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#VOR - Yesterday’s snug racing out of the gate in Alicante made for the most exciting Volvo Ocean Race start in recent memory.

But the near-misses weren’t only between the fleet as the jockeyed for position out of port, as they faced a slalom of spectator boats offshore.

In particular, Turn The Tide on Plastic — with Annalise Murphy on deck — narrowly avoided disaster just minutes into their race as some onlookers got a little too close for comfort.

Seen from on board the Dee Caffari-skippered boat, the squeeze looked even tighter — potentially a more dangerous situation than what they’re bound to face on the open ocean over the next few months.

As reported earlier this afternoon, the lead in Leg 1 is still held by Vestas 11th Hour Racing, which features Ireland’s Damian Foxall in a senior crew role.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

#VOR - With the clock ticking to the start of the 2017–18 Volvo Ocean Race as the race village opens in Alicante later today (Wednesday 11 October), it’s time to take a closer look at the significant Irish presence in the world’s most challenging yacht race, as recently noted by our own WM Nixon.

The biggest name beyond sailing circles is surely Annalise Murphy, the hero of Rio 2016 who is swapping her Laser Radial for an entirely different challenge with the crew of Turn the Tide on Plastic, skippered by women’s offshore sailing pioneer Dee Caffari.

The Dubliner and National Yacht Club stalwart caused some concern over the summer when a knee injury sustained in the Moth Worlds forced her to pull out of the World Championships in her primary class.

But that break from competition might have been just what Annalise needed to get herself back into fighting fitness — not to mention prepared for a round-the-globe voyage that’s a world apart from her Tokyo 2020 ambitions.

The other big name among the VOR 65 crews is Damian Foxall, who returns for his sixth Volvo Ocean Race — this time with Vestas 11th Hour Racing, the former Team Vestas Wind (whose senior project manager happens to be Madrid-based Irishman Thomas John McMaw).

What’s more, the Kerry offshore legend heads a strong contingent from The Kingdom in this latest VOR, with Brian Carlin leading the team of on-board reporters and marine biologist Lucy Hunt in charge of the race’s sustainability education programme.

Other Irish names of note behind the scenes include Bill O’Hara, a former Northern Irish Olympian and race officer in charge of the VOR’s 2012 climax in Galway who is part of the race committee for the 2017–18 race, and Johnny Donnelly, MD of VOR event contractor Arcana.

Two others previously unmentioned are Philip Johnston, a veteran cross-channel racer from Northern Ireland with a strong record in the Fastnet Race who brings his expertise on shore logistics to Turn the Tide on Plastic, and Cork sailor James O’Mahony, another Fastnet vet at the mainsheet and mast positions and well versed in what support his team will need as part of the shore crew for Team Vestas 11th Hour.

Afloat.ie will be keeping up with all of their exploits when the 13th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race gets under way on Sunday 22 October.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

In the days when sailing was a seasonal sport, a few main pillar events dominated the international programme. The Sailing Olympics. The America’s Cup. The Fastnet Race. The Dragon Gold Cup. The Sydney-Hobart Race. The Whitbread Round the World Race. And maybe a few others – we all had our favourites writes W M Nixon.

There weren’t many of those key events. Yet in a more leisurely era of primitive communication, they were enough to be going along with, and people became accustomed to the long intervals between them, intervals when we could concentrate obsessively on our own local and national sailing at events which were of little interest to anyone else.

But the advent of the Internet has changed sailing as it has changed everything else. Instant 24/7 communication demands a fast-running stream of narrative with images to match. In this new environment, the former pillar events find they are just part of an endless tapestry, and they have to take their chances with everything else to gain attention.

Time was when the fundamental changing of boat types in the America’s Cup would have been a matter of major interest, blowing every other sailing headline off page and screen in a big way, and for a long time.

But we’ve comfortably taken in our stride the recent gradually-released information that sailing’s peak event - the oldest international sporting challenge in the world - is reverting to mono-hulls, after three editions of supposedly setting the world a-fire with hyper-fast catamarans.

americas cup2So, farewell then, catamarans in the America’s Cup……Oracle unsuccessfully defended against Emirates New Zealand in Bermuda in June.

