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Displaying items by tag: Olympic

#sailforgold– They might head into London 2012 as reigning Star champions but Andrew Simpson and Iain Percy admit they have still have work to do after a Jekyll and Hyde start to their Skandia Sail for Gold assault, already Ireland's Peter O'Leary and David Burrows are 11 points clear but everyone knows there is still a big fight ahead writes Ben Baker.

The British duo are getting an early taste of what to expect at the Olympics in two months time as they look to claim the Sail for Gold crown at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy for the first time since 2009.

But the duo, who were forced to settle for silver at last month's World Championships behind Brazilians Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, have had to endure a mixed bag so far on the south coast.

Simpson and Percy sit fourth after the second day, results of first and third being sandwiched between finishes of seventh and 12t.

There is still time to close the gap on the leaders however, O'Leary and Burrows 11 points ahead, and Simpson insists they will continue to close the gap right up until the Games themselves.

"Day two was a tricky day," Simpson said. "We were struggling a bit for speed but it's good racing.

"It's tricky conditions and a lot of people did well and badly in races. We kept struggling but catching up which is good but struggling for speed against some of the guys so we have got a bit of work to do to find out what is going wrong.

"We had a first and a third so we are catching up now. There is a long way to go in this series and we aren't far off I don't think and won't be far behind so we have just got to work hard and see how it goes.

"This regatta is a good check in of where you are. You need to be close to where you need to be for the Games as it's not long now.

"You can't be far behind or miles away, you need to work on where you are and what you have got to do next."

 For more: www.skandiateamgbr.com. (Investment specialist Skandia is the principal sponsor of the British sailing team).

For more: Irish Olympic Sailing news

Published in Olympics 2012
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HOWTH YACHT CLUB. TUE + SAT SERIES 2 (RACE) 05/06/2012 17 Footer SCRATCH: 1, Rita Curley/Lynch; 2, Pauline O'Doherty/Ryan; 3, Isobel B & C Turvey; 17 Footer HCAP: 1, Pauline O'Doherty/Ryan; 2, Anita Cassidy/Faherty; 3, Rita Curley/Lynch TUESDAY SERIES 2 Puppeteer SCRATCH: 1, Yellow Peril N Murphy; 2, Harlequin Clarke/Egan; 3, Nefertari Morgan/Murray; Squib SCRATCH: 1, Kerfuffle Craig/Ruane; 2, Shadowfax P Merry; 3, Fantome R McDonell; Etchells SCRATCH: 1, Kootamundra D O'Grady; 2, Fetching Quinn/O'Flaherty; 3, Jabberwocky S Knowles; Puppeteer HPH: 1, Schiggy G Kennedy; 2, Mr Punch NiBhraonain/Wilson; 3, Nefertari Morgan/Murray; Squib HPH: 1, Shadowfax P Merry; 2, Kerfuffle Craig/Ruane; 3, Fantome R McDonell

Published in Olympics 2012
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#sailforgold – After a most consistent display Irish Olympic pairing Peter O'Leary and David Burrows have shot in to the lead of the Star keelboat class in day two of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta in Weymouth today.

The great British weather produced its most horrible best on day two but O'Leary and Burrows brightened things up on the water moving up from fifth to first overall.

The Star class share the most distant course on the Weymouth and Portland sailing waters with the Finn, and they too had three races scheduled, and sailed them. It was the Irish team, – perhaps enjoying the weather more than some of their competitors – that had the best day. O'Leary and Burrows scored a first, second and fourth to hold a two point lead from the World Champions, Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada.

Last night on the team facebook page a happy O'Leary declared ; '4, 2 & 1. Plenty of pace! 2 races tomorrow in plenty of breeze'

Robert Scheidt was one of those not enjoying the weather so much. "We are really happy with those results but also quite tired with it being a rough day and doing three races. Six- seven hours on the water so I am very much looking forward to a shower!" Another man having a tough day was the 1988 Star Gold Medallist, Mike McIntyre, whose return to the fleet ended badly – he was on port tack on the first beat of the second race when John Gimson (crewed by Dun Laoghaire's Anthony Shanks) tried to duck behind him. The manoeuvre went badly wrong and Gimson crashed into the gold medallist – fortunately McIntyre had borrowed the boat from Gimson!

Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern continued where they left off yesterday and had their second race win in the 49er class today. They placed 12th in their other two races and now lie 12th overall.

