As winds gusted more than 25 knots, delivering a rolling seaway, Annalise Murphy surged ahead in the Laser Radial class in the Sail for Gold Regatta at the London 2012 Olympic Weymouth venue. The Dún Laoghaire single-handed sailor now leads her 91-boat class at the halfway stage.
Yesterday saw the single race discard come into force after the fifth race, allowing Murphy to drop her opening day’s 33rd place, scored late on Monday as winds dropped to light and flukey levels.
After recovering on Tuesday with a race win, second and fourth places, she won both races comfortably.
Ten days ago, in the previous World Cup of Sailing regatta in the Netherlands, she won five races in the heavy-air dominated event, but two disqualifications for early starting meant she did well to earn a place in the medal race final and placed 10th overall.
Yesterday’s high winds were as forecast and, almost predictably, Murphy took the lead to confirm her reputation in these conditions.
But what of lighter airs, could there be a concern that when the breeze drops, so too do her results? Not necessarily so, according to Irish team management in Weymouth.
Early in her preparations, she displayed clear ability in higher winds and rough seas, but this has now extended to conditions in the 15-20 knots range. She has also delivered top-10 results in lighter airs, under 10 knots as well.
Today’s forecast suggests the strongest winds of the regatta have now passed and the lighter conditions will test her on the Olympic race-grounds for next year will prove a useful indicator.
Meanwhile, among the other disciplines that have attracted 1,072 competitors to Weymouth, the Star class selection trials for the Irish squad saw Peter O’Leary and David Burrows extend their lead over Max Treacy and Anthony Shanks in this, the second and final trial event.
O’Leary and Burrows scored a consistent seventh and fourth place yesterday to leave the Cork/Dublin duo in fourth place overall in the 41-strong class.
Irish Times article by David Branigan, Sailing correspondent