Displaying items by tag: Annalise Murphy
#Annalise - After a whirlwind 24-hour round trip by ferry and road to Britain this week, Annalise Murphy has returned to Ireland with the boat she sailed to a silver medal at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio.
The idea of taking ownership of the historic Laser Radial dinghy was first mooted by our own WM Nixon back in August, and quickly gathered pace as Jim Cusask talked up the notion for the Irish Independent.
Here’s hoping Annalise and team have plans to let the public get a closer look at the dinghy she raced to success on Guanabara Bay at Rio 2016.
The announcement comes as the ISF, the new investment support structure for Ireland’s high performance sailing programme, celebrates a year of achievement at every level of competition.
Indeed, Murphy’s medal win wasn’t the only result for Irish sailing in August, with fellow Team IRL members Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern making their medal race in a final hurrah before their recent split, Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey just missing out on their skiff final, and Finn Lynch putting in a strong performance as the youngest in his class in preparation for a medal challenge at Tokyo 2020.
Beyond the Olympics, August was a good month for Johnny Durcan, Fionn Conway and Ronan Walsh, who took second, third and fourth places respectively in the UK Laser Nationals, while Johnny’s twin Harry Durcan, with Harry Whittaker, won the UK 29er Nationals in Torbay, and Tom Higgins sailed the first Irish boat to win the Volvo Gill Optimist National.
Earlier in the summer, there was success for Ireland’s girls in the Topper Worlds at Ballyholme, as Sophie Crosbie, Ella Hemeryck and Jenna McCarlie claimed the podium from gold to silver in that order, though the boys didn’t fare too badly either, with Michael Carroll in fourth and Jack Fahy sixth.
Elsewhere, at the Laser Worlds in Dublin, Nicole Hemeryck — sister of Ella — placed seventh in the U19 girls competition, while Ewan McMahon was second among the boys. Nicole was also second in the under 19s( 13th overall) at the under 21 worlds in Kiel, Germany.
And even earlier in the year, there was a bronze medal for Dougie Elmes and Colin O'Sullivan at the ISAF 420 Youth Worlds in Malaysia, the first ever podium for Ireland in that competition.
Currently all development teams in the Laser, Laser Radial and 49er have moved to Cadiz to escape the cold ahead of January’s annual World Cup in Miami, with further training camps to follow in Spain and Malta in February and March.
But the year isn’t over yet, as Ireland will be represented by Nicole Hemeryck and Johnny Durcan at the Youth Worlds in New Zealand from 14-20 December.
Looking at the longer term, ISA performance director James O’Callaghan will be on hand at a Performance Pathway information meeting at the Royal Cork this Wednesday 30 November where he will discuss, among other things, the results of his recent fact-finding mission to Tokyo.
O’Callaghan was gathering intel on the sailing venue at Enoshima with a view to Team IRL establishing an early base there — identified as one of the keys to Annalise’s medal finish this summer. That will be especially important at Tokyo 2020, where temperatures and humidity will be significantly higher than they were in Rio.
Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy has told Ireland's Marketing magazine she is happiest sailing her foiling Moth dinghy. 'I’ve had some nasty crashes in it but there’s no other women in the world really sailing it, so I’m delighted to be leading the charge', she told the publication.
The National Yacht Club sailor has deservedly been picking up lots of awards for her summer achievement in Rio. She won Tatler's Irish Woman of the Year award and next weekend she'll be in City West for the '2016 People of the Year Awards'. Annalise shortlisted for Afloat's Sailor of the Year Awards in January.
In Marketing magazine's '20 Questions' interview the solo sailor also reveals that apart from family and her Moth dinghy, bikes, Labradors and handbags are her most treasured possessions. Read the full interview here.
Murphy was named Afloat.ie’s Sailor of the Month for August in recognition of her world-beating success on Guanabara Bay, four years after her heartbreak in London.
It’s indicative of the pace of Irish sailing in 2016 that for anyone taking an overview, it takes a bit of an effort to remember what the weather was like for much of our spring, summer and autumn. Admittedly, here in Afloat.ie we may skew recollections, as we’ll always go for a sunny photo or video if at all possible. Yet the cascade of memories of success and memorable events at home and abroad has been at such a pace that even if the sun wasn’t shining or the wind wasn’t obliging, the recollections are good. W M Nixon tries to make sense of the highlights.