In the Laser Radial, Annalise Murphy also had a solid day on the water in the Laser Radial. She sailed two races placing third and fourth respectively in the 70 boat fleet. She goes into the third day of racing tomorrow 11th overall.

starleaderboard

The Star class scoreboard showing Ireland leading tonight in Weymouth

The newest of the team, Ger Owens and Scott Flanigan had a consistent day in the 470 fleet. The youngest of the Irish sailors, Scott Flanigan who is only 19, and his helm Ger placed 7th in both of their races leaving them 23rd overall.

Laser sailor James Espey from Bangor finished 28th and 32nd in his two races. He lies 26th overall in the 95 boat fleet.

And in the Paralympic Sonar class, John Twomey, Ian Costelloe and Anthony Hegarty all from Cork had a 10th and 13th today.

Published in Olympics 2012
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#sailforgold –Ireland is off to a strong start despite the fickle conditions at today's Sail for Gold regatta in Weymouth. By early afternoon on the first day of the regatta all fleets had returned to shore as the wind had disappeared.

Skandia Sail for Gold 2012 kicked off today, featuring almost all of the medal contenders for the upcoming Olympic Games. Over seven hundred athletes from 59 nations poured out onto Portland Harbour and Weymouth Bay, the cream of world sailing ready to put a marker down for the coming Olympiad. But conditions were tough, the forecast was for a transitional day, with a new wind arriving and strengthening throughout the rest of the week. So while Portland Harbour and Weymouth Bay delivered racing, it did so in fits and starts.

Most of the Irish sailors had a long lunch break waiting for conditions to improve and eventually at around 4pm the fleets all launched again in very light conditions.

The day belonged to Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern, the Belfast Lough duo in the 49er skiff who won the third race very late in the evening having finished 8th and 11th in the previous two races.

Peter O'Leary and David Burrows in the Star class finished 5th in their only race of the day just behind event favourites Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (Brazil) and ahead of Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (Great Britain).

In the 70 strong Laser radial fleet Annalise Murphy from the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire scored 16th & 8th in her two races of the day in 5 knots of wind.

Ireland's most recent Olympic qualifier James Espey in the Laser class had a great start to the regatta scoring eightth in his only race of the day.

Fresh from winning the Delta Lloyd regatta last weekend Ger Owens who will be sailing in his third Olympics in July with Scott Flanigan scored a 19th and 15th in the 470 class.

In the Paralympic Sonar class John Twomey with Ian Costello and Anthony Hegarty finished 10th in their only race of the day.

The 470 race course got the best of the deal, with two races for everyone and a relatively early finish. In the Men's competition, some familiar names popped out in front. Early race winners were British Olympic representatives Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell, along with the all-conquering Aussie duo of Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page, winners of the last three world championships. Belcher and Page won their second race as well, and lead overall at the end of the first day. But it was also a return to the water and an immediate return to form for Britain's double World Champions, Nic Asher and Elliot Willis who scored a second and a third to hold second overall.

Asher and Willis have been kept out of sailing through illness since a below-par World Championships in Perth last year, and this was their first regatta in 2012. In the meantime, rivals Patience and Bithell got the British Olympic slot for the Games – a bitter disappointment to double world champions that have yet to go to the Olympics. Asher commented, "I would like to carry on for Rio but we will make that decision after Skandia Sail for Gold with Sparky (Stephen Park; Skandia Team GBR Olympic Manager). I see other options are stepping into the Skiff or 49er. But it is fantastic to be back and we have some unfinished business here."

The Women's 470 fleet got underway in the afternoon and also completed two races – winners were the new British World Champions and Olympic representatives, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark. They posted a first and a fourth to lead from Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell from Australia. This is a rivalry that will go all the way to the Games.

The story out on the Finn and Star race course – the furthest from the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy – was more typical of the day. They went out in the morning, were sent back to the beach for lunch without any action, were then hauled back out on the water again in the afternoon to finally get a race in. After all that, it was Michael Hestbaek who took the win in the Stars with four-time medallist (two gold and two silver), Robert Scheidt in fourth.

The USA's Caleb Paine won the Finns, with another four-time medallist (three gold, one silver), Ben Ainslie in fifth. Paine commented, "It feels great to have won today obviously not being selected to represent [the USA] in the Olympics, so to beat the other guys who will be there feels great." But for Ainslie it wasn't so much about the results, "My focus for the week is learning, especially the equipment in the boat; the results aren't important this week it is just about getting the preparation right and learning as much about the venue as possible."

