#rio – In a continuation of its relationship with Irish high performance sailing, the Irish Olympic sailing team announced a new deal for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Regatta in 2016 with Irish exploration firm Providence Resources in Dublin this morning.
A team spokesperson described the size of the sponsorship as a 'significant six figure sum'.
Golden girl Annalise Murphy (23) and other members of the team were present when the city centre announcement was made with Providence Resources Chief Executive, Tony O'Reilly.
Annalise, who lost out on a medal in the final moments of her last race in Weymouth, has got her 2016 campaign off to a flying start winning two of three Eurocup events, earning her May's Afloat Sailor of the Month award.
Murphy won both the Italian Lake Garda and Dutch rounds of the Eurocup to put her in top form for the Laser European Championships to be staged, for the first time, in her home waters of Dun Laoghaire next month at the National Yacht Club.
Annalise was joined for today's press event by June's Sail for Gold medal winner 49er sailor Matt McGovern, Laser solo sailor James Espey and Paralympian John Twomey.
The Irish sailing team had their most successful Olympics for thirty years in 2012 with 4th, 10th and 14th finishes but did not win a medal as team officials had predicted.
The sponsorship from Providence announced today means the team can spend more time at the Rio venue, a much more expensive proposition than Weymouth.
Currently, the 2016 sailing team members includes:
John Twomey (Sonar)
Ian Costello (Sonar)
A number of other campaigns are currently in training to reach qualification standard for 2016, including two campaigns in the new all-female class 49er FX, namely Tiffany Brien and Saskia Tidey and Claudine Murphy and Andrea Brewster.
Meanwhile, Royal Cork Star sailor Peter O'Leary could still get a chance to sail in the keelboat again but only if the venerable class is reinstated in the Olympic fleet line-up, a question everyone in Olympic circles is asking.
Sailing at the Rio Games will be at Marina da Gloria in Guanabara Bay, where, ominously, forecasters say winds can be 'noxiously light and flukey'.