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A very sold performance from Cork-Dublin pairing Peter O'Leary and David Burrows has produced second overall at the halfway stage of the Olympic Test event in Weymouth today.  The pair are racing in a 21-boat fleet, a fleet size that will be reduced to 16 for the Olympic regatta next year.

World Number 1 Star duo Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada had, by their standards, a bad day at office finishing second in Race 5 and ninth in Race 6. But with the discard coming into play they discard their ninth place and continue to lead on seven points. O’Leary and Burrows had a good day placing first in Race 5 and third in Race 6, working their way up from 11th at the first mark in race six.

O'Leary/Burrows move to second overall and Poland’s Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki are third on 19 points. Canada’s Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn won Race 6 and with 40 points they sit in ninth place.

The Laser and 470 were on a lay day today.

The Star rests tomorrow and it's back to business for second overall Annalise Murphy in the Laser radial and Ger Owens and Scott Flannigan in the 470.

Published in Olympics 2012
Ireland's top Olympic crews are in the hunt for medals in two classes at the halfway stage of the Olympic Test Event in Weymouth. After two days of competition and a shaky start Annalise Murphy has shot back up the leaderboard with results of  15, 2 5 3 1 to give the National Yacht Club sailor second overall, just one point ahead of rivals Krystal Weir (AUS) and Evi Van Acker of Belgium.

In the Star class, Peter O'Leary and David Burrows are third after four races in the 21–boat keelboat class.

470 veteran Gerbil Owens sailing with Scott Flanigan got off to a flyer at the test event in Weymouth. Scoring a 10th and a 5th on Friday racing the pairing lay in 7th overall but have dropped back to 17th after further rounds at the weekend.

Blustery winds ranging from 19-24 knots welcomed the sailors on the sixth day of sailing at the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta, the Olympic Test Event.

And it was the Australians that excelled throughout the day as Tom Slingsby took the lead in the Laser, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen went ahead in the 49er and Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page notched up double bullets.

Belcher and Page put their poor start to the regatta behind them as they won both of their races to move up to second overall in the Men’s 470. After the first four races of the regatta the Men’s 470 ISAF Sailing World Cup title holders had a card of 12-11-10-2 and were down by a considerable margin to leaders Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos (FRA). But they found their way on the third day of 470 sailing to stay in contention. Belcher said, “It was nice to be racing inside the harbour and to have that experience again. It felt more like our boat today. It felt normal. We settled down a little bit and we are getting used to the Olympic course.”

Overnight leaders Leboucher and Garos (FRA) remain in the lead after they maintained their consistency from the opening two days of racing. They came second in Race 5 and discarded their ninth in Race 6. They lead on 13 points with the Australians in second on 25 points and Japan’s Tetsuya Matsunaga and Kimihiko Imamura are third on 28 points.

In the Women’s 470 Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) continue to lead after a steady day on the water. The Brits discarded their eighth in Race 5 before coming second in Race 6 to end the day on 14 points. Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JPN) won Race 5 and came fourth in Race 6 to move from fifth to second overall on 24 points. Gil Cohen and Vered Bouskila (ISR) won Race 6 and jump up to third place.

Outteridge and Jensen (AUS) swapped places with Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez (ESP) in the 49er after the Australians recorded their third bullet of the regatta in Race 6. The Australians came fifth in Race 4 and seventh in Race 5 before winning Race 6 by six seconds ahead of Gianfranco Sibello and Pietro Sibello (ITA). On their day Outteridge said, “It was really good for us today. It was really windy and a bit shifty but the flat water was great. We had a shocker in Race 4 but that was down to me as I had a swim. We ended fifth because of that. But it didn’t hurt us too much as the Spanish had two swims.”

Outteridge and Jensen lead on 15 points with the Spaniards, who won Race 4, second on 18 points. Race 5 winners Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) are third on 21 points after finishing third in the days other two races.

Australia were once again at the top of the podium in the Laser as ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Tom Slingsby (AUS) put in another strong performance. The World #1 came ahead of Rutger Van Schaardenburg (NED) by six seconds in Race 5 but the Dutchman hit back in Race 6 taking a comfortable 31 second victory. Overnight leader Andrew Murdoch (NZL) went 11-4 to slip to second trailing Slingsby by eight points and Van Schaardenburg’s 2-1 moved him from eighth to third overall on 25 points.

World #1 Laser Radial sailor Marit Bouwmeester (NED) continued her fantastic regatta with her third race win and a second. With eight points she leads Annalise Murphy, in second on 26 points, and Krystal Weir (AUS), on 27 points, in third.

Pieter Jan Postma (NED) relished the windy conditions on the Weymouth Bay West course to pick up two convincing race wins in the Finn. The Dutchman won Race 3 by 52 seconds and Race 4 by 16 seconds and is third overall on 17 points. Ben Ainslie (GBR) continues to lead on 14 points despite a 6-5 with Jonathan Lobert (FRA) in second on 14 points. Ainslie maintains his lead after his win in Race 2 but with the discard coming into play tomorrow there may well be changes.

