Ashore after two more wins in brisk conditions, Murphy admits that even she can scarcely believe how well her first ever Olympics are going, but she arrived ashore totally composed yesterday, allowing herself a wry smile or two and holding firm to her one race at a time, one day at a time mantra.
With her Laser Radial class racing first on the showcase Nothe course, the inshore arena where the ticketed spectator crowds included a vocal Irish support, Murphy avoided the occasional nasty snakes set up by the shifty wind and climbed the ladders, the beneficial changes, to lead at every turning mark of the first course to win by 30 seconds.
She repeated the same feat in the second race but this time her margin was trimmed to just eight seconds.
“It was a huge achievement today, I can’t believe that I’m doing it,” she said.
“Four firsts but there are six races left and so it is going to be tough through the rest of the regatta,” said Murphy.
“I could see the Irish contingent with the Irish flags. Having a crowd definitely made a difference. It made me hike a bit harder.”
Significantly over both heats it was Team GB’s Ali Young who was the greatest threat to the Irish helm, going on to post two second places which elevated her from seventh after her first day to lie in fourth place.
Young, who, like Murphy, stands over six feet tall, is reckoned to be one of the fastest sailors in the stronger breeze, and her challenge is likely to continue to grow after the British sailor put first day nerves behind her.
Murphy appears to remain unruffled, but knows that she has strung first places together and then faltered, notably in Perth.
“I take it one race at a time and keep putting in some good results.”
She has a 12-points lead after four races ahead of Belgium’s world number one Evi Van Acker.
“I haven’t been looking at who is behind me and who is around me. I’ve just been trying to sail my best in every race,” said Murphy. “Everyone else is trying to sail their best. I just feel the same as before. And I just will keep doing everything the same. If you start changing things, that is when you make mistakes.”
Murphy is the shining beacon among the Irish team which had a mixed day otherwise.
In the 49er class Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern had a slightly inconsistent day with a 15th and a second, but they lie sixth overall and are only five points off second place after four races. Short-term they need one more good score to be able to discard that 15th after the fifth race is completed.
The Star duo Peter O’Leary and David Burrows had a miserable day with an 11th and 12th to drop to ninth place overall.
“The Star boys are disappointed after today and now have a day off and so they have to press the reset button and start again,” said James O’Callaghan, the ISA’s Performance Director. “For sure the top three boats in that fleet have opened a points gap but we are in fightback mode.”
O’Callaghan expressed confidence in Murphy: “Perth she was in the lead at the midway stage and that experience has made her stronger. She is a very young athlete, she is learning all the time.
“There is a huge chunk of the regatta still to sail. She has won four races before at regattas but has not won them overall.”