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With 149 days to go to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the British Olympic Association (BOA) announced yesterday five additional sailors from three classes selected to compete for Team GB this summer.

Nick Dempsey is set to become a five-time Olympian in Rio after the London 2012 silver medallist and Athens 2004 bronze medallist was selected for the RS:X Men's windsurfing class. If the double World Champion wins gold in Rio, he will become the most successful men's Olympic windsurfer in history.

Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth, who finished fifth at the 2015 World Championships, will make their Olympic debuts in the 49erFX - a new event for Rio - with 2015 European Champions Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves following suit in the Nacra 17 mixed multihull event, which also sees its first Olympic Games outing this year.

The five sailors join those initially selected in September. However, from those selected in September, the BOA, in conjunction with the Royal Yachting Association, has made the difficult decision to deselect the 470 Men's pairing of Luke Patience and Elliot Willis. Due to Elliot's ongoing treatment for bowel cancer, as a two person crew, they are unfortunately unable to follow the combined training programme required to maximise their chances of success in Rio.

Selection trials in the 470 Men's event will therefore continue, with the trials in the 49er class also ongoing.

Team GB's sailing squad for Rio 2016:
Giles Scott: Finn
Nick Thompson: Laser
Alison Young: Laser Radial
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark: 470 Women
Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth: 49erFX
Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves: Nacra 17
Bryony Shaw: RS:X Women
Nick Dempsey: RS:X Men

Published in Olympic
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#Olympics - Olympic sailing should look to the example of surfing in making the sport more relatable to spectators.

That's according to Mike Todd, writing for Sailing Scuttlebutt News about how a shift from traditional fleet racing to a 'Champions League' format would create much-needed buzz around the sport.

Similar to the new World Surf League, with its live-streamed races and bold personalities akin to Formula 1, Todd suggests the ISAF could develop a round-robin competition for the world's top 32 sailors to compete at events throughout the year featuring short, action-packed races.

"The positives are numerous," writes Todd, "among them being how sailors will have better name recognition."

He's not the first to suggest the league format as a shake-up for sailing, as Afloat.ie asked earlier this year if there was drive for a national sailing league in Ireland along similar lines.

Scuttlebutt Sailing News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Olympic
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The National Yacht Club's Con Murphy has been selected as a race official for the Olympic Sailing Competition for Rio.

Murphy, an international race officer is the father of Irish Olympic Sailing Star Annalise Murphy, who finished fourth in Loondon 2012 and is campaigning again for Rio.

Con Murphy was Irish Olympic coach for the 1988 Olympic Games in Korea. The full list of ISAF officials appointed for Rio are in Appendix one of the pdf document downloadable below.

The Rio 2016 International Race Officers have between them 208 years of combined experience at international level. The youngest Rio 2016 race official is 33 years old and the 58 officials include a dentist, physical education teacher, wood turner and psychologist.

Just like Olympic sailors campaigning and facing a selection process international race officials also face a similar process.

This week brought to an end over two years of assessments and monitoring which included the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander and the Test Events for the 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition.

Led by ISAF Technical Delegates Alastair Fox and Scott Perry, the race management team will be headed by Nino Shmueli (ISR), ISAF's Principal Race Officer at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships and recently at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Qingdao. The International Jury will be chaired by Bernard Bonneau (FRA) who recently finished chairing the 2014 - 2015 Volvo Ocean Race and was the Vice-Chairman of the Olympic Jury at London 2012. Dimitris Dimou (GRE), the 470 Class Chief Measurer, will head up the ISAF equipment inspection team.

Published in Olympic

The British Olympic Association (BOA) has announced the names of the very first athletes to officially join Team GB for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

A total of eight athletes have been selected across six of the ten sailing events, who between them have won four Olympic medals and seven World Championship golds.

Giles Scott's is the first name to appear on the Rio teamsheet, with the 28-year-old, unbeaten in almost two years, set to make his Olympic debut in the Finn class.

London 2012 silver medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark are paired together again in the 470 Women's class while Luke Patience, who also won silver three years ago, teams up with two-time World Champion Elliot Willis in the 470 Men's event.

Bryony Shaw, who became Britain's first female Olympic medal-winning windsurfer with bronze at Beijing 2008, is set to contest her third Olympic Games next year in the RS:X Women's event.

London 2012 Olympian Alison Young returns in the Laser Radial while 2015 Laser World Champion Nick Thompson earns his first Olympic appearance to round off the first wave of sailing selections for Rio.

