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Annalise Murphy faces a three-way trial for Irish selection before she can race for gold at Tokyo 2020.  Ireland's Olympic Silver Medallist confirmed her return to the Laser Radial class tonight with 300 days to go to the Olympic Regatta. 

The widely expected decision follows last week's announcement that she had quit her 49erFX campaign with Katie Tingle.

Murphy’s return to the class will meet domestic competition from Aoife Hopkins and Aisling Keller who have already qualified Ireland for a place in the Radial discipline as described by Irish Times Sailing Correspondent David O'Brien here.

The three female solo sailors will race in an open trial using a number of international regattas to determine which candidate is nominated to represent the nation in Tokyo.

"I've already been sailing the Radial and feel fresh in the boat and I'm really excited to be back"

The do-or-die series will start in the Spring of 2020 and will use the combined scores from each of three European regattas; Palma in March, the World Cup in Genoa in April and Hyeres Regatta in late April to decide the nomination.

Murphy acknowledged the challenge ahead saying "with trials starting early next year there is a lot of work to get through, however, I've already been sailing the Radial and feel fresh in the boat and I'm really excited to be back"

Irish Sailing Head Coach Rory Fitzpatrick added “Having coached Annalise up to the Rio Olympics it makes her transition into the Laser Radial squad pretty easy. Having Annalise back in the class will raise the standard for everyone”.

Published in Annalise Murphy
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Olympic Silver medalist Annalise Murphy is expected to return to the Laser Radial dinghy immediately after abandoning hopes of a final qualification chance in the 49erfX dinghy she has been campaigning with Katie Tingle for Tokyo 2020.

After a 'hugely challenging' fourteen months for Murphy and Tingle in the 49erFX class, it was decided after the summer that their 'Olympic medal goal' was no longer realistic, and the campaign has now come to an end.

While Murphy's plans have ended in the 49erFX, all is not lost for Irish Skiff fans, however, who can be certain that Royal Irish sailor Saskia Tidey of Dun Laoghaire will make the British team for Tokyo having won a Bronze medal in September's Pre-Olympics.

Annalise Murphy, a two time Olympian (finishing fourth and second respectively), reflected on the summer performances and in 'consultation with stakeholders' decided against continuing in the 49erFX. Katie Tingle, who has given '100% to the campaign' understands Annalise’s viewpoint but is nevertheless disappointed that the campaign is ending. Commenting on the situation Katie Tingle said “of course I’m disappointed. I’ve had a roller coaster fourteen months having jumped straight in at the deep end of high-performance sport. It’s been incredible seeing how hard everyone works for their goal and the support that goes around it, I’ll miss my teammates and all the support staff.”

49erfXAnnalise Murphy and Katie Tingle in training on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

After a long period of training that was prefaced by injury in September 2018 when Tingle broke her arm in training on Dublin Bay, the duo first raced in April 2019 at the World Cup in Genoa and immediately admitted a steep learning curve, finishing in the silver fleet. A month later they retired from two races at the Europeans Championships in Weymouth. There appeared to be some progress in June at Kiel Week but by August and a trip to Tokyo for the pre-Olympics, and more mid-fleet results, it appears the writing was on the wall.

"I guess the World Cup in Japan was a bit of a wakeup call for me"

In a statement released this afternoon, Irish Sailing team managers say 'Annalise and Katie are lifelong friends and the decision was not made lightly'.

Murphy said “I guess the World Cup in Japan was a bit of a wakeup call for me, I was unable to see a medal in less than twelve months and that was always the goal. Katie has been incredibly understanding in what is clearly a difficult situation. I’ve learned so much from her over the last fourteen months and am glad our friendship has grown from this shared experience.”

The statement says Murphy is now going to take some time to consider her next steps. With the Laser Radial qualified for an Irish place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, it would seem very likely that she will be back on the water soon.

Irish Sailing Performance Director James O’Callaghan commented, “the Irish Sailing 49erFX project has benefitted the whole team, to have people as positive as Annalise and Katie in the programme has inspired the other teams. We now have a second FX campaign in its infancy so their legacy will continue. Katie took the opportunity to explore her potential to follow her dream, she made the most of the chance and I hope can look back fondly on the experience.”

Published in Tokyo 2020

A five and a three scored in today's 49erFX races at Kiel Week, Germany represents a significant performance improvement for Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle who had been languishing in 41st place from 53 after day one.

The result moves the pair –who are four regattas into a 2020 Olympic campaign – up a dozen places overnight and into the top thirty overall in 29th.

The National Yacht Club and Royal Cork Yacht Club combination are using Kiel as part of their overall bid for Tokyo Olympic qualification later this year.

Results are here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle are 41st from a fleet of 53 after the first three 49erFX races of Kiel Week regatta, Germany yesterday.

The National Yacht Club and Royal Cork Yacht Club combination scored 17, 20 and 18 in their opening rounds of the seven race series. Participation this week is part of their overall bid for Olympic qualification later this year.