If 2016 wasn’t the greatest Irish sailing season ever, then we’ll be happy to take on board proposals arguing the case for other years. And in the fantastic golden year of 2016, the supreme moment was on the evening of Tuesday August 16th, when the entire nation at home – or at least the entire sailing nation – was glued to a television screen of one sort or another, following every twist and turn for Annalise Murphy in the brief but intense drama of the final Olympic Medal Race for the Women’s Laser Radials on the flukey yet undeniably glamorous waters off Rio de Janeiro.
As the weeks and months have passed since, we’ve forgotten that for Annalise to win the Silver Medal, it was a pilgrimage of sorts to put right the pain of missing out so closely on a medal at the 2012 Olympics. We’ve also forgotten that the tension was exacerbated by the fact that the Medals Race should have been held on Monday August 15th, but was blown out to cause an agonizing 24-hour postponement. And we’ve largely forgotten that only three months earlier, the prospects hadn’t seemed at all good for Ireland’s best hope, with a poor performance at the Worlds in Mexico.
Yet we remember just enough of that situation to put into perspective the ten weeks transformation that Annalise wrought within herself. With her dedicated support team, she ensured that she’d become a hugely improved sailor, a fitter athlete and psychologically in a very good place, as she took on the Olympic challenge on August 8th with a cool confidence which in due course received its proper reward.
Thanks to the close focus which was put on the outstanding Murphy medal, we are well aware of the breadth and depth of the backup team which helped to make it all possible. But in the end it was just one lone sailor entirely on her own who was trying to carve out the right route through extraordinarily difficult sailing conditions, racing against the very best in the world. So it is entirely right and proper that Irish sailing will remember 2016 primarily as the year of Annalise’s Silver Medal.
With a peak like this, a manageable review of the season can only re-visit the highlights, so if your favourite event doesn’t come up in the next thousand or so words, that’s the way it when the Olympics come up, which mercifully is only once every four years.
A year hence, we’ll be looking back at a more normal season in all its variety, but for now some further thoughts on the Rio experience fit the bill. For the fact is, the entire Irish sailing team put in a decent showing. Best of the rest of them were Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern in the 49er. Had the chips fallen slightly differently, they might have come home with a medal themselves. But as it is, the fact that they had two race wins would have been a matter of added excitement in any previous year.
As for Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey in the 49er FX, they had one of their best regattas, very much at the races for most of the time, while the very young Finn Lynch – youngest sailor racing the Olympics – may not have been on his best form in the Laser Men’s, but his snatching of the Irish place in this class as late as May 18th in Mexico was testament to his grit, as he still hadn’t fully recovered from an injury sustained in an accident while out on some training cycling.
In fact, if there’s one little lesson which really came home from Rio, it’s the need to keep your athletes in one piece all year round. Our young international-level sailors can be an exuberant bunch, sometimes training and post-event relaxation becomes horseplay, and it was notable that some significant longterm campaigns were knocked off course by silly injuries.
Thus in looking back at the way Annalise’s success was celebrated in the heart-warming welcome home party at the national Yacht Club on Thursday August 26th, a notable recollection is that in thanking all those who had helped her to the Medal, Annalise particularly mentioned the physiotherapist Mark McCabe. For it seems that whatever training and guidance Mark McCabe has been giving her over the years, she has never been hampered by any serious injury or temporary disability.
This may seem a slightly odd point to be making in an annual sailing review, but there’s a lesson for sailors at every level in this. So if 2016 also emerges as the year in which we all learned the benefits of keeping ourselves in good shape and following best practice in sailing fitness, then it will have been be a very good year indeed.
But as the Olympics didn’t take over the stage until the second week in August, an impressive amount of sailing had already been registered. Indeed, it went right back to January when Doug Elmes and Colin O’Sullivan – who sail from Howth but Doug’s from Kilkenny and Colin is from Malahide – returned from Malaysia with the Bronze Medal from the 420 Worlds.
