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#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

#youthsailing – The National Yacht Club's (NYC) Laser Rio trialist Finn Lynch finished third overall at last week's Europa Cup in Hvar Croatia. Schull's Fionn Lyden was sixth in the 19–boat fleet and Ireland's 2014 ISAF youth silver medallist Seafra Guilfoyle completed his youth sailing career second in the under –19 division.

Published in Olympic

The opening day of racing at the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates has been described as spectacular, fantastic and perfect.

Smiles were present before racing at the Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club, on the waters off of the Corniche and around Lulu Island and back ashore upon the conclusion of racing.

Although three Irish sailors were invited to the Cup they are not competing due to budget and time constraints.

A north westerly breeze that ranged between 9-14 knots greeted the sailors across the four race tracks. The outside courses saw big waves to add some spice to the sailors lives whilst the flat water on the inside Corniche course tested the sailors all round abilities.

Racing for the 270 sailors from 38 nations across the ten Olympic and open kiteboarding fleet commenced at 12:00 local time and wrapped up with a full complement of races in the Olympic events.

Finn

Slovenia's Vasilij Zbogar was dominant in Abu Dhabi's conditions, picking up a pair of race wins in the 19-boat Finn fleet.

After racing, ashore at the Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht, the Slovenian was visibly pleased yet shocked with his regatta opening, "I am a bit surprised with the two first places. It's much better than I thought I would start. The conditions were perfect for my technique and weight and my boat speed was extremely good. The main issue was that I got a yellow flag in the first race which was a bit annoying but I still finished first."

Zbogar's victories came by different margins. A close encounter with Jake Lilley (AUS) in the opening race saw him take the victory by a narrow two seconds. He ramped it up in the second race, taking the gun by 30 seconds over Pieter Jan Postma (NED) and Zbogar wants to continue in the same way on the second day, "I hope we will have the same conditions. I will try to keep this first place until the end but I know it is going to be very hard. Today it was really nice sailing conditions and I'm looking forward to the next few days."

Abu Dhabi is a new venue for the Slovenian and he has taken to it well, not only the sailing side but offshore as well, "Until now, Abu Dhabi has been a big surprise for me. Everybody was a bit sceptical at first, maybe the venue and the sailing conditions weren't right but here we are and people are extremely helpful, everything is extremely well organised and the sailing is spectacular.

"I think all the sailors are really happy and they all see it's a big step forward in Olympic classes."

Lilley trails the Slovenia by five points in second place whilst Croatia's Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic occupies third overall, a point behind Lilley.

49erFX

New Zealand's Alex Maloney and Molly Meech started the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final with a bang by taking the opening race victory in the 17-boat 49erFX fleet.

The pair picked up a second victory in the third race of the day but a sandwiched tenth tarnishes their good start. Nonetheless the Kiwis had some great racing as Maloney explained, "It was beautiful conditions out there with a nice Abu Dhabi breeze and really nice waves. We were on Course C in front of the Emirates Palace and it was pretty nice out there. The first and last race we had 8-10 knots and it dropped down and got a bit interesting, it's really nice racing out there.

"We were pretty disappointing with our performance at the Worlds but we had a good break and have had some good preparation for Abu Dhabi. We were in Rio for three weeks and we're feeling a lot more confident again and a lot more focused."

Whilst the Kiwis lead, it's the Italian pairing of Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich who were the masters of consistency as they notched up a race win and a pair of seconds. They sit second overall by nature of the Kiwis discarding their tenth and Conti's face was full of smiles after racing, "It was perfect, perfect conditions. There were 10-14 knots with good waves and we enjoyed it a lot. We had good results and that's why we enjoyed it a lot.

"We felt very comfortable with the boat. It's good to have a brand new boat as we used to sail with a pretty old one so there are a lot of differences in performance. It's just perfect to escape from winter and to be here, we love it."

Conti was also full of praise for everything she has seen thus far at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, "We are staying in such a beautiful hotel and the people here are just so gentle and kind. They're so curious about sailing as well. The venue is just perfect. There is plenty of space so we can move around without having the problem of touching other boats. The weather is warm and there is a huge mall right here, it has everything. I would stay here the whole winter."

Sweden's Lisa Ericson and Hanna Klinga complete the podium after the opening day but it's still early stages in the competition with six fleet races to follow ahead of the Medal Race.

