Monday 26 September 2016

Knots landing delays Murphy medal bid

Published 16/08/2016 | 02:30

'Murphy has been nicknamed ‘Queen of the Breeze’ given her liking for sailing in strong winds.' Photo by David Branigan/Sportsfile
'Murphy has been nicknamed ‘Queen of the Breeze’ given her liking for sailing in strong winds.' Photo by David Branigan/Sportsfile

Annalise Murphy will go in search of Olympic glory this afternoon after the whimsical gusts of Rio's Marina de Gloria worked only mischief with the Olympic sailors yesterday.

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A day that couldn't summon any breeze stronger than a newborn's breath suddenly became a bellows just as the women's Laser Radials arrived into the mouth of Guanabara Bay. The sailors had spent three hours of an agonised wait onshore only for, in a matter of minutes on the water, the glassy calm to give way to a brown, churning froth.

Officials quickly deemed conditions dangerous and called a 24-hour postponement of the medal race.

It means that Murphy, currently in the bronze position, will get that medal if the race doesn't run today, albeit she remained adamant last night that that is not how she would choose to achieve her goal.

Just outside the medals in London, she has spent inordinate time and money familiarising herself with the course and is confident that she can fulfil her dream on the eccentric waters under Sugarloaf mountain.

Murphy has been nicknamed 'Queen of the Breeze' given her liking for sailing in strong winds and her sister, Claudine, expressed disappointment that they did not race on the disturbed water. "It's a shame because she could have destroyed them all there" she said.

Yet, the conditions that blew up so suddenly - a number of 49ers including the Irish boat of Saskia Tidey and Andrea Brewster even capsizing on their way back to shore - probably made racing impossible.

The medal race involves the ten best boats from a fleet of 36 and, with double points on offer, only the top five finishers today will be in the running for medals.

It meant another fretful night for Murphy. She is guaranteed at least bronze should she finish in that five today and the Irish girl will take gold if she beats Holland's Marit Boumeester by five places and manages to stay ahead of Belgium's Evi van Acker and Denmark's Ann-Marie Rindom.

"It was a long day but we kind of knew this could happen," said Annalise. "It's all part of the process of sailing. I'll get up tomorrow and get ready for what's ahead."

Meanwhile, today is the final day of racing in the men and women's skiff events that completed three races each on the ocean course areas.

London 2012 veterans Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern had two 13th places and a seventh to leave them seventh overall. They need a good day this afternoon if they are to be in contention for Thursday's medal race.

Currently inside the top ten cut-off, they trail third overall by 13 points so three strong results are needed.

Ireland's Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey are in a similar position if they want to actually break into the top ten for their medal race final. Currently 12th overall, they have a 21-point deficit to overcome to achieve this. As with the men's event, if light winds do force the cancellation of their races today, tomorrow is their final reserve day.

Irish Independent

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