Annalise Murphy was one of three sailors to have made the perfect start to their title challenge at the 2013 Laser European & World Championships on Dublin Bay today.

Each of the three championship fleets sailed two races in offshore westerly winds which varied from 11 to 18 knots, the gusts carrying big changes in wind direction and pressure. Making early errors – reading the first shifts wrong, getting off the start lines poorly or choosing the wrong side of the first upwinds – proved most costly. Often the shape of the races were shaped by the first windward mark. 

However Murphy cruised to two decisive wins in her Women’s Laser Radial qualifying fleet and she was at home in every sense of the word, delivering a pair of results which – among other things – brought smiles to the army of 200 or so volunteers from her home clubs who have given their time to produce a memorable championships.

Murphy stepped clear of her fleet early on both of the first upwind legs and was able to extend a little in the first race. But in the second heat a knot in her mainsheet on the final run compromised her, being challenged by Belarus’ World No. 1 Tatiana Drozkovskaya, but the Dublin sailor was able to sort herself out to hold on and win. 

“It was pretty windy out there, windier than I expected, but also fun because the wind was flicking back and forwards and so if you got into phase. I like these conditions like today because it is something I grew up sailing with here and so it was fun, shifting offshore winds” Murphy reported, adding the same first caveat as her male counterparts.

“It is only the first day and I am happy not to have used up a discard or anything like that. It was a good day and I really have nothing to complain about. I was sailing well on the upwinds and I was sailing a lot of the shifts really well and that was the most important bit. That was important to get ahead. On the last downwind I got a big knot in my mainsheet and ended up going along pretty slowly and Tatiana caught up a lot with me, but I just managed to get here again at the finish line and won it” Murphy continued.

Annalise’s coach Rory Fitzpatrick weighed up the pros and cons of racing a ‘major’ at home “It is nice for her to race on home waters because you do know the strategies which will pay off. It is nice to get the support with so many people we know around the place, but so too there is a bit of pressure and expectation with attention from the press and so on, but then that comes along with the Olympics and so on, so that is good practice. There are pros and cons to being at home, but most of all sleeping in our own beds outweighs everything. Annalise got good starts and was able to get off the start line and sail in phase with the winds, and just wait to cross the fleet, and she managed that both times”.

Ireland’s young ISAF Youth World’s silver medallist Finn Lynch, also racing from his home club, started well with a first and a fifth in his Men’s Laser Radial qualifier. 

Holland’s Rutger van Schaardenburg, considers that there was some Irish luck inspiring him as he posted two wins in very challenging, changeable breezes but the Dutch sailor who finished 14th at last year’s Olympic regatta arrived ashore at the National YC in Dun Laoghaire admitted he has made better starts to big events but knows how little first day wins count for.

“To be honest it is the first day and you don’t take too much from that. I had three wins in a row at the start in Tallinn before and finished 25th but I am happy with the way I sailed” smiled van Schaardneburg. 

Van Schaardenberg and Sweden’s Jesper Stalheim – European Championship runner up last year – may both have looked to be comfortably at home in the conditions when they were en route to their two wins apiece in their respective qualifying fleets, as Ireland’s Annalise Murphy cruised to two decisive wins in her Women’s Laser Radial qualifying fleet. She was at home in every sense of the word, delivering a pair of results which – among other things – brought smiles to the army of 200 or so volunteers from her home club who have given their time to produce a memorable championship. 

While Stalheim felt his performance in the Men’s Olympic class was comfortable enough, everything falling his way to the point it almost felt easy, Schaardenburg said he was thinking of Ireland’s lucky shamrock. “For sure it was tricky conditions. You needed to have a bit of luck too and I was thinking about the Irish shamrock and of good luck a lot and it seemed to be on my side, but I have had good preparation too, but then it still needs to go the way you expect it to go. And it did” he said after racing.

“The first race started not so well but I got into the big shift to the left and was second at the top mark, got ahead on the downwind and it was all done. The second race I got a good start to the right and got to the right as I expected it and luckily enough it happened and from there I just extended.  For me it is very nice way to start” he continued. 

Swede Stalheim, ranked three in the world at the moment, believes his speed was the key today “My speed was good and a lot of the time it was just speed into the next shift. I started to windward and tacked away early for a speed race to the first shift and then I could cross the fleet. And in the second race it was speed race to the sift again and I was good”. 
 