Then in February offshore racing came centre stage with the RORC Caribbean 600 seeing Conor Fogerty of Howth with his Sunfast 3600 Bam! continuing a remarkable programme of Transoceanic criss-crossing (some of it single-handed), the Caribbean 600 “diversion” producing a win in Class 3.
Into April, and attention focused on the Irish GP 14 Association’s superb group effort in getting 22 boats to Barbados for the GP14 Worlds 2016. Merely to achieve that was quite something in itself, but then Shane McCarthy of Greystones, crewed by Andy Davis, emerged as the new World Champion. That provided extra impetus back home as the rapidly developing Greystones Sailing Club worked towards its new clubhouse, which came on stream in May with the hosting of the Cruising Association of Ireland’s Start-of-Season rally.
With the proper season in Ireland under way, June’s highlight was clearly the Volvo Round Ireland race from Wicklow, but before that ICRA had to get in their three-day Nationals at Howth, and despite light winds the programme was completed, winners including John Maybury’s J/109 Joker II in Division 1, Dave Cullen’s Half Tonner Checkmate XV in Div. 2, Ken Lawless and Siobhan McCormack’s Quarter Tonner Cartoon in Division 3, and Colm Bermingham’s Elan 333 Bite the Bullet in Division 4.
In the Volvo Round Ireland Race starting June 18th, for the leaders at any rate lack of wind was definitely not a problem. For those biggies, it was a cracker. And as an event, the Round Ireland is back and then some, with 63 entries including George David’s wonderful Rambler 88 and three MODs which sailed the entire course within close sight of each other, and records tumbling at every turn.
Rambler had a brilliant a crew of international talents, and they were able to take every last advantage of the fact that the weather Gods – or more properly the wind Gods – smiled on them. They took monohull line honours in a runaway record time, and then achieved what many would have thought almost impossible for a boat with a stratospheric rating - they won overall on IRC as well.
As for the MOD 70s, with Damian Foxall with Sidney Gavignet on record holder Oman Sailing, and Justin Slattery with Lloyd Thornburg on Phaedo III, there was added home interest, particularly as both Irish stars admitted they’d been so busy all over the world building their sailing careers that they were Round Ireland virgins……
And what a race the trio of trimarans served up for those virgins…... Within reach of the finish in the dark, Team Concise was in the lead in a fading breeze, but Oman Sailing went a little bit offshore and found a fresher air to come in on port tack at first light and nip into the win.
As for any all-Irish contenders, the best performance was put in by the J/109 Euro Car Parks (Dave Cullen), the only Irish class winner, a good marker early in the season, for at the beginning of October the temporary Euro Car parks, long since reverted to her proper name of Storm, won the Irish J/109 Nationals for Pat Kelly and his keen crew from Rush Sailing Club.
July had three major highlights – Volvo Cork Week at Crosshaven, the Topper Worlds at Ballyholme, and the KBC Laser Radial Worlds at Dun Laoghaire. While the numbers involved in the two dinghy events were stupendous, it was Volvo Cork Week which captured public imagination in an unexpected way with the inaugural Beaufort Cup series.
Racing for the trophy named after the famous Irish admiral and maritime researcher, the Beaufort Cup started out to be an event with an international flavour between crews from national defence forces. But then its remit was broadened to include personnel from emergency and security services with maritime links, and in the end 32 owners generously made their boat available for something which perfectly captured the mood of the moment. The amount of goodwill generated was beyond measure, and the win by an Irish Defence Forces crew skippered by Commandant Barry Byrne sailing John Maybury’s J/109 Joker II has given a visionary event an excellent inauguration.
The Topper Worlds at Ballyholme looked like providing an Irish win until the last day, when a fresh northerly swept in with real Belfast Lough vigour to make it a big boys’ game, but young Michael Carroll from Cork hung in gamely and finished fourth overall, while Sophie Crosbie from Crosshaven was first girl and 7th overall.
With a total fleet pushing towards the 350 mark, the KBC Laser Radial Worlds in Dun Laoghaire were almost beyond comprehension, but a pattern was discernible, and what was most encouraging was that at least five young Irish sailors were serious contenders at the very top level.
However, one was head and shoulders above the rest in every way, and this was Ewan MacMahon of Howth. He was right in there pitching for the Gold in some ferocious racing, and though he concluded the series with the Silver Medal, this was serious stuff and the world quite rightly sat up and took notice of a remarkable and developing talent.