Reigning World Champions, Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz of the Netherlands hold the lead with Swedes holding second and third places in the 49erFX fleet.

Vilma Bobeck and Malin Tengström are about to contest the 49erFX Junior World Championships in Norway yet are proving they are world-class performers at the senior level, currently second in Kiel ahead of their teammates Klara Wester and Rebecca Netzler. As if that wasn’t enough Swedish dominance, Julia Gross and Hanna Klinga are in fifth place overall after a windy first day on the water.

Results are here

Published in Annalise Murphy
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Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle compete in the 49erFX dinghy at the Kieler Woche regatta in Kiel, starting this Wednesday 26th June. It will be their third major international regatta in a bid for Tokyo 2020 qualification later this year.

A baptism of fire left the Dublin Cork duo with a 'steep learning curve' after a World Cup debut in Genoa in April, the pair also finished in the silver fleet at the European Championships in May.

Kiel, therefore, will be a gauge of the duo's progress over the past six weeks in preparation for the bigger goal of the Olympic qualifiers in Auckland, New Zealand at the end of November.

Kieler Woche, one of the world’s biggest sailing events, attracts more than three million visitors each year and is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.

Also entered for Kiel Week is Annalise's Team Rio 2016 teammate Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish Yacht Club who is now sailing for Team GB. Tidey launched a crowdfunding campaign at the weekend, as Afloat reported here, in a bid to take her and Scottish helmswoman Charlotte Dobson to Olympic Glory in Tokyo. 

The 49er FX is a two-handed high-performance women’s skiff (sailing dinghy).

Published in Tokyo 2020
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There was consolation of sorts for Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle who posted their best results of the week at the European 49er Championships in Weymouth Bay today.

Racing in the 49erFX silver fleet, with lighter, easterly winds of around 10-knots, the Dublin-Cork pair improved with every outing and claimed 9th, 3rd and 2nd place finishes in the day’s three races.

They now lie 45th overall out of 57 boats.

Seaton & Guilfoyle are 43rd

In the 49er silver fleet races, Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle came 8th, retired and 25th to lie 43rd overall out of 98 teams. Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove are in 48th place after posting results of 26th, 14th and 20th.

They were two places ahead of brothers Seán and Tadgh Donnelly, whose impressive 6th place in the second silver fleet race was bookended by 35th and 26th place finishes.

The men’s race is divided into gold, silver and bronze fleets, and being in the middle class means that Ireland’s sailors will not be able to finish higher that 26th overall.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Irish 49erFX pairing Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle who are seeking a place on the Tokyo 2020 startline are lying 36th in their 57 boat fleet overall after scoring 24, 12 and 19 in the opening three races of the European Championships in Weymouth today.

The teams faced a 'challenging' easterly breeze and big waves off the Dorset coast in the opening rounds and these conditions are quite a contrast for Murphy and Tingle who made a gentle debut to the class just a few weeks ago at their first regatta, a light air Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Mallorca.

Annalise's Rio teammate Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, who switched to sail for Team GB with Charlotte Dobson for Tokyo, is off to a flying start and lying fourth overall. 

Full results are here.

Junior World Champions Show Skiff Ladies the Way

Young Swedes, Vilma Bobeck and Malin Tengstrom, who won the Junior World Championship in 2018, today showed how in heavy weather, they are right in line with the World’s best.

“We suspected we could perform like this, as we’d had some good training sessions, but taking two wins and then sailing through the fleet to recover to a third is beyond our expectations,” commented the plucky helm Bobeck.

The duo started well in the first two races, and couldn’t be reeled in, taking wire-to-wire victories in both races. In the final race of the day, they started poorly but moved up throughout the race passing on every leg.

Bobeck, the helm, is a towering figure, almost the tallest sailor in the fleet. Together with the average sized Tengstrom the duo were the only 49erFX female team to compete with the top two male teams at the 2018 Junior Worlds, which was a very windy regatta in Marseille, France. This season they have finished between 8th and 21st through Miami, Vilamoura, Palma, and Genoa, but almost all of the racing this season has been in light winds. Today, they got their time to shine.

Among the ten teams chasing them are the Olympic Champions, three other World Champions and two further European Champions. Holding their leading position won’t be easy, but today was a great way for a young team to make a mark.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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A top-five result for Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle in their first ever international 49erFx event scored yesterday in race two raises some great prospects for the Irish Olympic Sailing Team at the World Cup in Genoa this week. There was another first-day highlight for Ireland in the men's skiff when Howth Yacht Club's U23 World Champions –  and Afloat Sailors of the Year – Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove took a second place.

Lights winds meant only two from three races were completed on the Charlie and Delta courses but, as always, it will be consistency that will be the key to success by Friday. The sole Irish 49erfx crew also counted mid-fleet opening results to leave the girls 26th from 49. In a disappointing first day for double Olympian Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle, the Belfast-Cork pairing are 40th with Dickson and Waddilove 27th from 65. Full results are here.

