#roadtorio – 'A bit disastrously' is how Annalise Murphy describes the outcome of Saturday's three short medal races in Florida where the Irish one time leader of the USA Olympic classes regatta went from first to fourth overall, denying her a place on the podium in her first event on the road to Rio 2016.
'So things didn't go to plan today. Actually they went a bit disastrously...but I had a good week, learned a lot and felt like I really improved, the top Irish sailor concluded last night on her facebook page.
The video above from race organisers shows yesterday's medal race finals with the Laser radial action, inlcuding Annalise's start in the final race at 8:18 on the timeline and some upwinds shots of Annalise at 8:25.
The medal race results were in stark contrast to last Friday when Murphy stormed back to regain the overall lead with two race wins to go in to yesterday's medal races as the top sailor after a week long battle of 13 races in her 29-boat Laser Radial fleet.
Sparkling conditions on Biscayne Bay and 20-knot winds had given Ireland's 'Breeze Queen' the perfect opportunity to strike home her heavy air advantage.
But on Saturday Murphy who celebrated her 23rd birthday on Friday suffered against American rival Paige Railey as winds that had offered up steady breeze of 15-20 knots all week dropped as low as eight knots and were very shifty for the medal race finale.
In the second medal race, Annalise was leading into the finish line but along with a Canadaian sailor received a yellow flag penalty.
Last night there was annoyance expressed in the Irish camp with ISAFs complex new scoring system trialled at Miami for the first time. The contention is that the new system is unfair because Annalise was one of the most consistent throughout the week yet ended up losing out only in the final very short medal race rounds.
It is likely team management will focus now on improving Annalise's performances outside of the big wind conditions in which she clearly dominates.
Railey, the Florida local was outstanding in the medal rounds. The 2012 Olympian and 2006 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year was the most consistent sailor. She won the first two races of the day and placed fourth in race 15. She won by 14 points over World #5 Tuula Tenkanen (FIN), who won silver. Canadian Isabella Bertold secured the bronze medal. She won race 15. Murphy had to make do with scores of 10,16,14 in the double counting, no discardable three medal races pushing her into fourth. The final score in the new format competition is the six race series plus the medal race scores.
Murphy who was racing for Ireland's first ever World Cup win in the Laser Radial class, a feat that would have been a terrific boost on her road to Rio 2016 will get another chance on March 30 at the next round of the ISAF World Cup in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
Eight Olympic class events raced for medals on Saturday's finale of the 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami. Once again, conditions on the emerald waters of Biscayne Bay mixed with the high level of competition and medal race urgency, allowed these sailors to evaluate their abilities and determine where they rank among the world's best.
Sarah Newberry and John Casey (USA) capped a fantastic regatta in the intriguing Nacra 17 event. For nearly the entire week, Newberry and Casey were at the top of the leaderboard. They were fifth in today's medal race and won the gold medal by five points. Finishing with silver was Sarah Streater and Matthew Whitehead (USA). Taylor Reiss and Sarah Lihan (USA) won bronze.
"Throughout the event we were focused on communication," said Newberry. "What carried us through was communicating about what was happening on the boat immediately on the race course, and in the end the ability to explain the situation. I'm sure at the highest end of sailing, especially when you're a woman and a man you don't always speak the same language."
"It was such a tough medal race. One minute we thought we were dead last and had to crawl back. In the end John told me we won, but I needed a minute to take it in," said Newberry.
Making another serious run at her fifth Olympic Games is Women's 470 sailor Fernanda Oliveira. The Brazilian skipper is a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist. Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachuan captured gold here in Miami this week. They finished second in today's medal race and won by 15 points. The Chinese teams performed well in the Women's 470. Xiaoli Wang and Xufeng Huang won the silver medal and Xiaomei Xu and Chunyan Yu will take home bronze.
Like so many Brazilian sailors, Oliveira is eager to compete for Olympic gold in her home country in Rio 2016. "This is different for me because I did four Games, each time with a different crew, but now I'm with the same crew," she explained. "It starts easier for us, but we don't live in Rio, so we need to go there often to train and we have a lot of work to do. It's a difficult place to race and the conditions are special."
