Date clash sees Irish Olympic Laser trial move continent – to Australia

Murphy, Hopkins, Keller and McMahon head to World Championships in Melbourne

Annalise Murphy on her way to winning silver at the 2020 Sail Melbourne regatta last month. Photograph: Beau Outteridge.

Annalise Murphy on her way to winning silver at the 2020 Sail Melbourne regatta last month. Photograph: Beau Outteridge.

 

A date clash between regattas in Europe has led to a change of continent for the first Irish 2020 Olympic sailing trial. Four Irish sailors will now compete in Australia in the early stage of the Laser Radial trial, the only dinghy in which Ireland has qualified so far for the Tokyo regatta.

Olympic silver medallist Annalise Murphy, fresh from her silver medal at Sail Melbourne in January, Aoife Hopkins, Aisling Keller and Eve McMahon are due to start their trial for the single Olympic berth at the World Championships in Melbourne in the last week of February.

It’s been brought about following an April date clash between Italian and French regattas at Genoa (April 11th-19th) and Hyeres (April 18th-25th) respectively, which was not originally the case when the Irish trials series was set.

The 140-boat Radial World Championships at Sandringham Yacht Club, Port Phillip, will be the first event of three to decide who will represent Ireland. The other two trials regattas are the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma in March, and Hyeres Regatta in April.

The revised format for the trial was proposed by the Irish sailors themselves with mutual agreement, according to Team Director James O’Callaghan.

Meanwhile, British Sailing’s performance director Ian Walker has predicted a five-medal haul for Team GB – a sailing superpower – at this summer’s Games. It’s a team, of course, that includes Dun Laoghaire’s Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish Yacht Club who switched to sail for Team GB after Rio due to lack of opportunity at home.

In a recent podcast the boss of the UK’s Olympic sailing squad would not be drawn on what medals they would take home, nor in which class but the Royal Yachting Association expert did indicate that the team were capable of great things if conditions were windy.

Historical birthdays

With a summer of anniversary celebrations around the corner, plans are afoot in five different yacht clubs to mark significant historical birthdays this year. The oldest of them all, Royal Cork Yacht Club celebrates its tricentenary while Lough Ree Yacht Club will mark its Quarter Millennium this July with a Clinker fest regatta.

Lough Erne Yacht Club is staging its bicentenary at Enniskillen while in Dun Laoghaire, the National Yacht Club celebrates its sesquicentennial (150th). Howth Yacht Club’s 125th anniversary will be honoured during the second edition of the North Dublin club’s Wave Regatta at the end of May.

Swift progress on the revival of the Dublin Bay Twenty One class, the world’s oldest intact one-design keelboats, means they will be racing again under the burgee of Dublin Bay Sailing Club this summer.

The Club’s Hon Sec, Chris Moore has confirmed the vintage gaff-rigged class has been granted a racing start for 2020 Tuesday evening racing, starting this April. Initially, two 21s will race, then three, as the boat building project based in Kilrush on the Shannon Estuary completes the six-boat project. It is planned the restored boats will be welcomed back to the bay in a special DBSC gun salute at the start of the summer season.

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