is sending on form Alison Young, March's Palma World Cup winner and the bronze medallist from Hyeres, France.
The last time Annalise met this trio was a month ago in Hyeres when the National Yacht Club sailor struggled in the light airs of the qualifying rounds. She finished the last round of the World cup in the silver fleet, a position she will be keen not to repeat.
Forecast for the week is for light to moderate winds on the ijsselmeer which will be a good test of the 23-year-old's return to form. Certainly Annalise will need those 'nerves of steel' which the Minister of Sport has praised her for.
Second stage of the Eurosaf Champions Sailing Cup, the Delta Lloyd Regatta has taken on the challenge to bring the event to a new dimension where media presentation is playing a big part.
For Event Director, Arjen Rahusen, this is the way forward " We are concentrating our efforts to take sailing closer to the public especially through social media. All the boats will be equipped with trackers with the help of Swiss Timing. We have two video teams, who will feed daily news via the social media network and highlights. We want to give the sailors the best exposure they deserve. It is vital for them and for us!"
Racing promises to be fierce with most of the top teams engaged in all classes. Among them six 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Gold medallists will take the start on Tuesday in Medemblik.
In the 470, Matt Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) will try to continue on their undefeated record since the start of the season. In the women division, 2012 and 2008 Gold medallists, Aleh (NZL) and Rechichi (AUS) will fight it off in a compact and talented fleet.
In the Men, expectations are high on Robert Scheidt's (BRA) return to the Lasers, however the Olympic champion will have to deal with the "down under" sailors. Tom Burton who took the title in Hyères and placed second in Palma, or Andy Maloney (NZL).
The 49ers will showcase great spectacle with strong teams from Denmark and Great Britain in the men and women divisions.
Olympic champion, Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) and young Dutch talent Kiran Badloe are welcoming to their home event a talented fleet of windsurfers. The Polish team, French and Israeli will provide for tough competition. Moana Delle (GER), Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) or Bianca Manchon are among the favourites in the RS:X women.
In the Finn class, Hyères's winner Andrew Mills (GBR) will fight it off with PJ Postma as well as Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) and Piotr Kula (second and third in Garda).
The new Olympic multihull, the Nacra is continuing to attract teams and countries from around the world. The Australian are now present with four boats while the earlier favourites from Holland, France or Sweden are not missing any chance to keep their lead on the fleet.
The 2.4 is represented with a large and strong fleet including British sailors Helena Lucas and Megan Pascoe (GBR), or Barend Kol (NED). Among the nine countries represented, Malaysia is participating with three sailors.
The team of Bruno Jourdren (FRA) has made a successful come back to the Sonar competition after a victory taken in Hyères. They are back in Medemblik and will face the three Sonar 2012 Paralympic medallists in a small but very strong fleet.
Sailing is scheduled from 11am on Tuesday 21st of May until Saturday 25th.
The weather for the first day of racing will be challenging going from no wind at the start of the day to strong breeze towards the end.
The Eurosaf Champions Sailing Cup is a series of five regattas in the Olympic and Paralympic Classes designed to complement the ISAF Sailing World Cup series. The Delta Lloyd Regatta (Medemblik, NED, 21-25 May) is followed by Sail for Gold Regatta (Weymouth and Portland, GBR, 9-13 June), Kiel Week (Kiel, GER, 22-26 June) and the Semaine Olympique Francaise (La Rochelle, FRA, 9-13 October).
How to follow the Delta Lloyd Regatta:
Tracking available daily for all boats on the event website.
With little more than three years to go till the first races in Rio, Ireland's top Laser Radial prospect discusses her commitment to the sport and the hard work she's determined to put in between now and 2016.
And it almost goes without saying that the whole of Ireland will be behind 'The Irish Lever' all the way as she takes on the best of the best in Brazilian waters.
More from Annalise below:
#youthsailing – Robbie Gilmore showed the depth of his talent to win Gold at the Laser Radial Youth National Championships on Lough Derg this afternoon. It was one of five Irish youth sailing titles decided at the inland venue.
Gilmore from Strangford Lough reigned supreme in Tipperary throughout the four day, 11 race regatta to beat last year's champion Finn Lynch in the 44 boat fleet.
Leading from start to finish the Ulster man deservedly won the single-handed title even though with two races to sail today and only five points separating Gilmore and ISAF silver medallist Finn Lynch nerves were running high.
The fleet launched for the 11am start and immediately the two sailors entered in to a duel.