ISAF Sailing World Cup Star title holders Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) once again showed they are the team to beat in the 21-boat Star fleet. The Brazilians went 1-2 to lead on five points. Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih (USA) won Race 4 but are seventh overall on 31 points.

The Brazilians nearest rivals are Poland’s Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki. The Polish Star sailors are on 19 points and have a long way to go to catch up with the Brazilians.

The Laser, Laser Radial and 470 enjoy a reserve day tomorrow but the 49er, Finn, RS:X and Stars continue racing. Places 5-8 in the Women’s Match Racing will also be decided tomorrow before Tuesday’s Semi Finals.

Published in Olympics 2012
Ireland's aim of a medal at the Olympic test event got off to a shaky start in Weymouth yesterday when the first of Ireland's six teams took to the water. Annalise Murphy posted a 22 and a 15 to place 18th overall in her 49-boat Laser radial fleet.

After a season of success for Murphy, Peter O'Leary and David Burrows in the Star keelboat and Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern in the 49er dinghy, the hope is that these medal results can be repeated in the smaller fleets of the Olympic test event itself, where only one boat per country is competing.

Ireland is also represented in Weymouth this morning by double Olympian Ger Owens and Scott Flannigan in the 470 dinghy, Ross Hamilton in the Finn and James Espey in the Laser.

Evi Van Acker (BEL) leads the Laser Radial fleet on seven points after recording a card of 3-4. The World #1 Belgian leads Marit Bouwmeester (NED) by five points after the Dutch girl came ninth in Race 1 and third in Race 2. Throughout the ISAF Sailing World Cup there was little separating Van Acker and Bouwmeester as the Dutch girl pipped the Belgian to the Laser Radial title by one point. With plenty of racing remaining the battle between the two is sure to continue.

Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR) won the first race of the day in a tight battle with Charlotte Dobson (GBR) and Van Acker (BEL) which saw just five seconds separate the top three. The Belarusian is ninth on 24 points. The second race win went to Finland's Sari Multala who is seventh on 20 points.

Today sees the start of fleet racing for the 49er, Star and Finn fleets as well as the continuation of the Men's and Women's RS:X, Men's and Women's 470, Laser and Laser Radial.

Published in Olympics 2012
Olympic kayaker Eoin Rheinisch was back in action in Spain recently after an operation last year.
The Irish Times reports that Rheinisch, who had surgery on his left shoulder last November, placed 34th in the canoe slalom European Championships at Seu d’Urgell.
The Kildare native confirmed that his fitness has not fully returned, but is getting better "day by day".
"The real goal is to get the high-intensity fitness back,” he said,
Rheinisch has four more evens on the calendar before the World Championships and Olympic qualifiers in Slovakia this September.

Olympic kayaker Eoin Rheinisch was back in canoe action in Spain recently for the first time after a shoulder operation last year.

The Irish Times reports that Rheinisch, who had surgery on his left shoulder last November, placed 34th in the canoe slalom European Championships at Seu d’Urgell.

The Kildare native confirmed that his fitness has not fully returned, but is getting better "day by day".

"The real goal is to get the high-intensity fitness back,” he said.

Rheinisch has four more events on the calendar before the World Championships and Olympic qualifiers in Slovakia this September.

Published in Canoeing

A shaky penultimate day for Ireland's top performers at the Sail for Gold Regatta sees only Annalise Murphy in medal contention after a 'black flag'  penalty cost Peter O'Leary and David Burrows a place in tomorrow morning's medal race.

Murphy, counted her fifth win of the series today to keep third overall and confirm her place in tomorrow's medal race. The Dun Laoghaire single-hander will find it hard to improve on her third overall but in theory she could move up one but she could also still slip out of the medals – as far back as sixth – if tomorrow's race does not go to plan.

Published in Olympics 2012
Tagged under

Another win yesterday to bring the tally to four race wins this week means Annalise Murphy stays in contention for overall honours in the closing stages of the Olympic classes Sail for Gold regatta today and tomorrow. The Dun Laoghaire single-hander is placed third overall in Weymouth.

Ireland's other medal contenders Peter O'Leary and David Burrows slipped back slightly yesterday in the Star keelboat class with two mid-fleet positons and are eighth overall.

A relative calm descended on Weymouth Bay this morning, after the battering from the day before. But there was no less tension or aggression in the racing in Day Four of Skandia Sail for Gold, as the fleets moved into the endgame. The bigger fleets were split into gold and silver fleets for the penultimate two days of racing, before the decisive medal races on Saturday.

In the Laser Radials, Murphy slipped back from her overnight lead to third, after a 13th in the first race, but she wasn't raising the white flag and came back with a win in the second and final race of the day. It was Evi van Acker who posted the best performance of the leading group to go to the top of the table. ISAF Sailing World Cup leader, the Netherland's Marit Bouwmeester remains in second, but now only a point off the lead.

In the Stars, Brazil's multiple Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt and his crew Bruno Prada saw their five point lead over Sweden's Freddy Loof and Max Salminen cut to a single point. Loof and Salminen posted scores of 4, 1 and 2, and Scheidt had to pull out all the stops to win the last race from the charging Swedes and hold onto his overall lead. Poland's Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki remained steady in third, but 15 points off the lead.