49er

Captain America and Superman's Polish alias' Tomasz Januszewski and Jacek Nowak have swooped in to Abu Dhabi to take the 49er lead on the opening day of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final.

The pair picked up two races wins and a 13th, discarding the latter to top the bill in the 18-boat 49er fleet. They lead Great Britain's Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign by a single point, "It's great to be here and race here with the best of the best," commented Nowak. "We were on Course D so we were inside the bay and the wind was inshore so there was a lot of shifts and gusts. It was good to have great speed and to be able to read the shifty conditions. All the teams were very close to each other throughout the races."

The Polish competitors are instantly recognisable on the race track with their superhero outfits and Januszewski explained the origin of their tops, "We are co-operating with under armour, so when the t-shirts went on sale our friend gave us a couple of them.

"He asked who we would like to be and I was just like, stop there, 'I want to be Captain America', because I love that superhero and Jack loves Superman.

"After we first wore them everybody has called us Superman and Captain America," continued Januszewski with a beaming smile, "They're defending someone's honour and ambitions so we like those and they're really friendly, they're not bad guys.

"It's a good way to show potential sponsors what we can do and how many opportunities we can give them."

The racing on the 49er race course was exceptionally close with little separation of the fleet across three races. Fletcher and Sign picked up the first race victory before finishing second behind the Polish sailors in the second. The Brits did not sail the third race due to an equipment issue as the Polish sailors swooped through to take their second race win and the lead.

Januszewski and Nowak are in a good spot to progress with six fleet races and a Medal Race remaining and will be looking to draw on their super strength from within, "With any power you can achieve anything," said Januszewski, "but if we were to have a power I think we'll take super speed."

Women's RS:X

Great Britain's Bryony Shaw stole the show in the Women's RS:X taking three consecutive race victories to hold a steady lead over her rivals at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The British racer, who won bronze at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, was in exceptional form, mastering the conditions and ruling the waves on one of the outside course areas.

"We were out on Course C today so we had quite a bit of swell and waves," said Shaw. "The wind was between 10 and 13 knots and I was pleased to be sailing fast."

Shaw proved to be a class above the rest as she read the conditions perfectly to lead at the first mark in all of the races as she explained, "I got a good start in the first race but not such a good start in the second race. The wind had just started flicking to the right so I made a gain from going to the right in that race. The first two races I rounded first and was able to extend my lead.

"In the last race we had lighter winds. I had a great start by the committee boat and really good height and speed and managed to round first again. It was quite a physical race that one. I kept it quite simple and stayed between my competitors and the mark and managed to win that third race. It was a really good day."

With 270 sailors from 38 nations competing in Abu Dhabi, the British sailor is just one of many competitors who are revelling in the Emirati capital. With a blend of old traditions in a modern metropolis there is plenty for the sailors to learn and enjoy, both on and off the water, "I've tried to immerse myself in the culture and we've been going out for dinners and the people here seem really friendly," added Shaw. "The conditions today were fantastic. To be sailing out there in board shorts and for it to be warm, sunny and to be sailing in planing conditions is the best for windsurfing. I've had a great time here so far. It's been a short regatta for them to try and set up but it's going well."

China's Qiaoshan Weng is second overall following a third, second and a discarded 14th. Charline Picon (FRA), 2014 Women's RS:X World Champion, is third overall after an up and down day that included a second, a fourth and a discarded 14th place finish.

Men's RS:X

Youngsters Pawel Tarnowski (POL) and Louis Giard (FRA) are showing their experienced counterparts how to race in Abu Dhabi as they top the bill in the Men's RS:X fleet.

Tarnowski, 20-years-old, stormed into the lead following an exceptional day on the water. He amassed two race wins and a third and holds a two point advantage over Giard, 21-years-old, who took a pair of seconds and a third.

The youngsters lead their more experienced rivals but only time will tell if they are able to continue it through for a podium finish on Sunday 30 November.

Laser Radial

Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) is in control in the 18-boat Laser Radial pack. She picked up a fourth and a first to hold a five point advantage over Alison Young (GBR) going into the second day of competition.

Young has had some time away from the boat throughout 2014 and is happy to be back, competing against the best Laser Radial sailors in Abu Dhabi, "It's been great fun racing against all the great sailors that are here this week. I'm here this week to learn as much as possible. There are 18 great sailors here so every race is really tight and every point counts.

