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The first stop of World Sailing's 2017 World Cup Series, the first on the road to Tokyo 2020, sees just one Irish entry from over 450 competitors across the ten Olympic classes from Regatta Park at Coconut Grove, Miami from 24 – 29 January.

Carlow's Finn Lynch will compete in the mens Laser class, a fleet that looks strong with the close training group of Rio 2016 silver medallist Tonci Stipanovic (CRO), 2016 Sailing World Cup Final winner Pavlos Kontides (CYP) and Ireland's youngest Olympic helmsman Lynch not only taking on each other, but fierce competitors like Germany's Philipp Buhl who has won multiple Sailing World Cup titles and 2015 and 2016 Laser world champion, Nick Thompson (GBR).

Also racing is Saskia Tidey, the Irish 49erfx sailor from Rio 2016 who is now sailing for Team GB for Tokyo 2020. The Dun Laoghaire sailor will make her Tema GB debut with Charlotte Dobson on Biscayne Bay.

Miami welcomes back five of the 2016 edition winners as well as 2016 Sailing World Cup Final champions while sailing 'legend' Robert Scheidt changes the One Person Dinghy for the Two Person Skiff.

Published in Olympic

Anthony O'Leary, Robert O'Leary and Tom Durcan were narrowly pipped for an overall win in the Viper 640 EFG Winter Cup Regatta in Miami at the weekend. The Royal Cork trio sailing 'Antix' finished second overall where there were two days of big winds in a 16–boat fleet. O'Leary was beaten by the UK's Lawrence Crispin, third was John Dane, the USA Star 2008 Rep from Beijing. 

The Crosshaven helmsman is back on Biscayne Bay tomorrow for the 2016 Bacardi Cup regatta where he finished seventh last year. (Gremlins caused an earlier misreport of the 2015 results). Strong winds are forecast for this week's event.

The Viper 640 sportsboat fleet is coming to Volvo Cork Week this July.

Published in Racing
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Torrential rainfall and a chill in the air, Miami isn't usually like this, but competition for World Cup honours and Rio 2016 Olympic spots are keeping the temperatures on Biscayne Bay hot. Ireland's crews are not in the running for medals this week but Belfast's Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern took a race win in the silver fleet yesterday leaving them 38th overall in their 61–boat fleet. Irish rivals for the Rio berth Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins are placed 59th and 60th respectively overall in what is the second round of the Irish selection trial.

Competitiveness from the front to the back of each fleet has been evident and every sailor has something to fight for. Whether it's the coveted Rio spot, a Sailing World Cup honour, internal qualification for Rio 2016 or even striving to perfect their game, it's all on in Miami.

Sailors were made to wait for racing on Thursday as torrential downpours killed off the breeze and produced large quantities of surface water. When the breeze materialised it enabled the sailors to commence racing at 15:20 local time in building conditions that ranged from 12-17 knots from the south east.

49er IT

Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern took a race win in Miami yesterday and made the headlines in this morning's Irish Times Newspaper. 

49er and 49erFX

A single race in the 49er Gold, 49er Silver and 49erFX was completed.

Diego Botin and Iago Lopez (ESP) and New Zealand's Alex Maloney and Molly Meech held on to top spot in the 49er and 49erFX respectively. Race wins went the way of John Pink and Stu Bithell (GBR) in 49er Gold, Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern (IRL) in 49er Silver and Ida Marie Nielsen and Marie Olsen (DEN) in the 49erFX.

On the Rio 2016 Olympic qualification front, there is plenty happening in all three fleets.

Chilean brothers Benjamin and Cristóbal Grez Ahrens haven't made things easy on themselves in their battle against Uruguay's Santiago Silveira and Philipp Umpierre for the South American 49er Rio spot. A disastrous start and up and down results gave the Uruguayans the advantage after two days.

The Uruguayans were positioned to make the gold fleet with the Chileans back in silver ahead of Wednesday's so they had it all to do. Match racing was the name of the game and the Chileans forced the Uruguayans hand with an OCS and BFD to squeeze them back into silver fleet.

Thursday was an opportunity for both teams to reset and from a single 49er Silver race, the Grez Ahrens brothers grabbed the initiative, leapfrogging the Uruguayans. A Chilean ninth compared to the Uruguayans 18th ensures they go into the final day of fleet racing with a six point advantage.

In the north, gold fleet racing will decide the spot. USA in the driving seat with Thomas Barrows, III and Joseph Morris seventh on 71 points. Canada follow with David Mori and Justin Barnes 29th on 104 points and British Virgin Islanders Alec Anderson and Christopher Brockbank are down in 31st.

American sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt as well as Emily Dellenbaugh and Elizabeth Barry have put their nation in a strong position to qualify in the 49erFX. Henken and Scutt are 18th on 142 points and their compatriots, 21st on 161. Their nearest rivals are U.S. Virgin Islanders Mayumi Roller and Agustina Barbuto who trail on 181 in 23rd. Aruba's Odile and Philipine Van Aanholt hold 226 points in 32nd.

Chile's Arantza Gumucio and Begoña Gumucio are the only South American entrants who have not yet qualified for Rio 2016 so will qualify this week.

Laser and Laser Radial

A very fluid weather pattern (in more ways than one) made for a challenging, albeit short, day on the water for the Laser and Laser Radial fleets. The threat of thunderstorms kept the fleet ashore through the early afternoon. Once the sailors launched, the compressed time left the sailors with little time to properly research the breeze. Adding to the confusion, the weather changed just as the Radials were halfway up the first leg.