“I started to windward and the wind was left and I just sailed to it until the right hander came and crossed the whole fleet. It felt quite easy though the Croatian guy Tonci was second about ten metres behind. But the rest of the fleet was quite far behind. There were big gaps.” 

“In the second race it was speed again, I got to the left and was into the shift and crossed over the whole fleet. It felt all quite easy.” 

Of those older, experienced sailors returning to the fray of top level racing after a break, Brazil’s Robert Scheidt was disappointed to receive a penalty on the first reach of the first race, but sailed to a solid 4, 3 opening to share the same seven points tally as fourth to eighth placed sailors. The five times Olympic medallist from Brazil said “I did not sail really, really well on the first beats but I am happy. I got a penalty on the first reach so that was an unforced error and I am unhappy about that. A solid first day for me is OK.” 

Martin Evans is the best placed British sailor in the Men’s Standard fleet, while 2010 and 2011’s World Championships runner up Nick Thompson is enjoying his return to the class with his eyes firmly focused on Rio 2016. He found himself with a little to do early in both races, but was pleased with how he climbed through the fleets to open with a 5, 4 loving the chance to spar with Scheidt and Portuguese veteran Gustavo Lima again. He lies 11th overall. 

“It was a pretty challenging day” Thompson affirmed, “But a fifth and fourth for me from my windward mark positions was good. It could have been a lot worse. I managed to dig in, to fight for every place and got a few good wind shifts which made a difference and pulled myself back in there”.

“I have been doing a lot of training in Weymouth with the British team which has been really good, getting back into the boat and trying to getting up to speed again. I started back in Palma and so it has been good. I really am enjoying it to be racing against the new guys coming through, but also the old guys like Robert Scheidt and  Gustavo Lima.”

“I had a good battle with Robert, he was third, just ahead of me, and we were duking it out all the way around. Overall I am happy with the first day.” 

“The first race was about two big shifts which dictated your position and the second race there was big shift off the start and that set up the race too, and so I was fighting back from that, from poor windward mark roundings. I think it is coming back nicely. It is great here. The racing will be interesting if it remains offshore.” 

All results are provisional.


 
 
The 2013 Laser European and World Championships are due to get under way today at midday on Dublin Bay with light to moderate, gusty offshore breezes expected. 

It’s a slightly grey and overcast morning to start the championships but the air of anticipation around the venues is obvious. This significant event brings to an end a notable summertime hiatus on the international racing calendar. As well the obvious value attached to the important titles, the high level racing is seen my most as important as the two Olympic singlehander classes prepare for their respective world championships, the Laser Radial World Championships are in Rizhao, China starting on 28th September and the Laser Standard World Championships are in Oman and begin on 14th November. 

Winds for the opening pairs of races should be average between 9 and 12kts but with puffs to 15kts or 17kts and so it will be a demanding first day for sure. 

Feeling at home at the venue, well used to the puffy, shifty winds of his native waters in Sweden is last year’s runner up Jesper Stâlheim. “I am planning on doing well here. I would like to do even better than last time.  It is important for me to do well here and at the worlds back to back. My training has been really good. I am just back from Rio for some of the summer where it was light and shifty and not the best sailing. But it is good to be here, it feels the same as Sweden, shifty and offshore. I feel quite at home. It is a really good fleet here, we are missing one or two people” says Stalheim, winner at the ISAF World Cup in Miami this year, ranked three in the world. 

Brazil’s five times Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt is looking forwards to getting back into the high intensity racing of the Laser “I think the set up here is great and we should have a great regatta. I think it will be quite challenging because the courses are set quite close to the shore. I expect it to be quite tricky out there. My sailing is going well. I am not at the very top of my form yet but I am getting there. So I am using this regatta to try and get better. I think I need a bit more rhythm of racing. I have been away from the class for a while so I am missing the high level racing. I enjoy being back in the boat, the racing is so good. I enjoy both, I enjoy sailing the boat and I love the high level of the competition there are a lot of young guys sailing really well and I am enjoying being part of it again. I lost a little bit of weight, I am down to 81 to 82 kilos now, losing about two or three kilos. I am in a good moment now, not at my peak but I am good”. 