In the 470 Men the overnight leaders, Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) and the third-placed French team of Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos swopped places, moving around the static, second placed Anton Dahlberg and Sebastian Ostling (SWE). Leboucher and Garos now hold a four point lead from Dahlberg and Ostling, with the Australians another five points adrift.

The Kiwi women, Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie owned the Women's 470 course today with a superb couple of victories that took them past the British pairing of Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark and into the lead. The Brits had their worst day so far with a 16th and an eighth, but held onto second ahead of the Israelis Gil Cohen and Vered Bouskila.

The Gold 49er fleet managed to get in four races and it was the Australian World Champions, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen who turned on the style with two firsts, a fourth and a sixth to take the overall lead. The overnight leaders, Italy's Sibello brothers could post nothing better than an eighth and slipped back to fourth. Skandia Team GBR's John Pink and Rick Peacock held onto second, with France's Stephane Christidis and Peter Hansen moving up from fifth to third.

In the Laser Men the Gold fleet did two races and Britain's overnight leader Nick Thompson had a day he will want to forget with a 32nd and 34th to drop all the way back to ninth. It was left to Australia's World Champion Tom Slingsby to move up to the lead after posting a super consistent 1, 3. Kiwi Andrew Murdoch also had a good day with a first and a fourth and is now just six points behind the leader.  Dutchman Rutger van Schaardenburg is in third, another nine points behind.

It was all change again on the RS:X Mens race course, New Zealand's Jp Tobin and Dutchman Dorian van Rijsselberge both moved back above overnight leader Nick Dempsey (GBR), who slipped back into third. The leading group have a ten point cushion to fourth placed Przemek Miarczynski (POL).

In the RS:X Women, it was Spain's Marina Alabau who mastered the tricky conditions, posting a third and a first to slide past Lee Korzits of Israel and into the lead. Alabau now has a four point lead going into the final day ahead of the medal race split. Zofia Klepacka remained in third nine points behind Korzits.

The Women's Match Racing had a lot of catching up to do after the strong wind and waves curtailed yesterday's racing. It meant an early start and a late finish. The Gold Group was completed along with the Repecharge Round Robin, and so we know tomorrow's quarter final pairs. The Gold Group winners, Sally Barkow, Elizabeth Kratizig-Burnham and Alana O'Reilly from the USA will race against Silja Lehtinen, Silja Kanerva and Mikaela Wulff (FIN). Next up, it will be the second placed team in the Gold Group, Australia's Nicky Souter, Jessica Eastwell and Lucinda Witty to sail against Claire Leroy, Elodie Bertrand and Marie Riou (FRA). Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vendemoer and Debbie Capozzi (USA) were third in the Gold Group and will sail against France's Anne-claire Le Berre, Alice Ponsar and Myrtille Ponge. And that leaves Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor (GBR) against the Netherlands' Mandy Mulder, Annemieke Bes and Merel Witteveen.

The Finn class saw Britain's triple Olympic gold medallist, Ben Ainslie increase his lead over compatriot Giles Scott to 13 points -  despite recording what for Ainslie was an average day's scores of 1, 6, 4. Scott could only manage a 2, 4 and 9 but that was enough to move him from a tie with third placed Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic to a single point lead.

The 2.4mR's raced first on the Paralympic courses, and the leading pair overnight both had an average day. But it was Damien Seguin (FRA) who got the better of his Dutch rival, Thierry Schmitter to snatch the overall lead, while Paul Tingley had a solid day (3, 4) to move up into third and onto the podium ahead of their final day tomorrow.

The SKUDs and Sonars took their turn on the Paralympic course in the afternoon, and the former in particular had some serious sailing to do to catch up with their schedule. So it was well into the evening by the time the SKUDs completed their third race. It was Australia's Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch that showed everyone the way home with three straight bullets. They extended their overall lead to four points ahead of Britain's Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell. Jamie Dunross and Rachael Cox (AUS) remain in third, a further five points behind.

The Sonars also raced three today, and were also out there late – Britain's John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas didn't have a particularly good day with a 5, 8, and 1, but they did enough to hold off the Dutch and French, tied in second. Udo Hessels Marcel van Veen and Mischa Rossen are now four points adrift, tied with the French team of Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont Vicary – all to play for on the final day of racing tomorrow on the Paralympic course.

Racing continues at Skandia Sail for Gold until Saturday. For more information on the event please visit http://www.skandiasailforgoldregatta.co.uk/2011 or follow us on our Facebook page

Course Tracking: You can follow the tracking on the event website, www.skandiasailforgoldregatta.co.uk For Smart Phone users please visit www.mobile.tractrac.com

Quotes of the Day

Nathan Outteridge (AUS) - 49er
World Champion and overall leader
It's been really nice, around 14-19 knots for most of the day. There have been little shifts but it's mainly just great speed and handling and being on the right side of the shifts. It's always a mix when we sail here in Weymouth, we've been here the last three years and every year has been something different so the weather is not unsurprising, you just get all the conditions which is good.
Every World Cup event this year is a selection event for us. To get selected we actually have to win one of those regattas. If you win the regatta you are selected for the Olympic team but, if two teams both win an event each it then becomes a subjective decision based on a year or two years' worth of results. We came second at the Delta Lloyd regatta in Holland so we are trying to win this event to try and get the selection out of the way. But, we are just focusing, trying to be consistent and sail well.