"In the beginning it was quite light,” said Evi van Acker (BEL). "But then the rain came and along came the wind. So it was quite windy in the race, which was nice to have a little bit of difference compared to the first three days.”

It was also quite shifty and, with the visibility reduced, tough for the sailors to formulate a plan of attack. As is often the case in difficult conditions, the cream rose to the top, with Marit Bouwmeester (NED) nipping Sarah Gunni Toftedal (DEN) by just two seconds and adding to her impressive string of four first-place finishes in the qualifying races. But Bouwmeester was hard-pressed to describe how she won the race.

"I don't really know,” she said with a laugh. "The weather was quite tricky with the rain so I think I was just a bit lucky being on the right side of the wind shifts.”

Bouwmeester, who won the silver medal at the 2012 Olympics and the 2015 Laser Radial World Championships, is probably being modest. But her day did have one significant, and totally unexpected, hurdle that she handled with a veteran's poise.

"A 470 trailer, they didn't put it up right after the 470 went into the water and it fell down and it fell straight through my sail,” she said. "So just before [launching] I had a hole in the sail. But thank God it didn't influence the racing too much

"I didn't like it. I was like, 'Bloody 470s.' But there's not much I can do about it. This guy gave me some sail tape and I tried to cover it up as good as I can.”

In third in the race, and sitting solidly in second overall was van Acker, who was a little more expansive when asked about the path to success in Race 6.

"I think play the shifts on the first beat and the first reach and the downwind,” she said. "But I could've done a bit better. So not super happy with today, but plenty to play for tomorrow.”

Van Acker is the defending Olympic bronze medalist, but there's a lot of Laser Radial talent in Belgium and she won't know until late spring whether she'll return to the Olympics.

"We have a selection committee that will decide at the end of May or the beginning of June,” she said. "But as I said, I'm not really busy with the selection, just trying to do my best in every race.”

Currently sitting third in the overall standings is defending Olympic gold medalist Lilja Xu (CHN) who finished 35th, by far her worst race of the regatta. After discarding that finish she is just two points out of second and eight points off the lead.

Paloma Schmidt was the only South American sailor, who had not yet qualified for Rio 2016, to make the Laser Radial gold fleet. As a result, she has qualified Peru in the Laser Radial.

North American sailors from the Cayman Islands, Cuba, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago missed out on the gold fleet as Bermuda's Cecillia Wollman and Mexico's Natalia Montemayor advanced.

Nine points separated them before Thursday's racing but they ended up even on 95 points apiece after the single race. Wollman finished 39th and Montemayor, 40th. Results would lead to suggest some strong tactics coming in to play with three races on Friday to determine who will go to Rio de Janeiro this August.

After sailing a nearly flawless qualifying series, Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) had his first significant bobble of the regatta when he was caught over the line before the gun and didn't return to start correctly, recording a 50-point OCS. As he's able to discard that score, he retains the overall lead, but the margin has narrowed. Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) is currently second overall after getting a fourth today.

While the Radials started in light breeze, the wind had picked up substantially by the time the Lasers started sailing. Still, the weather was difficult to read.

"I didn't have [a really solid plan for the first beat],” said Bernaz. "I just say, 'OK, let's sail and watch; what you see is what you get.' I was on the right, but when I saw the left gaining, I just go on the left side of the fleet. I was losing a lot and I re-gained what I lost. I was fourth at the top mark, third, then fourth again. It's good to sail in front.”

Bernaz has been on a tear of late, with top-five finishes in his four of his last five major regattas. The lone blip, a 54th at the 2015 Laser World Championships, has knocked his world ranking down to 22nd, but he's sailing like a medal contender at this event.

"It's the year of the Games, some [Olympic selection series] for different countries, so everyone is 100 percent, maybe 110,” he said. "It's a really hard fleet and it's really hard to be consistent. Now we start the finals, so it's the top 49, so it's really hard, really compact.”

Sailing to his fourth second in the last four races, five-time Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt (BRA) moved into third in the overall standings.

"The first few races I had bad starts and it was difficult conditions, it was shifty and light, and I just made bad decisions at the beginning of the race,” he said. "I knew I had the speed to do better and the ability to do better. From the third day I started to sail more with the fleet, more consistent, better starts.

"Today was a full-on race, it started to blow very hard just a few minutes before the start and we knew we'd have to be out of trouble, have a clean start, and use the speed and hike hard. It was a tough race. The breeze kept increasing throughout the race. I just sailed clean, sailed a solid race. I'm really happy about that.”

Scheidt won three medals in the Laser class, gold in 1996 and 2004 and silver in 2000 before switching to the Star, where he won silver in 2008 and bronze in 2012. With the Star eliminated from the Olympic roster, he was forced to choose between missing the Rio Olympics or returning to the grueling 14-foot dinghy,

"The goal is to try to do the Olympic Games in my home country,” he said. "Unfortunately the Star is not anymore an Olympic class. I wish it was. It's not easy to come back to the Laser after a certain age. But I'm enjoying it. I'm still having fun out there. I'm still competing at a high level. Of course, it's not easy because physically it's a quite a demanding boat. Right now I'm in a good moment, free of injuries and really looking forward to the next six months.”

He hasn't been as dominant as he was at his peak, when he won eight world championships, but Scheidt is a serious medal threat, and anyone who thinks the pressure of competing in his home country will compromise his performance should check Scheidt's track record. Among other accomplishments, his final Laser world championship was won on Brazilian waters. He knows what to expect, and how to handle it.