Came August, and just two days before the Olympics took all attention, 29ers took to the seas off Torbay in Devon for the annual British Championship, 76 boats in all and just one of them Irish – Harry Durcan and Harry Whittaker of Royal Cork. They won overall by two good clear points, an achievement so brilliant that further comment is superfluous.
Then in August we had of course all sorts of local festivals such as Calves Week out of Schull, but everyone’s thoughts were on the Olympics, with normality only returning after an afternoon and night of celebration seemed to have just about the entire Irish sailing community – and many non-sailors too - gathered in Dun Laoghaire and around the National Yacht Club to welcome home Annalise and her medal.
Cruising being something undertaken at its own pace, reviews of what has been achieved are a matter for more leisurely contemplation in the depths of winter. But in late August a real text-book cruise drew to its close when Neil Hegarty of Cork sailed his Dufour 34 Shelduck into Baltimore after an efficient Atlantic crossing from Newfoundland, with Shelduck blithely coping with two mid-Atlantic gales, one of Force 8 and the other hitting Force 9. There have of course been many other Atlantic crossings during 2016 involving Irish boats, but this successful conclusion of a detailed Atlantic circuit cruise of several years duration really was a model of its kind, a cruise to be savoured.
Other cruises and new additions to the fleet were to be savoured as the Cruising Association of Ireland held its end-of-season rally in Dublin’s River Liffey in mid-September, with a goodly fleet providing the annual entertainment of all the opening bridges being opened at the same time in a neatly choreographed exercise, which succeeded brilliantly in bringing a sense of the sea into the heart of the city.
Meanwhile in nearby Clontarf the 70th Anniversary of the iconic Irish Dinghy Racing Association 14ft OD Dinghy was celebrated in style with a series of well-attended events driven on by the energy and enthusiasm of Ian Sargent, who saw his efforts well rewarded with a memorable Gala Dinner for the class in Dun Laoghaire at the Royal St George Yacht Club, where the concept of the IDRA 14 was first aired way back in 1946.
As for those who like it offshore with a bit of competition, 2016 was a year of further growth for the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association, with the season neatly rounded out by a points championship settled in the final race, the overall win going to Stephen Tudor’s J/109 Sgrech from Pwllhei.
The further we got into the Autumn, the better the weather became. So although the All-Ireland Junior Championship at Schull at the end of September raced in the Dave Harte-developed TR 3.6 dinghies was put through successfully despite some very mixed weather in the rest of the country, with Johnny Durcan of Royal Cork the new champion, a week later in the first weekend of October the All-Ireland Seniors were sailed at Crosshaven with racing in the new Phil Morrison-designed Ultra variant of the National 18, and they had weather that was almost too summery on the second day.
But a breeze filled in and it ended up as an absolute cliffhanger, with so many boats tied on points at the end that they’d to go through several permutations of countback to get a result, with RS 400 champion Alex Barry of Royal Cork and Monkstown Bay the Champion of Champions 2016.
October saw Irish interest swing towards the Mediterranean and the annual Rolex Middle Sea Race from Malta with extra Irish interest in three boats in the 107-strong fleet. Conor Fogerty’s ubiquitous Bam! appeared yet again, and though it wasn’t her most successful race, the points accumulated shunted her up to 3rd overall in the RORC Class 3 Points Championship 2016 despite doing only five RORC races, but the Caribbean 600, the Volvo Round Ireland, and the Rolex Middle Sea race all carry extra points weighting.
A better Middle Sea result was obtained by the XP 44 Xp-Act, which came second in Class 4 with her crew including the RIYC’s Barry Hurley and the Irish National Sailing School’s Kenneth Rumball. But our outstanding result was the clear overall win taken by Vincenzo Onorato’s Cookson 50 Mascalzone Latino, navigated with pure genius by international star Ian Moore, who hails from Carrickfergus.