Here and there, devoted pot-stirrers found it difficult to provoke anyone to break sweat over the matter. Maybe in the core of the America’s Cup community – if there is such a thing – there was a weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. But among the rest of us, there was sublime indifference. We knew there’d be time enough to consider the new boats as the outlines of the next challenge became more clearly defined. And if there’s litigation in the meantime, that will be entertainment. Meanwhile, there’s a busy Autumn programme of major international events, several of which have a significant Irish interest, and that’s where our attention is focused.

Currently, the top story still has to be the confirmation of Annalise Murphy as a crewmember aboard the Volvo Ocean Racer Turn The Tide On Plastic. The sense of excitement when she was mentioned as a “probable” was tempered by the fact that she’d sustained that knee injury during a crazy capsize in the last race on her way to becoming the International Moth Women’s World Champion, and we’d to wait for total recovery from it before the Volvo World Race chapter in her life could properly begin.

annalise on foiling moth3Game for anything. Annalise Murphy giving her all on the foiling Moth, in which she is now Women’s World Champion.

Quite what her sports physio Mark McCabe had to say about the injury is probably unprintable, for a point made about her campaign towards the Olympic Silver Medal was that it was his guidance and skill which kept her injury-free at crucial stages in training and during the Olympic campaign.

We should all have a Mark McCabe for everyday life. But for now, the Olympics seem so yesterday in the Annalise story, for what she has undertaken may be sailing, but it certainly isn’t sailing as she has known it for so many years with a Laser Radial.

But despite that capsize, clearly she could hack it with the special demands of a foiling Moth, so now she is now re-shaping her enthusiasm, basic athleticism and special sailing skills to serve a team cause. And as of this morning, it has to be the most interesting single story in Irish sailing, particularly now that the Volvo 65s and their teams are gathered in Alicante, with the entire fleet being lifted out on Monday for the final meticulous checks.

There’s a special edge to it, for this year’s race - which starts on October 22nd - will see a much greater emphasis on the Southern Ocean. So as we move steadily towards the Centenary in 2023 of the beginning of Conor O’Brien’s pioneering of the global southern route for yachts with his Irish-built 42ft Saoirse, it’s more than appropriate that there’s a significant Irish presence in the developing Volvo setup, where the Alicante Volvo Race Village will open on 11th October, and the In-Port Race will be staged on Saturday October 14th.

conor obrien4Conor O’Brien, pioneer for yachts in the Southern Ocean on the Cape Horn route.

saoirse plans5A very different sort of boat from today’s Volvo 65. The traditonal-style 42ft gaff ketch Saoirse, built in Baltimore in 1922, proved remarkably successful at running fast yet safely in the Southern Ocean. Conor O’Brien designed a rig that relied on a squaresail on the mainmast, setting a triangular studding sail and topsail

King of it all for Ireland has to be Damian Foxall, who has raced or broken records round the world so often he has probably lost count, but this time he’s on the strength of Team Vestas. For Foxall, the link to Conor O’Brien is particularly special, as Damian hails from Derrynane in far southwest Kerry, and Derrynane was Conor O’Brien’s favourite port – you can see his signature in the Visitors’ Book in that superb watering hole so beloved of voyagers, Bridie Keating’s pub.

damian foxall6Damian Foxall in virtually unrivalled in his Volvo Ocean Race experience

derrynane harbour7Derrynane in Kerry – Conor O’Brien’s favourite anchorage, and Damian Foxall’s home port

But if Damian is King, Annalise is Queen, for even among the hugely talented Volvo crews, an Olympic Silver Medal – or any Olympic Medal for that matter - is rare enough. Indeed, it’s so rare that part of the fascination of the Annalise/Turn the Tide on Plastic linkup will be in how they work out together.

Annalise carries the flag for Ireland’s east coast in Alicante, while Justin Slattery will do it for the south if he turns up, as Damian Foxall expects. Others from Ireland include James O’Mahoney who’s also with Team Vestas, where Thomas John McMaw is Senior Project Manager to keep up the green jersey count, as too does VOR event contractor John Donnelly.