"It's going to be a different Olympics with the crowd the expectations, competing in Rio, a place I've sailed all my life, for an Olympic medal,” he said. "It's going to be very special. That's why I'm still doing it. That's the reason why I'm still training hard, pushing hard. To be able to join the Olympics one last time would be a great thing for me.”
Mexico's Yanic Gentry made the gold fleet in the cut and with none of his rivals from Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico making it, he has qualified his nation in the Laser.

All of the South American sailors aiming for Rio 2016 are in the silver fleet and no racing was possible on Thursday. As it stands, Venezuela's Jose Gutierrez is 65th on 139 points, Uruguay's Federico Yandian 66th on 140, Ecuador's Matias Dyck on 145 and Colombia's Andrey Quintero 84th on 180.

Published in Olympic

Tricky conditions have got 2016 off to an inauspicious start for Ireland's Rio Olympic sailing team with neither Laser or 49er making the gold fleet cut of the World Sailing Cup in Miami, the first major event of the Olympic year. 

The 49erfx crew of Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey was not able to start due to injury. The Irish Paralympic Sonar crew of John Twomey, Austin O'Caroll and Ian Costelloe are lying seventh from nine.

In the second round of the Irish Laser Radial trial being sailed as part of the Florida–based regatta, the 2020 prospect Aoife Hopkins from Howth Yacht Club lies 60th, just one place behind the National Yacht Club's Annalise Murphy in the 81–boat fleet. Results after five races indicate both will race in the silver fleet for the balance of the regatta that concludes on Saturday. Murphy will be disappointed at scoring two penalties in the early stages but also with the fact that she was unable to make the top ten in any race, just seventh months out from the Games itself.

A premature start in race nine added to a black flag penalty scored in race two puts Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern from Belfast Lough in 39th overall from 61 in the mens 49er class. Nine races have been sailed.

Full results are here.

The regatta got off to a flukey start on Monday and Tuesday and although the breeze blew stronger yesterday, Irish boats had a mountain to climb in order to get back into any sort of gold fleet contention. Unfortunately for Team IRL, however, Rio rivals appear to be able to knock in top results in any weather. A case in point is the unstoppable performance of Murphy's London 2012 rival, Marit Bouwmeester (NED) who has won all five of her remaining qualifying races to open up a four-point lead. Evi van Acker (BEL) another veteran and fellow Olympic medalist, has won a pair of races herself and was able to discard a black flag disqualification from today to sit second. Defending Olympic gold medalist Lilja Xu (CHN) in third, a point further back.

Had a tough day on the water. Two more days left so will refocus and do my best. On wards & Upwards!Aoife x

Posted by Aoife Hopkins Sailing on Wednesday, 27 January 2016

With qualification completed, the fleet will be split into a gold and silver grouping and winning the races will be that much tougher over the final two days.

The top American in the fleet is Paige Railey, who is currently 17th with 36 points. That's good enough for a 9-point cushion over Ericka Reineke (USA), who is Railey's chief rival for the 2016 Olympic berth in the Radial class. That battle will be an interesting one to watch during the next few days. This event is Part 1 of the two-stage selection series for that class.

The Laser class, one of only two to start the Day three on schedule, sailed a pair of afternoon races. Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) won his final race of the day—as with the Radial fleet, the 98-strong Laser fleet has been sailing in two groups for qualification—and has built himself an impressive 16-point lead heading into the gold and silver fleet split. Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) sits second with 27 points, but there is a pack of four sailors all within 5 points of the silver-medal position. At the back end of this group is 5-time Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt (BRA), who has rebounded from a tough start with three straight second place finishes.

Charlie Buckingam (USA) is the top American in 11th. While he has his sights focused on the top 10—only the top 10 in each class qualify for Saturday's medal race, which will be carried lived on ESPN3—Buckingham has to be comforted by the knowledge that the next American sailor is 20 points behind. As with many of the other classes, this regatta serves as the first part of the selection trails for the U.S. Laser berth in the Rio Olympics.

49er and 49erFX

The 49er qualifying series concluded with three further races on Wednesday ahead of the fleets separating into Gold and Silver for the duration of the World Cup.

Diego Botin and Iago Lopez (ESP) advanced to top spot in the 49er, recording an 8-4-3 to leave them on 45 points. The Spanish duo tend to excel in the qualifying series and more times than not, come out at the top of the leaderboard.

When push comes to shove and they race in a top quality Gold fleet they fall down the pack. Six Gold races are ahead of them now to see if they can buck the trend. Carl P Sylvan and Marcus Anjemark of Sweden follow in second and Jorge Lima and Jose Costa (POR) are third.

Defending 49erFX champions Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) moved up to first after four good races. A pair of seconds, a seventh and a sixth hand them a ten-point advantage over Jena Mai Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN).

Published in Olympic

#dublinport – Dublin Port took the opportunity to display a computer-generated image of what the East link bridge area of Dublin might look like at high water with a large cruise liner in the proposed berth when it attended the recent cruise–liner show in Miami, Florida.

Looking eastwards down the river Liffey, the artist's impression shows off the port company's plans for cruise liner berthing as previously reported by Afloat.ie last March. Dublin Port Company plan to redevelop the Alexandra Basin to include two berths for cruise ships of up to 340m in length which will accommodate ships that are significantly larger than the current maximum length of 300m.

Similar berthing plans for the massive ships are also underway across the bay in the south Dublin port of Dun Laoghaire.

The global cruise industry's premier annual international conference and exhibition in Miami drew more than 11,000 attendees and nearly 900 exhibiting companies from over 125 countries.

Dublin Port exhibited as part of 'Cruise Ireland', the island's association of Ports, Shore Excursions Operators, Tourism Organisations, City Councils who share the common objective of making the island of Ireland and all it's charms more accessible for the international Cruise Markets.