This rounded out a remarkable year for the Moore family, as his mother Wendy was Commodore 2016 in Carrickfergus Sailing Clyb, where they were celebrating their 150th Anniversary (as was the Royal Ulster YC across Belfast Lough in Bangor) with events at Carrickfergus including a Hilditch Regatta for boats constructed by the legendary Carrickfergus boatbuilder. He created many vessels of distinction including the 1898 Howth 17s, who in turn arrived in Carrick to help celebrate a year which was to finish in such style in Malta.
Except it hasn’t quite finished yet. Even as we write this. Cork Institute of Technology are in the top three in the 36th Student Yachting World Cup which concludes today in Las Rochelle. And then tomorrow the irrepressible Enda O’Coineen with Kilcullen Voyager will be one of 29 starters along the French Biscay coast off Les Sables d’Olonne, where the Vendee Globe gets under way before a crowd of tens of thousands. Irish sailing in 2016 is truly a complex and endless tapestry………
It's not every day that you get to spend a few hours with an Olympic sailing champion but last Friday that is just what we did writes Michelle Burrowes of The High School in Dublin. We were impressed beyond words by how our past pupil Annalise Murphy (HSD, 2002-08) gave so freely of her time, speaking at length and frankly to more than 700 pupils, friends, teachers, and parents who sat quietly together listening as Head Girl, Aela O'Flynn and sailing enthusiast, Chloe Holmes skillfully interviewed her about future plans, ambition, and life as a High School pupil. We were joined too by Annalise's parents, Cathy and Con, brother Finn and sister Claudine – also past pupils – who are all still reeling from the excitement of winning at Rio just four weeks ago.
While the HSD orchestra string section played Rod Stewart's wonderfully apt 'We Are Sailing', and flags waved in the air, there was more than bright morning sunlight streaming across the faces of the pupils gathered there; there was inspiration.
That was especially true for our current up-and-coming sports stars for whom she is a towering role model so it meant so much when Annalise took the time to meet them individually and let them hold her Olympic medal. The effect was immediate and tangible. It was a pleasure to spend the morning with Annalise and her family, and we hope to do so again very soon.
#AnnaliseMurphy - Barely a month after her silver medal victory at the Rio Olympics and Annalise Murphy, The Irish Times' Sportswoman of the Month for August, is already back on the water.
This time, however, it was the foiling Moth she describes as her hobby compared to the "day job" of the Laser Radial she sailed to a podium finish in Rio's Guanabara Bay on 16 August.
Murphy – who was also named Afloat.ie's Sailor of the Month for August – tells Mary Hannigan how she still wakes up feeling like her incredible achievement was a dream - though her newfound fame has certainly changed her everyday life as fans approach with their congratulations.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
A world-beating performance in the Rio Olympics, with a Silver Medal convincingly taken in the final excruciatingly tense double-scoring Medals Race, has elevated the National YC’s Annalise Murphy to global sailing superstardom.
The final two countdown months to this great Irish sailing success were a major drama in themselves, as Annalise had to concentrate with the closest focus from the end of May on transforming herself into a potential winner from being an off-form competitor who was above the ideal weight for the Rio sailing conditions.
In barely eight weeks, she changed radically to become a significantly lighter athlete at peak physical and mental condition, fit in every way to stage a sensational Olympic comeback from being the sailor who’d seen a seemingly-certain medal slip from her grasp in the final race in the 2012 Olympiad.
Annalise – who has already achieved such fame in Ireland with her medal win that her surname is now superfluous – has been generous in her praise for her training and support team, particularly for her coach Rory Fitzpatrick who has been with her for many years, and her sailing training partner Sarah Winther. She, having very narrowly failed in late May to be selected to represent New Zealand in the Women’s Laser Radial in the Olympics, was then able – as New Zealand didn’t send any Women’s Laser Radial representative to Rio – to offer her gifted coaching services to her friend Annalise.
Specialist advice, coaching and guidance was also provided by Gary Keegan of the Institute of Sport, while another tower of strength was Sports Psychologist Kate Kirby. As for the family support in the high-powered Murphy-McAleavey household, this was total as they chucked all carbs out of the kitchen and joined Annalise in a diet that was carefully monitored to maintain peak fitness and nutrition.
While weight loss helped the Rio result, it was a whole package - meticulous preparation, good support from her personal sponsor and having more race and training experience at the venue that was ulitmately the deciding factor.
