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Displaying items by tag: olympic sailing

The chances of winning an Olympic sailing medal next month, have been described by Team manager James O'Callaghan as an 'outside shot'. Can Ireland's four boat Irish Olympic Sailing Team deliver on the 36–year medal drought? Afloat.ie gives its assessment boat by boat

Belfast Lough's Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovernBelfast Lough's Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern start racing in Rio on August 12

49er – Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern 

Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern have been steadily working their way up the world rankings this year, from 22ncd at the start of the year to 11th in the latest version. These London 2012 veterans (14th) have put in some stellar performances in recent months, most notably winning the Princesa Sofia Regatta in Palma in April.
Seaton and McGovern qualified Ireland at the first possible opportunity at the combined World Championships in Santander in 2014, finishing 8th. But their performance since has been erratic and the win in Palma was bookended by a 37th in Miami and a 28th at the 2016 Europeans. Most recently, at the international sailing week in Rio, the Belfast pair finished down the fleet, but may have been using this regatta for testing or training purposes.
There is no doubt, that on their day, Seaton and McGovern can compete with the world's best.

Men’s Skiff (49er) 20 competitors Race duration: 3 x 30 minutes daily (medal race 1 x 20 minutes) Competition days: Fri 12th/Sat 13th/Sun 14th (Reserve)/Mon 15th/Tue 16th/Wed 17th (Reserve)/Thu 18th - medal race/Fri 19th (Reserve)

Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey Dublin Bay's Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey start racing in Rio on August 12

49erFx – Andrea Brewster & Saskia Tidey 

Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey were the last of the Irish team to qualify, enduring heartbreak at the 2015 worlds where they were denied qualification by a protest in the final race report here. However, their performance at the Worlds was good enough to secure the next available place a few months later when no team from Africa emerged. Story here.
Brewster, a product of the British Olympic Laser radial squad, and Tidey, who transitioned from the Radial to the 49er following a season racing 18ft Skiffs in Sydney, have, until this year, hovered in the early 20s in world ranking and results at major events. 2016 has been something of a breakthrough for the Royal Irish duo, finishing in the teens more consistently, including a 12th at the European championships in Barcelona in April. A final day scoreline of 2,1,3 shows the potential that resides in this team.

Women’s Skiff (49erFX) 20 competitors Race duration: 3 x 30 minutes daily (medal race 1 x 20 minutes) Competition days: Fri 12th/Sat 13th/Sun 14th (Reserve)/Mon 15th/Tue 16th/Wed 17th (Reserve)/Thu 18th - medal race/Fri 19th (Reserve)

finn lynch6Dublin Bay's Finn Lynch starts racing in Rio on August 8

Laser – Finn Lynch  

Finn Lynch's fairytale journey to Rio is recounted in Sailing on Saturdays by Winkie Nixon. However he had to overcome the 2012 Olympian James Espey, who's 38th place at the 2014 world Championship in Santander qualified the country. ISA imposed a three regatta trials system, starting with the Copa de Brasil regatta in Rio in December 2015, where Espey shaded Lynch by one place. At the next event in Palma in March and April, neither sailor made gold fleet, but Espey increased his advantage with a 53rd to Lynch's 58th. Going into the final trial, the 2016 Laser Worlds in Mexico in May, Lynch had it all to do, but a solid series of consistent results saw him qualify for the Gold Fleet, while Espey never really got off the ground until it was too late. 

While Lynch, who's best results have been at under age events, is certainly not a favourite for podium in Rio, his trajectory suggests that a medal in Tokyo in 2020 is well within his capability.

Men’s One-person dinghy (Laser) 46 competitors Race duration: 2 x 50 minutes daily (medal race 1 x 25 minutes) Competition days: Mon 8th/Tue 9th/Wed 10th/Thu 11th (Reserve day)/Fri 12th/Sat 13th/Sun 14th (Reserve)/Mon 15th - medal race/Tue 16th (Reserve)

annalise murphy SOFDublin Bay's Annalise Murphy starts racing in Rio on August 8

Laser Radial – Annalise Murphy 

Currently perhaps Ireland's most famous sailor, Annalise Murphy dismissed the challenge of Aoife Hopkins in the three event trial. However, recent form contradicts her suggestion that she is one of eight in the fleet with the potential to win a medal in Rio. Since January, her results at major events have been 48th (Miami World Cup), 30th (Laser Europeans), 39th (Laser Worlds) and 34th (Weymouth World Cup). The historical profile of light and fickle winds at the Olympic venue suggests that Annalise, a heavy weather specialist, will struggle to make the medal race. The 2013 European champion has, however, surprised on many occasions before and as recently as this month scored an important win on Olympic waters in her last regatta before the Games at the Rio de Janeiro International Sailing Week. Results of that win are here.

