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Second Sailing Spot secured for Ireland to compete at Rio 2016 Olympic Regatta

Annalise Murphy has today (17 September) become the second sailor to qualify Ireland for the 2016 Olympics. Competing at the first Olympic Qualifier in Spain, Murphy has finished 20th overall from 120 boats and 16th nation. Only the top 19 nations, from a total of 58, earned their country the chance to compete at the Games in Brazil in two years’ time.

“I started the regatta pretty badly so it was difficult to back out on the second day and make Gold fleet. But I had a really good day and then continued to claw my way back up the fleet” commented Murphy. She went on to say “My primary goal for competing here was to win a medal but my secondary goal was to qualify the country. Unfortunately I didn’t quite reach my first goal but it’s great to have been able to qualify Ireland in the Laser Radial”.  Murphy will not be competing in the Medal Race tomorrow.

The 23 year old from Rathfarnham, who competes in the Laser Radial class, had a mixed performance at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander where 50% of the Olympic places were awarded. Her results ranged from a 5th to a 43rd in what were light conditions for the majority of the regatta. Today was the final day of racing and the final chance for Murphy to qualify. Overnight she was 28th and 21st nation so everything hinged on her performance in today’s scheduled three races.

The wind had arrived this morning averaging about 20 knots. With no room for error, Murphy advanced to the top of the fleet in the first race of the day and crossed the finish line in 13th place. This boosted her to 20th overall and 16th nation. Two further races had been scheduled but at 18.05 CEST the decision was made to cancel due to the lack of wind. Murphy will not be sailing in the Medal Race tomorrow

James O’Callaghan commented “While the overall result was not her best, you can’t but be impressed with the way Annalise fought back after a disastrous first day. We are delighted with nation qualification“.

There was a sense of déjà vu for Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern today. The skiff sailors had been reseeded to the 49er Yellow fleet but perfectly mimicked yesterday’s results; a 2nd and a 15th. One further race will have to be sailed tomorrow by the Blue fleet in order to make a qualifying series. At that time the overall positions will be known and the Gold and Silver fleet cut will be made.

The 20 knot breeze in the early afternoon caused plenty of drama for Ireland’s 49erFX pair. Andrea Brewster & Saskia Tidey broke their mast before the first race of the day had even begun. They raced ashore where real sportsmanship quickly became apparent. Team USA and fellow teammates Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern, as well as numerous others, rushed to their assistance. Within moments they had replaced their mast and were making their way back out to the race course. Within that time the race had been riddled with capsizes and was ultimately abandoned which meant no penalty for the girls.

The FX fleets then had one race a piece in the afternoon. Brewster & Tidey finished 14th and now lie 35th overall. They will have two more qualifying races tomorrow before they separate into Gold and Silver.

There was only one final fleet race today for James Espey and the Laser Standard Gold fleet. He finished 44th in Race 8 and 38th overall. Espey had already qualified Ireland for the 2016 Olympics in the men’s single-handed class earlier in the week.

Finn Lynch and the Laser Bronze fleet had no racing again today for their final day of the regatta. Lynch finishes his first Laser Standard World Championship in 101st place out of 147 sailors. No mean feat for the 18 year old who only graduated to this highly competitive senior class earlier this year.

Ross Hamilton sailed three races today in the Finn class. He had a 33rd, 32nd and 30th leaving him 64th overall and qualifying for the Silver fleet for the rest of the Championship. Racing will continue for the Finn class until the 21st of September.

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