Americans Stuart McNay and David Hughes finished strong in the Men's 470 medal race. Their second place result granted them the gold medal. McNay and Hughes won by a five point margin over medal race winners and silver medalists Matthias Schmid and Floran Reichstaedter (AUT). Another Austrian team reached the podium, as David Bargehr and Lucas Maher claimed the bronze.
"The bottom line was that we were trying to stay close to the Austrians today," said McNay. "We got a good start on the pin, but they still had an early lead. Some tacking ensued that drove the action back into the fleet, so we had to fight for our regatta win."
The top six teams in the 49er and 49er FX events advanced to Saturday's respective medal races. The medal races were conducted using a unique format and challenging course. The theater style course included two enclosed parallel lanes approximately 400 meters long and 220 meters wide. The first boat to win two races wins the regatta. Teams entering the medal races with the lead from the fleet series will begin this stage with a win.
In a compelling medal race series, Fred Strammer and Zach Brown (USA) edged Ryan Pesch and Trevor Burd (USA) for the gold medal. Strammer and Brown entered the medal races with a carryover win from their first place fleet racing series. Pesch and Burd finished just ahead of Strammer and Brown to win the first medal race. They finished first and second again in the second medal race, with Strammer and Brown prevailing. Sebastian Ostling and Kalle Torlen (SWE) joined the Americans on the podium as bronze medalists.
The 49er FX medal race series lasted just one race. Fleet series leaders Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze won the first medal race, which put an end to an impressive run this week by the Brazilians. They totaled seven wins this week. Anna Tunnicliffe and Molly Vandemoer were third today and won the silver medal. Finishing second today and earning the bronze was Kristen Lane and Molly Carapiet (USA).
It was a tremendous week for Finn sailor Caleb Paine (USA). He won today's first medal race to seal the gold medal by 14 points. Canadian Greg Douglas won the silver medal and was third today. Jorge Zarif (BRA) finished third overall for bronze. He got off to a great start this week by winning four of his first seven races.
It was a great three-race medal series today for Estonia's Lasor sailor Karl-Martin Rammo who won two of three races and finished second in race 14. However, Sweden's Jesper Stalheim collected gold medal honors. Rammo earned the silver and Charlie Buckingham (USA) garnered bronze medal honors.
"Miami is really shifty," said Stalheim. "There was a bit more breeze in Miami than usual, so there was a lot of hiking. I was super fast on the downwind so that was great. It felt like the last day was super important, maybe a bit too much."
For the final standings, visit the results section of the event website.
Final top three by class
1. Megan Pascoe, GBR, 18 points
2. Allan Leibel, CAN, 21
3. Bruce Millar, CAN, 22
1. Strammer / Brown, USA, 4.0 points
2. Pesch / Burd, USA, 5.0
3. Oestling / Torlen, SWE, 10.0
1. Stuart McNay / David Hughes, USA, 22
2. Matthias Schmid / FLorian Reichstaedter, AUS, 27
3. David Bargehr / Lukas Mahr, AUS, 57
1. Caleb Paine, USA, 20
2. Greg Douglas, CAN, 34
3. Jorge Zarif, BRA, 43
1. Martine Soffiatti / Kahena Kunze, BRA, 2.0
2. Anna Tunnicliffe / Molly Vandemoer, USA, 5.0
3. Kristen Lane / Molly Carapiet, USA, 8.0
1. Jesper Stalheim, SWE, 46
2. Karl-Martin Rammo, EST, 50
3. Charlie Buckingham, USA, 54
1. Paige Railey, USA, 20
2. Tuula Tenkanen, FIN, 34
3. Isabella Bertold, CAN, 40
1. Sarah Newberry / John Casey, USA, 22
2. Sarah Streater / Matthew Whitehead, USA, 27
3. Taylor Reiss / Sarah Lihan, USA, 35
1. Ivan Pastor, ESP
2. Nick Dempsey, GBR
3. Dorian Van Rijssbelberghe, NED
1. Maayan Davidovich, ISR
2. Tuuli Petaja-Siren, FIN
3. BLannca Mancon Dominguez, ESP
1. Wang-Hansen / Solberg / Kristiansen, NOR, 19
2. Fisher / Hersey / Levinson, USA, 28
3. Doerr / Kendell / Freund, USA, 29