Olivia Powrie (NZL) - 470 Woman
Overall leaders
It's been a pretty good day, with good conditions on the water and quite exciting. Pretty good breeze and the waves got a bit bigger as the tides turned. It's been a little bit mixed, probably windier if anything but it's good, we like a breeze to sail in. It's actually pretty similar to sailing back home in New Zealand, the water, the breeze but a much better venue; it's such a good set-up. This is our third year here, so we are getting the hang of it more and more I guess. It's quite tricky; there are a lot of different factors at play so it does make it a bit difficult. I think the 470 class is quite close at the moment, there always seems to be someone new at the regatta and you never quite know who's going to be up there so always exciting.

Vincent Garos (FRA) - 470 Men
Overall leaders
We had strong winds again today so it was hard conditions and very physical. We were very happy with the first race of the day because we won. In the second race we had a lot of pressure on us and we tried to do our best but we had a very bad start and finished 13th.
We are still very happy with where we are overall because tomorrow is the last day before the medal race and we are in the first position. We will have to keep working hard for the rest of the regatta and try to win - we won last year and would love to win again.

Evi Van Acker (BEL) - Laser Radial
Overall leaders
I am feeling pretty good. It has been a great week, with great conditions. It has been pretty windy most of the time mostly from the south-west which I think suits me. We are sailing on a different course to last year and the wind is steadier, we have big waves and it has just been fun sailing. I have managed to do well and sail consistently, I haven't made many big mistakes, a few little ones, but I think that's why I am at the front.
It is pretty cold here this week but in these wind conditions you can't complain! It has been great sailing. I think a few years ago there were just a handful of really competitive girls in this fleet but I think it has become broader and broader, more like the Laser Standard. Depending on the conditions there are different girls that are doing well.
The Irish girl Annalise is going very fast, faster than all of us. She is the one to beat when the winds are strong. Marit from the Netherlands is another who has been sailing really well and is so consistent, and then Sari from Finland really knows how to perform when the pressure is on. We have two days left to go, and I think lighter winds tomorrow, so it is still going to be a tricky regatta.

Rick Peacock (GBR) - 49er
Second overall
Today was a good day for us, there was a good bit of breeze... thought we did ok – we had some good counters and managed to get some top fives so we are happy with that. We spent a lot of time here during the last month which I think has been key to getting used to the conditions. It I think it has made a big difference and has made it a lot more natual to sail here. I wouldn't say it is extra pressure this week but certainly all the talent is here and everyone is raising their game and looking pretty good. It is great competition.

Ben Ainslie (GBR) – Finn
Olympic champion and overall leader
It was a mixed day, we had three races in tough conditions out there and to cap it all off you then have a very long sail back to the harbour, so I'm looking forward to getting some rest. I won the first race but I made a few mistakes in the second two races. I didn't pick the right side on the first beat and I had to battle back and fortunately I did a pretty good job of that. It's hard out there. It has been a very difficult course because it's quite tidal. Overall, I had a good day and with regards to the nearest competition I'm reasonably happy. We've got two more races tomorrow and then the medal race so things are certainly starting to get into the money end of the regatta.

Leonard Ong (SIN) – RS:X Men
Silver fleet
It is really windy here, but the sailing is great – not too choppy and the waves aren't too big so great for sailing. This is my second time in Weymouth and I always enjoy it. For a lot of the sailors here they are looking towards 2012, I am not at that standard but I am definitely looking at 2016 and I know a lot of the other guys here will be too. I am just taking this opportunity to prepare as much as possible and it is great to compete against this standard of sailors. I really admire the Korean sailor (Taehoon Lee), and the sailors like Nick Dempsey (GBR) and Tom Ashley (NZL). Those guys have been doing this for a long time and they are great to watch and learn from.

Provisional Results Day 4: Thursday 9th June

49er  After 10 Races
1. AUS 2- OUTTERIDGE Nathan / JENSEN Iain (34pts)
2. GBR 8- PINK John / PEACOCK Richard (44pts)
3. FRA 4- CHRISTIDIS Stephane / HANSEN Peter (47pts)

470 WOMEN  After 8 Races
1. NZL 75- ALEH Jo / POWRIE Olivia (33pts)
2. GBR 847- MILLS Hannah / CLARK Saskia (43pts)
2. ISR 311- COHEN Gill / BOUSKILA Vered (49pts)

470 MEN  After 8 Races
1. FRA 44- PIERRE Leboucher / VINCENT Garos (26pts)
2. SWE 346- DAHLBERG Anton / OSTLING Sebastian (30pts)
3. AUS 11- BELCHER Matthews / PAGE Malcolm (35pts)