Yet even with all this support, when it finally came down to it, there was just this one 26-year-old Irish sailor competing utterly alone, out on her own against the world’s best in the world spotlight on the arena of one of the planet’s most fickle sailing locations. And all that in a final race made even more stressful by having been postponed for 24 hours. But Annalise rose to the challenge, and she rose above it. Her control of that final race in volatile conditions was pure textbook stuff from a textbook which has yet to be written. Trying to find the words to do her performance full justice has been one enormous challenge. But it has been very easy indeed to decide that Annalise Murphy is the Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month” for August 2016.
Speaking to Bobby Kerr on Newstalk's Down to Business yesterday morning (Saturday 3 September), James O'Callaghan remarked on the sheer number of people of all ages who turned out for the Laser Radial silver medallist's homecoming in Dun Laoghaire.
"That's the first big change: all of a sudden we have a sports star," he said of Murphy, who was a guest on Friday's Late Late Show.
But beyond the media profile was talk of the business of getting her to sailing's elite level – thanks in great part to investment from Sport Ireland, investment that's focused on the sailing classes where Ireland can be most competitive.
O'Callaghan said taxpayer support is "exactly what's needed for Ireland to succeed on the international stage. But it's limited; the sport budget hasn't grown in the last four years."
As a result, private sponsorship – both of the ISA's programmes and individual sailors – remains a linchpin of the sport's funding, while the new Irish Sailing Foundation aims to attract the backing of philanthropists with a passion for Irish sporting success.
Listen to the whole interview below:
#AnnaliseMurphy - Annalise Murphy has spoken of how the sting of missing out on a medal at London 2012 haunted her over the years of preparations for the Rio Olympics this summer – till she decided to make sailing fun again.
The Laser Radial silver medallist was a guest on last night's Late Late Show on RTÉ One – now available to watch on demand on the RTÉ Player – where she opened up to host Ryan Tubridy about the pressure her experience in Weymouth put her under.
"That medal race in London, it's kind of haunted me for the last four years," she said. "I always had this sort of voice in the back of my head, thinking maybe that was my moment and I messed it up.
"Olympic medals, they're really hard to come by, and I thought, maybe I wasn't going to get a medal in Rio, and that was going to be as good as it was going to get."
Murphy described her training in the intervening four years as a "rollercoaster", in particular last year's test event at the Rio sailing course, intended to see what shape she was in for this summer's games, where she placed last in the first day's races.
"The harder I tried, the 'more last' I would come," she said. "I nearly had to see the funny side of it, [because] I'd trained so hard and it just wasn't working out for me."
Murphy said the turning point was when she realised "I haven't been having fun, I need to start enjoying this again."
As a result, she regained her confidence "and in the last couple of months leading into the Olympics, I really felt like I was having good form and everything might start to work out my way."
Murphy credits her coach Rory Fitzpatrick, sports psychologist Kate Kirby and training partner Sara Winther with establishing a routine during the daunting week of racing in Rio, and keeping her "always in a really good frame of mind, just really enjoying it. Not getting stressed out, when I think of how some of the other competitors were."
But into the final medal race, she says she "suddenly had the fear of 'Oh no, I'm going to finish fourth again, this is going to be terrible.'"
Getting out on the water, the windy conditions gave a boost to the erstwhile 'Queen of the Breeze'.
However, when things got a bit too gusty, and Murphy suffered a number of capsizes, the race was postponed and she recalls: "At that stage I just wanted it to be done.
"I went into that [rescheduled medal] race thinking 'If I'm afraid ... I'm going to lose out.' I went in with zero fear. I was just like, 'You have to go and attack this race and see what happens.'"
It wasn't till she was in second place around the last windward mark, alongside Great Britain's Alison Young, and knowing both were far ahead of their closest rivals, that she realised a silver medal was hers at the very least.
"For it all to suddenly come together at the right time, it was just this feeling of relief," she said.
"Now I can look back and go, 'That was a really good fourth place in London.'"
Earlier in the evening, rowing silver medallists at Rio – and Afloat.ie rowers of the month for May 2015 – Paul and Gary O'Donovan shared their own story with Tubridy from the Late Late Show couch, which is also available on the RTÉ Player till 2 October.