London 2012 Olympics - Tricky day for Irish sailors

by ISA 
Annalise Murphy (IRL) - London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.
At the London 2012 Olympics, three of the Irish sailing teams were competing today in Weymouth. Annalise Murphy remains at the top of the Laser Radial fleet having placed eighth and 19th today. Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern slipped to ninth overall in the 49er fleet and James Espey is 45th overall in the Laser class. The Star class were on a rest day and remain ninth overall whilst the last of the Irish sailors, Ger Owens and Scott Flanigan, will begin racing in the 470 class tomorrow.

Racing was tricky today for most fleets with frequent postponements and recalls. Race 5 for the Laser Radials had to be abandoned and rescheduled for 20 minutes later. Annalise Murphy got off to a good start towards the top of the fleet and she rounded the first mark in eighth place. Her position fluctuated slightly throughout the race but ultimately she finished in eighth place while Evi Van Acker (BEL) took first and Alison Young (GBR) took second.

Race 6 saw Murphy get off to a great start at the top of the pack but she chose, along with many others, to take the left side of the course. Her rivals veered to the right which, within moments, was clear to be the correct choice and very quickly gained a 50 meter lead. Murphy then had the difficult task of making her way back across the fleet. It cost her 150 meters and left her in 22nd rounding the first mark. She fought hard throughout the rest of the race but just couldn’t make up the distance and finished in 19th.

The discard came in to play today for the Radials after the fifth race. This means that Murphy can discard her 19th which still leaves her first overall on 12 points. In second place is Evi Van Acker (BEL) on 14 points with Marit Bouwmeester (NED) in third on 19 points. Tomorrow will be a rest day for the fleet. They will sail a further four fleet races on Friday and Saturday with the medal race taking place on Monday, 6th August.

James O’Callaghan, ISA Performance Director commented 'Tomorrow is a lay day for Annalise and we’ll use the time to analyse today’s racing and regroup for Friday. She’s still top of the pack and even though the results don’t reflect her effort she’s still sailing extremely well'.

Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern had a similarly challenging day in the 49er class. They rounded the first mark of Race 5 in 15th place but thanks to some tactical sailing they overtook three of their competitors to finish the race in 12th. Unfortunately Race 6 proved to be their most difficult to date and they finished towards the back of the fleet in 19th. The 49er discard also came in to play today so the pair discount the 19th and now sit ninth overall on the leader board on 41 points. The leaders Outteridge and Jensen (AUS) are on 10 points followed by Burling and Tuke (NZL) on 23 points and Dyen and Christidis (FRA) on 30 points. The 49er class will continue to race tomorrow and still have a further nine races to sail before the medal race.

'The boys aren’t even half way through the fleet races and are still within the top 10. Everything is still up for grabs' remarked O’Callaghan.

James Espey also had his third day of racing today in the Laser class. The Laser fleet also had to contend with undoubtedly frustrating postponements and recalls. Espey finished 47th in Race 5 and an improved 42nd in Race 6. With his discard he lies 45th overall. The Laser class will also have a rest day tomorrow with racing resuming on Friday.

Today was the rest day for Peter O’Leary and David Burrows and the rest of the Star class. The Irish pair remains in ninth overall and will resume racing tomorrow.

Racing will continue tomorrow for the Star and 49er. Ger Owens and Scott Flanigan will also make their debut in the 470 class. The Laser Radial and Laser are on a rest day. Sailing action starts at 12 noon in Weymouth.

All results are provisional.

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