FINN  After 8 races
1. GBR 3- AINSLIE Ben (16pts)
2. GBR 41- SCOTT Giles (29pts)
3. CRO 524- KLJAKOVIC GASPIC Ivan (30pts)

LASER  After 8 Races
1.. AUS 197541- SLINGSBY Tom (18pts)
2. NZL 199218- MURDOCH Andrew (24pts)
3.. NED 192625- VAN SCHAARDENBURG Rutger (33pts)

LASER RADIAL  After 8 Races
1. BEL 197514 VAN ACKER Evi (20pts)
2. NED 200444- BOUWMEESTER Marit (21pts)
3. IRL 199417- MURPHY Annalise (23pts)

STAR  After 8 Races
1. BRA 8255- SCHEIDT Robert / PRADA Bruno (21pts)
2. SWE 8450- LOOF Fredrik /  SALMINEN Max (21pts)
3. POL 8417- KUSZNIEREWICZ Mateusz / ZYCKI Dominik (35pts)

SKUD 18  After 6 Races
1. AUS 47- FITZGIBBON Daniel / TESCH Liesl (6pts)
2. GBR 45- RICKMAN Alexandra / BIRRELL Niki (10pts)
3. AUS 52- DUNROSS Jamie / COX Rachael (15pts)

SONAR  After 8 Races
1. GBR 748- ROBERTSON John / STODEL Hannah / THOMAS Steve (15pts)
2. NED 688- HESSELS Udo / VAN VEEN Marcel/ ROSSEB Mischa (19pts)
3. FRA 840- JOURDREN Bruno / FLAGEUL Eric (19pts)

2.4mR  After 7 Races
1. FRA 13- SEGUIN Damien (15pts)
2. NED 12- SCHMITTER Thierry (18pts)
3. CAN 99- TINGLEY Paul (19pts)

RS:X MEN  After 8 Races
1. NZL 151- TOBIN  JP (17pts)
2. NED 8- VAN RIJSSELBERGE Dorian (20pts)
3. GBR 1- DEMPSEY Nick (20pts)

RS:X WOMEN  After 8 Races
1. ESP 5- ALBAU Marina (16pts)
2. ISR 111- KORZITS Lee (20pts)
3. POL 8- KLEPACKA Zofia (29pts)

MATCH RACING
Gold Group Round Robin
USABarkow / Kratizig-Burnham / O'Reilly 5-0
AUS Souter / Curtis / Price 3-2
USA Tunnicliffe / Vandemoer / Capozzi 3-2
GBR Macgregor / Lush / Macgregor 2-3
NED Mulder / Bes / Witteveen 2-3
FRA Le Berre / Ponsar / Ponge 0-5
Repecharge Round Robin: The following two teams qualified for quarter finals
FRA Leroy / Bertrand / Riou 4-1
FIN Lehtinen / Kanerva / Wulff 4-1

Published in Olympics 2012

It's never easy stepping back in to a boat and finding your competitive edge again. It's even harder if it happens to be an Olympic class. On coming ashore after another windy Star race at the Skandia Sail for Gold regatta yesterday, Dun Laoghaire's Max Treacy concedes he 'never really expected to win the Irish Star keelboat trials this time around'. So far the Royal St. George pair have struggled to break in to the top half of the fleet.

Treacy and Peter O'Leary squared up for the right to represent Ireland next July at the Olympic Regatta in Weymouth but after winning the first trial in Holland ten days ago O'Leary has extended his lead this week.

Treacy, who has clocked up 12 years experience in the class and some impressive international results, says exam pressure kept him off the water this year. Together with his crew Anthony Shanks, the pair are now looking forward to the Star European championships on Dublin Bay in September, the 100th anniversary year for the class and the first time the Olympic keelboat has ever raced in Ireland.

 

Published in Olympics 2012

Winds are dropping and we're only at the half way stage of the Sail for Gold Regatta. There can be many a slip between lip and cup. Olympic team manager James O'Callaghan is right to be cautious but yesterday's news that Annalise Murphy produced two wins against the strongest Laser Radial fleet in the world (including a race winning margin of two minutes over the world champion) to lead Sail for Gold overall is a huge lift for Irish sailing.

Both Annalise and Peter O'Leary and David Burrows in the Star are well positioned going into the second half of the regatta lying first and fourth respectively. Agonisingly the 49er pairing of Ed Butler and Ben Lynch missed the cut for Gold fleet by one point yesterday.

Listen in to the rest of the conversation about the Irish team on a bad line from Weymouth...

Latest Irish Sail for Gold News here

Leave a comment for the team on Afloat's facebook page here

Published in Olympics 2012

In a sensational afternoon for Irish Olympic sailing in Weymouth, Irish Star and Radial sailors have moved to fourth and first overall at the halfway stage of the Sail for Gold Regatta following multiple races where winds reached 25 knots.

Annalise Murphy won both races in her 91-boat fleet and Peter O'Leary and David Burrows are two points off third overall after counting a seventh and fourth in their 41–boat fleet. More Irish team updates later.

