Earlier in the week Wednesday was predicted to be bringing the biggest winds of the week and torrential rain. Instead the breezes proved only moderate but it was the big shifts in wind direction, brought by the occasional rain clouds, which made for some big gains and losses on the Laser courses.
Murphy came ashore after an eighth and a 19th to go into her class’s first allocated rest day today still at the top of the fleet but her margin had shrunk to only two points ahead of Belgium’s Evi van Acker and seven ahead of Holland’s 2010 World Champion Marit Bouwmeester.
The more moderate and unsettled winds meant Murphy could not impose the same speed advantage as she had shown over the first four races which she won, in most cases, conclusively.
She was not unduly phased by the breeze being lighter than was widely forecast.
“I did not go out there, sitting thinking why is it not 25 knots?
“I was sitting thinking, OK this is what I have got let’s race with it and see what we can do?” she recalled.
After rounding the first mark in eighth in the first of her heats yesterday she mostly held her own. But in the second contest she was on the wrong side of a big windshift which relegated her to the middle of the fleet, only managing to gain three places.
At the midpoint in her first ever Olympic regatta, she said she was relishing the rest day to replenish her energy reserves and catching up with her family –including her father Con and mother Cathy who represented Ireland at the 1988 Olympics, and friends who are part of the large Irish contingent.
Of her poor second race she said: ” I had a good start at the pin end of the line but a big right hand shift came in, so even if I had a good start it made not much of a difference. Even though I had a good start as soon as the shift came through I looked over my shoulder and most of the fleet were ahead of me. After that I just had to chip away the best I could. And I did OK at that. I could easily have been last in that race.
“It is brilliant to be leading at the half way stage with just four more races left.”
She is hoping to stick to her morning cycling routine: “I will go for a cycle in the morning, weather depending, as long as it is not raining. And then I will hang out with my family because I have not seen them this week yet.
They are all here and the Irish contingent are certainly having a good time on the Nothe.”
Meanwhile in the 49er Skiff class Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern dropped from sixth to ninth: “It was our toughest day of the Games so far” Seaton said.
“We struggled a little bit off the line both times but we came back through the fleet to get a keeper in the end.
Same story in the second race where we had to gybe round with ten seconds to go to get out of a spot and it was a fight back from there. Overall there is still plenty of racing to go.”