"It was such tight racing today out on the water with boats crossing the line in packs and I expect that will be a similar story for the rest of the regatta."

London 2012 bronze medallist Evi Van Acker (BEL) completes the podium at the early stage of the event.

Laser

World #1 Tom Burton (AUS) showed his worth in Abu Dhabi by grasping the Laser lead after the opening day of racing. Burton was strong on the race track and took a fifth and a bullet and was pleased after racing, "It was pretty solid day all around," commented Burton, "The top guys are all here and with the 20 boat fleet you can't afford to have a bad race because the guys that will win this regatta, won't do that so you won't have a chance to catch up."

Pavlos Kontides (CYP) took the first race win but an 11th in the second race relegated him down to fifth overall.

ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao gold medallist Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) is tied on points with Burton in second whilst Nick Thompson (GBR) occupies third.

Men's and Women's 470

It was business as usual for World Champions Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) in the Men's 470. The pair strolled into pole position following a 2-4 scoreline. Greece's Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis are second on eight points with Austria's David Bargehr and Lukas Mahr in third on ten points.

The day's race wins went the way of Stu McNay and David Hughes (USA) who are sixth overall and fifth placed Matthias Schmid and Florian Florian Reichsteaedter (AUT).

China's Shasha Chen and Haiyan Gao and Austria's Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar shared places one and two in the Women's 470 and are tied atop of the 11-boat fleet on three points.

Very little separated the two teams on the opening day and they will do battle once again on the second day with two more races scheduled.

America's Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha are third overall on 10 points, seven off the leading duo but there is plenty of time for change.

Nacra 17

It's an all French top three in the Nacra 17 with World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou leading the way. Besson and Riou are seemingly unstoppable in the Nacra 17 and amassed a steady scoreline that featured two seconds and a race win.

Their compatriots Audrey Ogereau and Matthieu Vandame follow in second with Moana Vaireaux and Manon Audinet in third.

Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger (SUI), Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) and Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank (AUT) are hot on the French teams heals, tied on nine points.

Open Kiteboarding

Riccardo Leccese (ITA) came out on top on the opening day of kiteboarding after he picked up a pair of bullets. He heads into the next stage as top seed. 2014 World Champion Maxime Nocher (FRA), European and Open Asian Champion Oliver Bridge (GBR) and 2013 World Champion Florian Gruber (GER) follow in places 2-4.

The 20 competitors will be divided up for Stage 2 heats on Friday and Saturday based on their seeding from Stage 1. The top ten boats will then progress to the medal stage.

Two semi-finals will be held with five racers in each. Places 1 and 2 will carry forward ten points, 3 and 4 seven points, 5 and 6 five points, 7 and 8 four points and 9 and 10 three points. Two races in each semi-final will follow with the top two placed sailors in each heading to the final.

From there, it's a four way single race shoot out for the podium spots.

Racing across the fleets is scheduled to commence at 12:00 local time on Friday 28 November.

Results are available here

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#sailingdrive – A trio of key speakers will address a global audience to demonstrate how inspiration and innovation can increase participation and generate business success. Olympic Gold Medallist Iain Percy OBE will welcome delegates from around the world to the International Sailing Summit (ISS) on 17 November 2014 and record-breaking quadriplegic sailor Hilary Lister and Rod Carr, Chairman of UK Sport will headline the Gala Dinner.

These key figures in the sailing world compliment an already exciting line up of international speakers at the worldwide industry forum. Recognised for driving positive change and promoting sailing on a global scale the programme centres on the theme 'Waking up the sailing industry – how sailing needs to modernise, diversify and develop to attract and retain participants'. Highlights include Spinsheet Magazine's advice on changing your game plan to welcome diverse customers, using British Cycling as a case study to grow participation, Oman Sail's view on empowering women through sports and using cost effective technology to improve participation with examples from Sail Racer.

Organised by British Sailing, a group association of the British Marine Federation (BMF), the event is expected to attract some 150 delegates representing all aspects of their sailing sector from every corner of the globe. It is the perfect event for companies who share the ultimate goal of increasing participation and bringing more business in the future. The summit takes place in Amsterdam the day before the world-renowned Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS).