The Laser Radials were out later than most but not as late as they are used to, sailing two races in tough conditions. It was a virtuoso performance from Ireland's Annalise Murphy, with straight bullets to take the overall lead. ISAF Sailing World Cup leader, the Netherland's Marit Bouwmeester was her ever-consistent-self in the breeze, adding another second and third (she got the same results yesterday) to her scoreline to hold second place. Overnight leader, Belgium's Evi van Acker slipped to third.

olearyandburrows

Peter O'Leary and David Burrows (8418) defend last year's title in blustery conditions yesterday. Photo: Onedition

Star and Finn were again sent out to course foxtrot – over five miles offshore – where there wasn't just the wind to contend with but a difficult sea state. The result was damage for some, including four of the Stars breaking their masts. None of the leading contenders suffered that fate, Freddy Loof and Max Salminen (SWE) relished the conditions with a 2,1 scoreline and moved up into second place behind double gold and silver Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt and his Brazilian partner Bruno Prada. Poland's Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki hold third. The race committee decided not to go for a third race due to the amount of kit breakages in the fleet.The forecasters didn't get the third day of Skandia Sail for Gold wrong, as Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour were battered by unseasonably strong winds. The Skud and 2.4m didn't make it off the dock, but the other 11 Olympic and Paralympic classes did, and took on conditions that were definitely 'top end'. The average wind speed on the breakwater read 25 knots throughout the day, with gusts up to 29 knots. There was damage to boats, broken masts and capsizes, stuff that you rarely see from the top Olympic sailors in the world. And it was the Brits who most relished the conditions, leading five of the 13 fleets as the sun began to set on a still windswept Weymouth Bay.

The only Paralympic class to race was the Sonar, and both contests were won by Skandia Team GBR's John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas, giving them the overall lead. The Dutch trio, Udo Hessels, Marcel Van Veen and Mischa Rossen stayed in second and the French team of Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont Vicary moved up one place into third.

The Match Racing schedule was badly disrupted, initially by boat damage and then by the close-to 30 knots gusts howling across the harbour. The gold fleet just managed to sail a handful of races, and it was Australia's Nicky Souter, Jessica Eastwell and Lucinda Witty, along with Sally Barkow, Elizabeth Kratizig-Burnham and Alana O'Reilly from the USA that kept a clean sheet. Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vendemoer and Debbie Capozzi (USA) and Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor (GBR) are level on one win and one loss each, while both the Netherlands' Mandy Mulder, Annemieke Bes and Merel Witteveen and France's Anne-claire Le Berre, Alice Ponsar and Myrtille Ponge are still looking for their first win.

It was the final day of heats for the 49ers, 470s, RS:X and Laser classes before they are spilt into gold and silver fleets. The 49ers waited till very late in the day in an attempt to equalise the number of races that the two flights had sailed but ultimately failed, leaving some of them with six race results and others with seven. The rules state that they go back to the last time they had an even number of races. And that left Italy's Sibello Brothers top of the heap, chased by Britain's John Pink and Rick Peacock, and then Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes.

The RS:X Men also sailed this morning, and got two races in before heading home for an early finish. It was Britain's Nick Dempsey that cleaned up with a phenomenal two wins, pushing him up from fifth to the top of the leaderboard. New Zealand's Jp Tobin could only manage a second and a fifth and slipped to second, with yesterday's star performer, Dutchman Dorian van Rijsselberge holding his third place.

By the afternoon the breeze was reaching its maximum and the RS:X Women had some spectacular sailing. It was Israel's Lee Korzits that had the best day with a first and a second, moving up from fourth to take the overall lead. Spain's Marina Alabau was displaced into second, with Poland's Zofia Klepacka moving up above Alabau's compatriot, Blanca Machon, and pushing the World Champion down into fourth.

Out on the 470 course they also enjoyed testing but exhilarating conditions. In the Men's fleet it was the 2010 World Champions, Australians Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page that had a stunning day in the breeze, scoring two bullets and driving straight to the top of the scoreboard. Overnight leaders, Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos (FRA) managed one win and a seventh and dropped to third, also passed by Anton Dahlberg and Sebastian Ostlin (SWE), up to second.

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) stayed at the top of the 470 women's leaderboard with a steady performance, scoring a fifth and sixth place. They have a ten point lead over Israel's Gil Cohen and Vered Bouskila. The pairing from Israel relished the strong winds picking up just four points with a third and first place. New Zealand's Jo Alep and Olivia Powrie climb up to third.

The Laser Men sailed two races early, and it was Netherland's Rutger van Schaardenburg with a first and second, and Britain's Nick Thompson with a first and third that dominated the racing today – the former moved up from third to second, but Thompson leap-frogged the Dutchman to go from fourth to the overall lead. The current world champion, Tom Slingsby is now in second.

Ben Ainslie (GBR) dominated in the Finn again winning both races on the outer race course. With five races now sailed Ainslie has discarded his seventh place, and is counting three firsts and a second. It is becoming a battle of the Brits for the top place in the Finn, as Giles Scott climbed up to second place with a strong performance in the breeze. Scott is now nine points adrift of Ainslie. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) lies third on equal points to Scott and first day leader Dan Slater (NZL) falls to fourth. The Finns were also sent in after completing just two of their planned three races, due to the strength of the winds and height of the waves.

