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Irish Olympic Sailing Laser Trials Under Way in Rio

15th December 2015
Aoife Hopkins training in Olympic waters this week

In spite of qualifying the nation for Rio 2016, both London 2012 Laser sailors Annalise Murphy and James Espey face a test for their Olympic places on Rio waters this afternoon. The first of three Irish Olympic sailing trials begins at Copa Brasil De Vela regatta and three young Irish pretenders (from an earlier possible shortlist of eight) seek to unseat Murphy and Espey for the two Rio berths available.

In the Womens Laser Radial class, Aoife Hopkins threw down the gauntlet to Irish sailing sensation Murphy a month ago. The Howth Yacht Club backed 17–year–old declared for the Radial trial in an ambitious campaign that's ultimate aim is a medal in Tokyo 2020.

In the mens division, Belfast's Espey comes up against ISAF silver medalist Finn Lynch and West Cork's Fionn Lyden. At one stage there was arguably two more would be contenders but both Seafra Guilfoyle of Royal Cork and Daragh O'Sullivan of Kinsale ruled themselves out of the costly trials series. The build up to the trials has not been without its own drama when the National Yacht Club's Lynch dislocated a shoulder a month ago.

 

Hanging around waiting for wind?

Posted by James Espey Sailing on Monday, 14 December 2015

Both mens and womens Laser divisions will race ten races with a single discard on the Olympic waters and the forecast is for winds of less than eight knots after some stormy weekend weather.

Racing begins at 1pm local time, two hours behind GMT. The NOR is downloadable below.

The Irish Sailing Association coach Rory Fitzpatrick and the  ISA's Olympic Sailing Group member Trevor Millar, (who is Founder and Executive Director of the Laser coaching service, Sailcoach Ltd ) are monitoring the Irish trial.

Despite strong winds and rain that hammered Rio at the weekend the race progamme is going ahead without amendments, even though there a reports of increased pollution in the bay.

The competiton runs until 20 December and will be based in San Francisco beach in Niteroi, and will be used used by the host nation to fill the remaining spots of the Brazilian Sailing Team in the Olympics. 

An event website is here with no entry list available. Twitter followers are using # vempravela ‪#‎agoraébra‬.

After Copa Brasil de Vela, the Irish trial continues with the 2016 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, and the 2016 Laser Radial World Championships (Women) and the 2016 Laser World Championships (Men).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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