The computer-generated image is by New York based architecture firm Bermello Ajamil, whose projects include 'The World in Dubai', one of the most innovative land reclamation and development projects ever attempted.

Cruise Ireland was formed in 1998 after a few tentative years of individual Ports and regions successfully attracting cruise ships. Today the Ports of Ireland play host to some 300 cruise visits each year which is testament to the efforts made by the members of Cruise Ireland.

Each year the members bring improved facilities, unique tours and excellent service to the Cruise industry and the cruise guests who choose to visit.

Published in Cruise Liners

#sailingworldcupmiami – Annalise Murphy sustained a drop of five places overall after a second result in the 30s took its toll on her overall score in Florida yesterday. The Dun Laoghaire Laser Radial sailor moves from second to seventh overall as Miami Olympic classes regatta enters the final day of racing this morning before tomorrrow's medal race finals.

Denmark's Anne-Marie Rindon had the lowest finishes of the top three Radial sailors today, but that didn't knock her off the top of the leaderboard. An 11-14 day means that she is now eating an 11th and discarding the 14th. Previously, a 7th was her discard. The day's results tightened things up, with second and third both in striking range.

It was a sun bathed day at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami with the previous cool northern breeze from the replaced with a shifty, yet warmer, easterly that tested the sailors once again.

Evi Van Acker of Belgium is only five points back. Marit Bouwmeester is only two points behind that. This sets up some interesting running-math problems for the Medals Race on Saturday.

The hard-luck story of the day was Annalise Murphy, who was part of this conversation until she picked up a keeper 35th in race eight. "It was hard to know where you had to be," she said, and left it at that.

Meanwhile, in the mens Laser class, the National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch who leads Irish interest having made the Gold fleet at the first attempt has given an appraisal of his own debut performance in Miami: 'Super happy about making Gold fleet in my first World Cup! I found out today that it is a huuge step up from what I'm used to. Not so happy with my sailling today [53rd from 55] but hopefully tomorrow I can make up for it!

The young Dubliner leads Belfast's James Espey by two places with the two Irish Rio rivals currently placed 42nd and 44th respectively in the 55–boat gold fleet.

Britain's Nick Thompson, who says that his favorite boat is the foiling Moth, is doing nicely here in a Laser, in contact with the surface of the water. The former youth world champion leads the 106-boat fleet with an eight-point margin going into the final day of racing ahead of Saturday's double points Medal Race. In second place, Philipp Buhl of Germany has burned his throw-out race on a 34th, so he has more to lose than Thompson (a 12th to throw out) if the wheels fall off on Friday. Behind them are serious threats still within range, depending, and it remains a difficult racecourse.

Young Andy ("Pain is temporary; glory is forever") Maloney of New Zealand has had his moments of late. He won the Palma version of this event in 2013, and in 2012 was second at Hyeres. As race day five beckons, he is seventh in the standings and found Thursday's conditions not quite as challenging as the races on Wednesday. "They moved the Thursday start into the morning," he said. "By comparison it seems to get a lot more patchy in the afternoon, as things heat up."

The second race of the day was ripe to be abandoned, and it was. "Between races, we were seeing 40 degree shifts with pressure drops to 5 knots," Maloney said, "and then pressure building to 15 knots and back to 5. They got a start off, and a massive lefty came down with heaps of pressure. It was a lay to the weather mark, so that race was abandoned, and we waited around for a bit. I think they were hoping it would stabilize, but finally they set up at an average angle and got on with it. There were lots of little shifts, but the thing was to be sure you were in phase with the big ones. When it's that tricky, nobody can get everything right."

Maloney won a race on Monday. Today he went 7-11.

Published in Olympic

#SailingWCMiami – A third in race five yesterday at the Miami Olympic classes regatta kept Ireland's Annalise Murphy hopes of overall victory this Saturday very much alive. The Dun Laoghaire sailor, who finished fourth in the London Olympics, is in second overall but a 36 in race six spoiled an otherwise very consistent scoresheet (2 2 5 3 3 (36) in a world class fleet.

The American regatta signals the intense build–up for Rio, an event for which Annalise Murphy has already qualified Ireland. 

599 boats and 768 sailors who were adjusting sail settings all day given the blustery conditons. If it wasn't the wind direction that was changing, it was the wind speed which made it all the more notable that three classes produced back-to-back race winners.

'I wasn't so hot with a 36th' Murphy admitted last night but she was not alone with an erratic result as the Biscayne Bay winds proved volatile. Behind the National Yacht Club sailor is silver and bronze medallists from London 2012, Belgian Evi Van Acker and Dutch number one Marit Boumeeester. However the star of the week so far is, Denmark's Anne-Marie Rindom, 13th in London 2012, who counts a score of 3 5 1 1 1 (7) to stay four points clear of Annalise.

Ireland's Eric Ruigrok lies 75th scoring 35th in race five in the 79–boat fleet.

In the mens Laser class Rio prospect Finn Lynch, also of the National Yacht Club, continues to hold a significant margin over his 2016 rivals, James Espey and Darragh O'Sullivan. Lynch, the under–19 World Champion, is ten points clear of London 2012 rep James Espey in 43rd place. 

In the 49er skiff duo Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern lie 35 from 58 and in the women's 49erfx, Dun Laoghaire trialists Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey lie 18th from 40. 

Dave Ullman, among many things the 1996 US Rolex Yachtsman of the Year and a three-time 470 world champion, is now coaching U.S. Olympic hopefuls. He was a keen observer of the day's events. The direction shifts, he said, were coming at "15 to 20 degrees, but more than that it was about velocity-on and velocity-off. Downwind, if you were in the velocity, you could make big gains.

