Annalise Murphy retains 15-point lead heading into final four races

Fionn Lyden slips to fifth place in Laser Radial Men’s event

Italy’s Giovanni Coocoluto and Francesco Marral in high seas at the Laser European  Championships in  Dun Laoghaire yesterday. Photograph: Eric Luke.

Italy’s Giovanni Coocoluto and Francesco Marral in high seas at the Laser European Championships in Dun Laoghaire yesterday. Photograph: Eric Luke.

Thu, Sep 5, 2013, 01:00

It’s the bay that keeps on giving. Dublin Bay again delivered superb conditions in terms of sunshine and breeze with just the right amount of shifts to keep competitors in the Laser European Championships on edge for the first two of six final races yesterday.

After the opening six qualification races from Sunday, the 300-plus fleet in three disciplines were split into their final groups. Gold and Silver fleets for all three plus a bronze division for the Men’s Standard rig that has 124 boats competing. Today’s penultimate races will be crucial for the final showdown tomorrow.

Topping the Womens Laser Radial event, Annalise Murphy delivered another two race wins in her Gold fleet yesterday that is now fully loaded with the best sailors from the qualification rounds including both runner-up medallists from London 2012.

The National Yacht Club sailor now enjoys a 15-point lead and effectively still has a race discard in hand as her second place from Monday is currently dropped from her score. Yet, even with four races remaining that lead could so easily be reversed and the bottom-line in the Murphy camp is that each race is taken, one at a time.

With the weather favouring her this week, a break in the Mediterranean-like conditions is due and today looks set to be that day with lighter conditions due. Tomorrow could be breezy once more but is likely to see visitors running for their fleeces that have barely been aired so far in this championship.

“The conditions aren’t that typical as its warm, sunny and windy with big waves from the south-east. It’s pretty rare really,” Murphy said yesterday.

“The first two days were more like Dublin Bay – really shifty – which I’m used to but also really enjoy because I know how it works. I was enjoying the racing but others were pretty confused.”

Yesterday’s results had little to do with boat speed she explained. Both races were decided by tactical calls on likely windshifts and in the first race, she came back from a poor start. As for the other sailors, “they think it’s windy all the time and are saying, ‘oh it’s really warm here in Ireland’ so I say it’s like this every day of the year – we have to try and fool them into thinking we get this great weather,” she joked.

Meanwhile, yesterday brought a change in fortunes for Baltimore Sailing Club’s Fionn Lyden in the Laser Radial Men’s event.

Having previously led the class, Australia’s Tristan Brown consolidated his lead with two race wins yesterday and like Murphy enjoys a 15 point advantage in his class.

Lyden slipped to fifth overall as he had a 23rd in the opening race of the Gold fleet yesterday which meant counting an earlier 20th place. The previous occupant of fifth was Finn Lynch of the National YC who moved into second overall thanks to a fifth and second yesterday.

In the Men’s Standard Rig event, Brazilian Robert Scheidt took over first place yesterday despite a 23rd in his opening Gold fleet result.