Iain Percy OBE, Olympic sailor and Team Manager for Artemis Racing, said: "The recent America's Cup was a real breakthrough in making sailing mainstream; it was the first time I'd heard lots of my non-sailing friends saying they were staying up to watch the racing and that sentiment was echoed around the world. The sport was shown in such a great light. As an industry we now have to build on that excitement to continue to attract newcomers and grow the sport. Getting more people enjoying time on the water ensures the whole sector benefits."

Steve Norbury from Selden Masts added: "The sailing industry is very dynamic and presents many opportunities. I am keen to always lead Selden forwards in terms of technology, service and performance and look for the best way to gain best practice advice and networking opportunities. The International Sailing Summit is one of the best ways to achieve this and the theme for this year is exactly what the industry needs to face. I can't wait to listen to this year's speakers."

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#roadtorio2016 – After Ireland secured three Olympic berths for Rio in Santander, the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) has yet to publish its own selection criteria on how Irish sailors might contest these places. According to David O'Brien in last Frday's Irish Times Sailing Column this will 'hopefully' will be available by the end of October but that's not quick enough for Water Rat.

The Rat has drawn up his own alternative Irish criteria for Rio with the basic idea that any sailor who goes to the games must contribute to medal chances – either now or in the future.

Water Rat maintains the important thing is to build for the future and the big debate is how you decide between upward trending rising talent and what some insiders are calling 'static incumbents'. The Rat concludes that given the notoriously fickle conditions that are forecast for Brazil, it is now time to think 'outside the box' and proposes no trials at all – just pure selection:

Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Team Selection Criteria by Water Rat

In making the selection the selectors will have as their primary guiding factor the maximisation of Irish medal performances in 2016 and subsequent games.

To be eligible for selection, all sailors must be country qualified and must, by January 1st 2015, sign a binding contract with the Irish Sailing Association which, inter alia, establishes the conditions pertaining to training, competition, lifestyle, sponsorship, funding, behaviour and the appeal mechanism in the event of contract disputes.

Sailors, whose performance qualified Ireland at the World Championships in 2014, are not guaranteed selection.

If country qualification has not been achieved at or before the Class world Championships in 2015, then sailors competing in that class will not be considered for selection.

The following points will be taken into consideration:

1. Improving results at major European or International Events, including World and Continental Championships, World Cup events and Eurosaf Events.

2. The trend in results at these events.

3. The potential for results at future games.

Should two or more sailors/team in one or more classes achieve a suitably high standard of results, then a trial may be held. Such a trial will use a major event or events to determine the favoured sailor/team.

In classes where only one Irish Sailor/team has displayed a satisfactory standard early confirmation of selection may be made.

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#rio – The qualification system for the Olympic Games of the XXXI Olympiad – RIO 2016 is published by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and available to download here as a five page pdf document below.

 

Published in Olympic
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#olympicsailing – 1,250 sailors in over 900 boats from 84 nations will begin competing at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Spain tomorrow. 50% of Rio 2016 Olympic places will be up for grabs at the regatta as well as numerous World Titles.

The ISAF Worlds, hosted in Santander in northern Spain, is the event every sailor has been aiming to peak at since the London 2012 Olympic Games and the competition will be fierce. Among the sailing talent will be eight Irish sailors, competing across five different classes.

This event will be the first opportunity for Irish sailors to qualify Ireland for the 2016 Games in the following classes:

Laser Radial – Annalise Murphy
Laser Standard – James Espey
49er – Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern

Laser Standard – Finn Lynch
49erFX – Andrea Brewster & Saskia Tidey)

Finn – Ross Hamilton

First to compete will be the Laser classes. This will include Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial and James Espey and Finn Lynch both in the Laser Standard. Racing for these classes will begin tomorrow and continue until the top 10 boats qualify for the Medal Races on Thursday the 18th of September. The top 19 nations will qualify their country for the Games in the Radial fleet and the top 23 will qualify in the men's Standard fleet.

The 49er, 49erFX and Finn classes will begin racing on Monday the 15th of September, concluding the regatta with their Medal Races on Sunday the 21st of September. Ireland will have three teams competing in these classes including duos Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern and Andrea Brewster & Saskia Tidey. Both of these teams must finish in the top 10 nations to qualify for the Games in two years' time.

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