Murphy well placed to become Ireland's first winner of ISAF World Cup event


SAILING:Although Annalise Murphy lost her overall lead yesterday in Miami the Dubliner is starting very much as she means to continue on the road to Rio 2016. Already in the frame for tomorrow’s medal race, some consistent sailing over 10 races so far puts Murphy into contention for overall supremacy at the Miami Olympic classes regatta.

Yesterday Florida local Paige Railey, a four-time world Laser Radial champion, hit back at Murphy’s established lead with two first places to overtake the 22-year-old Dubliner by two nett points. Murphy finished second to Railey in both of yesterday’s races as the competition enters its closing stages.

No stranger to Floridian waters, having finished in the top ten on Biscayne Bay on both previous visits in the build-up to London 2012, Murphy has been revelling in this week’s medium and strong wind conditions, counting three races wins on her score sheet. The Dún Laoghaire single-hander was ninth in Miami in 2012 and fourth in 2011 and if she can maintain her consistency in the 20-knot conditions forecast for today and tomorrow she can produce Ireland’s first win at an ISAF World Cup event.

Miami is the second of four regattas included in the 2012-2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup, the fifth edition of the annual series for Olympic sailing.

Medal race climax

The Laser Radials are using an experimental scoring system this week. Sailors receive a bonus point for each race they win. The first fleet series standings were translated into a single race score for each competitor yesterday with Murphy second on four points and Railey leading on two points. Following a five-race final series that concludes this evening the top 10 sailors advance to a medal race climax on Saturday.

Britain saluted the performance of Alex Thomson who finished third in the non-stop Vendee Globe single-handed race round the world last Sunday. It’s an amazing story and one unlikely to be repeated here given Ireland’s effective ban on single-handed offshore racing.

In other offshore news, a serving member of An Garda Síochána, Conor O’Byrne, has launched his bid to compete in the next edition of the Clipper Round-The-World Yacht Race, an event that gives paying amateur crew members the chance to sail around the world.

The Irish Cruiser Racing Association is under way with a national crew training programme this spring but it might also take the lead from the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) that is delivering seminars across the UK to recruit more skippers to IRC handicap racing. It’s an effort to examine future opportunities for club cruiser racing at a local level.

RORC’s Mike Urwin said he aims to dispel some of the myths surrounding IRC, such as the idea it is only suitable for grand prix racers.

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