Women’s One-person dinghy (Laser Radial) 37 competitors Race duration: 2 x 50 minutes daily (medal race 1 x 25 minutes) Competition days: Mon 8th/Tue 9th/Wed 10th/Thu 11th (Reserve day)/Fri 12th/Sat 13th/Sun 14th (Reserve)/Mon 15th - medal race/Tue 16th (Reserve)

Afloat.ie has charted the progress of the 2016 Olympic sailing team over the last four years in a dedicated Irish Olympic Sailing section

Published in Olympic

As in most yacht races, the general terms for the Olympic Regatta are set out in a Notice of Race (NoR) while the details are covered by the Sailing Instructions (SIs). Both of these have been published and are available on the World Sailing Website www.sailing.org. Like many NoRs and Sis, other documents are referenced - in the case of the Olympic Regatta there are Equipment, Competitions Area and Support Team regulations, while athletes are also bound by a Media Guide. Overarching all these are the comprehensive agreements that athletes enter into with the International Olympic Committee through their National Olympic Committees.

These documents will come under intense scrutiny, not just by sailors and their support teams as part of their normal preparation, but also by the team of officials that will be engaged in ensuring a fair competition both ashore and afloat.

For most of the sailors at this level, there should be no major surprises in the sailing instructions as they will have used these or a version of these in qualifying events, World Cups and Major Championships.
Let us catch up with an imaginary sailor as they prepare to go afloat. Their base is Marina Da Gloria in Guanabara Bay, in what is Rio's middle harbour. While waiting for flag D - the signal that they can go afloat - many sailors will first apply barrier creams to protect against sun and bacteria. Then they will visit the Omega cabin to deposit their accreditation and to collect their tracking module which they will affix to the boat so that we can follow their race progress. Once flag D is up they will proceed to their designated course area, taking care not to stray out of the competition area while also remaining clear of other course areas and official boats. Infractions of any of these area controls may incur a penalty.

Once at their designated course area, things become fairly standard for them, although not every observer will be familiar with the sound signals guns every minute in the countdown that are now used at this level. This table explains the sequence our sailor will encounter:

Minutes Before Starting Signal Visual Signal Displayed Visual Signal Removed Sound Signal Means
6   Class flag, P or starting penalty flag (U, or Black flag) if required O flag if applicable     Class to start Starting penalty RRS P5 (RRS 42)
5   White flag with number 5   One Warning signal
Blue flag with number 4 White flag One Preparatory Signal
3 Pink flag with number 3 Blue Flag One Three minutes
2 Red flag with number 2 Pink Flag One Two minutes
1 Yellow flag with number 1 Red Flag One One minute
0 Green flag Yellow flag One Start signal
+1   Green flag and Class flag, U or Black and O. No Sound  


The format consists of an opening series of up to 12 races (12 in Skiffs and Windsurfers, 10 in everything else) with a maximum of three races per day and a final medal race between the top ten in each fleet after the opening series.

Thus our sailor can expect up to three consecutive races, although if the schedule is maintained it is more likely to be two a day.

While the courses are generally windward/leeward or trapezoid, there are some variations afforded to the race officer, such as final slaloms (possibly windsurfers only), inner or outer trapezoids and different finishing directions for windward/leeward courses.

Rio's location, with a large bay and open ocean close by, offers a considerable variety of course areas and seven have been designated across the three distinct areas of Inner Harbour, Middle Harbour and Ocean. Several of these offer shore viewing and all, except maybe one of the ocean courses, will be considerably influenced by the presence of the land.

Our sailor will need to be wise to the designated course for the day, and once there, will need to be keep their head out of the boat to recognise the influences exerted by wind and current on their course.
At the end of racing the sailor returns to Marina da Gloria where an extensive cleansing of boat, equipment, clothing and bodies will follow. The anti-doping team will be randomly selecting sailors for testing and once over this hurdle sailors can pick up their accreditation while returning the tracker before catching the shuttle to the Olympic Village.

Published in Olympic
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Irish Olympic 49erFX sailing campaigners Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey have an anxious wait before next week's 47th edition of the Trofeo Princesa Sofia. The last Rio place comes up for grabs at the crunch Spanish regatta in Palma de Mallorca on March 25th. Ireland faces a tough two-boat Finnish challenge plus teams from AustriaCroatiaEstonia and Russia but Ireland, it transpires, may yet get a last minute reprieve.

The Royal Irish YC duo can escape the do–or–die regatta altogether if a much publicised Algerian entry does not materialise. Brewster and Tidey will avail of the 'reallocation' of a vacant African spot and will not have to face the fierce Euro-nation fight if there is an African 'no–show'.

No one in the Irish camp wants to tempt fate but – with less than a week to go – there is no sign of an Algerian, or indeed, any other African entry, thus apparently clearing the way for Tidey/Brewster to be declared good to go for the games.

Currently, there is no reference to the Algerian entry and Algeria is not listed as an affiliated country on the 49er and 49erFX website.

Ireland has been first in line for the African berth by virtue of Brewster and Tidey's world champioship result last December. If they do qualify it will be Ireland’s first women’s skiff entry at the Games, bringing to six the number of Irish sailors heading to Rio.