But as our colleague Tom MacSweeney pointed out on Afloat.ie on Monday, it is Kerry which packs the punch in Alicante, as Brian Carlin of Tralee leads the team of OBRs (On-Board Reporters) who will be embedded on each boat, while Lucy Hunt who runs the Sea Synergy Awareness Centre at Waterville (it’s just over the mountain pass from Derrynane) is Sustainability Education Manager for this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, and will co-ordinate a schools programme.

volvo village8A long way from Derrynane….the Volvo Village at Alicante

However, for those who like to be up to speed with all in the main international sailing stories with Irish interest, some time soon there’ll be the Student Yachting Worlds in Marseilles, where UCD led by Will Byrne will be challenging for a trophy which Ireland has won in times past. Originally we were told it would be in September, but when students are running the show themselves, there’s freeform organization and timing, and the most recent date we see is still Marseilles, but not until October 17th to 22nd.

So the top up-coming interest is in La Rochelle towards the end of September, with the fleet gathered for the two-stage 4050 mile Mini-Transat (there’s a stop in the Canaries), with the race starting on Sunday October 1st. Ireland’s Tom Dolan with IRL 910 is currently fourth in the world rankings in the Mini Transat Production Boat Class, so he’s in with a good shout for a podium place. And we’re all behind him, with Irish Sailing President Jack Roy and Ireland’s Sports and Cultural Attaché in France the Guests of Honour at Tom’s party in La Rochelle at noon on Saturday September 30th.

tom dolan boat9Ireland’s Tom Dolan, currently fourth in the world rankings. His supporters will be gathering in La Rochelle in the week leading up to Sunday October 1st to wish him well when he starts the Mini-Transat, with the main party on Saturday September 30th.

Then in October, in addition to the Volvo World Race start and the Student Yachting Worlds, there’s the Rolex Middle Sea Race from Malta on Saturday October 21st, just the day before the Volvo gets going across in Spain. But there’s always lots of Irish interest in this annual Mediterranean classic, with the winning Cookson 50 Mascalzone Latino last year being navigated by our own Ian Moore, while this year there’s added spice with the possible inclusion of the IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss with Alex Thomson and Nin O’Leary hoping they’ll find conditions better suited to their very specialised flying machine than they did in the Fastnet Race back in August.

mascalzone latino10The Cookson 50 Mascalzone Latino being navigated by Ian Moore to overall victory in the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2016. Photo Rolex

For those who look on into November, the Transat Jacques Vabre gets going from Le Havre on November 5th with a preponderance of IMOCA 60s, but for operational reasons Hugo Boss is not expected be among them. However, what’s clear is that the international programme is now non-stop, for by November we’ll be getting advance info on the Sydney-Hobart Race on 26th December 2017, which is the saving of Christmas for many of us.

autumn league howth11When cruisers battle for it - racing the Autumn League at Howth. Photo: W M Nixon

Meanwhile this morning in Douarnenez in Brittany the Figaro Fastnet Solo gets under way, and Autumn Leagues start to flex their muscles in Ireland, with Howth’s series starting today and running for six weekends, so the topline action continues at home and abroad in an unending stream.

There’s an old Arab saying which goes: “The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on”. It could reasonably be said of world sailing that there may indeed be dogs barking, but the purposeful rattling of camel harnesses is now virtually continuous.

Published in W M Nixon

#Annalise - Ireland’s Olympic hero Annalise Murphy tells her sailing story as she drives through Dublin in her Mercedes-Benz Vito Mixto to one of her daily training sessions at Dun Laoghaire’s National Yacht Club.

More recently, the Rio 2016 silver medallist in the Laser Radial was flying the flag for Ireland alongside her Olympic coach Rory Fitzpatrick at the International Moth Worlds.

But first and foremost in her plans is a spot to represent her home country — and take gold — in Tokyo three years from now.

