Monday 18 November 2019

Annalise Murphy still ahead despite mixed day

Ireland's Annalise Murphy competes during race 5 of the women's laser radial class in Weymouth yesterday
Ireland's Annalise Murphy competes during race 5 of the women's laser radial class in Weymouth yesterday

James Hall

After two days of four consecutive race wins, Annalise Murphy's Olympic regatta took on less epic form yesterday when her run of victories came to an end.

The Dun Laoghaire sailor still holds the overall lead in the Laser Radial class, but her advantage has been whittled down to just two points by Belgian world No 1 Evi Van Acker.

Murphy placed eighth in yesterday's opening race in the 41-strong fleet, which was still a strong result.

However, in the sixth race of the series that followed, she was caught out by the changeable wind conditions and she placed mid-fleet by the end of the 60-minute race.

The event discard is now in force meaning she can discard the 19th place, but has to now count the eighth in addition to her four straight race wins.

Although Murphy started the race well, the first leg of the course involves zig-zagging into the wind.

She selected the left-hand side of the the zig-zag, while many of the others opted for the right-hand side.

The wind shifted direction early on in this leg that favoured the right-hand side and left Murphy with a longer distance to sail, so she dropped down the standings.

discarded

The Irish sailor wasn't alone in having a bad race and others such as Britain's Alison Young placed 11th, her worst result that was discarded.

As the class takes a one-day break today, Murphy can still regard the event so far as a success given that she is on course for a realistic chance at making the podium.

Racing resumes tomorrow with two more races and the same again on Saturday that will end the fleet series. She is currently first overall and is well inside the medal race final criteria.

While Van Acker is close in second overall, current world champion Marit Boumeester from the Netherlands is just seven points behind her in third with Young fourth and China Lijia Xu in fifth, completing the front line contenders.

Meanwhile, Ireland's 49er skiff pairing of Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern had their worst day of the series so far, scoring a 12th place and discarding a 19th that saw them fall from sixth overall to ninth. The pair have a single race today with three tomorrow, as their series comprises 15 races of much shorter duration than the other classes.

In the Laser Men's single-hander, James Espey slipped in performance again and lies 45th overall out of 49 boats.

In other news, Star class sailors Peter O'Leary and David Burrows return to racing after a rest day yesterday and must score top five or six places in today's two races if they are to keep their medal hopes alive.

The make or break day comes after a disappointing show by the pair on Tuesday when they placed outside the top 10 in their 16-boat class.

Irish Independent

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