High costs may prohibit Annalise Murphy’s competition

Young contenders for Ireland’s Laser Radial Rio Olympic trail faced with €20,000 outlay

Annalise Murphy is competing at the Semaine Olympique Française this week in La Rochelle, France.

Annalise Murphy is competing at the Semaine Olympique Française this week in La Rochelle, France.

 

There may yet be a false dawn for Ireland’s Laser Radial Rio Olympic trial prospects because high campaign costs are a turn-off for several school girl contenders.

This week’s four boat Irish contest at La Rochelle may look like the first female shots fired for Rio but it remains unclear if any of the teenage sailors intend to stump up the significant outlay required for the chance to compete against Annalise Murphy.

Murphy (26) earned the single Olympic berth for Ireland at the ISAF qualifier in Santander a year ago and last month the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) ratified a globe trotting trials series that involves three transatlantic flights within four months.

Murphy blasted into the lead of the 37-boat French fleet on Tuesday in a heavy weather start of Semaine Olympique Francaise.

She would have extended that lead further were it not for a black flag penalty that has so far left the National Yacht Club helmswoman out of the top 10.

For once, Murphy is not entirely alone in her international fleet and is joined by three Irish sailors with eyes firmly fixed on 2020. Although Tokyo is the stated goal, one of them – Aisling Keller (18) from Lough Derg – triggered a trial for 2016 when she finished third this summer at the Under-21 Radial Women European Championships in Spain.

Yet to declare

Aoife HopkinsNicole Hemeryck

The ISA trials comprises a maximum of three regattas. 2015 Copa Brasil de Vela in Rio in December, the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami in January and the 2016 World Championships in Mexico next April but it comes with a hefty estimated price tag of €20,000 and no financial support possible through the ISA.

Although the tantalising prospect of a four- or even five-way trial is a first for Irish women’s sailing, costs may yet leave Murphy with a clear run for Rio.

Meanwhile, after two days of strong winds, there was little wind yesterday in La Rochelle and a late start. The Radial fleet is without some of its Olympic stars this week including any of the London 2012 medallists but there are still some significant players in attendance including fleet leader, the rising Danish Star Anne-Marie Rindom. After five races Murphy is 11, Hopkins of Howth YC is 26th, Keller 28th and Hemeryck 33rd.

The Irish mens Laser Olympic trial has been amended after consultation with the sailors. The 47 Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia in Mallorca replaces a trip to Miami in January. The Copa Brasil de Vela, 2016 in December and the 2016 Laser World Championships remain. Cork sailors Darragh O’Sullivan and Seafra Guilfoyle have ruled themselves out of the mens trials.

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