Racing continues at Skandia Sail for Gold until Saturday. For more information on the event please visit http://www.skandiasailforgoldregatta.co.uk/2011 or follow us on our Facebook page

Course Tracking: You can follow the tracking on the event website, www.skandiasailforgoldregatta.co.uk For Smart Phone users please visit www.mobile.tractrac.com

Quotes of the Day

Pietro Sibello (ITA) - 49er
Overall Leader
So far so good for us. The 49er fleet is really competitive. The English team is really strong, they have five different teams who are sailing at a really high level and are pushing the rest of the fleet a lot. I think the Australian guys (Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen) are the other ones to look out for – they are the ones to beat. I am really looking forward to battling it out with them the rest of this week!
We are looking to spend as much time in Weymouth as possible; we will be here throughout the summer. It is important because the conditions change a lot here and the more time I spend here the stronger position I feel I will be in when it comes to our selection.

Malcolm Page (AUS) – 470
Olympic Champion and Overall Leader
The last few regatta's we competed in we seemed to make a habit of going for it full blow and going into the finals in first place, and then stuffing it up! We are improving everyday here but we just need to keep our form.
The real racing starts tomorrow, I am looking forward to the challenge of the gold fleet, there is nothing like competing against your biggest competitors and not watching them in the other fleets. I think it will make a big difference to the score card.

Blanca Manchon (ESP) - RS:X Women
World Champion
It was really windy in the first race today, almost 30 knots, and for me it wasn't very good. I had a bad second lap and lost a lot of places so that was disappointing but the last race was better. There was less wind and I finished fourth so I am happy with that. Tomorrow the fleets get divided into gold and silver and of course it is going to be difficult racing – we will just have to wait and see!
This is a really competitive fleet and there are about five girls who are really good and are all able to win here. The Israeli girl (Lee Korzits) is great in the strong winds, so if the conditions continue like this she would be really tough to beat.

Ben Ainslie (GBR) – Finn
Overall Leader and reigning Olympic Champion
It was hard work out there again today with very strong wind conditions on a tricky race course. I come back in from a day like today and my body is aching, but it's all about testing yourself so it is satisfying to get two good results.  I'm definitely better trained compared to last year's Skandia Sail for Gold, where I'd literally just got back into Finn sailing. We have worked hard technically on the boat and physically on my fitness so it's good to see that hard work paying off. I am happy with how things have gone so far but there is still a long way to go this week and hopefully the wind dies down a bit so it will be a little bit easier for us all.

Freddy Loof (SWE) - Star
Second overall
Today we had a good start and sailed well and consistently. It's rough, tricky and challenging sailing out there but it's good, I like it. We got it working really well and were fast downwind whereas yesterday we were not so good. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow; Weymouth is an awesome sailing venue to sail at and I prefer it to China, plus it's much closer to home!

Hannah Stodel (GBR) – Sonar
Overall Leader
What a day! It's been a long day but we are really pleased, we got two firsts which have put us out in front. We've had some great racing with two really windy days, there's been some pretty close racing a few crashes here and there but it's been good. The aim for the week is to just keep sailing well and put everything we have been training over the winter into practice.

Nick Dempsey (GBR) – RS:X
Overall Leader
It's been pretty nice conditions, sunny and windy and we had two cracking races this morning. I won them both which is really nice especially after a frustrating day yesterday. The first day was good but yesterday I made three major errors. I want to keep sailing well and get the points back I lost. The conditions have been gorgeous, you couldn't race in a better place and everyone's enjoying it and racing really hard. JP Tobin [NZL] and Dorian [NED] have both been sailing really well this week so it will be a close battle but a good one. But, I'm sailing faster than I've ever sailed before and I'm feeling really good so I will just keep trying my best.

Annalise Murphy (IRL) - Laser Radial
Overall Leader
This event is being used as the Irish selection trails; being the only Irish Laser Radial sailor it's not quite as important for me as it is the other girls so it takes a lot of pressure off me. It's really important to get used to the venue, being here you get a real idea of what it's going to be like. It's pretty scary that it's happening so soon but hopefully I can just be as prepared as possible for it. I'm just looking forward to going out racing each day and seeing what happens.

Nick Thompson (GBR) – Laser
Overall Leader
The first two days were pretty tough, getting in at 7.30 or 8 o'clock every day so it's a bit nicer to go out there and get the job done a lot quicker and get in a bit sooner.  We had good breeze, the same as yesterday, some really good breeze, and it's going well so far.
I'm not looking too much at the overall results at the moment, I'm just trying to take each race as it comes, but it's a good start which is what I need really.
I feel reasonably good – everyone's struggling a bit as it's been really, really tough conditions for the last three days.  I'm feeling OK but it's about going and getting maximum recovery now and make sure I am ready for tomorrow, and hopefully if it's breezy again I should be in good shape.
Pretty much everyone that's here racing is taking this event incredibly seriously – the game is raised quite a bit here and you can tell that people are feeling the pressure.  For myself it's about trying to not let that get to me and just trying to focus on each race as it comes and go from there.