Speaking of her success in Brazil last summer, she says: “When all of my training and preparation came together and I stood on the podium at the end, it was an amazing feeling – and proof, that our master plan paid off!”

But as good as she was on Guanabara Bay, Sagami Bay should expect to see an even better Annalise.

“I know that I can improve,” she says. “I’m curious to see how much more I can get out of myself. Winning the gold medal would be a dream come true.”

Published in Annalise Murphy

A fine turnout of Irish Moth sailors were rewared yesterday with three gold fleet finishes at the high–calibre 220–boat Moth World Championshis on Lake Garda, Italy. Royal Cork's David Kenefick was top Irish with a 31st in the Gold fleet sailing his brand new boat (as Afloat.ie reported previously here). Kenefick was just one point outside the top thirty. 'I'm quite happy with that, lots to work on before the next worlds in may in Bermuda', the RCYC sailor told Afloat.ie.

Next was Irish Moth Champion Rory Fitzpatrick, sailing a County Wicklow design in 35th, the Dubliner was unfortunately forced out of the regatta early after a collision. Olympic Laser Radial Silver Medalist Annalise Murphy was top female in 51st place. 

Among other Irish results, Howth Yacht Club's stand–out youth performer Ewan McMahon had a 23rd and two behind him was the National Yacht Club's Neil O'Toole in 25th. Howth Yacht Club's Alistair Kissane was 56th and Royal St. George Yacht Club's Adam Hyland was 73rd. Another Royal St. George Yacht Club sailor Jim Devlin was a bronze fleet finisher.

Download the official results below at the bottom of this story.

Annalise murphy moth GardaAnnalise Murphy sailed one day with a broken rudder and capsized 'about 50 times'. 'I knew something was wrong but didn't know what! I was actually pretty lucky it didn't completely break off and sink!, the Olympic Silver Medalist told Afloat.ie. Photo: Martina Orsini

Paul Goodison (GBR) smashed it on the final day of racing at the 2017 McDougall + McConaghy Moth Worlds at Lake Garda against the hottest fleet of Moths ever assembled. Goody (to his friends), is the first foiling Moth sailor to win back to back world titles and the result is that much more special considering the high calibre of competition from the most recent top Americas Cup skippers and sailors with more Olympic medals round their necks than any other regatta with exception of the Olympic Games itself!

Moth Worlds GardaPart of the massive 220–boat Moth Worlds on Lake Garda – the largest fleet ever assembled. Photo: Martina Orsini

Going into the final day of racing Goodison begun the day with a 13 point cushion over Pete Burling (NZL) with Iain ‘Goobs’ Jensen with an outside chance of catching Burling.

The weather gods turned it on again for the final day of racing when a light ‘Ora’ started to build from the South around lunchtime and any fluffy little clouds dispersed to leave another fine sunny afternoon for racing.

The Gold fleet was sent out around 1330hrs to race on the South course to complete as many races as possible before the cut off time of 1600hrs. Race 9 of the championship started under the black flag in 12 – 14 knots of breeze with flat water. As usual, the aim was to charge to the Eastern shore and before hitting the rocks in front of the Fraglia Vela Malcesine clubhouse, tack and try to find a clean lane of pressure to get to the top of the course in good shape.

At the windward gates, the breeze was quite soft causing a number of boats to drop off the foils, especially if squeezing round the marks. On the first lap it was Scott Babbage (AUS) leading, followed by the young gun, Gian Ferrighi (ITA) with most of the big names in the top 10. The downwind leg proved a bit more shifty and the pack shuffled. It was Tom Slingsby (AUS) who stayed in the best pressure to take the win from Nathan Outteridge (AUS) with Rob Greenhalgh (GBR) third, Burling 5th and Jensen 6th.

PRO Tim Hancock did a good job of setting up for race 10 under the same conditions. Started under a black flag it was a similar story with slightly different players. The breeze shifted a bit right and begun to drop at the top end causing some competitors to drop off the foils.

