Annalise Murphy's older sister Claudine has announced plans to join Annalise on Rio's Guanabara Bay in the latest Irish women's skiff campaign.
Claudine has teamed up with former British trialist Andrea Brewster in a bid for the Irish 49erfx slot against Tiffany Brien and Saskia Tidey also seeking a place in the official squad and a place in this new class for the Rio games.
Here Claudine gives some background on her campaign:
I met Andrea for the first time at the 2004 Laser Radial Europeans in Bangor. Andrea has been sailing the laser full time since then and was Annalise's training partner for the London Games. Annalise had joked about us teaming up in the FX for 2016 but we did not look into it seriously until February of this year. Andrea has dual citizenship so decided to use this to team up with me and start a campaign. She has been in the top 30 in the world consistently from 2005 to 2012 in the laser radial, her most notable result being a bronze medal at the 2008 Laser Radial Worlds. We both decided we had similar ambitions in our sailing and are at a position to go full time to give it a proper go.
We intend on debuting at Sail for Gold in Weymouth where we have been training for the past five weeks. Portland harbour is ideal for learning how to skiff sail as it is large and relatively obstacle free! We then plan on attending the next European cup event in Kiel followed by the Europeans in Denmark. There is then quite a large gap until the worlds in Marseille in mid September.
Our short term goals are to make ISC funding so we can progress forward into 2014 with support. Our main goal for now is to learn to control the boat in all conditions. Skiff sailing in a breeze is more extreme than any kiteboarding or skiing I have done in my last year of travelling! We have had some very comical scenarios in this learning process which makes the terror and injuries sustained worthwhile! I am also very glad of the fitness I worked on last year when I rowed for DULBC while doing my Masters in Trinity. Skiff crewing is very physical so my fitness regime has increased dramatically in the past few months. Long term it will be important to qualify the nation in Santandar next September as it will be much more difficult to do so with the new continent divisions in nation places for 2016.
I think the difficult thing about sailing a double handed boat is finding somebody you can have a successful working partnership with. But I am delighted to have found somebody to sail with who is so talented and dedicated to Olympic sailing as Andrea is. We are basing ourselves in DunLaoghaire from now so between ourselves and Annalise in her moth we will give the pier onlookers lots of entertainment this summer!
Claudine and Andrea in flying form in a training session in Weymouth. Photo:Tom Peel
Below Andrea also gives some background to the new campaign:
Towards the end of last year I made the decision to sail the 49erFX which is the new Women's Skiff Class in for Rio 2016. The FX is by far the most exciting class ever to be brought in for Women to sail at the Olympics and I could not resist the opportunity to sail full time in such a fantastic boat. So I bought an FX and with the help of some good friends I began learning to try and master the art of skiff sailing.
The difficulty I have found about learning to sail the FX is that as a beginner its fairly risky to go sailing in anything much above 15 knots so that immediately reduced the amount of days I was able to train. Between October and March I think I managed to do about 3 weeks of sailing in total as either there was too much wind or I was unable to find anyone to sail with. I started looking for someone to team up with to get a campaign underway back in September and despite trying out with some very good sailors I was unable to find anyone in a position to be able to sail full time with me. After such a slow start and still no full time crew I was beginning to wonder if I was realistically going to be able to continue campaigning. I thought back to conversations I'd had with my great friend and training partner for the last few years in the Radial, Annalise Murphy from Ireland. We used to joke that I should become Irish and sail a skiff with Annalise's sister Claudine for 2016. At the time it sounded pretty far fetched but nearly 6 months after buying my FX and no further on with a campaign I realised that this might be the only opportunity I might have. My Mum's side of the family are all of Irish descent, so I knew that I could be eligible to sail for Ireland. After talking it through with Claudine and discovering that she was also at a cross roads in life which meant she could go full time if sailing if she wanted, we decided to try out together in the FX. We discussed things in great detail and I was pleased to learn that we both shared the same aspirations for the campaign and from there we decided to seize the opportunity and go for it!
So I am now pleased to officially announce that Claudine Murphy and I are campaigning for Rio 2016 sailing for Ireland. We are only a few weeks into our training so far but as you can see from the picture we are throwing ourselves into it!
I am very grateful for all the support and encouragement I have received so far from everyone about my decision to switch to sail for Ireland. I have many fond and proud memories of my time representing Britain and I am now looking forward to this next exciting chapter in my life!