 
 
For immediate release
31st August 2013

Of the 324 sailors from 43 different countries who are primed and ready to start the Laser European and World Championships on Sunday, very few took the opportunity to participate in today’s official practice race on Dublin Bay.

Final boat preparations in the boat parks of Dun Laoghaire’s National Yacht Club and the Royal St George Yacht Club and preserving energies proved to be the main priorities as the sailors count down to the first start guns for the three different championships which will run on two race areas.

Three European titles are on offer in two Olympic singlehanded classes, for Men in the Laser Standard, and for women in the Laser Radial. Males will also compete for the Men’s World and the Men’s European titles in the Laser Radial class. Racing starts Sunday and finishes Friday at Ireland’s only major Olympic classes championships in the lead up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Many overseas in the Men’s Olympic singlehanded fleet see this as an important build up to the Laser World Championships which are taking place in Oman in November.

The event is set to be officially opened this evening by An Cathaoirleach Cllr. Carrie Smyth, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and by An Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore at Dun Laoghaire Town Hall. This opening ceremony is to be preceded by a parade led by Irish Army No 1 Band with local junior sailors carrying the flags of all 43 nations participating in the championship.

Commenting on the importance of the globally watched event Margaret Kneafsey, Event Chairman stated “We are delighted to welcome sailors from over 43 countries to the Laser European and World Championships. Many of the sailors visited Dun Laoghaire earlier this year to practice at the venue and some of the teams arrived earlier in August to train. In addition these 320 or so sailors have also brought their coaches, their families, friends and supporters to Ireland which will have a great economic impact on Dun Laoghaire town”.

For Ireland’s Annalise Murphy the Laser Radial Women’s European Championship represents a great opportunity to win a major title on her own home waters, racing from her home club. Murphy finished seventh at the Laser Europeans last year before taking fourth at the Olympics. She has already won two major regattas this season before welcoming her overseas rivals and friends to her native Dublin Bay.

The 23 year old from Rathfarnham, eight miles from the yacht club, started her sailing at the National Yacht Club as a ten year old in the Junior section of the club, confirms she is ready to race and pre regatta nerves are not an issue for her “I have been training pretty hard this summer but I have not had any big events since June, so I am just really looking forwards to getting back out and racing against everyone, nearly everyone is here and so it is going to be tough competition”.

“I am not really nervous at all. I am just looking forward to it. I have had such good training in the last five or six weeks. I was in Rio for three weeks. It was good to be there and see what the venue is like and to see what the sailing conditions are really like. It was interesting and that will really help me out in the next few years. It puts it all into perspective and then I was down in Cork to race at the Nationals”.

“I feel like I am sailing well and I just need to put it together in the races. It is exciting to have all overseas sailors I know and race against from all around the world and are friends with all in my home club. That is a pretty nice feeling. Hopefully you want them to be impressed. So hopefully we will get good weather all week and there won’t be too much or no wind”.

Staying at her family home is a welcome, if unusual bonus, but she does not felt there will be any inherent local knowledge advantage on the water “I am staying at home which is nice to be going back to my own bed at night. I have the same routine as at major events except it is my own comfy bed”.

“My form is pretty good. I have sailed well at the last three regattas I did, at Lake Garda, Holland and in Weymouth and so hopefully with the training I have done with my boat speed now I can fit that in with how I was racing a few months ago then I can do well and put together a good series. My boat speed is good, maybe not so much in windy weather but definitely in lighter weather. It is a lot better”.

Winds on the opening day are forecast to be light to moderate from the south-west “I don’t have a preference what the wind conditions are at all. I’d like a good mix of conditions, I’d like a good bit of light weather because that is mainly what I have been training in these last weeks. I’d like to say there is a local advantage but I really don’t think there is. Probably if anything it actually confuses you more. You think you know something but maybe it is not really right”.

Ends

 
 
For immediate release

Friday 30 August 2013

Dun Laoghaire on Ireland’s Dublin Bay is the venue for one of this summer’s biggest and most closely observed sailing regattas of the new Olympic quadrennial as the 2013 Laser European and World Championships muster a galaxy of sailing talent, many in the early stages of the long road to Rio and the 2016 Olympic sailing regatta.