British sailors have won 55 medals - including 26 golds - since sailing made its debut at Paris 1900 with Team GB topping the overall Olympic sailing medal table.

Trials for the Irish Olympic team get underway in the mens and women's Laser class this Winter.

Published in Olympic

#aquecerio – Ireland is expected to issue details of its selection trials shortly for The Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta 2015, the second of two Rio 2016 Olympic Test Events with the first being held in 2014.

Only one athlete per country can be represented with a major fight already on the cards between Finn Lynch and James Espey for the single Irish mens Laser slot.

Rio will welcome sailors once again from 13-22 August 2015 with racing taking place inside and outside of Guanabara Bay.

Each ISAF Member National Authority is entitled to enter one boat in each Olympic event and must apply to enter by 1 May 2015.

Sailors will compete in an opening series before Medal Races on 20, 21 and 22 August bring the regatta to a close.

Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition

The Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition will take place at the Marina da Glória, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and will feature 380 athletes competing across ten events.

Racing is scheduled to take place from 8-18 August 2016 and the competition format for all events is fleet racing.

Published in Olympic

#SailingWCMiami – A second in Saturday's medal race gave Ireland's Annalise Murphy seventh overall at Miami Olympic classes regatta, the first International Sailing Federation (ISAF) World Cup regatta of 2015.

The Laser radial class was won by Denmark's Anne Marie Rindom. Second was Belgian Evi Van Acker with World number one Marit Boumeester of Holland third. The Irish Times has more on this HERE.

In spite of a 12-crew team in Florida, Murphy was the only Irish interest in the ten class medal race finale. Although two of three Irish Laser men made the gold fleet neither Belfast's James Espey or Dublin's Finn Lynch made the top ten medal race cut.

In fast form in 15-knots, Murphy led the race for the first lap only to lose out on a rare medal race victory to local helms woman Paige Railey, a former world champion, on the leg to the finish.

A medal race second - counting double points - was nevertheless a significant comeback for Murphy who had put together a string of top three results earlier this week to place second overall after six races on Wednesday. A change of fortune, however, saw her counting three results in the 30s in the second half of the series, dropping her to tenth overall in the 79-boat fleet on Friday.

It was a week of superlatives. Think 678 sailors, 599 boats, 150 races for ten Olympic classes and three Paralympic classes. At the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, presented by Sunbrella, we talked of "a racecourse built out of shifts." We spoke of competitive performances that exceeded any comparison to walking a tightrope. Dancing on a tightrope would be more to the point.

This truly is the road to the Olympics.

Every aspiring Olympic sailor takes a shot at this ISAF series that travels to the far corners of the world, qualifying gold medal winners and top continent finishers to race at the finale that follows the five-race series. The next competition will take place at Hyères, France April 20-26. The finale will take place late in 2015 at Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. It's a mini-Olympics for sailors only. You won't see faces in Rio, 2016, that you didn't see on the road to Rio, this road. You won't see racing that is any more competitive. No, just sailors hardened in this crucible, playing for the highest stakes.

This is the proving ground. And as one winner put it, on to the next one.

Published in Olympic
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#roadtorio – ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year, Olympic medallists, world champions and a Volvo Ocean Race superstar are on their way to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates for the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup Final but two Irish Olympic sailors turned down invitations to attend due to there being 'no money in the budget' and the lateness of the ISAF decision in announcing the regatta. Neither Annalise Murphy or Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern will compete in the UAE despite receiving invitations it was confirmed today by team manager James O'Callaghan. The Irish team is currently training in Rio.

From 26-30 November 2014 283 sailors from 39 nations with proven track records of excellence will fight it out in the Emirati capital for the right to become an ISAF Sailing World Cup Champion.

The sailors to secure their place were confirmed at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander where the top ten in each event were offered a place.

'I wouldn't read too much into the Irish not going to UAE', one team insider told Afloat.ie this afternoon. 'Lots of sailors are avoiding Abu Dhabi for various reasons – while plane tickets are supplied, it will cost the technical classes money to get ancillary equipment there. Also season plans were made long ago and Abu Dhabi is too late to fit in with these', the source said.

Download the full entry list below as PDF file.

All ten Olympic events will be contested in Abu Dhabi along with an open kiteboarding event joining the fray around Lulu Island off the UAE capital's stunning Corniche. The ten Olympic events will contest an opening series and a Medal Race with the kiteboard fleet using a short track format. Prize money will be in awarded to the top three overall finishers in each of the Olympic events from a total prize purse of US$200,000.

