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Annalise Murphy Leads Six Boat Irish Hopes for Laser Euro Success in Poland

8th October 2020
The National Yacht Club's Annalise Murphy competing in Kiel Regatta in Germany last month The National Yacht Club's Annalise Murphy competing in Kiel Regatta in Germany last month

Ireland's only sailor qualified so far for Tokyo 2021, Annalise Murphy races tomorrow in Poland as part of a six-boat Irish Laser team at the class European Championships.

Murphy is in top form for the Gdańsk Bay regatta having been crowned Italian Olympic Week champion late last month as Afloat reported here.

Poland is the first opportunity since the World Championships in Melbourne last February (where Murphy finished just outside the top ten) for the Laser class to compete in a large scale-format with a total fleet of 300 boats and - given the year that's in it - it's also the last chance this season to compete at European level.

Dun Laoghaire's Olympic Rio silver medalist leads a six-boat Irish team of three males and three females at Górki Zachodnie, nearby Gdańsk. Joining Murphy are Howth's Aoife Hopkins and Eve McMahon who compete against 109 other sailors from 36 countries in the women’s Laser Radial fleet. McMahon at 16 years of age, will be one of the youngest competitors in the fleet.

As Afloat readers know, Murphy was nominated for Tokyo after a cut-short trial in June but Hopkins and McMahon are on the start line again regardless with thoughts of campaigns for Paris 2024 already looming into sight. Not competing this week is Aisling Keller, the County Tipperary sailor who secured Ireland's berth for Tokyo in 2019 but was then left 'devastated' after the nomination decision.

All three of the 2016 Rio Olympic medallists will be competing in the Radial: Murphy (Silver), Marit Bouwmeester of the Netherlands (Gold), and Anne Marie Rindom of Denmark (Bronze).

Of course, in her remarkable career, Murphy is no stranger to the European podium, winning on home waters in 2013, a feat she would dearly love to replicate this week. 

Irish Laser men look for top Euro result to boost Olympic chances

In the men’s Laser Standard, Finn Lynch, Liam Glynn and Ewan McMahon are racing in a field of 133 sailors from 39 countries. Lynch is in good form having finished seventh in Italy in a high calibre fleet even though he missed the last race. Rival McMahon, in his first Olympic campaign, also fared well in Italy to end up in tenth. Gdańsk will be familiar territory for Ballyholme's Glynn, who won the bronze medal here at the U21 Laser World Championships in 2018. 

Finn Lynch on port tack at Italian Olympic Week this monthFinn Lynch on port tack at Italian Olympic Week this month

This week's Euros is an important event for the Irish men as all three continue to look for the form to bring Ireland one of the two remaining Olympic berths early next season. 

Despite being on the Baltic Sea, Gdańsk Bay usually has warm weather at this time of the year, but unusual offshore conditions. The forecast is for medium breezes.

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Olympic Sailing features a variety of craft, from dinghies and keelboats to windsurfing boards. The programme at Tokyo 2020 will include two events for both men and women, three for men only, two for women only and one for mixed crews:

Event Programme

RS:X - Windsurfer (Men/Women)
Laser - One Person Dinghy (Men)
Laser Radial - One Person Dinghy (Women)
Finn - One Person Dinghy (Heavyweight) (Men)
470 - Two Person Dinghy (Men/Women)
49er - Skiff (Men)
49er FX - Skiff (Women)
Nacra 17 Foiling - Mixed Multihull

The mixed Nacra 17 Foiling - Mixed Multihull and women-only 49er FX - Skiff, events were first staged at Rio 2016.

Each event consists of a series of races. Points in each race are awarded according to position: the winner gets one point, the second-placed finisher scores two, and so on. The final race is called the medal race, for which points are doubled. Following the medal race, the individual or crew with the fewest total points is declared the winner.

During races, boats navigate a course shaped like an enormous triangle, heading for the finish line after they contend with the wind from all three directions. They must pass marker buoys a certain number of times and in a predetermined order.

Sailing competitions at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are scheduled to take place from 27 July to 6 August at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour. 

Venues: Enoshima Yacht Harbor

No. of events: 10

Dates: 27 July – 6 August

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Dates

Following a one year postponement, sailing competitions at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are scheduled to take place from 23 July 2021 and run until the 8 August at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour. 

Venue: Enoshima Yacht Harbour

No. of events: 10

Dates: 23 July – 8 August 2021

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