At the bottom gate, the action started to unfold, Jensen got round just in front of Slingsby but Slingers dropped off the foils bang in front of Outteridge and Babbage allowing Goodison to slide past inside avoiding the low riders. Burling was also in trouble rounding the opposite gate and dropping off the foils. Greenhalgh was also in a world of pain.

Coming into the finish it was Jensen who crossed the line with a massive lead and a big smile on his face as he closed up the points to second placed Burling to one point. Second was Goodison to all but seal the title. Many competitors had fallen off the foils in the soft patches around the course. Singsby crossed third but Burling was deep in the pack.

With time running out and the breeze getting a bit weak, the PRO announced that the third race of the day, race 11 of the world championship would be the last. The last race would be victory laps for Paul Goodison but the chase for second and third would be decided on the last race between Burling and Jensen.

The last race started in the same light to moderate breeze, 11 – 13 knots from 215 degrees. Again the fleet used the clubhouse shoreline for a flyby in front of the grandstand of supporters. This time it was Tom Slingsby who looked like he had made the right foil choice leading the world champion elect with some of the usual suspects struggling with foil selection. Slingsby cruised across the finish line for a second win of the day with the victorious Goodison crossing in second.

A good third for West Australian, Steve Thomas, Babbage finished a consistent 4th and Jensen in 5th finishing comfortably ahead of his skipper of so many years, Nathan Outteridge. As Burling crossed in a lowly 17th, supporters scrambled for their calculators to do the maths.

 Agonisingly for Goobs Jensen he fell one point short of toppling the kiwi but was very happy with his third place overall. With Slingsby’s final day score of 1,3,1 he held on to 4th and Scott Babbage came back from the brink early in the regatta to snatch 5th off Nathan Outteridge.

The Youth category went down to the wire on the final day with a fine battle between the two Italian twins Gian Marie and Stefano Ferrighi. With an 8th in the final race on Saturday and a 9th today (Sunday), Stefano stole the title from his brother by 3 places. Stefano finished 23rd overall an excellent performance in a fleet of champions.

The Master’s category swung between Jason Belben (GBR) and Rob Gough (AUS) and a similar tussle played out. Rob Gough won this one finishing 25th overall to Jason Belben’s 28th.

First in the female category went to Irish Olympian Annalise Murphy who finished 51 in the Gold group.

The Silver group was won by John Clifton (GBR) and the Bronze group won by Maximilian Mage of Germany.

PRO Tim Hancock and his team did a great job getting through so many races for a fleet of 220 Moths, the biggest Moth regatta ever assembled.

Published in Moth

The fleet in the International Moth Worlds 2017 at Lake Garda have finally boiled down to “only” 220 boats after some early estimates reckoned they should be expecting between 240 and 250 writes W M Nixon.

But as it is, the 220 boats and the volatile weather of mid-Europe in high summer have seen one day lost with no wind at all since the championship proper got going on Tuesday morning, while other races have seen conditions fluctuating wildly with the occasional thunderstorm to add to the fun.

Out of it all has come the news that once the national representation gets over a certain size, it’s described as “a flutter of Moths”. And apparently the word is that the Irish squad have qualified as “a flutter”.

Come to that, you could take a useful flutter on Annalise Murphy becoming the new Women’s World Champion, as she’s currently showing well clear ahead. That said, anyone who claims to understand how all the different fleets are being given meaningful overall placings clearly hasn’t been studying the results at all….

As for the rest of the Irish flutter, Annalise’s Olympic coach Rory Fitzpatrick has also been showing well, with a first and second in there on his scorecard. But in a fleet of this size and complexity, all sorts of final results are possible when this totally international event eventually concludes.

Published in Moth

It’s not every day you get to fly on a jetliner named in your honour writes W M Nixon. But then, not everyone has won Ireland a Silver Medal in the Olympics. Even at that, today’s busy flight schedules are so hectic that the chances of happening to fly on your personally-named plane are still slim enough.

