Update September 15th, 2014
Day 4 Update: ISAF Sailing World Championships and 2016 Olympic Qualifiers
No racing today Sept 15th for any of the Irish competitors due to lack of wind.
Update September 14th, 2014
Another day of light winds today (14 Sept.) at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander. Only a few fleets managed to race and, in some cases, competitors experienced delays of more than five hours before the decision was finally made to abandon racing.
James Espey made the most of his chance to compete. After two nervy starts by his fellow competitors – resulting in nine sailors’ disqualification for being over the start line early – the Gold fleet finally got underway on the third attempt. Espey was rewarded for his composure as the 4-8 knot breeze saw him strong off the start line and jostling for position in amongst the leaders. At the mid-point he was in 4th place but slipped a few places in the second half of the race to finish a respectable 10th. He now lies in 26th overall, an impressive climb from last night’s 40th position
The Laser Radial Gold fleet got their fifth race underway today at 15.50. Annalise Murphy’s gritty performance yesterday looked set to be repeated when she rounded the first mark in 9th place but such are the vagaries with the conditions she got caught out on the wrong side and ended up 37th. She is now lying 45th overall within the 60 boat fleet.
Racing was abandoned for the Laser Standard Bronze fleet at 18.30 having failed to start a race so Finn Lynch did not get to sail at all today.
Three new classes will begin racing tomorrow for the first time. Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern will be representing Ireland in the 49er class, and Andrea Brewster & Saskia Tidey will compete in the 49erFX while Ross Hamilton will take on the dinghy heavyweights in the Finn fleet.
Tomorrow will be a rest day for the Laser classes, however this may change given that they dropped a race today.
September 13th, 2014
Ireland’s James Espey yesterday (Sat) become the first sailor to qualify Ireland for the 2016 Olympics. Espey began competing on Friday at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander, Spain where 50% of the Rio Olympic places are being awarded. Only two days into the six-day regatta he qualified for the Gold fleet in the Laser Standard class. With 22 nations being represented in the Gold fleet but a total of 23 nation places available Espey has now guaranteed Ireland a spot in Rio 2016.
Today was an important day for the Irish Laser sailors competing at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander, Spain. James Espey, Annalise Murphy and Finn Lynch each had two fleet races to sail before the Gold, Silver and Bronze splits were decided for the remainder of the regatta.
The men’s Laser Standard Blue fleet had a general recall in Race 3 which delayed proceedings slightly. However a successful second attempt saw the 49 boats get a clear start over the line at 14.10. James Espey finished 33rd to sit comfortably in the top third of the 150 boat fleet in 38th. Finn Lynch finished 27th, 6 places ahead of Espey in this race moving him up to 100th overall.
Race 4 got underway at 17.15 and Espey had another solid performance. His 15th saw him climb to 40th overall and within the top 49 which qualified him for the Gold fleet and as only 22 nations will be represented in the Gold fleet Espey has now guaranteed Ireland a spot in Rio.
Finn Lynch finished 29th, dropped one place to 101st and will now compete within the Bronze fleet. He was unfortunate not to make the Silver fleet but nonetheless a great performance for his first effort at Olympic qualification in this hugely competitive fleet of 150 Lasers.
Race 3 got underway at 13.35 CEST for Annalise Murphy and the Laser Radial Blue fleet, in light conditions. On Friday Murphy struggled to get off the line, but yesterday she had a good start and was free to make good tactical decisions. Drastically improving on her previous performance, Murphy finished 9th to jump up the leader board from 86th to 58th.
The Laser Radial competitors then had a long and frustrating wait on the water as they watched the wind completely die off. An attempt at a second race was made at 14.55 but abandoned 15 minutes later when the wind dropped to 2 knots. At 17.15 the breeze filled in to between 7-10 knots and Race 4 finally got underway. Murphy got lucky with the wind filling and pulled in another top 10 result, finishing 7th to finish 41st overall in race 4 and guaranteeing her the all-important place in the top 60 boat Gold fleet to continue her nation qualification effort for a spot in Rio 2016
Racing continues for both Laser classes until the medal races on the 18th of September.