With four qualifying races sailed at the Laser European & World Championships on Dublin Bay, local favourite Annalise Murphy from Providence Team IRL remains in impressive form on her home waters as she leads the Women’s Laser Radial European Championship by five clear points.
She counts three race wins, discarding a second place from the first race on Monday.
Murphy has two of the 2012 Olympic medalists behind her. Neither Holland’s silver medalist Marit Bouwmeester nor Belgium’s bronze winner Evi Van Acker have been able to maintain anything close to Murphy’s consistency, both scoring one relatively weighty score apiece today.
Bouwmeester, the 2011 World Champion, claims to be just getting used to the testing offshore westerly winds which produce big shifts in wind direction and pressure.
“At the moment it seems best to follow Annalise” Bouwmeester joked as she returned ashore to Dun Laoghaire’s National Yacht Club.
Annalise remains cool and confident in the Women’s Laser Radials but cautions that it is still very early in the regatta, and lighter winds are expected Tuesday: “It is nice to have all low scores at this point when some of the others had some higher scores today. But then again that can all change in a few races.”
She added: “First and second was pretty good overall for the day. It was very difficult on the different course, the wind pressure was up and down much more, sometimes there was five knots in some places and then 20 knots in others, and very changeable in direction too.”
“The wind was moving through 60 degrees or something like that. But I really enjoyed it. The first race I sailed pretty perfectly on the upwind, but I was sitting in no wind on the downwind with the fleet coming down at me but there was nothing I could do. That was a bit frustrating because I already had a big lead. The second race I got a good start, was first at the first mark and just held on.” she concluded.
Belgium’s bronze medal winning Evi Van Acker is just six weeks back in the boat after a 13 month layoff. She won the first race in her fleet today and paired it with a fourth after capsizing on the final beat.
Van Acker commented “I had two mega-comebacks. Twice I was very bad at the first mark, but the first race I won and the second race I was bad off the start but got up to second and then capsized on the final upwind and dropped to fourth. So for someone who has not really sailed in 13 months then a 1 and a 4 is not so bad. I started again six weeks ago.
I have finished my studies now and so only have my thesis to go (on sports drinks). I am back into it, full time from here. There have been so many changes since the Games, I bought an apartment, renovated it, moved in with my boyfriend, so a lot of changes. I tried to stay fit. It is good it was shifty because you are not having to hike for too long”.
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