With a maximum of just 20 boats present across the 11 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final events, the list of achievements across the board is outstanding.

Female 2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) are just two star studded names to confirm their attendance. The Brazilians won the coveted ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award just one week ago thanks to their sublime performances across the latter part of 2013 and 2014. Over the last 18 months the Brazilians have only finished off of the 49erFX podium once and they'll be aiming to extend their run of top finishes in Abu Dhabi.

They will have their work cut out to add gold to their 2014 World and ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca & Hyeres titles with 2013 World Champions Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) and 2014 European Champions Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) within the pack.

London 2012 Women's Match Racing Olympic gold medallist Tamara Echegoyen and 2011 470 World Champion Berta Betanzos (ESP) will also compete within the 19-boat 49erFX fleet in Abu Dhabi.

2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year nominee Charline Picon (FRA) will be a force to be reckoned with once again in the Women's RS:X as she looks to make it five regatta victories in a row. Picon blitzed the pack at the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships and will be up for the Abu Dhabi challenge. The pack of 20 Women's RS:X racers is full of talent and Picon will certainly be hard pressed. London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Marina Alabau (ESP), silver medallist Tuuli Petaja and bronze medallist Zofia Klepacka (POL) will all be gunning for the World Cup Final title.

Volvo Ocean Race winner Franck Cammas (FRA) will sail in the Nacra 17 fleet and he'll be out to stop his compatriots Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) who have dominated the class. Besson and Riou took the 2013 and 2014 Nacra 17 world titles and have eyes on the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup Final title. World #1 Nacra 17 pair Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) will also be within the 17-boat fleet.

Twenty 49er teams will be gunning for gold in Abu Dhabi. ISAF Sailing World Cup Abu Dhabi will allow the teams an opportunity to race officially within a fleet of 20 boats, the size that will be present at the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition. Strong contenders in the 49er are in the shape of Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT), Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis (FRA) and a trio of British racers.

Seven of the world's top ten Finn racers will be competing in Abu Dhabi. World #1 Bjorn Allansson (SWE) will be joined by World #2 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) and World #3 Jake Lilley (AUS). Laser Olympic bronze medallist at Athens 2004 and Olympic silver medallist at Beijing 2008 Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) will firmly be in contention for Abu Dhabi gold after a solid 18 months of Finn racing.

In the IKA Formula Kite 2014 World Champions Maxime Nocher (FRA) and Steph Bridge (GBR) will be among the racers as well as Bridge's son and 2014 European Champion Oliver Bridge (GBR).

Published in Olympic

#santander2014 – Ireland's Olympic Laser sailors were first into battle today at the ISAF World Championships in Santander, Northern Spain for an event that has as its prize Olympic selection for up to eight Irish sailors in five of ten disciplines.

Belfast Lough's James Espey was best of the Irish with a solid sixth and 16th to be placed 26th after the first rounds, and certainly on course for Rio qualification. 18–year–old Finn Lynch, who is current U19 Laser World Champion, finished 27th in his first race but took a 43rd in the second to be 109th after two.

Disapppointingly, Annalise Murphy opened her world championship account with two poor results dropping her to 86th overall, leaving her a big job to recover in the last two preliminary rounds tomorrow.

More here from David O'Brien in the Irish Times.

The thick fog that covered the harbour in Santander at the start of the day soon burnt off and gave way to a light 5 to 7 knot breeze from the north east allowing the Laser and Laser Radial Fleets to get afloat and start the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships.

After a delay ashore there was a further postponement afloat waiting for the wind to fill before the start of the four race qualification series.

Laser Radial

The 120 boat Women's Laser Radial Fleet is split into two groups of 60, each scoring points from 1 to 60. In this size fleet a good start is critical especially as the right hand side of the course was favoured and in the lighter conditions boat speeds are similar. Those sailors that were able to put together two single figure results were guaranteed a place in the top ten whilst others were having death and glory results not necessarily in that order.

Veronika Fenclova (CZE) had a big smile on her face as she explained, "In the first race I had a good start and led at the first mark but I could not hold my position downwind and dropped to third even though we did change places several times before the finish." In the second race she led from start to finish, "I had a good lead which protected me on the downwind." Fenclova's results were better than she expected as she has had a year off from sailing although she has been training hard for a month at Santander prior to the championship.

Min Gu from China is already looking like a worthy successor to the retired Olympic Champion Lijia Xu as she shares the same points with Fenclova at the top of the pack.

