Murphy claims Euro gold

Just over a year after Dun Laoghaire’s Annalise Murphy spectacularly missed winning a medal at the London 2012 Olympics, she sailed in from her home waters to rapturous applause at the National Yacht Club as the new European champion for her Laser Radial class.

Murphy claims Euro gold

After 12 races between the qualification series and the Gold fleet finals, Murphy was best of 90 sailors including both the Silver and Bronze medallists from Weymouth last year as well as the fifth place runner-up behind her at that event.

Her first year of preparations for the Rio Olympics could hardly have ended better; her first major international title coming on top of her early season run of form that included a clutch of gold medals at the continental regattas.

Her form over the last week was breathtaking. Many of the race wins disguised hugely tactical choices on the two course areas, both of which had big wind-shifts at times.

Her heavy breeze reputation remains intact, though previously persistent concerns for her light winds ability when her bigger physical frame might work against her seemed to dissipate somewhat during the early races.

However, the lightest day of the week on Thursday saw her record her worst result, a 27th.

Physicality wasn’t an issue preventing her pick up those places nor could it have dealt with the wind dropping to a calm at the end: that’s yacht racing and every other sailor had their bad moments.

Chief amongst these was London silver medallist Marit Bouwmeester from the Netherlands who was the chief concern going into the final three races yesterday. The Dutch sailor had an option to try and sail Murphy out of contention but this risked her second overall as Britain’s Alison Young was just two points behind.

In the end, all three sailors simply did the best they could without resorting to gamesmanship.

Murphy beat the two girls in all three races: third in the opening race, followed by a recovery from 10th place to second in the next before ending gloriously with a runaway lead in the final to win her eighth race of the week.

Meanwhile, the men’s Laser radial event saw Murphy’s clubmate Finn Lynch from Carlow win the U21 European title as well as silver in the main event and bronze for the men’s title.

Lynch had gradually overtaken Baltimore Sailing Club’s Fionn Lyden who earlier led their 90-strong class overall before he slipped gradually in the Gold fleet series to finish 10th overall.

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