"It was much windier today than the forecast called for," Ullman said, "but the racecourse is fine. The race officials are doing a good job with some challenging circumstances.

"But, it was cold out there."

He wasn't the only one who said so.

Wednesday was the third of six days of racing for ten Olympic classes. Top qualifiers will sail a Medal Race on Saturday. Competitors in three Paralympic classes will conclude their racing on Friday.

Men's 470

A second win in six races settled Luke Patience and Elliot Willis of Great Britain into a six-point lead in their 44-boat fleet, and they had reason to be glad that race six went as long as it did, and ended when it did. They had boats to pass. And then it was over. Second-place skipper Mat Belcher of Australia observed that Patience and Willis had a good second weather leg, "They went heavily to the right, and that got them around a lot of boats."

With four more races scheduled before Saturday's Medals Race, Patience and Willis have scores of 1-2-(5)-4-3-1 to a count of 5-1-2-(12)-2-7 for Belcher and crew Will Ryan. The six-point delta allows for discarding worst scores. Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis dropped out of their leadership position (two firsts on Tuesday) and now are looking at (25)-4-1-1-8-10 for third place.

Farther down in the lists, Matthias Schmid's Austrian crewman, Florian Reichsteaedter, like everyone out there in a 470, spent his day balancing on the wire, adjusting in and out with the puffs. "There was no system to it" he said. "Sometimes you had to be on the left. Sometimes you had to be on the right. And it was up and down, up and down all day. Eight knots. Eighteen knots.

"And it was cold out there."

His handshake proved that.

And we may have already mentioned that. But, to be fair, it was Miami-on-the-water cold. Readers in northern climes, please hold those cards and letters.

Women's 470

The London 2012 gold medalists Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, aka Team Jolly, tightened their grip on the lead in the Women's 470 with a pair of firsts, demonstrating that, yes, there must be an answer to the dilemma of a dicey racecourse. "We're sort of getting used to the wind being up and down and shifty," Aleh said.

She offered, "If you can't pick the right place to be on the racecourse, try to not pick the wrong place. We didn't always have the best start or the best first leg, but we would keep chipping away and chipping away until we could look around and say, Oh, we're in front. We'll take it."

Team Jolly, sailing out of Auckland, New Zealand, has placings of 2-2-1-(7)-1-1. The London 2012 silver medalists, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark of Great Britain, are nine points back at 6-1-(7)-1-3-5.

Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntire, also of Great Britain, are in third, another ten points back.

49er

Diego Botin and Iago Lopez's (ESP) overnight 14 point lead was shattered by a culmination of bad results and tight performances from their rivals.

John Pink and Stuart Bithell (GBR) and Joel Turner and Iain Jensen (AUS) kept things together, remaining at the front of the pack and now share the lead on 42 points. But for Botin and Lopez, a U flag penalty, a tenth and an 18th allowed the British and Australian teams to advance, leaving them one point behind.

Last to arrive back on-shore, last to take their sails down and last out of the boat park, Botin and Lopez looked deflated on the slipway. After their bright start they received a thorough debrief from their coach upon conclusion of the third day. All is not lost. They remain in contention; teachings will be applied and tomorrow is another day.

For Turner and Jensen, their short term partnership, is a one off for Miami with Jensen's usual helm Nathan Outteridge missing out for personal reasons.

"It's the first time I've sailed the 49er without Nathan for a long time," said Jensen. "Joel's doing great and he's picking some clever shifts out there and we're doing a lot better than we expected considering we only had three days in the boat together before this."

Routine, rhythm and reliability are three buzz words for Outteridge and Jensen. The pair sailed together as teenagers, winning the ISAF Youth Worlds, and a partnership in the 49er was inevitable.

Seven years after forming, three 49er world titles and an Olympic gold medal later, Miami is the first time Jensen has been without his formidable helm in the Men's Skiff, "If you sail with someone for years, like I have with Nathan, you get stuck in your routine. It's always the same but if you sail with someone else it forces you to problem solve differently and that's beneficial for when you go back with the other person.

"The roles are still the same with Joel as with Nathan. There are subtleties with the way he [Turner] sails and the way Nathan steers and approaches things. Neither is right or wrong, it's just the individual style."

Whilst the partnership is flourishing in Miami, when teased with the question - reckon you'll stick with Turner? - Jensen replied, "Joel's doing an awesome job and I think he'll be a force in the 49er for years to come, he's 19-years-old and got a bright future but in the next couple of years I might just stick with what I know."

Outteridge will be flying in on Thursday, ensuring his crew sticks to what he knows and to enjoy the Miami racing from the coach boat.

49erFX

When those around you all discard 41 points from a DNF or a DNC, the odds will always be stacked in your favour. That's the case for Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) who have opened up a 25 point lead in the 49erFX.

The Kiwis were just one of eight teams to complete the single race on the first day and they are reaping the rewards. Their discard is a 21 and they hold a comfortable advantage after nine races.

Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) are second overall on 62 points whilst Nina Keijzer and Claire Blom (NED) sit third on 90 points.

Maloney and Meech certainly won't be resting on their laurels with six fleet races and Saturday's Medal Race ahead of them but things are certainly going their way.

Women's RS:X

Two wins and a second is a perfect day for some but not for 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final gold medallist Bryony Shaw (GBR).

On the face of it, the Briton dominated the day but in her words, "It's strange, it didn't feel like a perfect day out there. I made a lot of mistakes actually. It was really shifty and puffy and I think it was my awareness, especially on the downwinds that really pulled me through.

