The sun shone brightly here at Weymouth and Portland on day two of the ‘Skandia Sail for Gold’ 2011 Regatta, part of this year’s World Cup and for some including Ireland also part of the Olympic Trials. Monday’s opening sessions had been seriously delayed due to less than ideal weather conditions and a day to forget for young Irish sailor Annalise Murphy (33rd)
The National Yacht Club, 21 years old student, recovered well from her disappointment and yesterday had a 4th,1st and 3rd in her three races, though with the very late finish last night these results remain ‘provisional’ . Two more races today, with the first scheduled for soon after 1300 and World number 11 ranked Murphy is very hopeful of significantly improving upon her current 16th place. Remember though that this year’s “Skandia Sail for Gold” is more than just another race…. All of the top competitors are here in preparation for London 2012.
Peter O’Leary and David Burrows moved up to 10th overall in the Star keelboat. This is the second and final test in the trials with Olympic veterans O’Leary and Burrows leading their rivals Anthony Shanks and Max Treacy .
A fine performance on Tuesday also from 49er skiff sailors Ben Lynch and Ed Butler with a fourth and fifth in their two races .Irish rivals Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern had a fine 10th but later unfortunately broke a trapeze wire which forced them to quit the second race.
This year’s Skandia Sail for Gold regatta is almost as big as the Olympics, according to triple gold medal legend Ben Ainslie. The reason is that many national teams are using the event as a crucial component of their selection process. With a confirmed entry of 1050 sailors, in 740 boats, from 62 nations, competition within every class is extremely fierce here, with many of the sailors , and not just the Irish contingent,bidding to show their Olympic selectors why they should be in contention to represent their country at next year’s Games.
No fewer than 11 reigning Olympic and Paralympic champions, and a whole host of Beijing 2008 and World medallists, are taking part in the event which ends on Saturday.