The Paralympic course was one of those that raced in both the morning and the afternoon – starting with one race each for the Sonar and the Skud in the morning. The Sonar's were won by Udo Hessels and Mischa Rossen of the Netherlands from Sven Reiger and Edmund Rath of Austria. In the SKUD 18, Qingdao bronze medallists, John Scott McRoberts and Stacie Louttit from Canada took the honours from Australia's Qingdao silver medallists Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch.

John Scott McRoberts commented, "It was great to be first today and we are looking forward to the rest of the week and the windy conditions which we prefer; particularly as we already had lots of practice at the Delta Lloyd regatta in light air." The 2.4mR fleet got out on the Paralympic course in the afternoon, and managed two races in the light conditions. Some very familiar faces were out the front, with both the Netherlands Thierry Schmitter and Megan Pascoe of Team GBR scoring a second and a third to tie for the lead overall, ahead of France's gold and silver medallist, Damien Seguin in third.

Getting the toughest deal were the men on the Laser course, it was very late when they finally got going, pushing on towards seven o'clock. Unsurprisingly, they only got one race in, and it was won by Simon Grotelueschen, beating countryman Philipp Buhl. The Women in the Laser Radial did better, with two races completed by a reasonable hour. It was Dongshuang Zhang of China that took a first and second place to lead overall from Canada's Isabella Bertold and Spain's Fatima Reyes.

It was also a very long day out on the Women's Match Racing course, they started at 10:00 and finished their eleventh flight at 20:20 – almost ten hours later. The only unbeaten teams at the end of the day were Australia's Olivia Price who won six from six and Silja Lehtinen with four from four. And with Russia's Ekaterina Skudina only losing one from six, these three currently top the standings, but there is a long way to go in this competition.

The 49ers took all day to get through it, but they finished three races for both fleets. At the top at the end of the day was Britain's Dave Evans and Ed Powys with two wins and a third. It gives them a solid jump from Austria's second-placed Nico Luca Marc Delle Karth and Nikolaus Leopold Resch. Evans commented, "We like the breeze so we are looking forward to the rest of week. Today was a condition we are ok in, but we don't really do that well in; so getting a good result was great for us."

The RS:X Women got two races in today, and it was Poland's Zofia Noceti-Klepacka that had the best of the day, with a first and a second, edging Britain's Bryony Shaw who had a solid couple of thirds, and Spain's Marina Alabau with a second and an eighth. It wasn't a surprise to Bryony Shaw, who commented afterwards, "We had a couple of light wind specialists up there in the first race and then the two girls who I see as my main rivals from Poland and Spain were there in the second race, really showing their experience when everyone was tired and a bit worn out after the first race, so it was a good little battle with those two."

Zofia Noceti-Klepacka reckons she will be stronger in the windier conditions forecast for the end of the week though – which may or may not worry Shaw. "I prefer it when the conditions are windier so I am looking forward to the rest of the week; the forecast looks great so it will be more fun," said Noceti-Klepacka.

The Men's RS:X got one race done in the morning and another in the afternoon. The day belonged to 2012 World Champion, Julien Bontemps of France, with a first and a third. It was just a one point better performance than Toni Wilhelm of Germany who scored a first and a fourth.

Published in Olympics 2012

#sailforgold – Tim Hall believes this year's Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta will be the mostly keenly contested yet with the Olympic Games just under two months away and all five Irish Olympic boats in competition. Ireland is also represented in the race management of the event with Olympic race officer Jack Roy from Dun Laoghaire also on the water in Weymouth this week.

The forecast indicates a moderatly windy week with at least 15 knots of breeze throughout the week.

The event director for the Royal Yachting Association spoke as the 2012 event got underway in Weymouth and Portland - which will host the sailing competition at this year's Olympics.

All of Team GB's sailing squad for the Olympics and Paralympics are competing at Sail for Gold, which is also an ISAF World Cup event. Around 750 sailors are taking part in the regatta with all 10 Olympic and all three Paralympic classes being competed in.

"Skandia Sail for Gold is our largest Olympic multi-class regatta," explained Hall. "We have just over 500 boats and that equates to close to 750 sailors from 55 nations all competing for medals at this event. "It is the last major regatta at this, the Olympic venue, so tensions are certainly high and sailors are looking to stamp their authority in preparation for the Olympics.

"The competition is going to be an exceptionally high (standard), probably the highest we have ever seen.

"The sailors are at the top of their game right now, all prepared and focused on the Olympics.

"It is their last opportunity to train at this venue, so tensions are going to be running very high."

Published in Olympics 2012

#OLYMPICSAILING – London Olympic 470 pair Ger Owens and Scott Flanigan won the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, Holland in the 470 class at the weekend.