"I made a couple of silly calls by going a bit too extreme at the start so I had to make some pretty big comebacks today."

Shaw, the defending champion, is firmly in control. She is 17 points clear of the second placed Olga Maslivets (RUS) and is carrying a superb 2014 conclusion forward into the New Year, "I feel like this [leading in Miami] is momentum from winning in Abu Dhabi at the end of last year and the event we had in Rio. It's nice to come out here and put on a good show.

"I really feel like 2015 is my year and it's important for performance. I want to try and be selected for the games and win a medal in Rio, so I need to be performing at that level now."

Men's RS:X

Consistency was at a premium for the first day of gold fleet racing in what was an up and down day for all.

Only the second placed Nick Dempsey (GBR) put together a trio of top ten finishes, 8-8-3, whilst those around him finished out of the top ten at least once.

It's still France atop of the leader board, but with a new face lighting the path ahead. Overnight leader Louis Giard (FRA) has dropped to fourth whilst Thomas Goyard (FRA) claimed a 12-4-2 which is enough for a slender one point lead over Dempsey.

Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED) took out the first bullet of the day and is third overall. The remaining victories went the way of Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) who is in seventh and the 14th placed Mattia Camboni (ITA).

Laser

If others demonstrated that it is possible to win two race back-to-back on a wacky race course, five-time Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt of Brazil demonstrated that the best can stumble. He won his first race of the day, then burned his throw-out race on a 27th.

Scheidt's closest competition, Australian Matthew Wearn, went with him and burned his throw-out on a 20th.

Neither of the two leaders can afford another bad race. Scheidt has a seven-point cushion over Wearn, but Germany's Philipp Buhl is only one point behind Wearn, and only four points separate him from Julio Alsogaray of Argentina and Nick Thompson of Great Britain.

At 106 boats in two divisions, the Laser is by far the largest class here and as hard as any when it comes to getting to the top. A few years ago, American Jensen Mctigh was acing it in the Snipe class. Here he's paying his dues ("I'm probably the youngest person here") with three-digit standings, but he's seeing the racecourse as clearly as anyone. McTigh's take from his end of the Laser fleet, "The shifts were bigger yesterday, but those blew evenly across the course. Today the shifts were smaller, but they never stopped. They never stopped."

Finn

It was Ioannis Mitakis day in the Finn fleet on Biscayne Bay today.

Mitakis, who represented Greece in the 2012 Olympic Games and won the European Finn Championship the same year-leading the Medal Race start to finish-today took back-to-back firsts. Fleet leader Giles Scott of Great Britain faded.

Faded, but not far enough to cost Scott the lead that he hopes will keep an 18-month winning streak intact.

With a worst score of sixth to discard, Scott now has finishes of 1-1-1-5-4-(6). Computing throw-out races, he has a five-point lead over Jake Lilley of Australia and a 12-point lead over Mitakis. Anything can happen, but Lilley is carrying a 22nd as his discard. Another bad race would probably sink him below the podium. It's game faces all around.

Nacra 17

It's a high scoring affair in the Nacra 17 with consistency a rarity in a highly competitive fleet.

Defending Miami champions Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) and Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR) share the lead on 50 points. The teams recorded two scores outside the top ten with one top ten finish.

Anything can happen in the 49-boat fleet and early front runners Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (NZL) fell victim to a 29-14-28 day that sees them drop to seventh. Not helped by a late night disqualification after a jury hearing the pair count all three scores and are 36 points off the top. But as shown, anything can happen.

Paralympic Events

There's a tussle at the top in the 2.4mR between Megan Pascoe (GBR), Helena Lucas (GBR) and Bjornar Erikstad (NOR) with one point of separation. An intriguing two days is ahead with four more races to decide the winner.

Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch (AUS) are on track to make it two ISAF Sailing World Cup Regatta wins in a row with a two point lead over Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti (ITA) in the SKUD18. Defending champions Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) complete the podium after six races.

In the Sonar, Alphonsus Doerr, Brad Kendell and Hugh Freund (USA) and John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR) are tied atop on 11 points.

Results

Published in Olympic

#SailingWCMiami – Irish Laser Radial Sailor Annalise Murphy moved up one place to be just two points off the lead after four races at Miami Olympic sailing classes yesterday. A third in race four – in winds up to 20 knots – puts the National Yacht Club sailor behind leader Anne-Marie Rindom of Denmark. It's an uplifting start to 2015 with Gold fleet racing starting today, Wednesday. Overnight leader, GBR's Alison Young who scored two wins in the opening rounds crashed out of the top ten with a 23 and 25 yesterday to be 18th overall. Ireland's Erica Ruigrok lies 74 from 79 in the women's class. 

A 13th in race five has allowed the National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch extend his lead over three Irish sailors in Mens Laser division. Lynch lies 39th from 106 starters, some 12 places clear of London 2012 Irish rep James Espey in 51st place. Darragh O'Sullivan is 97th. Strangford's Chris Russell who was scored as a 'DNC' yesterday no longer appears on the results sheet.

An 11th scored in race six has pulled the Irish mens 49er skiff back towards the top half of their 58–boat fleet. Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern lie 32nd now after six races sailed, up four places from Monday's start. There is improvement too for Irish 49erfx skiff pair Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey who are 25th from 40. 

If the Chamber of Commerce had stayed up all night working at it, they could not have served up a better day for racing at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami.

The second day offered a steady diet of breeze in the teens, the allure of a sun-drenched Biscayne Bay, and the kinetic beauty of boats in ten Olympic and three Paralympic sailing classes being put to their best and highest purpose.