It was overall bronze medallist Fionn Lyden who won the first race but Gilmore came in second followed by Lynch in third which only served to widen the points buffer between them. 12 months of preparation and all that stood in Gilmore's way was one final race. If he could remain close to Lynch on the water he'd win but he did better than that. Robbie Gilmore took the gold medal with style winning the 11th and final race, giving him his fourth bullet of the regatta and a seven point overall lead on Finn Lynch.
And it was another Northern Irish sailor, Sarah Eames from Ballyholme, who took home the gold in the girl's category.
The 420 double-handed class had proved to be highly competitive over the course of the championship. Four teams, two from Dublin and two from Cork, were clear leaders from the outset but which pair would take the overall title was unclear. 11 intense races and plenty of drama only added to the suspense. But ultimately a fourth and a first in today's races secured the win for Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove from Howth. The pair finished 12 points clear of Peter McCann and Arran Walsh and 13 points ahead of bronze medallists Adam Hyland and Bill Staunton from Dun Laoghaire. First in the girl's category were Cork duo Cliodhna Ni Shuilleabhain and Jill McGinley.
Nicole Hemeryck cemented her success in the Topper class today during two final races. The Dun Laoghaire sailor continued on her streak of posting only top results and never slipping from pole position on the leader board. After eight races, Hemeryck was crowned overall champion with a grand total of 10 points. Both silver and bronze were won by male competitors from Northern Ireland; Liam Glynn with 22 points and Tom Purdon with 28 points.
In the Laser 4.7 class Conor O'Beirne easily maintained his lead by winning both scheduled races. He secured gold with a healthy 12 point lead on Ciaran Finnegan from Waterford. Cliodhna O'Regan began the regatta with a win but couldn't quite manage to repeat the feat. Although she did position herself consistently near the top of the fleet and with a total of 32 points she takes overall bronze and also gold in the girl's category.
There was a dramatic turn of events within the Optimist Championship fleet on their third and final day of racing. Corkonian Emily Whitaker, who had been in first place for the duration, had a tenth in the penultimate race and did not complete her final race. This meant she lost her lead and took home bronze. The overall winner was Tom Higgins from Dublin while Sarah Fogarty, also from Dublin, finished second overall and won gold in the girl's category.
September's sailor of the month Lyden is certainly starting the year in impressive style following his runaway victory at the Junior All-Ireland Nationals in his home port of Schull - though Gilmore of Strangford Lough was hot on his heels.
Elsewhere in the standings at the EurILCA regatta, Howth Yacht Club's Aoife Hopkins finished an impressive sixth in the Laser 4.7 for the women's best result of the four days of sailing at Malcesine.
Hopkins' achievement came with strong showings by Kinsale's Cliodhna O'Regan (14th in the 4.7) and Conor O'Beirne of the Royal St George YC (19th in the men's 4.7).
Also placing in the women's 4.7 were Baltimore's Florence Lyden (33rd) and Royal Cork's Eva Donworth (52nd).
The women's Laser Radial saw placings by Kinsale's Sorcha Ni Shuilleabhain (48th), Ausling Keller of Lough Derg YC (59th) and Chloe Eggers of the Royal St George (85th).
In the men's 4.7, Conor O'Farrell of Carlingford Lough placed 49th while Jack Higgins of the Royal St George was 107th.
And completing the Irish results in the men's Laser Radial were the Royal Cork's Patrick Crosbie (61st), Dermot Lyden (100th) and Mark Bolger (109th); Kinsale's Dara O'Shea (62nd) and Andrew Levie (126th); Tralee Bay's Tadhg O Loingsigh (75th); Dougie Power of Waterford Harbour Sailing Club (98th); and the Royal St George's Nathaniel Gillet (136th) and Conor Foley (155th).
The complete rankings from the Europa Cup Italy regatta are available HERE.
#sailoroftheyear - You followed her impressive exploits right here on Afloat.ie throughout the year, and your votes counted. So it's only right that our Olympic sailing hero Annalise Murphy should receive the honour of being named Afloat.ie Sailor of the Year for 2012.
The young sailor was recognised for a remarkable 12 months of incredible achievement, capped off by her stirring performance at the London Olympics - and topped a shortlist that featured fellow Olympic challengers Peter O'Leary and David Burrows, and such up-and-coming talents as Sophie Browne, Finn Lynch and Fionn Lyden.
Murphy's simply outstanding fourth-place finish in the Laser Radial at the London Games was Ireland's best Olympic result in 30 years in any class. Despite the heartbreak of so narrowly missing out on Olympic bronze in the medal race, her accomplishment was appreciated far beyond the Irish sailing community, and raised the profile of the sport in Ireland immeasurably.