The long-awaited return of the silver medalist to the Olympic circuit plus the added attraction of on-form Finn Lynch today in the Laser is heightening the possibilities of  World Cup medal(s) for the Irish sailing team by the end of this week's important World Sailing event, the third round of the season.

"Nine boats, four disciplines, 13 sailors"

In making her International debut, Murphy completes the team having missed last year's important World Championship Qualifier in Denmark. Murphy, like the rest of her teammates, still needs to make the nation qualification standard later this year making for a challenging 2019 season.

The jury is still out on whether or not it is ideal preparation but what we do know is that with little over a year to the Olympic games it is the first time in the Tokyo cycle that all the Irish team will compete at the same event; nine boats, four disciplines, 13 sailors.

The qualifying series in the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 continues today at 11:00. The Men's and Women's 470, Laser, Laser Radial and the Finn will also start their opening series.

Published in Tokyo 2020

Annalise Murphy has received a major boost to her 49erFX campaign for Tokyo 2020 as Mercedes-Benz has extended its support to the Olympic silver medallist.

The National Yacht Club hero recently resumed training without direct funding support from Sport Ireland, as her absence from competition due to Volvo Ocean Race commitments ruled her out of the €40,000-per-annum programme.

But now the 29-year-old Rathfarnham sailing star has renewed her ‘Tier One’ partnership arrangement with Mercedes-Benz, availing of a new X-Class pickup to transport her and team-mate Katie Tingle to events here in Ireland and abroad.

“Having the Mercedes-Benz X-Class is a major boost to my training regime and my ambitions for Tokyo,” she says. “I am really looking forward to giving my preparation the X-tra power that the stylish new X-Class delivers.”

Soon to be a regular sight at 49erFX events, the 190hp X-Class is finished in the Kabara black, silver and grey livery similar to that on her previous Mercedes-Benz Vito Mixto van.

Equipped to tow her and Katie’s 49erFX, its features include 4MATIC 4x4 automatic transmission, chrome style bar, bed liner and bed cover in body-matching colour, reversing camera, cruise control power, rear sliding window and a style pack that includes roof rails and side steps.

Wishing Annalise every success on her road to Tokyo, Fergus Conheady, sales manager for Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles, said: “We are proud to continue our support for Annalise, one of Ireland’s most admired Olympians.”

The renewed support for Annalise Murphy could not come at a better time, as she and Katie prepare for their first big test of their qualifying campaign at the World Cup event in Genoa, Italy next week.

Published in National YC

Two of Ireland’s most promising sailors in Aoife Hopkins and Katie Tingle have been the subject of separate profiles in recent days.

Katie Tingle has been making her big comeback after a broken arm put her and Annalise Murphy’s 49erFX training regimen on pause last autumn.

But it’s also been part of a longer return for the Cork sailor, who swapped competitive racing for coaching after success in the Optimist class as a junior last decade.

A reconnection with former junior peer Annalise on the Wednesday night scene in Dublin led to a fateful phone call a year ago, from the Olympic silver medallist to the primary school teacher: did Katie want to join her 49erFX Olympic campaign?

“I don’t think she’d have asked me if she didn’t think I could do it and I wouldn’t have said yes if I didn’t think deep down that I could do it either,” Katie tells The42.ie.

The 29-year-old was already deep into training and conditioning when Annalise returned from her stint in the Volvo Ocean Race, and the two started getting to grips with their new boat on Dublin Bay — the Olympian learning from Katie who had previous experience in two-handed dinghies.

However, a freak incident just weeks into training left Katie with a broken arm — and out of the water for four crucial months.

As needs must, Annalise shortly after resumed training over the winter in the warmer climes of Portugal, with Adam Hyland in Katie’s stead — while Katie hit the gym as soon as doctors allowed get back on the road to sailing fitness.

Earlier this year Annalise and Katie, how fully healed up, reunited and got back in their groove with the challenging 49erFX as their first big test — and first Tokyo 2020 qualifier — looms in Genoa just two weeks from now.

“AoifeAoife Hopkins weight training | Photo: Irish Sailing

Another young sailor who faces a big test in Genoa is Howth Yacht Club’s Aoife Hopkins.

The Laser Radial ace not only steps into the significant gap left by Annalise Murphy, whose Rio 2016 silver medal was in the class — she’s also in competition with teammate Aisling Keller for the single slot available to Ireland.

Aoife tells The Irish Times how she juggles the training regimen of her Tokyo 2020 campaign with the demands of her maths degree at Trinity College, not to mention the various expenses associated with performance sailing at the highest level.

In a boost to their aspirations, Aoife and her fellow performance sailors now benefit from Irish Sailing's new Performance Headquarters in Dun Laoghaire, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Olympic
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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