We're still early in a regatta scheduled for six days of racing, including a Medal Race on Saturday for top-ten qualifiers. At stake are qualifying points and slots for the finale of the six-event international series that has become the proving ground of the would-be Olympic sailor.

The finale will take place in Abu Dhabi U.A.E. late in 2015, and after that – After that, an athlete is either ready for Rio and the 2016 Olympic Games, or not.

 Top three by class:

470 - Men's Two Person Dinghy
1. Panagiotis Mantis / Pavlos Kagialis, GRE, 8
2. Luke Patience / Elliot WIllis, GBR, 7
3. Mathew Belcher / Will Ryan, AUS, 8

470 - Women's Two Person Dinghy
1. Jo Aleh / Polly Powrie, NZL, 5
2. Hannah Mills / Saskia Clark, GBR, 8
3. Sophie Weguelin / Eilidh McIntyre, GBR, 15

49er - Men's Skiff
1. Diego Botin / Iago Lopez, ESP, 7
2. David Gilmour / Rhys Mara, AUS, 21
3. Nico Delle Karth / Nikolaus Resch, AUT, 22

49erFX - Women's Skiff
1. Alexandra Maloney / Molly Meech, NZL, 10
2. Martine Sofiatti Grael / Kahena Kunze, BRA, 27
3. Leonie Meyer / Elena Stoffers, GER, 29

Laser - Men's One Person Dinghy
1. Robert Scheidt, BRA, 7
2. Matthew Wearn, AUS, 11
3. Nick Thompson, GBR, 12

Laser Radial - Women's One Person Dinghy
1. Anne-Marie Rindom, DEN, 5
2. Annalise Murphy, IRL, 7
3. Marit Bouwmeester, NED, 9

RS:X - Men's Windsurfer
1. Louis Giard, FRA, 10
2. Dorian van Rijsselberge, NED, 14
3. Byron Kokkalanis, GRE, 15

RS:X - Women's Windsurfer
1. Bryony Shaw, GBR, 12
2. Olga Maslivets, RUS, 13
3. Lilian de Geus, NED, 14

Nacra17 - Mixed Multihull
1. Gemma Jones / Jason Saunders, NZL, 9
2. Ben Saxton / Nicola Groves, GBR, 16
3. Vittorio Bissaro / Silvia Sicouri, ITA, 21

Finn - Men's One Person Dinghy
1. Giles Scott, GBR, 3
2. Jake Lilley, AUS, 6
3. Edward Wright, GBR, 16

2.4mR - One Person Keelboat
1. Megan Pascoe, GBR, 5
2. Bja Rnar Erikstad, NOR, 5
3. Helena Lucas, GBR, 5

Skud 18 - Two Person Keelboat
1. Daniel Fitzgibbon / Liesl Tesch, AUS, 6
2. Marco Gualandris / Marta Zanetti, ITA, 7
3. Alexandra Rickham / Niki Birrell, GBR, 8

Sonar - Three Person Keelboat
1. John Robertson / Hannnah Stodel / Stephen Thomas, GBR, 3
2. Aleksander Wang-Hansen / Per Eugen Kristiansen / Marie Solberg, NOR, 7
3. Paul Tingley / Logan Campbell / Scott Lutes, CAN, 7

 

 

Published in Olympic

#SWCMiami15 – At the turn of the year, Olympic sailors took to Instagram, posting a picture that states '2013 was practice, 2014 was the warm up, 2015 is game time.' That's a scenario that just about sums up the situation for a dozen Irish Olympic crews in Florida this weekend preparing for their first race of the 2015 season. 13 Irish sailors are signed up across five key Olympic sailing classes, including four in the mens Laser, two in the women's radial, a mens 49er, a women's 49erfx plus a paralympic Sonar keelboat. More here.

With Rio qualification regattas, national trials and a testing ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit throughout the year the heat is on. And at 10:00 local time on Monday 26 January, 2015's 'game time' begins with the sounding of the starter's gun at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Presented by Sunbrella.

More than 800 sailors from 63 nations racing across ten Olympic and three Paralympic events will light up Miami, Florida's glorious Biscayne Bay. With ISAF Sailing World Cup Final Abu Dhabi qualification spots and valuable ranking points available the game will heat up in the sunshine state.

Historically the Laser has always been the largest fleet in Miami and that is no exception to 2015 with a strong contingent of international sailors making up the 120 boat fleet.

2015 is a key year for many competitors with Rio 2016 Olympic qualification regattas fast approaching. For American Laser sailors the 2016 edition of the regatta will be their first internal qualification event, but the highest ranked American sailor, Charlie Buckingham at World #11, will want to lay down a marker one year in advance.

"Miami is always an important event for me personally," said Buckingham, "so I am happy it serves as part of the OIympic trials. This year I will be aiming to perform my best at this event as I have in years past and as I will next year.

"I've had roughly two months of preparation, both training and racing, after a pretty big break post-Santander. This year is the strongest I've ever seen the fleet since I've done the regatta. Everyone will be here."

Buckingham has been a familiar face in Miami, competing at the regatta a consecutive seven times from 2008. As one of 16 American sailors within the strong Miami fleet a performance that mirrors his third place in 2013 will leave him in a good place in advance of his national trials.

The Laser fleet is jam packed with talent from World Champions to Olympic medallists, all of whom are aiming for an Abu Dhabi ISAF Sailing World Cup Final slot. World #1 Tom Burton (AUS) sealed his spot at ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne so the pressure is off, but the determined Aussie will have his eyes on the prize after narrowly missing out on a Miami podium in 2014.

World #2 Robert Scheidt (BRA) will make his first international appearance since Santander 2014 in Miami whilst defending champion Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) will also return.