The then 22-year-old, who sails for the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, had the entire country on edge last August as she battled with what Afloat's own WM Nixon described as the "fierce challenge" of being top of the Women's Laser Radial class, in stature as well as performance.
At 6ft 1in, the woman they call 'The Irish Lever' was undoubtedly the tallest in her 41-boat fleet at London 2012, and some British yachting pundits were quick to put down her early regatta wins purely to her larger frame.
But Murphy - who headed to the Olympics with confidence after a podium finish at the Skandia Sail for Gold, and a medal at Weymouth the previous year - proved that her success was no fluke, holding the gold medal position for almost half the regatta and entering the last race in third place overall.
Facing unbelievable pressure as the regatta reached its final stages on the Nothe course in Weymouth, in tricky conditions that would spread wide the times of most club racers, it's to Murphy's estimable credit that she was able to keep so tight with the front-runners, and it was only in the last few seconds - and last few metres - that she was knocked out of the bronze position.
We'll never forget the tears she shed after the medal race's conclusion - the whole of Ireland shared in her heartbreak. But we also shared the belief that that was but one setback in a world-class sailing career that's only just beginning.
Considering the talented and dedicated NYC sailor and UCD student is still only 23, there's clearly plenty of sailing success awaiting in her future, and she starts 2013 on her 'Road to Rio' aiming to clinch a medal at the 2016 Olympic Games.
In spite of losing out on a podium finish at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami earlier this month, the fact that she came so close - and led the charge in the early stages - proves that she can stand proudly with the elite in her class. And she'll have another chance to prove herself in the next round of the ISAF World Cup in Palma de Mallorca on 30 March.
The Sailor of the Year honour is the very least the amazing Annalise Murphy deserves for doing Ireland so proud in 2012.
#RIO 2016 – It's well known that Annalise Murphy was barely off the water in Weymouth before she committed herself to a further few years sailing hard in the Laser Radial class for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
What's probably less well known is that older sister Claudine has also set her sights on Brazil, campaigning in the new Olympic kitesurfing class.
News of the double campaign in the Murphy household was revealed in The Irish Times by Pamela Duncan prior to Annalise's medal race a week ago.
Claudine says there was "big rivalry" between her and Annalise as both pursued success in the Laser Radial, but they also realised that only one of them could represent Ireland in the class at Olympic level. Annalise showed the potential, and Claudine turned her hand to a different class.
“She’s my best friend in the whole world,” says Claudine, who flew in to support her sister from the Caribbean where she is already hard at work campaigning for a spot at the Rio Games in kitesurfing - a somewhat controversial addition to the Olympic schedule.
Annalise also announced plans to take things relatively easy for the next year, returning to UCD next month for a science degree.
"I deferred it three years ago as I didn’t want to put a half-hearted approach into college or sailing," she said. "I’m older now and I feel like I can manage things better.”
Dun Laoghaire's Conor O'Beirne of the Royal St George YC won the Laser 4.7 UK Championships in Abersoch at this week-long regatta. Sailed in a variety of conditions from heavy to medium shifty conditions with a few light races thrown in for good measure O'Beirne finished with a 10-point margin and a race to spare. The event included an Irish representation of eight sailors, all of whom were competive in the fleet. Aisling Keller of LDYC challenged for the lead up to the final day, finishing a close third overall. At the mid-point, Irish sailors occupied five of the top ten places. Sorcha Ni Shuilleabhain of KYC finished in the top ten with Eric Ruigrok RSC placing 15th. Overall the Irish sailors finished strongly with most well inside the top half which bodes well for Irish Laser sailing into the future.
In the Laser Radial fleet, Daragh O'Sullivan of KYC put together a very strong series, including three bullets, to finish fifth overall. Dan O'Beirne from RStGYC also sailed a consistent series with string of top ten finishes to place 9th overall.
The event also featured top twenty placings for Cian Cahill, RStGYC and Ryan Glynn, BYC with the majority of the rest of the Irish sailors showing well in the Gold Fleet. Considering the Radial class included two GBR Olympic campaigners in the fleet of almost 100 along with the RYA-funded GBR Radial squad of 14 sailors, Irish Radial sailors have a lot to be happy about.
The championships consisted of a 12 race series with the best 10 races to count over six days competition.
Laser 4.7 UK Champs Overall
|Series Place||Sail No||Helm||M/F||Crew||Category||Tally||UK Nats|
|10||198435||Sorcha NI SHUILLEABHAIN||L||G||Y||4.7-049||I|
|38||180777||Harriet PHILO POWELL||L||S||J||4.7-016|
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!