Annalise Murphy once again the headline act in ‘champagne’ conditions

Irish star’s advantage still comes largely from her edge in fresh to strong conditions

Annalise Murphy in action yesterday. ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Annalise Murphy in action yesterday. ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan


Dublin Bay was in exceptional form yesterday as the Laser European Championship passed the halfway mark and ended the qualification rounds. Despite a two and a half hour delay to racing due to a dense fog bank during the late morning, the event programme remained on course.

Amid true “champagne sailing” conditions of a fresh breeze and clear skies, Annalise Murphy once again was the headline act as she powered away in the Laser Radial Yellow flight to win two bullets.

The National Yacht Club sailor easily tops her flight counting all race wins now while her single discard is currently being used for a second place.

But today sees her event and hopes for a European championship title in home step up a gear as the top sailors from the two Radial flights are merged.

Watching consecutive runaway leads on the water may seem impressive but Murphy’s advantage still comes largely from her edge in fresh to strong conditions.

So far in Dún Laoghaire, winds have barely touched the fresh end of the scale, mostly during the gusts which have been enough to make the difference.

But yesterday’s summer conditions saw a sea breeze effect on the bay which had plenty of lulls and shifts that caught the unwary off-guard.

Lighter conditions on any of the remaining three days of races will see a levelling of sorts among the leaders in Murphy’s event.

In a way, this would be no bad thing because a full range of wind conditions means a truer test of the eventual winners. And a win for the Rathfarnham with some light-airs races would also be an indicator of her progress towards all-round consistency whatever the weather.

The notoriously light-airs venue of Rio, venue for the next Olympics in 2016, will pose such a test.

Expected wind-shift
Racing on the same course yesterday, Baltimore Sailing Club’s Fionn Lyden came a cropper in the second race when he was caught out on the wrong side of the course expecting a wind-shift that failed to materialise.

He placed 20th for that race which he discarded and despite winning the earlier race of the day, he slipped from the overall lead of the Men’s Radial event as Australia’s Tristan Brown won both races in his flight to lead the class by a point.

Nevertheless, Lyden is still best of the Under-21 sailors while the National NYC’s Finn Lynch is also sailing well, discarding a 10th yesterday in the race that Lyden won before going on to win the race the west Cork sailor discarded. Like the women’s Radial event, a finely balanced leaderboard by Friday’s final is certain.

Meanwhile, in the Men’s Standard Rig where a fleet of 124 boats was split into three flights that now become Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets, Sweden’s Jesper Stålheim proved he was able to withstand five-times Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt.

The Brazilian was beaten in both races yesterday by Stålheim who leads the fleet narrowly from Scheidt going into today’s first Gold fleet race.