Although it is widely recognised the fleet is not at full strength since the World Championships in Barcelona two weeks ago (where Owens and Flanigan qualified for London), the result is nevertheless a boost  to the campaign winning four of their nine fleet races.

"This is unexpected. After qualification for the Olympics we weren't busy with winning here, so we're very happy. This is a big surprise for us'', Owens said.

Also competing at the regatta was Annalise Murphy who finished ninth overall and the Irish Paralympic Sailors  John Twomey, Anthony Hegarty and Ian Costello  in the Sonar class who finished 6th overall.

Published in Olympics 2012
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##benandrita – Ben Ainslie has a lot of expectation sitting on him this summer. If he wins a fourth gold in Weymouth he could make history and become the World's most successful Olympic sailor since sailing was introduced at the 1900 Games in Paris.

Every boat Ben has ever owned has been called Rita, and his current Rita is very special. Having sailed her since 2003 she has won two gold medals – no easy task for an old girl! To do their bit to support Ben in the massive challenge ahead, the British Finn Association and J.P. Morgan Asset Management are asking you to show your support for Ben and Rita by tweeting a message of support with #benandrita.

Bens spare 'Rita' is currently on tour and you can see her on display at the National Maritime Museum, Cornwall 2nd – 20th May. It's an interactive display on which you can use iPads to tweet your support for #benandrita.

The display then moves to London. Ben and Rita will be at Canary Wharf station on Monday 21st May and Exchange Square, Liverpool Street station on 22nd May.

You can meet Ben and Rita at the following times:

Monday 21 May – Canary Wharf Station, 1200 – 1400 and 1700 – 1830

Tuesday 22 May – Exchange Square, Liverpool Street, 1200 – 1400 and 1700 –

1830

#benandrita Port and Starboard socks

Exclusive #benandrita Port (left) and Starboard (right) socks have been created to encourage people to show their support for Ben and Rita. Some of the British Finn Association members have sported a pair of the red and green socks whilst competing at the Finn World Championships in Falmouth.

Andy Dennison Chairman of the British Finn Association is keen to get the country behind Ben and Rita. "Ben is a great ambassador for sport, sailing and in particular the Finn Class – we're keen to get the nation behind him and his boat Rita in this key period. The socks are a bit of fun which we hope will catch on and get people out buying red and green socks this summer."

How you can show your support:

Twitter: You can show your support by tweeting a message of support to Ben @ainslieben followed by #benandrita

Facebook: Or post a photo or message on Ben's Facebook page www.facebook.com/benainslie1977

There are 100 pairs of socks to give away in the coming weeks, follow www.facebook.com/benainslie1977 for you chance to grab a pair

Published in Olympics 2012
Tagged under

Scott Flanigan, from Malahide Yacht Club has recently qualified for the Olympics in the 470 class with Ger Owens. Ger is a double Olympian has represented Ireland in the 470 class in Athens and Beijing where he had two exciting race wins. Ger was Scott's coach for several years prior to the pair teaming up to campaign for London 2012 last summer, and Scott watched Ger racing in Beijing when he was fifteen. Scott who is now nineteen returned home this weekend for a couple of days rest, before resuming their Olympic campaign in Holland, and visited Malahide Yacht Club. He chatted to the Optimist sailors who were training with their coach David and was impressed with the new facility which opened earlier this year. He spoke encouragingly to the children and gave them some advice.

Colin O'Sullivan, one of the junior sailors interviewed Scott.

How did you get to be so good at sailing?

I started sailing an Optimist, then progressed to a Laser and then a 420, but I actually sailed anything that I got a chance to. I tried Catamarans, Mermaids, Yachts, anything that I could. You learn from every bit of sailing that you do, and learn from other sailors. Fitness and diet are also very important and I have been really lucky in having a great personal trainer, Colin Gaffney, from a young age.

Was it fun?

Yes it was, and I thoroughly enjoyed all the travelling I got to do in Ireland and all over the world. I have made great friends through sailing. I have been both a helm and a crew and have learnt a lot from both experiences.

How did you choose what boat to move into after your Optimist?

I won the Munster Championship in my last year, and that was my last Optimist event. I had already been sailing a Laser a bit, and I liked it. I was good in light winds and did pretty well. Then I moved to the 420 which was great, it was a new experience being part of a team, and I really enjoyed the technical side. Having sailed the 420 I think I would be so much better as an Optimist sailor!

What is your routine like?

