Young sailor making her mark

February 4, 2011

The UCD student, who turned 21 on Monday, is now ranked ninth in the world in the Laser Radial class after finishing just outside the medals last Saturday in the latest round of the International Sailing Federation’s (ISAF) World Cup in Miami, Florida.

Murphy learned to sail on Dublin Bay, so her result is being hailed as a model for others to follow.

In the nine-race event on Biscayne Bay, the National Yacht club member, who has her eye on London 2012, posted a string of consistent results that never saw her out of the top-five overall to finish fourth in her 70-boat fleet.

But the ISAF cup result is only the latest in a series of top finishes in her full-time Olympic campaign. This time last year there were wins in Brisbane and Melbourne confirming the science student’s results as the top women’s achievement in a decade.

In July 2009, she became the first Irish sailor to win a Europa Cup event in 13 years. She topped out a 76-boat fleet in the Dutch venue of Hoorn. The next month, in Japan, at her first world championship as a senior, she lifted the under-21 world title. That event will be remembered for the domination of Finland’s Sari Multala (who was not in Miami), but apart from the Finn’s unbeatable score-line of five wins, one of the most notable achievements was the steadily improving performance into the top-10 by Murphy.

The achievement is all the more satisfying because it gives organisers of April’s giant Youth Nationals the opportunity to point to the international results as evidence of the potential of Irish competitors.

Dublin Bay plays host to the ISAF World Youth Championships next year, and the ambition is not just to stage the event but to win a medal on home waters too.

As part of the build up to that, Dún Laoghaire clubs have combined to create an exciting youth championship for this year’s Easter holidays. The ISA and RSGYC are bringing together the two major youth championships of the Irish calendar, the Nationals and the Youth Championships, into the four-day ISA Youth National Championships.

Three-hundred sailors from around the country are expected to compete for the six national titles. Racing for the boys and girls titles will be over three courses on Dublin Bay for the 420, Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, Topper, Feva and Optimist classes. The final leg of the Optimist Trials will also take place at the same time.

With interest already from overseas competitors, a number of top international sailors have been invited to compete against the best home talent to raise the level of competition in advance of 2012.



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