Sunday 18 February 2018

Murphy wins first major championship

Sailing James Hall

After six days of intense competition on Dublin Bay, Annalise Murphy delivered her first major championship title when she won the Laser Radial Europeans on her home waters with friends and family on hand to witness the event.

Despite her excellent run of first places since last Sunday, there was little certainty of a successful outcome going into yesterday's triple race programme.

Even missing a podium place was theoretically possible and on bitter past experience Murphy was counting on absolutely nothing until the end.

The middle part of the series was her strongest, at least in weather terms as fresh and gusting conditions saw her tear away from the main of 45 boats, first in the qualification events and then in the Gold fleet series on Wednesday.

Much has been made of her windy-weather form in the past, given her run of outstanding race wins in such conditions.

However, even in more moderate winds, she displayed the ability to work her way back into the leading group to win or place within the top three or four boats.

Even yesterday's races had their heart-stopping moments as the London 2012 Olympian had to watch her nearest rivals for tactical match-races that could drop her down the fleet and use up her comfortable 17-point lead.

Marit Bouwmeester was by far the biggest threat after the 2012 Silver medallist from London steadily gained form and could easily have targeted her Irish counterpart in her sights.

However, the Dutch sailor was in turn watching Britain's Alison Young, who was the main threat to her grabbing a silver medal in Dun Laoghaire.

In the end, Murphy scored a third and a second place and finished the event with a flourish to win the 12th race.

Bouwmeester got her silver and Young took bronze.

Irish Independent

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