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Annalise Murphy is Irish Sailor of the Year for 2012

18th February 2013
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Annalise Murphy is Irish Sailor of the Year for 2012

#sailoroftheyear - You followed her impressive exploits right here on Afloat.ie throughout the year, and your votes counted. So it's only right that our Olympic sailing hero Annalise Murphy should receive the honour of being named Afloat.ie Sailor of the Year for 2012.

The young sailor was recognised for a remarkable 12 months of incredible achievement, capped off by her stirring performance at the London Olympics - and topped a shortlist that featured fellow Olympic challengers Peter O'Leary and David Burrows, and such up-and-coming talents as Sophie Browne, Finn Lynch and Fionn Lyden.

Murphy's simply outstanding fourth-place finish in the Laser Radial at the London Games was Ireland's best Olympic result in 30 years in any class. Despite the heartbreak of so narrowly missing out on Olympic bronze in the medal race, her accomplishment was appreciated far beyond the Irish sailing community, and raised the profile of the sport in Ireland immeasurably.

The then 22-year-old, who sails for the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, had the entire country on edge last August as she battled with what Afloat's own WM Nixon described as the "fierce challenge" of being top of the Women's Laser Radial class, in stature as well as performance.

At 6ft 1in, the woman they call 'The Irish Lever' was undoubtedly the tallest in her 41-boat fleet at London 2012, and some British yachting pundits were quick to put down her early regatta wins purely to her larger frame.

But Murphy - who headed to the Olympics with confidence after a podium finish at the Skandia Sail for Gold, and a medal at Weymouth the previous year - proved that her success was no fluke, holding the gold medal position for almost half the regatta and entering the last race in third place overall.

 

Facing unbelievable pressure as the regatta reached its final stages on the Nothe course in Weymouth, in tricky conditions that would spread wide the times of most club racers, it's to Murphy's estimable credit that she was able to keep so tight with the front-runners, and it was only in the last few seconds - and last few metres - that she was knocked out of the bronze position.

annalise merge

 

We'll never forget the tears she shed after the medal race's conclusion - the whole of Ireland shared in her heartbreak. But we also shared the belief that that was but one setback in a world-class sailing career that's only just beginning.

Considering the talented and dedicated NYC sailor and UCD student is still only 23, there's clearly plenty of sailing success awaiting in her future, and she starts 2013 on her 'Road to Rio' aiming to clinch a medal at the 2016 Olympic Games.

In spite of losing out on a podium finish at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami earlier this month, the fact that she came so close - and led the charge in the early stages - proves that she can stand proudly with the elite in her class. And she'll have another chance to prove herself in the next round of the ISAF World Cup in Palma de Mallorca on 30 March.

The Sailor of the Year honour is the very least the amazing Annalise Murphy deserves for doing Ireland so proud in 2012.

Published in Sailor of the Year
MacDara Conroy

About The Author

MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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How to sail, sailing clubs and sailing boats plus news on the wide range of sailing events on Irish waters forms the backbone of Afloat's sailing coverage.

We aim to encompass the widest range of activities undertaken on Irish lakes, rivers and coastal waters. This page describes those sailing activites in more detail and provides links and breakdowns of what you can expect from our sailing pages. We aim to bring jargon free reports separated in to popular categories to promote the sport of sailing in Ireland.

The packed 2013 sailing season sees the usual regular summer leagues and there are regular weekly race reports from Dublin Bay Sailing Club, Howth and Cork Harbour on Afloat.ie. This season and last also featured an array of top class events coming to these shores. Each year there is ICRA's Cruiser Nationals starts and every other year the Round Ireland Yacht Race starts and ends in Wicklow and all this action before July. Crosshaven's Cork Week kicks off on in early July every other year. in 2012 Ireland hosted some big international events too,  the ISAF Youth Worlds in Dun Laoghaire and in August the Tall Ships Race sailed into Dublin on its final leg. In that year the Dragon Gold Cup set sail in Kinsale in too.

2013 is also packed with Kinsale hosting the IFDS diabled world sailing championships in Kinsale and the same port is also hosting the Sovereign's Cup. The action moves to the east coast in July with the staging of the country's biggest regatta, the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta from July 11.

Our coverage though is not restricted to the Republic of Ireland but encompasses Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Irish Sea area too. In this section you'll find information on the Irish Sailing Association and Irish sailors. There's sailing reports on regattas, racing, training, cruising, dinghies and keelboat classes, windsurfers, disabled sailing, sailing cruisers, Olympic sailing and Tall Ships sections plus youth sailing, match racing and team racing coverage too.

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There is a network of over 70 sailing clubs in Ireland and we invite all clubs to submit details of their activities for inclusion in our daily website updates. There are dedicated sections given over to the big Irish clubs such as  the waterfront clubs in Dun Laoghaire; Dublin Bay Sailing Club, the Royal Saint George Yacht Club,  the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the National Yacht Club. In Munster we regularly feature the work of Kinsale Yacht Club and Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven.  Abroad Irish sailors compete in Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) racing in the UK and this club is covered too. Click here for Afloat's full list of sailing club information. We are keen to increase our coverage on the network of clubs from around the coast so if you would like to send us news and views of a local interest please let us have it by sending an email to [email protected]

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Punching well above its weight Irish sailing has staged some of the world's top events including the Volvo Ocean Race Galway Stopover, Tall Ships visits as well as dozens of class world and European Championships including the Laser Worlds, the Fireball Worlds in both Dun Laoghaire and Sligo.

Some of these events are no longer pure sailing regattas and have become major public maritime festivals some are the biggest of all public staged events. In the past few seasons Ireland has hosted events such as La Solitaire du Figaro and the ISAF Dublin Bay 2012 Youth Worlds.

There is a lively domestic racing scene for both inshore and offshore sailing. A national sailing calendar of summer fixtures is published annually and it includes old favorites such as Sovereign's Cup, Calves Week, Dun Laoghaire to Dingle, All Ireland Sailing Championships as well as new events with international appeal such as the Round Britain and Ireland Race and the Clipper Round the World Race, both of which have visited Ireland.

The bulk of the work on running events though is carried out by the network of sailing clubs around the coast and this is mostly a voluntary effort by people committed to the sport of sailing. For example Wicklow Sailing Club's Round Ireland yacht race run in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club has been operating for over 30 years. Similarly the international Cork Week regatta has attracted over 500 boats in past editions and has also been running for over 30 years.  In recent years Dublin Bay has revived its own regatta called Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta and can claim to be the country's biggest event with over 550 boats entered in 2009.

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