With 22 of the world's top 25 Lasers heading to Miami, the competition will be one of the most hotly contested in recent times.

The Laser Radial fleet will see 80 competitors lock horns. World #1 and 2014 World Champion Marit Bouwmeester (NED) will be joined by World #2 and 2014 Abu Dhabi ISAF Sailing World Cup Champion Evi Van Acker (BEL) as well as Melbourne gold medallist Alison Young (GBR).

Paige Railey (USA) will attempt to take the title for the third year in a row whilst Railey's ever improving compatriot, Erika Reineke, will be aiming to move up from her ninth place at the 2014 regatta.

The Men's RS:X is set to be an exceptional competition with the leading racers making the trip to Miami.

In amongst a sea of experienced competitors is a young Frenchman who is mixing it up at the top. Louis Giard (FRA) picked up gold at the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi and heads to Miami fully fired up with confidence sky high, "That put me in a good place and gave me a lot of motivation for 2015," said Giard. "It was my first win in the senior fleet and it helped me a lot to look forward and to try to do the same in upcoming events."

Giard put in a performance worthy of a champion in Abu Dhabi but knows he still has a lot to prove, "It would be good for me to show that Abu Dhabi was not a surprise. My goal is just to do the best I can. I have never been in Miami so it will be a bit new for me but it was the same in Abu Dhabi. A podium could be a good start for 2015 but my training is not at the top at the moment but I will try to do the best start for 2015."

Like Buckingham in the Laser, Giard has an eye on his Olympic trials and just like the American he wants to put a good show on in Miami, "I'm expecting tough competition, as usual. Everybody wants to win and once again it will be the first event of the year for everybody. Miami is the best way to prepare for the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Hyères which will be the first step of the Rio trials."

Giard's compatriots Pierre Le Coq and Thomas Goyard will join him in Miami. As will World #1 Byron Kokkalanis (GRE), World #2 Ricardo Santos (BRA) and London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED).

Miami will also see a high level Women's RS:X fleet take to the water. Bryony Shaw (GBR) started 2014 by taking the Miami title and wrapped the year up by claiming the Women's RS:X ISAF Sailing World Cup Final title in Abu Dhabi. She will be gunning for another great start to her year in Miami.

Joining the Briton in the fleet will be World #1 Flavia Tartaglini (ITA), World #3 Laura Linares (ITA) and London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Marina Alabau (ESP).

ISAF Sailing World Cup Final Abu Dhabi gold medallists Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) will sail in a highly competitive fleet that features 2014 World Champions and 2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA).

The Kiwis will be competing in a single fleet of 40 teams and will have to be on top form, ensuring mistakes are at a minimum, "It is exciting to have a smaller fleet here in Miami," commented Meech, "as it will let us sail against the top girls the whole regatta rather than just through the final days. It will make the racing more exciting overall."

Maloney and Meech touched down in Miami early last week to compete at the 49erFX Midwinters where they finished three points off Grael and Kunze and Meech has liked what she's seen, "So far Miami has given us good conditions. We were coming over here expecting light winds the whole time, but it looks like we are going to get a mixture which will be nice."

World #2 Ida Marie Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) will be within the Miami fleet, as will World #3 Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) and World #4 Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA).

The 49er will also throw out some exciting competition with strong British, Canadian, Spanish, French, Italian and American teams in the mix. Other contenders include ISAF Sailing World Cup Final gold medallists Tomasz Januszewski and Jacek Nowak (POL), Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern (IRL), Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) and returning champions Jonas Warrer and Anders Thomsen (DEN).

Racing commences on Monday 26 January through to Saturday 31 January. Competitors in the Paralympic events will have five days of fleet racing from Monday 26 to Friday 30. Medal Races across the ten OIympic events will bring the regatta to a close on Saturday 31 where medals will be awarded to the top three boats.

Published in Olympic
Tagged under

#annalisemurphy – Ireland's Annalise Murphy finished her opening 2014 World Cup event in 32nd place from a fleet of 50 in Miami on Saturday. The reigning European champion's best result was an eighth scored in race four of seven (48, 35 42, 8, 29 and 25) in an otherwise lack lustre start to the new season, albeit in some pretty poor conditions. After the regatta ended the Irish London 2012 athlete went on to compete in Miami's Half Marathon today in a field of 25,000 runners, posting a picture of her running medal on her twitter account under the hashtag '#consolationmedal'. See below.

The fickle winds on Biscayne Bay proved no obstacle to some of Murphy's Olympic rivals, however, with local Paige Railey (USA) successfully defending her Miami title from last year with another stellar performance this week. Railey was the most consistent sailor from start to finish with a fleet series scoring line of 2-1-2-(12)-2-4. She had an 11 point lead over 2012 Olympic silver medalist Marit Bouwmeester (NED) heading into Saturday.

Bouwmeester comfortably won the medal race and Railey was second. They were first and second, respectively around each mark.

Despite a ninth place result in Saturday's race, Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) captured the bronze.

annalisemiamimarathon

Annalise with her Miami Half Marathon medal this afternoon

"I had some goals for how I wanted to sail the medal race and where I wanted to finish," said Railey. "I wasn't thinking about the – 'what if' - if I do this, I could lose the event. It was more about what I was going to work towards so I can keep progressing for Rio, and what we will face there."

Kinsale's Sorcha Ni Shuilleabhain also attended in Miami scoring 30 (46) 39 41 39 42 to place 45th overall.

Published in Annalise Murphy
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About boot Düsseldorf: With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. From 18 to 26 January 2020, around 2,000 exhibitors will be presenting their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

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