Laser

In the record 76 nation Men's Laser fleet, sailing on a nearby course to the women, the story was much the same with Juan Maegli from Guatamala scoring exactly the same as Fenclova. He said "I had two good starts and went right both times. I had good speed and concentrated on trying to be consistent."

He has created a four point gap over second place Tom Burton (AUS) who scored a fifth and third.

Defending champion Robert Scheidt BRA saw his fellow countryman Bruno Fontes finish four places ahead of him but he has been around enough to know that there is still a long way to go in this event, "I did not get far enough right for the shift. I struggled to catch up and could only get back to 13th. I was happy to finish second in the next race."

Two more races are scheduled for tomorrow to conclude the qualification series before the fleet is split into a gold, silver and bronze. A final six race series will be followed by a Medal Race.

Full results here

Published in Olympic

#finn – These top Olympic sailors sure sure make it look easy but this is heavy weather Finn dinghy sailing at its finest. The six minute vid – complete with a head bashing sound track –  shows the level of skill required to make it to the top of the Finn dinghy rankings.

Sailed in La Rochelle, France, this month, in winds of over 20 knots, this was filmed using stern cameras on each Finn. Giles Scott had already won the championship but went on the lead round the medal race for a seventh race win that week. Vasilij Zbogar did just enough to win the silver while Ed Wright (whose camera failed to work) took the bronze.

The film shows Finn sailing and Finn sailors at their best. The conditions were extreme, with exceptional competition among great athletes.

Published in Olympic

#swchyeres – After missing the gold fleet cut at both Miami and Palma ISAF World Cup regattas this year, Ireland's Olympic sailor Annalise Murphy showed the depth of her ambition in France this afternoon when she opened her Laser Radial account at the final round of ISAF's World Cup in Hyeres with a race win and a third place to lie just two nett points off the overall lead after the first three races.

After a fantastic day afloat in consistent 15–knot breezes, Annalise lies second overall tonight to Belgium's Evi Van Acker tonight and except for a slip in race two might well be heading up her 79–boat fleet. The Dubliner shares the same four points as the Belarussian Tatiana Drozdovskaya with only seven seven points separating the top ten.

Murphy was as far back as 28th after counting a 27th in race two but bounced straight back with a third in race three to be right in the frame in the early part of this qualification round.  

It was a significant performance in the more than forecasted winds and in a fleet that contains the very best sailors in the world including two of the three London 2012 Olympic medallists. Results here.

Tweeting after coming ashore, Murphy told her followers: "I had a 1st, a shocker of a 27th and a 3rd today which should put me into third overall. Significant improvement from Palma!"

Van Acker looked to banish her Palma demons as she took two race wins and a fifth to lead in Hyères. The Belgian racer missed out on a podium spot at ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca as she engaged in a battle for silver with Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) in the Medal Race. She finished the Medal Race in 10th and fell to fourth, missing out on a medal. A strong performance in the Hyères has put her on the right route at the early stage of the event.

ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne gold medallist Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR) is third overall.

A confirmed number of 1,111 sailors racing in 765 boats from 59 nations are racing on the French Gold coast in what is a massive turnout to bring the ISAF Sailing World Cup series to a close.

In other Irish sailing team news from Hyeres, Murphy's London 2012 team–mates have also opened their French accounts each sailing three races today. 

In the mens 49er skiff class Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern are highly placed in tenth overall in the 79 boat fleet after scoring 3,6 and 7. Results here.

ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca gold medallists Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) got their week off to a strong start after picking up two race wins and discarding a 14th.

The Brazilians are in familiar company atop of the leader board with many of the leading 49erFX sailors trailing them by a narrow margin.

Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) sit two points behind the Brazilians whilst Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR), who took the days other race win, occupy third.

2013 World Champions and defending Hyères champions Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) found their form after a disappointing week in Mallorca. Recording a second, a discarded 19th and a third they sit in fourth.

James Espey lies 70th from 123 starters in the mens Laser division. Results here. Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) took two race wins in the Laser and is the early leader in the 123-boat fleet. The French racer took two bullets from the day's opening encounters and came through with a ninth in the third and final race of the opening day.

With two fleets the remaining race victories went the way of Robert Scheidt (BRA), Jesper Stalheim (SWE), Andy Maloney (NZL) and Matt Wearn (AUS).

Ireland's Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey are 17th from 42 in the womens 49erfx skiff. Results here.

Published in Olympic
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