Provisional Results Day 3: Wednesday 8th June

49er  After 6 Races
1. ITA 3- SIBELLO Pietro / SIBELLO Gianfranco (10pts)
2. GBR 8- PINK John / PEACOCK Richard (15pts)
3. GBR 7-MORRISON Stevie / RHODES Ben   (19pts)

470 WOMEN  After 6 Races
1. GBR 847- MILLS Hannah / CLARK Saskia (19pts)
2. ISR 311- COHEN Gill / BOUSKILA Vered (29pts)
3. NZL 75- ALEH Jo / POWRIE Olivia (31pts)

470 MEN  After 6 Races
1. AUS 11- BELCHER Matthews / PAGE Malcolm (12pts)
2. SWE 346- DAHLBERG Anton / OSTLING Sebastian (16pts)
3. FRA 44- LEBOUCHER Pierre / GAROS Vincent (18pts)

FINN  After 5 races
1. GBR 3- AINSLIE Ben (5pts)
2. GBR 41- SCOTT Giles (14pts)
3. CRO 524- KLJAKOVIC GASPIC Ivan (14pts)

LASER  After 6 Races
1.. GBR 198211- THOMPSON Nick (13pts)
2.. NED 192625- VAN SCHAARDENBURG Rutger (13pts)
3. AUS 197541- SLINGSBY Tom (14pts)

LASER RADIAL  After 6 Races
1. IRL 199417- MURPHY Annalise (9pts)
2. NED 200444- BOUWMEESTER Marit (12pts)
3. BEL 197514 VAN ACKER Evi (13pts)

STAR  After 5 Races
1. BRA 8255- SCHEIDT Robert / PRADA Bruno (8pts)
2. SWE 8450- LOOF Fredrik /  SALMINEN Max (14pts)
3. POL 8417- KUSZNIEREWICZ Mateusz / ZYCKI Dominik (15pts)

SKUD 18  After 3 Races
1. AUS 47- FITZGIBBON Daniel / TESCH Liesl (5pts)
2. GBR 45- RICKMAN Alexandra / BIRRELL Niki (7pts)
3. AUS 52- DUNROSS Jamie / COX Rachael (9pts)

SONAR  After 5 Races
1. GBR 748- ROBERTSON John / STODEL Hannah / THOMAS Steve (5pts)
2. NED 688- HESSELS Udo / VAN VEEN Marcel/ ROSSEB Mischa (9pts)
3. FRA 840- JOURDREN Bruno / FLAGEUL Eric (14pts)

2.4  After 4 Races
1. NED 12- SCHMITTER Thierry (10pts)
2. FRA 13- SEGUIN Damien (10pts)
3. NED 11- RADEMAKER Andre (16pts)

RS:X MEN  After 6 Races
1. GBR 1- DEMPSEY Nick (11pts)
2. NZL 151- TOBIN  JP (11pts)
3. NED 8- VAN RIJSSELBERGE Dorian (12pts)

RS:X WOMEN  After 6 Races
1. ISR 111- KORZITS Lee (9pts)
2. ESP 5- ALBAU Marina (12pts)
3. POL 8- KLEPACKA Zofia (15pts)

MATCH RACING
Gold Group Round Robin
USABarkow / Kratizig-Burnham / O'Reilly 2-0
AUS Souter / Curtis / Price 2-0
GBR Macgregor / Lush / Macgregor 1-1
USA Tunnicliffe / Vandemoer / Capozzi 1-1
FRA Le Berre / Ponsar / Ponge 0-2
NED Mulder / Bes / Witteveen 0-2

Published in Olympics 2012
Tagged under

The pressure might be off Annalise Murphy at the 2011 Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, but Afloat.ie's Sailor of the month for May, insists she isn't taking her foot off the pedal writes Ben Baker

While hundreds of other boats fight tooth and nail to get their foot in the door for a London 2012 place at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, Murphy can rest safe in the knowledge that she will be there as she is the only Irish representative in the Laser Radial class.

But despite ploughing a lonely furrow on England's south coast, the 21-year-old is making sure people sit up and take notice – sitting 15th overall with finishes of first, second and fourth to put a nightmare opening race placing of 33rd firmly behind her.

And with Sail for Gold taking place on the same waters as London 2012, Murphy is delighted to get some inside knowledge ahead of her biggest challenge in just over a year's time.

"This is the Irish trials but it's not so important for me because I'm the only one," said Murphy.
"It takes a lot of pressure of because, for most countries the national trials mean they are worrying about where the other people they are sailing against are in races.

"I don't have anything to worry about, I'm just going out and enjoying myself and not getting caught up in it.
"It's really important to get used to the venue and being here gives you an idea of what it is going to be like next year.

"It's pretty scary that they are happening so soon but hopefully I'll be as prepared as possible for it."

 


Published in Olympics 2012
Page 21 of 26

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