But this weekend, everything came right for Annalise Murphy as she boarded ASL Airlines B737 “Annalise Murphy” at Dublin Airport, heading for Verona and the Moth Worlds which start on Tuesday at Malcesine on Lake Garda.

annalise plane2For once, she wasn’t going to be at the helm. Annalise Murphy and “her” plane as Captain Demie Ryan of Blackrock, Co Dublin goes aboard to fly her to Verona. Photo: Con Murphy

With last month’s America’s Cup and its focus on racing with foils now analysed down to the finest details, the Worlds for the foiling Moths couldn’t be staged at a more appropriate time. Several of the rock stars from the big one in Bermuda will be very much in the action on Lake Garda, including winner Peter Burling of New Zealand, and Australia’s Nathan Otteridge of the highly-rated Swedish Artemis challenge.

There are many other Olympic stars taking part in addition to Annalise, and the Irish challenge in the fleet of 240 is further strengthened by the participation of five other Irish Moth sailors, including her coach Rory Fitzpatrick, who is certainly no slouch when it comes to his own performance in foiling Moths – he emerged as champion at the Cork Dinghyfest three weeks ago. The week’s racing starts tomorrow (Monday) with the non-championship “Banging the Corner” dash-for-cash event, then after that it’s down to the serious stuff.

Published in Annalise Murphy

As Annalise Murphy prepares her campaign for Gold at Tokyo 2020, the National Yacht Club Olympic Silver Medalist has shared a 'day in her life video' training around Dublin Bay.

Three hours on the water with boat handling, speed testing and race practice and video analysis, she follows it with a 63–km endurance bike ride in the afternoon. See video below.

Published in Annalise Murphy

A blustery westerly breeze made for challenging conditions today at Hyères for Finn Lynch in the men's Laser fleet yesterday writes Nathaniel Ogden. A mixed set of results seem to be becoming a theme in this year's Sailing World Cup for the National Yacht Club sailor. Three strong finishes, coming in 7th, 10th and 13th from the 60–strong fleet, were again unfortunately overshadowed by some poorer finishes and a BFD. As racing continues today, and the live medal races begin, an overall mid fleet position will be an important result for Ireland's youngest ever Olympic sailor as he continues his Tokyo 2020 campaign. 

Aisling Keller slipped down the Laser Radial fleet slightly yesterday, coming in 35th overall as stronger westerly winds in the mid twenties dominated day four at Hyères. Producing another solid set of results during the day, coming in the mid-twenties in 3 races, the young Lough Derg sailors overall result was brought down slightly by two poorer finishes at the start of the day and a BFD in the final race (discarded), ending up 41st.

Howth Yacht Club’s Aoife Hopkins climbed the rankings after racing on day four, ending up in 41st position. Heavier conditions proved to deliver a mixed set of results for the young sailor, who is currently taking time out of studying for the Leaving Certificate to compete at Hyères. She ended the day with an outstanding 8th place finish in the final race and is in 39th place.

So overall, FInn lies 35th, Aoife 39th, Aisling 41st. The Lasers and Radials still have two races to sail today. Overall results to date are here

In the 49erfx, Irish interest lies with Royal Irish's Saskia Tidey and Charlotte Dobson who maintained their 3rd place medal position, as the wind picked up on day four of the Sailing World Cup in Hyères, as a westerly breeze of 22-27 knots, with gusts of 30-35 knots, settled in yesterday morning. The pair will go on to represent Britain in the 49erFX fleet today and Sunday in the live medal races. 

Sailors are always thrilled when they have a return of straight race victories. Then there are times when they are happy to come out in one piece, still within touching distance of the medals.

That was the case today at Sailing's World Cup Series in Hyères, France as chaos reigned in the Laser Radial fleet.

The competition in Hyères reached a critical stage on Friday with Medal Races imminent.

Overnight, the forecast for racing on Friday was not looking good and Hyères was expected to be on the receiving end of 30knots of breeze, gusting 35. The breeze was strong in the morning and sailing postponed as the conditions were not deemed safe enough to sail. As the day progressed the breeze decreased enabling all but one fleet, the 2.4 Norlin OD, to hit the water.

The Laser Radial saw a day of chaos but Evi van Acker (BEL) has been there and done it. Van Acker was beaming with a smile ashore after racing following a sixth and 13th place to take the lead.