When we are away training we sail most days. We start at 7am, head to the gym for a session and head out on the water for some training in the morning. We break for lunch for an hour, then back out again for the afternoon. We have spent most of the year in Palma as we are assured of good conditions and have training partners based there.

Do you have coaching every day?

Unfortunately due to financial constraints, we have not had a full time coach but Ross Killian attends most of the events with us as the support is essential when competing.

What other advice do you have?

My advice would be to keep a journal, it's really important. I have notebooks full of training information and things that I have noticed myself. Every sailor should keep a record of what they've learnt and what they've done. You also need goals, every time you go sailing, every event you compete in, try to have a goal. Sailing is not just about winning an event, it is also about improving. You might decide that you are going to improve your starts at a particular event, and that will be a focus while you're competing. Reading is important too, I have quite a library of sailing books I've picked them up all over the place.

What is your favourite place to sail?

It is hard to pick one venue but when I am at home I love to sail in Howth and Kinsale, and in Europe, Lake Garda and La Rochelle.

What were your best sailing moments?

Sailing in the Youth Worlds with Cian O'Regan in Istanbul, and representing Belvedere College with great success in the school sailing events, and of course qualifying for the Olympics.

What would you tell someone my age?

Sail everything you can. I have sailed Optimists, Fevas, 420s, 470s, Catamarans, and all classes of Yachts. I sailed the Topaz Westerns here in Malahide. Looks can be deceiving in boats but you will always learn something new by being adventurous.

Scott is heading off to Holland to continue his Olympic training programme with Ger Owens. We will be watching them and wish them luck.

Scott and Bob

Scott (right) being congratulated on his achievement by MYC commodore Bob Sugrue

Published in Olympics 2012
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#LASER RADIAL – London Olympic debutante Annalise Murphy (22) has finished the week at the Laser Radial World Championships in Germany with a 33rd and a 55th to dropping nine places on the final day to leave her 25th overall in the 133-boat fleet.

After a collision in the opening stages of the regatta it was a tough week for Annalise who also showed her world beating potential taking two wins and two seconds when the breeze was up on the Woehlenberger wiek . Last night Team manager James O'Callaghan said Annaslise has 'plenty of work to do'  between now and the Olympics.

Racing was postponed at Boltenhagen for three hours as there was barely any wind but later a sea breeze came in and there were six to eight knots for the first race and ten to twelve knots for the second.

Overall results available for download below as a pdf document.

Afloat's Irish Olympic sailing team news

Published in Olympics 2012
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#OLYMPIC SAILNG – After a busy month of six world Olympic sailing championships Ireland will send a five boat team to the sailing Olympics this July after two more boats were added to the team in the last ten days.

Beyond the qualification celebrations though the heat is on to deliver 'six medal race finishes plus two medals' in pre-Olympic events as a sign that the team is on track to deliver Olympic success in just over eight weeks time. That was the results tab calculation by team manager James O'Callaghan a month ago when he declared the Irish sailing team vision was to 'stand on the podium' in Weymouth in August.

The proclaimation followed the release of ISAF's standings that put both of Ireland's medal contenders in the Laser Radial and Star classes in the top five of the world rankings in January.

So far Peter O'Leary and David Burrows look on target in their keelboat class finishing fourth in the Star Worlds in France this month, one of Ireland's best ever results at an Olympic class world championships and secured when competition is at its hottest in an Olympic year. It follows a sixth in Hyeres Olympic week (even with a broken forestay) and a silver medal (for the third time) at the Star class Bacardi Cup in Miami in March.

Last week Ger Owens and Scott Flanigan finished with a fourth at the 470 world championships in Barcelona and moved up to 24th overall, a result that qualified them for London, Owens' third Olympic regatta and Flanigan's first.

Also through this month to London by virtue of a Gold fleet finish at the Laser worlds in Boltehnagen, Germany is Bangor Laser Sailor James Espey. He is the second Belfast Lough crew on the team joining Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern who race the 49er dinghy.

And at the same venue Annalise Murphy, finished 25th overall yesterday at the Laser Radial Worlds after an event where an inconsistent score sheet shows how the Dun Laoghaire sailor won two races in her 133-boat fleet but also discarded a 64th at the shifty venue.

Meanwhile Peter O'Leary and David Burrows who were narrowly denied a bronze medal at the Star Worlds a week ago have posted an update on the team website describing themselves as 'happy enough' with fourth overall and how the high quality event gave them the chance to test new gear. 'Some areas we were happy with and others we need to work on', they conclude.

Whatever the outcome in August for the Star keelboat it is the end of the Olympic road.

Published in Olympics 2012
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