Depending on whether Algeria turns up or not, this emerging sailing nation has wisely used the fact that ISAF has introduced continental Olympic quotas for the first time and the fact that some sailing classes are completly non-existent in Africa. On paper, they appear to be the only African nation in women's 470, men's 49er, women's 49er FX and mixed Nacra 17, so they are guaranteed all of those quotas. If this transpires, they will compete in 7 out of 10 classes in Rio (11 sailors in total). To put it in perspective, Algeria has never qualified a single sailor for the Olympics before.

 

Wishing everyone a very Happy St Patrick's Day ☘

Published in Olympic

Oisin McClleland of Dongahdee Sailing Club lies 46th from 90 as the last day of the Finn European Championships in Barcelona concludes today. The Northern Ireland Sailors best result of the series so far is a 26th in race four.

Yesterday's day five had it all. Anticipation, excitement, disappointment and high drama. Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) takes the overall lead for the first time and goes into the final day with a ten point lead over his training partner Josh Junior (NZL). Milan Vujasinovic (CRO) is back up to third.

Though the forecast was for a weak wind again, most of the sailors expected a nice sea breeze to come in later in the day and after a brief postponement the fleet was sent out for two races in a 6-9 knot wind that provided tricky racing and lot of mixed fortunes.

Egor Terpigorev (RUS) showed up at the the front of the fleet for the first time, leading round the top mark in Race 5 from Ben Cornish (GBR) and Postma. Cornish had a narrow lead at the gate but Postma led at the end of the next upwind to set up an exciting final leg.

Cornish explained, “I got off the start quite well and got in phase with the shifts. Then the top five or six managed to break away from the fleet and we had some really close battles. It was just a case of getting it right on the last downwind. We managed to push out to the left and the wave direction was making it easy for me to gain. I felt as if I had control out there and the last reach to the finish was really exciting. As it happened PJ and I ended up neck and neck on the line and I just managed to get the last wave across the line.” Terpigorev sailed a great race to cross in third.

With the breeze still looking good, Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) led round the top in Race 6 from Postma and Ondrej Teply (CZE). The Greek sailor held the lead until the final downwind when with the leaders well split and the wind starting to turn patchy, it was anyone's race. Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) came in with the best pressure to slip round the final mark ahead of Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) and Mitakis. A sixth place for Postma was enough to retain the championship lead he had gained after the first race of the day.

Høgh-Christensen said, “The first race was super tricky. I had a bad start and the wind went left and I thought it was going to go right so I rounded in about 70 something and caught back up to 29th. The second race was much better for me. I had a good start and worked the left side of the course and came up to the first mark in fourth and I think I rounded the bottom in third. I was second at the top and ended up winning the race, so that was super.”

“They were really tricky conditions. I think there were two seas breezes fighting each other and it could go hard right or it could go left, so it was really hard to call which way it would go. I didn't get it right in the first but I did in the second.”

“The fleet here is very strong here are only a few guys missing, and people are fighting hard. It's a high scoring regatta but I'll keep on fighting.”

Cornish drops from third to fifth after a bad second race. “It was a day of two halves. To sum the week up in one word it's been difficult. The breeze has been far from simple. The gains have come in from the sides, so you really have to make sure you are 100 per cent aware of what is going to happen next. And I definitely wasn't aware in the last race, but you can't get it right all the time I guess.”

Of his expectations he said, “A top 10 would be a realistic finish for me. I finished just outside that in New Zealand at the Gold Cup and I was bit disappointed with that as I threw a bit away on the last day. I just want to put together a series that will leave me in touch with the front of the fleet.”

Also added to the mix today was the penultimate day of the US Olympic selection trials. Zach Railey (USA) and Caleb Paine (USA) were neck and neck and locked together all through Race 5, but after the discard came into effect, Paine had a ten points lead. Then in Race 6, Railey got the perfect start at the pin and looked to have the advantage.

However a poor second beat from him and a great one from Paine left them only a few boats apart at the final top mark. Then Railey got a yellow flag and on the last run they started jousting and it looked like something was going to happen. Railey then introduced a mark trap on Paine and prevented him from rounding letting about 50 boats sail past. By dragging Paine back through the fleet, Railey had forced them to both count their discards. This moved Railey back into a 10 point lead over Paine.

They ended up in the protest room so results are still provisional.

Overall leader Postma was happy to be in the lead but also mulling over the missed opportunities to be even further ahead. “It was super tricky, and very hard racing but it's going well. I am winning and my training partner Josh Junior is second, so I am very happy with that.”

On the final day he said, “In a 100 boat fleet you have a put in a good race again. You cannot play it safe. Of course I will keep an eye on which corner JJ [Junior] goes but there are other guys also in the hunt. I'll just try for a great start and play the beat and I'm looking forward to it.”

The championships will draw to close on Saturday with the final fleet race for everyone, with the warning signal time brought forward to 09.30 to make the best of the morning wind. When that has been sailed, the medal race for the top ten will be sailed as soon as possible.

Published in Olympic

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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