Explaining the day van Acker said, "We waited a couple of hours because it was too windy, then we got out there and it wasn't windy at all. Then it was shifty. We were far out today between fighting winds coming from the left, then the right, so today you didn't know where you were.”

It was probably making sense of the chaos that brought the smile to van Acker's face, "When we were racing there were very big variations in wind and strength so you were winning, then in the middle.

"It was crazy, but I did ok.

"I had some pretty good results in some very tough conditions.”

Van Acker is 12 points clear of Tuula Tenkanen (FIN).

Overnight leader, Hungary's Maria Erdi, crept over the start line for her second black flag of the regatta and has fallen to ninth.

If van Acker was confused, then so was the young Hungarian, "I didn't push the line. I mean I didn't know what was happening at the start. Wind was shifting. People at the pin end. Wind turned. I just didn't know what was happening.”

Carrying two maximum scores in a one discard regatta effectively puts you out of the running, so what now for Erdi, "If I make the top ten I am happy. That was my goal before the regatta started and it's still my goal.”

Italy's Francesco Marrai took the shifty conditions in his stride with a bullet and fourth place to move him top above Cypriot Pavlos Kontides.

Great Britain's Nick Thompson is now tied with Kontides with an impressive second and third place. Those scores were impressive as second placed Kontides and fourth placed Matt Wearn (AUS) both had high scores on the day which they had to discard.

With another day of qualification racing before Sunday's live Medal Race, the top order in the fleet could yet again switch around as a competitive Laser fleet continue to battle.

It was a day of contrasts in the Men's and Women's 470. Blows were exchanged between the leaders in the women's and the men's saw some knock outs.

Still on the same points total, Afrodite Zegers and Annaloes van Veen (NED) and Linda Fahrni and Maja Siegenthaler (SUI) both notched up a bullet and second place to ensure that the Hyères title goes right down to the wire. With one more day of racing before the Medal Race, you wouldn't bet against these two going in to a double points decider neck and neck.

With a perfect two bullet day, Rio 2016 silver medallist's Mat Belcher and Will Ryan now have a 19-point buffer over second placed Carl -Fredrik Fock and Marcus Dackhammar (SWE).

Overnight leaders, Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis have dropped after a 21-22 day which they have to carry. They now sit on 54 compared to the Australians 14 and the reason was simple, "We had really bad starts today,” said a despondent Mantis, "We also missed the first shift and when you do both of those you are in trouble. It was such a bad day.”

The Greeks will have to recover their composure quickly and return to winning ways just to stay in contention for medals after an impressive opening three days of racing.

What a day Spain's Diego Botin and Iago Marra had in the 49er. Coming in the day the Spaniards were in medal contention. At the end of the day they had guaranteed themselves a gold medal. With a bullet, sixth and 11th, Botin and Marra have an unassailable 27 point lead ahead of the Medal Race.

Great Britain's Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stu Bithell and Sweden's Carl Sylvan and Marcus Anjemark are tied on 76 points and will fight it out with Yago and Klaus Lange, on 83 points, for silver and bronze.

Fast becoming a regular sentence in a 49erFX day review, Brazil's Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze are in first place. Looking to add yet another gold to their ever growing collection, the Rio 2016 Olympic champions hold pole position for a Hyères win with an eight point lead over nearest rivals Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz (GER).

There were some big climbers in the RS:X fleets shaking things up before Saturday's live Medal Race.

France's Louis Giard now sits top of the men's fleet after a 1-4-5 scoreline which gives him a one point advantage over the man who has occupied pole position all week, Switzerland's Mateo Sanz Lanz. The Swiss windsurfer could only card a 9-14-8 which are all scores he carries.

Winner of the first World Cup Series event in Miami, USA, Yunxiu Lu (CHN) was head and shoulders above the Women's RS:X fleet, claiming a bullet and two seconds. She leapfrogs several rivals into second. With a 19-point lead, Poland's Zofia Noceti-Klepacka remains top going into the double points Medal Race.

Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco (ESP) hold a seven-point advantage over their nearest rivals, France's Moana Vaireaux and Manon Audinet in the Nacra 17. The Spanish pair finished the qualifying series with a bullet which made up for a discarded tenth place in the previous race. Add to that a second place and it was enough to lift them above the French team who scored 11-2-5.

On day three, Turkey's Alican Kaynar thought the then leader Nicholas Heiner (NED) had sailed conservative to take the lead. Well Kaynar was anything but as he took two bullets to take top spot from the Dutch sailor's grasp.

Damien Seguin (FRA) remains on course to win a seventh Hyères title in the 2.4 Norlin OD. The Frenchman was somewhat lucky however, that the fleet only raced once as he was back onshore fixing a mechanical issue on his boat while his competitors were out racing. Spain's Rafa Andarias claimed the only bullet on offer to lift himself in to fourth position. Two races will bring the 2.4 Norlin OD fleet to a close on Saturday

French friends and rivals, Nicolas Parlier and Axel Mazella continue to lead the way in the Formula Foiling Kiteboarding. Parlier has the upper hand with five wins from six races which gives him a four-point lead over Mazella. It was day of mixed fortunes for Mazella, but still good enough to give him a 22-point cushion over third placed Toni Vodisek (SLO)

Racing continues on Saturday 29 April at 11:00 local time with the first day of Live Medal Races shown on the World Sailing YouTube Channel. Sunday 30 April will be the second day of Live Medal Races and will bring the penultimate event before the Santander Final to a close.

Live Medal Races will be shown on the World Sailing YouTube Channel on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 April, bringing the penultimate event before the Santander Final to a close.

Published in Tokyo 2020

Dun Laoghaire endured strong northerly winds for several days over the past week, so, there was a fear that many Water Wag owners would give the first race a miss. However, on 26th April, eighteen Water Wags competed in the first race for The Newsom Memorial Cup including Rio Olympic Silver medalist Annalise Murphy.

The wind was still coming from the north, blowing at about 7 knots, so, the race committee under Tom Hudson, laid a windward-leeward course with the windward mark located in the harbour mouth. At the start, only the Water Wags in the front line had enough wind to power away. As the fleet split with most boats heading towards the west, Cathy MacAleavey’s Mariposa new Water Wag, only launched last week led the fleet. At the windward mark the order was Mariposa, Moosmie and Pansy which had taken the eastern side of the course. On the offwind leg, there was much blanketing from the fleet behind, and there was an even split between boats taking each of the leeward gate marks.

By the second windward mark David MacFarlane’s Moosmie was in the lead, with the Kilroys in Swift in second and Mariposa in third place. This order remained until the end of the third beat, at which time the wind had dropped to 4 knots, and the race committee decided to shorted the race. David and Patricia Corcoran in Peggy in 7th place were top competitors racing for The Hilpotsteiner Tankard in Division IB, with Fergus Cullen and Alice Walshe in Penelope one place behind.

Leading boat of Division 2 racing for the Phyllis Cup was Freddie sailed by Bairbre Stewart with new crew, Benno MacCormack who helped her to finish high up the fleet. Second in Division 2 was mother and daughter team of Kate and Amy O’Leary in Chloe. Next Wednesday the Water Wags will compete in the second leg of a series of three matches.

1st – 15, Moosmie, David MacFarland.
2nd - 38, Swift, Guy and Jackie Kilroy.
3rd. - 45, Mariposa, Cathy MacAleavey and Con Murphy
4th. - 41, Mollie, Annalise Murphy.
5th 42, Tortoise, William Prentice.
6th. 3, Pansy, Vincent Delany and Niamh Hooper.
7th. 47, Peggy, David and Patricia Corcoran.
8th. 16, Penelope,
9th. 43, Freddie
10th. 8, Barbara
11th. 34, Chloe
12th. 30, Sara
13th. 46, Mademoiselle
14th. 33, Eva
15th. 40, Swallow
16th, 44, Scallywag
17th. 10, Sprite
18th 31. Polly.

Published in Water Wag
Tagged under
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