Over 320 sailors, from more than 40 nations including at least four Olympic medallists, will compete on Ireland’s renowned international racing waters. There are European titles at stake in two Olympic singlehander classes, for Men in the Laser Standard, and for women in the Laser Radial. Men of a smaller, lighter stature will also compete for the Men’s World and the Men’s European titles in the Laser Radial class.

Sailors from all around the world have been in Dun Laoghaire for some weeks now putting the finishing touches to their pre-championships training. Saturday 31st August will see those preparations halted as the official Practice Race is contested, a final chance for the different fleets to get to know the racing waters, before racing starts in earnest on Sunday 1st September. The race schedule calls for two qualifying races each day, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Then the Finals series runs Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The new champions will be crowned at a glittering prizegiving ceremony of the evening of Friday 6th September.

Among the top sailors racing in the European Laser Standard Men's Championship fleet will be Brazil’s legendary Robert Scheidt. Winner of two Olympic gold medals, two silver medals and a bronze, and victor at no fewer than eight Laser world championships between 1995 and 2005, Scheidt has returned to the Laser from the Star keelboat in which he won silver in Beijing in 2008 and bronze in 2012, to the Laser. Dun Laoghaire features highly on his own new odyssey, seeking to win a sixth Olympic medal on home Brazilian waters, although he is not eligible to win the European title.  Pavlos Kontides, who just over one year ago became the first ever Cypriot athlete to win an Olympic medal when he clinched silver in Weymouth and Portland at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic finished fourth in London and will be among the top seeds, as will Sweden’s Jesper Stalheim who finished runner up at the 2012 European Laser Standard Men’s championship, and France’s Jean Baptiste Bernaz who finished fourth.

While Australia’s 2012 Olympic gold medallist Tom Slingsby is competing at the America’s Cup, the Laser legacy remains strong from his native country under Olympic bronze medal winning coach Michael Blackburn. In the Laser world rankings four of the top five slots are held by Aussie sailors and three, Ashley Brunning, Ryan Palk and Matthew Wearn will all race on Dublin Bay. 

Of the top five finishers at last year’s 2012 Olympic regatta in the women’s Laser Radial class, four are set to race next week. All eyes will be on Ireland’s Annalise Murphy, who memorably missed out on an Olympic medal by a tiny margin, finishing fourth. She has had a great season so far with wins at the Delta Lloyd Regatta and Italian Olympic Week and will be looking to deliver on the very waters she grew up sailing on. The Netherland’s Marit Bouwmeester, silver medallist last year, and Belgium’s Evie Van Acker are likely to be among the leading contenders as will be Britain’s Ali Young who finished fifth in the Olympics.

 

Arrivals

08/27/2013

 
We are delighted to see so many early arrivals. Both clubs are starting to populate with sailors, boats and supporters. We expect the coming days to get busier, and urge our visitors  to follow the traffic management plan, and parking instructions. This should achieve speedy and efficient unloading for all.

Arrival arrangements can be viewed here.
 
 
With Annalise Murphy achieving 4th at London 2012 and Ireland’s Academy sailors finishing 1st, 2nd, 4th & 8th at the Europa Cup in Italy in March of this year, the profile of Irish laser sailing has never been higher.

Following the IFDS World Championship, the European and World LaserChampionships will be held in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin from 30th August to 6th September. This event invites not just competitors but their families and friends also to "come for the event, stay for the Gathering".
 
 
Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sports Leo Varadkar and Minister of State Michael Ring have announced Irish Sports Council backing for a number of Gathering sporting events including the Laser European Championships.

The Irish Sports Council has allocated grants totalling €181,000 to sailing, cricket, athletics, badminton, American Football and bowling to host events in 2013 that will bring visitors to the country.

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar said "Sport events are a key part of the Gathering Ireland. Sports clubs, teams and organisations throughout Ireland have really embraced the year-long celebrations. This new programme of events complements the calendar of Irish sporting events already organised and gives us a great opportunity to showcase Ireland to new audiences".

Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of the Irish Sports Council said “Irish sport is delighted to make its contribution to the Gathering. Sport makes a contribution to tourism every year through golf, outdoor recreation and many major events and our sports people have done so much to enhance the country’s reputation in recent years. We were delighted with the response to our programme for the Gathering and with the quality of the events that will be supported”.

 
 
The National Yacht Club launches the Dublin Bay 2013 Laser World & European Championships event website (http://laserworlds2013.webs.com) full of useful travel and accomodation information